Limerick Diocese Home Page Heritage Project Home Page Index of Parishes Search Help

Introduction to Askeaton-Ballysteen   Askeaton-Ballysteen   The Nursing Madonna

Local History | The Nursing Madonna

Local History

The name Askeaton comes from the Eas Géitiní, which means "the Waterfall of the Géitiní (Keatings)". The Géitiní were a Celtic tribe who settled in the area in ancient times. It is mistakenly given as "As-cead-tinne", the cascade of the hundred fires in Lenihan's "History of Limerick".

Askeaton is situated on the river Deel and was a base for the Normans, especially the Desmond Geraldines, whose family name was Fitzgerald. The Normans built a castle here in the 12th century but this was leveled in the 15th century to be replaced by the large fortress that the Desmond Geraldines built.

The Geraldines became unhappy with their English Tudors rulers; they looked to mainland Europe to form an alliance. On 20th of June 1523, a treaty between representatives of the French king, Francis I and James, the 10th Earl of Desmond was signed in Askeaton. The treaty stated that Desmond would make war on Henry VIII and that the French would land in Ireland. However nothing came of this treaty and it was another era before any attempt at rebellion was made.

The revolt of the Munster Geraldines occurred in 1579. The English Governor of Connacht Sir Nicholas Malby laid siege to the castle in Askeaton in which Gerald the fifteenth Earl of Desmond was in command. Malby was lacking artillery to attack the castle so he set fire to the town and the friary in the town. The following year the English Commander Pelham, assisted by artillery took the castle. The Borough of Askeaton was awarded a charter in 1613 and returned two members to Parliament until the Union of 1800

The name Ballysteen comes from Baile Stiabhna, which means "the town of Stiabhna". The name 'Stiabhna' is believed to come from the early Norman settlers to Limerick. Another derivation for Ballysteen is Baile Uistín, meaning the 'Town of Uístín'. The district of Ballysteen used to be part of Iveruss, which dates back to the twelfth century and is translated as "the descendants of Rós" who were a family in the area in ancient times. Lewis states that Iverus was a Danish commander who sailed up the Shannon in 824 with a fleet and took possession of Limerick. Iverus founded a church on the spot where he first disembarked on the shore. However many historians dispute this fact.

At the mouth of the Deel at a place called Knockeegan there are a group of five stones called Cuig Charraí. These stones were probably a place of pagan worship and may have been a temple of the sun.

Local History
| The Nursing Madonna

Heritage Project Home | Askeaton-Ballysteen Home | Back to Top

Introduction to Askeaton-Ballysteen      The Nursing Madonna