Ballinacree Heritage Room
Ballinacree Heritage room was opened by the then minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys TD on 30th April 2015. It was co-financed by Meath Partnership through the Irish Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government ‘Rural Development Programme Ireland 2007-2013’ and through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development; Europe investing in Rural areas’’.
Its main purpose was the preserving and displaying of the Ballinacree Banner which was looked after locally since 1911. It is stored in a purpose built case, protected by a glass front. The room is kept at a stable temperature and a dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the room. Also on the Heritage room walls are screens on which are displayed copies of old photographs lent by Ballinacree Historical Society from their photographic exhibitions of 2000, 2003 and 2007. The Historical Society has also provided hard copies in frames of some of these photos which are displayed around the walls in the main hall
The main computer features data bases of the Killeagh records and school roll books up to 1916. Also featured are presentations about various aspects of Historical interest lent by Ballinacree Historical Society.
Around the wall and the display cases contain many artefacts lent to the Heritage room from various organisations and individual members of the community. All items in the Heritage room are entered into a log book on entry. Included in this display are the top stone of an old quern stone, a blanket manufactured in Ballinacree Woollen Mills which closed in 1926, various articles of delph, pre-euro and pre-decimalisation coins and notes, trophies and equipment from the former band which went out of existence in the 1960’s, old school, band and GAA photographs and many other artefacts
The storage presses contain other artefacts which the limited space does not allow us to display. Among these are old papers, school books and copies of documents.
The Ballinacree Banner was bought in 1911 for £14 off S R Watson in Sackville St (now O’Connell St) in Dublin. It was picked up at the Railway Station by Ned Alwill who was secretary of the Ballinacree Branch of the Meath Labor Union
The cost was made up of voluntary subscriptions by local people and people from the surrounding areas. The largest subscriptions were from William Ahern of Ross Qarrries who was a prominent member of the United Irish League, and Rev Fr Francis Gerrard the local parish priest, both of whom subscribed £1.
340 people subscribed towards the cost, raising a total of £23 2s 10d. (A considerable sum of money at the time)
Its first major outing was to the unveiling of the Parnell Monument in Oct 2011. In the years that followed it was carried in front of the band at political meetings, sports days etc. It was carried from Ballinacree to the fair green in Oldcastle to attend a meeting of the Volunteers at which Sean McDonagh one of the 1916 leaders spoke.
Following independence its major outings was the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932 and the Eoin Roe Tercentenary Commemoration in Cavan 1949. It was also on show at the opening of the new church in Ballinacree in 1960. One of its last parades was at the Tain walk undertaken by Donagh O Dualing as he passed through the area in 1987.
It was refurbished in the 1980’s by Emily Naper followed by some restoration work by Cliodna Devitt. A temporary job was done on it in 1911 by Muirne Lydon before a final repair job was done in 2013 before hanging it in its case in the Heritage room
Among the many people involved with the banner over the years were Jimmy and John Gibney and Pat Hussey Moate who looked after it before it was brought into the Community Centre.