Béal na mBuillí

Church Street, Strokestown, looking east

Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 53°46′37″N 8°06′14″W / 53.777°N 8.104°W / 53.777; -8.104Coordinates: 53°46′37″N 8°06′14″W / 53.777°N 8.104°W / 53.777; -8.104
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Roscommon
Elevation 56 m (184 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 814
Irish Grid Reference M929809

Strokestown, historically called Bellanamullia and Bellanamully[2] (Irish: Béal na mBuillí), is a small town in County Roscommon, Ireland. It is located at the junction of the N5 National primary route and the R368 in the north of the county.

Notable features include the second-widest street in Ireland and the Strokestown Park House, an 18th-century mansion with the longest herbaceous border in Ireland.


Strokestown was the site of the estate of the Anglo-Irish Mahon family from about 1671 until 1982. On 2 November 1847 the patriarch of the family and landlord of the surrounding estate, Major Denis Mahon, was assassinated by several local men in an incident that became infamous across Ireland and Britain at the time. The killing was motivated by the removal of starving tenant farmers from the estate lands during the Irish Potato Famine of 1845. The killing of Denis Mahon did not halt the evictions, and eventually over 11,000 tenants were removed from the Mahon estate during that period.[3]

There is a museum commemorating the Great Famine of 1845 in the town. Mary Lenahan, of Elphin Street, Strokestown, an ancestor of Mary McAleese, was among 16 people recorded in the Strokestown Estate Famine Archive as having received grain meal gratuitously on 23 June 1846. The archive was deposited in November 2008 in the Maynooth Archive and Research Centre in Celbridge, Co. Kildare.[4]


The Irish name of the town was originally Béal Atha na mBuillí and was Anglicised as Bellanamully and Bellanamullia. The Irish name was edited down to the current Béal na mBuillí in the 1990s. This was done to fit the Irish town name on road signage. The town's name means "the mouth of the ford of the strokes", with "strokes" referring to ancient clan battles that took place there.

Strokestown on Film

Strokestown on Film, The Billy Chapman (190259) Collection is a DVD which consists of 31 short films of people and events in and around Strokestown. The films were shot over a five-year period starting in 1948. Included are sports days, Corpus Christi processions, weddings, agricultural shows, livestock fairs and FCA and fire brigade training.

Annual events

Strokestown hosts a number of events throughout the year. Around April/May, Strokestown hosts the Strokestown Poetry Festival, a prestigious event that is known throughout the literary world. The second weekend in September, the Strokestown Agricultural Show is held, including horse competitions such as dressage, arts and craft competitions, handwriting competitions, and more. During October, the Féile Frank McGann, a traditional music festival is held in memory of Frank McGann, a bodhrán player born in County Roscommon.

Scoil Mhuire Strokestown

Scoil Mhuire is the main second level school in the Strokestown area. It is located on Church Street, and is a co-educational school with a student population of approximately 450, and a teaching staff of approximately 30. The principal is Mr. Eamon Corrigan and the deputy principal is Mr. Seamus Donnelly, and the school is part of CEIST (formerly the Sisters of Mercy). The school offers the Junior Certificate course and the Leaving Certificate course, including LCVP, and Transition Year is compulsory during the 4th year. The school is rated as the number one school in County Roscommon according to The Irish Times. It is equipped with Home Economics kitchens and sewing room, art room, technical graphics room (with computers featuring Solid Works, a CAD program), science laboratories, wood and metal technology rooms, and the construction of further developments is currently underway. The new extension will include two new science laboratories, a meditation room, first aid facilities, woodwork and metalwork room with shared machine room alongside a number of classrooms. The extension also includes the first elevator to be installed in Strokestown since the early 1800s.

See also


  1. "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  2. Placenames Database of Ireland
  3. Duffy, Peter, The Killing of Major Denis Mahon, HarperCollins, 2007, ISBN 978-0-06-084050-1
  4. "President finds ancestral link to past in Famine treasure trove". Irish Independent, 14 November 2008, p. 3.
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