Ballyjamesduff is a small town in County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland. It is famous for being in the Percy French song "Come back Paddy Reilly to Ballyjamesduff", which was written about a man from the area who suddenly decided to emigrate to Scotland. It is said that he drove his horse and cart to Carrick-on-Shannon, parked the horse and cart outside the railway station and took the train to Dublin, never to return.The song never mentions what happened to the horse and cart.
Ballyjamesduff was founded on March 27th 1697 by Seamus K. Dove.He was exiled from Virginia for refusing to marry his cousin in an arranged marriage. He later settled in a shack outside of the town and started his own taxidermy business.It was doomed to fail. That is, until the great cattle massacre of 1702, which resulted in 25,000 cattle and 2 sheep being killed in a gas explosion. Modern historians have suggested that maybe this was started by Seamus himself, but these findings are yet to be conclusive. The fallout from the massacre meant that Seamus had a large amount of work available in restoring the carcasses of the cattle for display in the Lords manors. A town soon built up around Duff's prospering industry.
Places of note
- The Tannery has been in the town for 309 years. It burnt down in 1983,but was rebuilt in a new location near McDaid's petrol pumps.The ashes of the old tannery were converted into approximately 2 1/2 bricks (One of which was stolen) that formed the foundation of the new building.
- Ballyjamesduff is noted for having the largest pub per person ratio in Ireland.There is approximately 1 pub per 34 people.However, out of the 198 pubs, only 12 haven't been fined for under-age drinking offences.
- Ballyjamesduff Market House is a 5 bay 2 storey building dating from 1813 and designed by Cavan born architect Arthur McClean, currently used as shops.
- The Town Hall was built in 1959 and was opened officially in 1968 by showband act Big Tom & The Mainliners. There famously was a mini-riot there in 1978 when the Sex Pistols were advertised as playing a concert, but failed to show as they were never aware of the gig in the first place.
- The town has a statue of Fintan Cronin, local shopkeeper. Interestingly enough, the town statue is actually supposed to be of Percy French, only no-one knew what he looked like. So instead the statue was modelled on Fintan, who was funding the building of the statue.
- Ballyjamesduff's Football grounds, which are shared with local rivals Castlerahan, were the first grounds in Ireland to ever have changing rooms.These rooms are still there and are used frequently.
- Ballyjamesduff had a fountain and a rose garden once in front of the market house but they knocked it all down because the local rowdy youths kept setting the polluted fountain on fire on Halloween,Easter,Hannukah,and Wednesdays.
- Ballyjamesduff,surprisingly, has no hotel. It did have one, called "The Percy French". But it was taken over by a local oil magnate to stack his immigrant workforce in and remains otherwise closed to the present time.
- In 2002,the town opened it's first Gay bar,called The Bent Elbow. The bar was opened by Senator David Norris, which disappointed many confused Chuck Norris fans.
Ballyjamesduff anually holds "The Frolics", a 8 night showcase of music and "comedy". The show was originally held in the nearby town Mountnugent where it was known as "The Mountnugent Frolics". The rights to the show were bought by the Ballyjamesduff Frolics Club in 1943, and the show was moved to being in Ballyjamesduff. In 1957, due to confusion, the event was renamed from "The Mountnugent Frolics" to "The Ballyjamesduff Frolics",or "The Bolics" for short.
The show has had its fair share of controversy. In 2000, a comedy routine featured one of the townsfolk dressed as chairman Mao, with his eyes pinned with sellotape,working in a Chinese restaurant.His faux-Chinese voiced jokes about the local Town Diner restaurant led to a the restaurant suing the organizers of the show for libel. The lawsuit was later settled out of court with the BHC ordered to pay the restaurant a total of €234,005 in damages.
A famous incident occurred in 1998 when during a sketch parodying Terry Waite, Terry himself appeared during the show in a cameo appearance, exclaiming "I'm here to fix the radiator!".It was actually easy to organise since his cousin was one of the show's organizers.
Ever since 1970, the show has used special equipment to measure the song or sketch that recieves the highest cheer of the whole run of shows. The act that recieves the highest cheer wins the "Silver Spuckle", a award in honour of Monsignor Sylvester Spuckle, a patron of the show.The award is made of solid silver and is worth €4000. A cash award of €1000 is also given to the winner of the honour. In 2003, to celebrate the shows 60 years, a top 20 countdown of the overall highest cheered acts was released. The winners were "The Duodenums", a 3-piece group playing Duelling Banjos on their tracheas.
