Ballyouskill

 

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Ballyouskill is a rural village on the South Laois-North Kilkenny Border. The village is situated at the foot of Ballymartin, the highest point in North Kilkenny. A road across the top of Ballymartin was used by Cromwell in his devastating march through Ireland. Ballyouskill once boasted of having a National School, Dispensary, Grocery Shop and Pub. A priest was resident in the Parochial House to the rear of the Church. Time has dealt a big blow to the area with the loss of the School, Dispensary, Shop, local Priest and latterly the Pub. In an effort to fight back the old school now the Community Hall serves as the focal point for the area.

The following is a resume of activities emanating from the Hall:

Cards on Friday nights, 25 Drive, Late September to April, run by Attanagh Residents Association and the ICA;

Irish Dancing for Children, Gohery School of Dance, Monday night, during school terms;

Speech and Drama Classes, again following the School Terms under the guidance of Afra O’Malley each Tuesday night;

Annual Parish Sale of Work on the last Sunday in November each year;

Annual Christmas Play performed by the Speech and Drama Class ably enhanced by the Gohery School of Dance in early December each year;

Visit of Santa Claus to the hall for children of the area. Pre-booking essential;

North Kilkenny Hunt use the hall as starting and finishing point for their annual Easter Charity ride out.

This hall is the main meeting room for the following groups in the area:

ICA, 2nd Tuesday Night of each Month;

IFA;

Ballyouskill Development and Tidy Towns;

Attanagh Residents Association;

Attanagh Group Water Scheme;

Vita Friends of Father Kevin Doheny;

Ballyragget GAA Club.

It is also the local Polling Station for all elections national and local. With the help of Leader many courses have been held there in the past and it is hoped there will be more in the future. Ballyouskill hall is also used for private parties where outside caterers are engaged.  It is used extensively by families after funerals.

Vita: Each year Vita hold a fundraising walk culminating with Dancing on the Crossroads on top of Ballymartin. This group celebrates the life and work of Fr. Kevin Doheny in the work he stated in the Horn of Africa with his organisation Refugee Trust. The new name for the organisation is Vita.