Ballinvreena is probably not a place one would be in the habit of visiting on a regular basis. I was last there in ’09 to investigate the possibility of putting some retractable seating in the Community Centre. The centre is perched high up on the side of a hill equidistant from nowhere in particular. Having said that they draw in up to 200 for their dances and their theatre performances are also well attended. In the spring and summer they lay boards in the adjacent field for Crossroad Dancing, one of the original Irish dance formats which was banned by the church in 1935.
Across the road from the main hall is a small thatched cottage which a certain Davy Quish, a local character famous for walking his donkey to market in Limerick and running a shop from the kitchen, bequeathed to the community on his death.
The whole area is steeped in history and the more one travels round the more one discovers. In Ballingarry there is the ruin of the De Lacy’s 13th century castle, now incorporated into a farm boundary wall. The de Lacy family were dispossessed of their lands during the Cromwellian and Jacobite wars and formed a part of the Flight of the Wild Geese to France in 1691. from there they went on to serve in various European armies.
We spent the night at the Mustard Seed situated close by and found the service, food and wine to be as good as previously. The fact that there were 17 booked in for dinner on a Tuesday says something about its popularity as a gourmet experience. The room rates are a little over the top however.
We fitted in another couple of calls on the way back, Meath County Council and the Ardee Concert Band.