Bagenalstown

Muine Bheag or Muinebheag, also known in English as Bagenalstown, is a small town on the River Barrow in County Carlow, Ireland.
The town sprang up within the townland of Moneybeg, or Muine Bheag in Irish (meaning “small thicket”). In the 18th century there was a small hamlet there. Walter Bagenal decided to build a town on the site, named “New Versailles” and modelled after Versailles in France.

However, shortly after the building began the coach route from Dublin was changed so that coaches now crossed the River Barrow at Leighlinbridge instead.

Bagenal abandoned his plans, having built only a courthouse. It wasn’t until the arrival of the railway in 1846 that the settlement began to grow into a town.

In 1911 the town became the first in Ireland to install dual language street signs, which remain in place today. In the aftermath of Ireland’s independence in 1920, the town commissioners chose to drop the English name “Bagenalstown” in favour of the Irish Muine Bheag.

The decision proved an ineffective one, and “Bagenalstown” remains in common use among locals. In a 1975 plebiscite 77% of residents polled voted to change the name back, but the proposal failed due to insufficient voter turnout.

The motto on the town’s coat of arms is “The Irrepressible Number” and its Irish equivalent Uimhir Gan Choisc.

Local Businesses

Lord Bagenal Inn
Main Street, Leighlinbridge , Co. Carlow R93 E189

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