Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Ballitore, County Kildare

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all



Including the Historic Buildings of Ballitore

In particular The Quaker School

County Kildare

Image right - Mary Leadbetter's House

The Quaker School in Ballitore was founded by Abraham Shackleton (1697–1771), in 1726, catering for Quakers from many parts of Ireland as well as both Protestant and Catholic local children.

Ballitore (Irish: Béal Átha an Tuair) is a village in County Kildare, Ireland, sometimes spelt Ballytore. It lies a little way off the main road from Kilcullen to Carlow. At its southern end is an 18th century Meeting House and on a corner of the village square, close to the left bank of the river is a white-painted dwelling now known as the Mary Leadbeater House. Ballitore is the only planned and permanent Quaker Settlement in Ireland.

Derivation Ballitore takes its name from the Gaelic 'Baíle' meaning a town, and 'Togher' meaning a marsh.


Population In 1841 the village had a population of 441. In 1986 the population was 290.

Irish grid reference


Shire county County Kildare

Country Republic of Ireland


Postcode district

Dialling code

As Gaeilge: Irish: Béal Átha an Tuair



In 1685 two Quakers, John Bancroft and Abel Strettel, arrived in County Kildare intending to create a Quaker community. They found a suitable spot beside the River Griese at Ballitore and started to build what became the only planned Irish Quaker settlement. Wool and floor mills were built to provide work, the rich farmland provided food. Ballitore has several restored historical buildings, including The Meeting House, which was built around 1708 and the Leadbeater house. There is also a Quaker burial ground. The former Quaker Meeting building is now a small museum containing many artefacts relating to local Quaker history.

During the rising of 1798 Ballitore was pillaged and burned by both troops and insurgents. The Quakers played key roles in restoring and rebuilding the village.

The Quaker School in Ballitore was founded by Abraham Shackleton (1697–1771), a young Yorkshireman, in 1726, catering for Quakers from many parts of Ireland as well as both Protestant and Catholic local children. It opened with 38 pupils. It continued in existence until 1847. Abraham Shackleton had come to Ballitore from England and set up a boarding school for boys. He had advanced views on education, the school attained an international reputation and catered for pupils of all religions besides the young Quakers for whom it was first established. While the school has since been demolished, a surviving rubble and red brick arch (1726) marks the original entrance to its boundary wall.

It was the former home of Mary Leadbeater, a local diarist, and is now a Quaker Museum. The Quaker School is proposed for demolition in order to make way for a Glanbia development in the centre of the town.The - Old Quaker School

Pupils came from as far away as Bordeaux, Jamaica and Norway to stay and study in the school, staying in a row of houses in the village whose attics had been knocked into one long room.

The Quaker School in Ballitore, County Kildare, was begun in 1728 by Abraham Shakleton, a young Yorkshireman. It continued for over one hundred years, educating around 1,000 pupils, many of whom left their mark on Irish and British history.

Associated names

World War 1 casualties

  • Sergeant James Merrins, 38 died 29/11/1917; Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 2nd Btn. - Awarded M M and Bar. Commemerated at St. Leger British Cemetery - son of Mrs. Margaret Merrins of Ballitore, County Kildare.
  • Private Andrew Delaney, 35 died 31/05/1915; Royal Medical Corps, 13th Field Ambulance - Commemorated at Crookstown Catholic Churchyard. Husband of Elizabeth Mackey (formerly Delaney), of Ballitore, County Kildare.

Historical Buildings and Places

// House 1870-1890 - Detached five-bay two-storey double-pile house, c.1850 symmetrically-planned house, built by the Shakleton family in the late 17nth/early 18th centuries, rebuilt in the 19th century, and rebuilt once more in the early 20th century following an extensive fire. Although now disused and in an advanced state of dereliction, the house retains much of its original form, and some of its original features and materials, including the remains of timber sash fenestration, a decorative doorcase with timber fittings, and a slate roof having cast-iron rainwater goods. Set back from the road in its own grounds, the house is complemented by an attractive outbuilding - originally one of a group that has been substantially reduced over the years - together with a now overgrown walled garden.

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

// Mills ruin - Detached nine-bay four- and six-storey double-pile rubble stone former mill, dated 1834. Composed of solid walls with diminutive openings (representing a traditional practise that provided a cool, dry atmosphere for the storage of grain or flour). Now in ruins but retaining most of its original form.

