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Ballycasey Beg Townland, Drumline Parish

Information on Ballycasey Beg Townland collected by the Clare Townlands Fieldnames Survey

Ballycasey Beg is a townland situated in the parish of Drumline, [Dromlaighean which according to the Four Masters means, the hill of the spears1 ], in the district of New Market-on-Fergus. James Frost’s History and Topography of Co. Clare claims that the meaning of the Gaelic ‘Baile Chathasach’ is the home of Casey. However Dónal Ó Murchú suggests that the meaning of the townland name is the winding townland.

“This name has been recorded in Petty as Ballycasse. The Gaelic pronunciation could be suggested as Baile Casaidh from the word casadh which means winding or twisting, therefore the place name could be interpreted as the winding townland.”2

In Ballycasey Beg there are a number of recorded archaeological monuments including, a standing stone SMR No CL051-147, an enclosure SMR No CL051-148, and a ring fort SMR No CL051-146 however it is not stipulated whether or not it is a rath or cashel. The most significant, however is Ballycasey Beg ring fort, SMR No CL051-145. This is a double banked ring fort with fosse. A survey was carried out on this site by William Gerrard Ryan.

Ambrose Leet’s 1814 Directory for Co. Clare lists Ballycasey’s post town as Newmarket-on-Fergus and the gentlemen’s seat was held by John Canny, Esq. Also Frost’s History of Co. Clare gives us information on the townland in 1626. According to the text an inquisition was held on 3rd April 1626, and found that,

“Conor Reagh Macnamara died on the 16th of September, 1623, being owner of Dromguile and Ballyhaffy (Ballycasey), and leaving as his heir his son John, then of full age, and married.”

According to James Frost’s History and Topography of Co. Clare,

“In 1610, Conor, son of Teige MacNamara of Smithstown, claimed Ballycaseybeg as against the Earl of Thomond, but in vain.”
Interestingly the text also notes that later that century, in 1641, the proprietor of Ballycasey Beg was, in fact the Earl of Thomond.

1 Barry, Deirdre. 1977. Local place names. In The OtherClare, vol. 1, p16.
2 Murchú, Dónal. 2003. Place names in the Shannon Area – their meanings. In The Other Clare, vol. 27, pp34-35.


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