The History of Ballybrado

There are two possible interpretations of the word Ballybrado:

  • the townland of the thieves
  • the townland of the trout
Ballybrado House, 100 years ago. Built during the Victorian times the architecture shows many features of this time
Ballybrado House, 100 years ago. Built during the Victorian times the architecture shows many features of this time

Ballybrado contains much forest. These could have provided shelter for criminal elements who robbed travellers on the Cork to Dublin road.
The second one – and this is the one we like to believe – would be quite plausible too as the River Suir is bordering the townland of Ballybrado and certainly carries lots of salmon.
The first document we have mentioning “Ballybradoe”, dates back to 1640. It lists Doctor Morrish Roch and Thomas Lord Baron of Cahyr, Irish Papist, as proprietors. It further says: “Upon sd. lands stands some cabins & hath the accomodacon of the River Shewer running by it”.

 
Ballybrado House today
Ballybrado House today

The present Ballybrado House was built by Abraham Denny in 1879. He had made his fortune in tea plantations in Java.
 Built in the Victorian times the architecture shows the opulence and playfulness of these years, but also displays excellent craftsmanship and quality of work and materials. Its architect, Robert Watt of Belfast, is considered one of the more important architects of the United Kingdom of the Victorian period.

 
During the Victorian times gardens were pleasure grounds and not “abused” for vegetable production.
During the Victorian times gardens were pleasure grounds and not “abused” for vegetable production.

Over the years several extensions were added to the house and at the beginning of the 20th century some 10 gardeners were employed and the same amount of house maids to keep house, gardens and lawns in good shape.
The coach yard near the house accommodated the horses for the house and the office of the head gardener. The farm yard is located 500m away from the house. The gentry did not like the sight of working class people.

 
The “luxury” of electric light attracted paying guests with an interest in fishing.
The “luxury” of electric light attracted paying guests with an interest in fishing.

In 1937 Ballybrado House changed hands. Harold-Barry, the new owners, lived only nine years at Ballybrado. During the war years parts of the house were taken down which turned Ballybrado House  into a more manageable dimension. From time to time we enjoy the visit of members of the Harold-Barry family who spent their childhood at Ballybrado and it is always interesting when they talk about a time long gone by.

 
Life was pleasant in those years when one was at the right side.
Life was pleasant in those years when one was at the right side.
 

In 1946 new owners moved into Ballybrado House, their name was Craik-White. They came from England and South Africa and lived at Ballybrado for 37 years until 1983, the year when Josef and Marianne Finke from Germany took over Ballybrado House and Farm and started their organic enterprise.