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GALBALLY “Town of the Foreigner”

Galbally “Gall Bhaile Eatharlach” – in the majestic valley of the Glen of Aherlow, along the northern edge of the Galtee mountains, derives its name from Gall-Bhaile Eatharlach, The Foreign Town of Aharlagh. The village was probably founded in the 13th century.

Galbally is one of Irelands most picturesque villages. It is situated in the majestic Glen of Aherlow, at the foot of Irelands 2nd highest mountain range, the Galtee Mountains, and on the bank of the river Aherlow which flows along the valley towards the Glen of Aherlow.

Galbally has yet to be surveyed on Historicgraves.com

Located 8 miles from the town of Tipperary, on the main road to Mitchelstown, County Cork; just 24 miles from Limerick City and less than 50 miles from Cork city. Galbally translated into Irish is Galbhaile- the Town of the strangers as everybody was welcomed into the village and today the many visitors attracted to the area by the scenery and history of the area, are offered the same warm welcome by the people of Galbally.

Here is a map to help you find your way:

Galbally has indoor facilities for badminton and handball, outdoor tennis and basketball courts and sport fields for rugby, soccer,  GAA, a community field and a coursing club. The community sports field holds many local events including Garden Fete, the annual outdoor festival in Galbally.
The area around the village, with its high mountain peaks and flat valley floors, is an ideal base for hill walking and there is also a walk along the bank of the river Aherlow that flows along the valley. There are also a number of excellent golf courses within easy reach of the village. Galbally offers a wide range of accommodation from hotels to B&B’s to self-catering thatched houses.


The wide sweeping Square of Galbally, has been the focus of village life and celebrations since it was built in the early 1800’s. In those days, the horses of the Bianconi company pulled mail coaches to stables on the northern side of the square. Today, its brightly painted houses and shopfronts help give it a distinctive Irish character.


In 1994, Galbally beat all-comers to win the title of Irelands Tidiest Town in the National Tidy Towns Competition. Its success was a tribute to the community spirit and initiative of local people, who celebrated the occasion during an official visit from An tuachtarán Mary Robinson, President of Ireland.


The War of Independence memorial in the square commemorates the brave men of Galbally who died in the struggle for Irish independence between 1919 and 1921. Edmund Foley and Patrick Maher were hanged in Mountjoy prison. Michael Scanlan, commandant of the 1st Battalion, East Limerick Brigade, was arrested on 27 October 1920. He escaped in Limerick city, but was found in a basement by the Black and Tans, who shot him in the stomach and neck. He died hours later from his wounds.

Patrick Maher and Edmund Foley were among ten executed Republican volunteers whose bodies were exhumed from Mountjoy prison in 2001, and given full State Funerals. Maher was buried in Ballylanders. Foley was reburied in the Republican plot at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.


The stark ruins of Moor Abbey, east of the village, are all thats left of a Franciscan friary founded here in the early 13th century by Donough Cairbreach OBrien, King of Thomond. The present day ruins were probably erected by his descendant, Aunfurn MacBriain (OBrien), in 1471, during the papacy of Sixtus IV (the first Franciscan Pope).

Within a year, Moor Abbey was plundered. However, it was re-established soon afterwards and flourished for the next century. Mass, the Divine Office and the sacraments were celebrated there daily until, in 1540, during the Reformation, Henry VIII suppressed the friary. Thirty years later, three of Galballys friars were killed when Moor Abbey was burned on the orders of Sir Henry Sidney, Lord Deputy of Ireland. In describing those events, the Prior of the Irish Franciscans, recorded how one of the monks was martyred.

The English soldiers suddenly came and surrounded the place, so that there was no way for the brethren to escape. The holy man went up into the bell-tower of the church with his two companions. The soldiers made a fire to burn the church and tower; then the holy man, so that he might save the church, freely descended. The soldiers loaded him with blows and wounds, and at length struck off his head. Then a marvel was seen: for when his head was cut off no drop of blood flowed from his body. When the soldiers saw this, they cut his body to pieces, yet no blood flowed.


The ivy-clad medieval parish church of Galbally, on an eminence overlooking the village from the northeast, was used as a Protestant church after the Reformation in the 16th century. On the outside of its east-gable is a carved stone figure of a woman, which locals believe was a Shella-na-Gig, or ancient fertility symbol. However, closer examination would suggest that it is likely to have been Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

The graveyard around this church has a rich collection of 18th, 19th and 20th century headstones. The most interesting of these, depicting symbols of the Passion of Christ, are seen on two headstones inside the church, most notably the memorial erected by Mary Sampson. Symbolism from the Passion include Christ crucified, a ladder, a cockerel crowing, a whip, spear, tongs, 30 pieces of silver, three nails and a hammer all elements from the Crucifixion.


North-west of Galbally, at the pinnacle of a 265 metre high hill, is the megalithic (mega = big; lith = stone) passage grave known as Duntryleague, The Fort of the Three Pillar Stones, which is perhaps 6,000 or more years old. Known locally as Darbys Bed, the tomb has a long almost inaccessible entrance passage. The roof rises likes steps to the top of its chamber and is regarded as being similar to megalithic tombs in Brittany, France. The entrance passage faces north-west in line with the Midsummer sunset.

Nearby in the surrounding woodland are eight smaller mounds, possibly dating back some 4,000 years to the Bronze Age. Also in the woodland is a circular mound, 19 metres in diameter, faced with drystone kerbs.