While Ballinasloe is a thriving market town, it isn’t one that will detain visitors long – except in October.
This is the date for the town’s famous Great October Fair, an annual event of horse trading and competition, revelry and general mayhem that has taken place here for hundreds of years and attracts up to 100,000 visitors annually.
Even the town’s name reflects this – it means “Mouth of the Ford of the Crowds”.
What to see in Ballinasloe
Those with a hard-core interest in Irish or European history will greatly enjoy the Battle of Aughrim Interpretive Centre. The battle, which took place in 1691 between the forces of the Catholic King James II and his Protestant rival for the throne, William of Orange, is hugely significant as it was the decisive in James’ defeat and in the taking of the English throne by his rival.
If you are in the Ballinasloe area its worth making a detour to Clonfert Cathedral, built in the 12th century in a highly ornate Romanesque style, which is about 10 miles away.