Northern Bank House (Ballinamuck Big House), Markethill

Ballinamuck Big House, November 2013

The "Northern Bank House", formerly "Ballinamuck Big House", 60 Main Street, Markethill Main Street. (Photo. November 2013.)

Danske Bank (formerly the Northern Bank) closed its Markethill branch on 14 June 2013. According to the following article submitted by Joan Hayes, wife of Robin Hayes who was bank manager in Markethill in the 1970s-80s, the bank building at 60 Main Street was originally called Ballinamuck Big House. It was built by a man called McNally from Armagh, from money received as a reward for his services at the Battle of Ballinamuck in 1798.

Battle of Ballinamuck 1798

"Supported by the French Revolution, Wolfe Tone proposed several landings around the west coast of Ireland in order to arouse the Irish people to revolt against Britain.

General Humbert with about 1000 men and accompanied by 3 Irishmen Matthew Tone, Bartholomew Teeling of lisburn and Sullivan landed on the 22nd August at Klllala, stormed and occupied the town.

"On the 25th August they attacked and occupied the larger town of Balllna, deciding to attack Castlebar on the 26th. This was defended by some fine military regiments with the Marquis of Ormond, Gen Lord Hutchinson, the Earls of Longford and Granard, and Lord Roden with his "Foxhunters" (Cavalry). General Lake thought these should be plenty to defend the town.

"However Humbert had good local guides, by-passed their forces by the Pass of Barnagee and turned up not where he was expected.

"The resultant skirmish resulted In the hasty departure of the British forces, who did not halt until they reached Tuam 40 miles away. This was known as the "Races of Castlebar". After being deterred from taking SlIgop the French advanced via Co. Leitrim Into Longford. Marquis Cornwallls collected a large British force up to 20,000 men. Crawford harried the French, but his men were repulsed on 7th September between Drumshanbo and Ballinamore.

"On the 8th September the French passed the Shannon, at Balllntra and after a stop at Clones arrived at Ballinamuck Co. Longford so closely pursued by Col.Crawford and General Lake they could not break the Bridge at Ballintra to delay their pursuit.

"The large British forces overwhelmed the invaders, although at one stage the French captured Lord Roden along with some dragoons.

"French captives numbered 726 privates and 96 officers. 500 Irish supporters who fled were chased and slaughtered.

"I understand that Markethlll comes Into this by someone named MeNally from Co. Armagh being rewarded for service for the English in this affray.

"He used the money to erect the house now "Northern Bank House" which was then called "Ballinamuck Big House" to commemorate the battle."

Another account of the battle is online here.