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Ballitore Quaker School (details above)

also known as ''Eton of Ireland"

// Ballitore Quaker School - Gateway Last fragment of the former school on the site. c.1725, originally built as gateway in boundary wall to school comprising pair of rubble stone piers with elliptical-headed opening over having red brick dressings. Boundary wall truncated, c.1985, to plinth level and mostly reconstructed.

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

● {//|right|150px|frame{link=//}}Ballitore Shaker Store 1750-1790. A modern (1998) cut-stone plaque attests to the historical associations of the house as the home of Owen Finn, shot during the Rebellion of 1798. National Inventory of Architectural Heritage]

// Corn Mill (former). - rubble stone structure representing the early industrialisation and commercialisation of the village of Ballitore. Extensively renovated in the late twentieth century to accommodate residential use and use as a heritage centre, retaining most of its original form, while replacement materials have been installed in keeping with the original integrity of the building. The building retains many important early or original features and materials, including the cast-iron waterwheel to south-east with attendant mill race, both of technical significance, while former mill stones are located throughout the grounds. National Inventory of Architectural Heritage]

// House Detached four-bay two-storey house, c.1790 situated on the corner of the village square, sympathetically renovated in the late twentieth century. Her parents' house, known as the "Retreat", now houses the Avonmore Creamery Offices. From one of the windows over looking the village square Mary Leadbeater witnessed at first hand the cruelty of the 1798 Rebellion. Her accounts of what happened in Ballitore represent one of the few independent descriptions of events in Ireland during the Rebellion. The house has been painstakingly restored, ensuring it's preservation and celebrating it's place in the history of County Kildare.

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

// The Market House (former c. 1770) was erected on the square, apparently undergoing a subsequent change of use as evidenced by the alteration of its openings, and eventually embraced by ranges of buildings (c. 1800). Detached four-bay two-storey rubble stone former market house, c.1780. Renovated, c.1840, with openings remodelled. Now in ruins. Roof now gone (originally gable-ended).

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

// Meeting House of the Society of Friends which had fallen into ruin was restored by Kildare County Council aIn 1975 and has served as the library for the Ballitore area since then. Built around 1708

The Museum, which is incorporated into the library contains a selection of artifacts and memorabilia of a mainly local nature. In the entrance hall are the door and lintel stone from the original Shackleton home at Harden in Yorkshire which was built in 1660. Also in the entrance hall is a ledger dated 1807-1810 for the Shackleton mills at Lucan. Amongst the Ballitore manuscripts on display are Shackleton letters, notebooks which contain water colours by Mary Shackleton and the Ballitore Magazine for July 1809.

Mullaghmast Rath an Iron Age ringfort, situated between Ballitore and Burtown crossroads. In 1577, a massacre of the seven septs of Laois took place, when they were invited to Mullaghmast by the English army for peace talks. As the Irish arrived, they were systematically murdered. They were surrounded by four lines of cavalry and were driven into the Rath where they were massacred. Today the bloodholes are only a dimple in the ground, but at the time of the massacre they were 20 feet deep. All those who were killed were remembered at a special ceremony on the 6th of October 1991.

// Burial Ground is well maintained and still in use. The community also opened a burial ground (c. 1745) on the old Carlow Road that contains simple headstones and is bounded by a rubble stone wall. Various cut-stone grave markers, c.1745-present. The burial ground reflects the modest ethos of the Quaker religion, with plain cut-stone grave markers distributed in a simple arrangement. Rubble stone boundary wall, c.1745, to site with square-headed pedestrian gateway. Gateway, c.1745, to north comprising pair of cut-stone monolithic piers with wrought iron double gates.

National Inventory of Architectural Heritage
People buried in the "Friends Burying Ground

Main References:

  • An Irish Genealogical Source: The Roll of the Quaker School at Ballitore, County Kildare preface by Olive Goodbody.

Other Sources and References

By Stephen Lucas] has much about Ballitore

* WIKI - Ballitore

Getting Involved

Free to follow, request to collaborate

To join the project use the request link under "actions" at the top right of the page.


Geni's Project Plaza
Working with Projects
Wicked Wiki
Geni Wikitext, Unicode and images which gives a great deal of assistance.
See the discussion Project Help: How to add Text to a Project - Starter Kit to get you going!
// this project is in HistoryLink