Bansha (Irish: An Bháinseach, meaning “a grassy place”) is a village in County Tipperary in Ireland. The village is part of the parish of “Bansha and Kilmoyler” (united in 1858) in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. It is in the historical barony of Clanwilliam.
Bansha is co-extensive with the pre-Reformation parish of Templeneiry of which the townland name of Templenahurney is thought to be a corruption.
While the village is the focal point of the area, there is also an outlying hamlet in the parish, located at Rossadrehid where a rural creamery once serviced the dairy industry.
Kilmoyler is a townland in the civil parish of Killardry in the barony of Clanwilliam, County Tipperary in Ireland.
The townland is in the parish of ‘Bansha and Kilmoyler’ in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.
Kilmoyler is located approximately halfway between the town of Cahir and village of Bansha on the River Suir. Galtee Rovers GAA club (which takes its name from the nearby Galtee Mountains) has its club grounds and clubhouse in Bansha village.
While there is no hamlet or village centre in the townland, the Roman Catholic Our Lady Of The Assumption church at Kilmoyler is a focal point for the community.
The parochial burial ground of Killaldriffe is nearby and is the burial place of soldier and adventurer William Francis Butler. Saint Pecaun (or Becán), a 7th century saint, is celebrated on 1 August each year when a pattern is held at the monastic settlement at nearby Toureen. The site consists of a ruined church, carved stones, a well and monastic cell. Also close by, across the River Suir, and close to its eastern bank, is Knockgraffon Motte, a motte-and-bailey of Anglo-Norman origin.
Bansha is located on the National Primary Route (N24) linking the cities of Limerick and Waterford and is eight kilometres south-east of Tipperary Town and thirteen kilometres north-west of Cahir.
The village is strategically located on the eastern approaches to the Glen of Aherlow, which forms a large part of the parish as do the Galtee Mountains (spelt Galty Mountains on Ordnance Survey maps), which has the highest inland mountain peak in Ireland, Galtymore (917 metres, or 3,009 ft).
The Roman Catholic Parish Church of the Annunciation, built in 1807, is centrally located in the village as is the Church of Ireland, for the parish of Templeneiry, known to be in use from 1718 but now closed as unviable because of a reduced local congregation. However, the building which has an imposing spire, erected in 1814, is used for community purposes and the surrounding graveyard is still used for burials by the old families of the area. Bansha is located in the Golden Vale and the surrounding land is some of the finest in the Ireland due to its natural limestone bedrock.
The River Ara flows by the village,through the Deer Park of the old Lismacue demesne. The railway line from Limerick to Waterford also passes through, though the railway station which opened on 1 May 1852, was closed on 9 September 1963 as part of the rationalisation policy of the national railway company, Córas Iompair Éireann. Tipperary railway station,around 8 km. away, is now the nearest railway station. Bansha is served by Bus Éireann route 55.
The names Bansha and Kilmoyler do not appear in ancient records but instead this area was divided into different ecclesiastical administrations. The modern parish of Bansha & Kilmoyler comprises the whole of the two Civil Parishes of Templeneiry and Clonbullogue, and also parts of the four parishes of Killardry, Relickmurry & Athassel, Kilshane and Cordangan.
The Papal Taxation records of 1291 record Templeneiry and Clonbullogue as Nachrich and Clonhalke, Archbishop O’Hedian (1437) names them as Naryt and Clonbolygg. Bansha village is thought to be an ancient settlement and its main geographical features and landed gentry of the surrounding area were vividly described by Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, published in 1837.
Historically, it was a small compact village comprising two streets and two lanes – Main Street and Barrack Street with adjacent Banner’s Lane (named after the Rev. Benjamin Holford Banner, the Church of Ireland rector of the Parish of Templeneiry) and Cooke’s Lane which was a small enclave off Main Street, named after a member of the Cooke Family of Cordangan Manor, who lived here.
The Station Road from Bansha Bridge (over the River Ara) to Bansha railway station had a strategic importance for about a century as it was the commercial artery connecting the village to both the station and the creamery which was the centre of activity each morning as trains arrived on one side of the road and busy creamery activity on the other side gave a vibrancy that has now been lost with the closure of both. The village expanded towards the end of the 20th century when the “Galtee View” residential area was developed in the Glebe close to the old Village Mill.
Further expansion took place in the early 21st century when “Master Horgan’s Field” adjacent to the northern boundary of the old graveyard was developed as a modern residential quarter.
In earlier decades, the site was owned by Mr. Peter Horgan, a native of Kilmichael, County Cork, a place which won fame as the site of the famous ambush of the same name which took place there during the War of Independence, a fact of which the old master was very proud. Mr.Horgan was the long-time Principal of Bansha Boys National School in succession to Masters Pat Leahy and David Dee and also managed his own public house in Barrack Street. He also grew his own sallies on the river bank within the confines of his riverside garden, now sadly no more. These sallies made an occasional appearance in class and were an effective deterrent to wayward pupils.
Nonthelass, he was a much loved character, reminiscent of Oliver Goldsmith’s “Village Schoolmaster”. The only buildings on the site prior to development were the village telephone exchange erected in the 1960s and the “Farmers Hall”, a wooden building of fragile construction, which was erected in the mid 20th century by the young farmers association in the parish which was a precursor of Macra na Feirme.
It was used for dancing, variety shows, “pongo” which was a form of modern-day bingo and on Sunday afternoons up to about 1962, as a rendezvous by locals who wished to tune into the commentary of major hurling and football matches relayed from Croke Park on Radio Éireann. The building endured until the 1960s when because of dilapidation, it was eventually closed, after which the Parochial Hall became the sole entertainment centre for the village and surrounding area.
Muintir na Tíre
Bansha came to national prominence when Rev. John Canon Hayes, founder of Muintir na Tíre was appointed parish priest of Bansha & Kilmoyler in 1946. Due largely to his endeavours, a factory – Bansha Rural Industries – was started and enjoyed some success producing preservatives for the Irish home market. At that time also, Bansha was to the forefront in developing many Muintir na Tíre initiatives and for a time in the 1950s enjoyed the sobriquet of The Model Parish. While Bansha still relies mainly on an agricultural economy where dairying is the main preoccupation, many of its residents are employed in industry and commerce in neighbouring towns such as Tipperary, Cahir, and Clonmel, to where they commute on a daily basis.
Today in Bansha
Bansha has seen an increase in population due to new housing developments. The Bansha Agricultural Show is held annually, augmented by a festival week in late August.
For recreation, game shooting and fishing in the rivers Suir, Ara and Aherlow River are popular pastimes
There are also a number of sporting clubs such as Bansha Golf Society, Bansha Celtic F.C. which promotes Association football (soccer) and the Galtee Rovers GAA – Hurling & Gaelic Football Club (affiliated to the GAA, 1885).
The latter two clubs enjoy a friendly co-existence as many of their football players are members of both clubs. Bansha has also long been associated with horse racing and breeding.