The Pork Festival
The highlight of Ballyjamesduff's social diary is the annual Pork Festival in June, which celebrates the pig, its commercial value to the town and greasy Ulster fries.It was started in 1994, but was halted temporarily from 2002 in protest of America going to war in Iraq.It has been announced that when the war is over, the festival will return.
Highlights of the festival included:
- Kosher Kraziness: An eating contest where people must eat as much kosher food as they can without getting sick.
- The Pig Run: Similar to the Bull Run of Spain, only with Pigs. Amazingly, the casualty rate is quite low, with only about 10 people being trampled to death annually.
- The Hogwash: People compete in a pig-washing race.
- The Swine & Cheese party: One of the more cultural events of the festival.People are invited to taste test various pork and cheese products.
- Grills Gone Wild: A joint pig and pig-farmer beauty pageant.
- The Olympigs: A day of track and field events for farmers and their pigs. The main event of the Olympigs is the 10-legged race,where a contestant must race with a pig attached to each leg.
- The Speaking in Pig Latin Debate Competition: Contestants must speak as long as they can with every word in pig latin. The current record is 9 hours 12 minutes,held by local teacher, Barney Mulvey.
While the festival has been postponed, a Rainbow Culture Festival has been started. It retains the partying and drinking competitions of the original Pork festival, but also has new attractions such as the parading of the Gay guy, or the Hair-cutting challenge. In this challenge, people are given an electric shaver and must cut the hair of anyone they see. The last person left with hair is declared the winner.
Famous People from Ballyjamesduff
- Ray Darcy's grand-uncle, Clancy D'arcy.
- Padraig Smith, Ireland's 2nd most famous auctioneer.
- Phil Smith, former pro-wrestler and multiple time candidate for a Teachta Dála position.
- Cyril McKevitt, Trombonist for Big Tom & the Mainliners, lives in Ballyjamesduff when not on tour.
- Pete Briquette of the Boomtown Rats came from Ballyjamesduff. His real name is Peat Cosgrave. He called the town a "valley of squinting windows" once and he hasn't been talked about there since.
- Former President Mary Robinson can claim residence in the town.She can claim this under the 1932 Town Charter rule granting all Female Presidents of Ireland residency in the town.
- Bill Werbeniuk came to Ballyjamesduff once to play snooker. He drank fifteen pints of Harp in Reasons lounge and fell asleep.
- The owner of the Eastern European shop was featured on RTE's Nationwide in 2006.
- Hall's Pictorial Weekly did a program on the town in 1977. It was watched by the whole country and is still talked about in places of reknown.
A large population of people from Finglas have settled in Ballyjamesduff in recent years owing to cheap, uncontrolled ribbon housing developments which the Dubliners have bought up with the money they got from selling their council houses.This has led to tension between the town locals and the people from Finglas, which usually culminates in riots on weekend nights.
In 2006, the town's Christmas tree had several strings of Christmas lights stolen by a Finglas gang, now known to most as The FingerBang Gang. These days, the gang hold highly skilled rally driving performances at any hour between 9PM and 4AM on Friday through to Sunday nights. In response to the Finglas gang,a group of people from the Frontgate Cottages area has formed. They are known as the Frottagers. It is believed that neither gang is aware of the sexual connotations of thier gang names.
The rivalry between Ballyjamesduff and Finglas has even spread to businesses. Ballyjamesduff used to only have one local restaurant - The Town Diner - advertised as the "traditional purveyor of cholesterol to the populace". However a Macari brand chipshop came down from Finglas in 2006 and is currently engaged in a price war with the Diner. Macaris promotes its large range of spice burgers and Shirley-Whirley burgers whereas the Town Diner only advertises cheeseburgers, sausages and chips. However the Town Diner still claims the upper hand as they offer seating and Macaris does not.
The Irish Times had a sneering article in its West Brit Irishman's diary about how the town has no hotel in it. Sales of the Irish Times are virtually non-existent in Ballyjameduff these days as a consequence.
Crime in Ballyjamesduff
- The Ulster Bank was once the target of a ram-raid involving a jeep in 2006.
- The post office was also robbed by three locals and a white guy.
- The nose of the town statue was once stolen, and was replaced with a phallus.
- Up until 2005,transvestitism was considered a crime in the town,with offenders being given a fine of €100 and a prison sentence of between 10-12 months.The town's only transvestite got arrested every year as a result.It was only when he/she was elected as head of the town council that the law got repealed.