The site has an ancient history with the clear remains today of 2 ring forts in hillside wood at the rear of house, dating to pre Christian times. The present House was built in 1750 by the wealthy Pennefather family. The first Pennefather to come to Cashel was William who came in 1650 as a Coronet with Cromwell's English army who came to crush the Irish Rebellions of the 1640’s. William Pennefather married a daughter of the wealthy Kingsmill family who had lived in the area since Norman times in the 12th Century. Before building Ballyowen the Pennefathers lived in the nearby 15th Century Gortmakellis Castle which still survives and you will be able to see it on your drive back into Cashel. (Beside Exit 7 of the M8 Motorway)

  • You will also hear how Napoleon of France had a role to play in having some of Ballyowen's windows closed up around the year 1810!
  • The Pennefather family held seats as MP's in the Irish House of Parliament from the 1690's and during the reign of Queen Anne, George I and George II. After the Act of Union in 1800, they sat as MP's in Westminster. Controversy followed them eventually forcing them to sell Ballyowen, afterwards bought by the McCan family in 1864.
  • The McCan family were a strongly Nationalist Catholic family with strong links to the famous Daniel O'Connell, "The Uncrowned King of Ireland" - he was a family relative. His ceremonial waistcoat was recently found in a closet upstairs and was donated to the museum in Daniel O'Connel's former home in Derrynane, County Kerry. His portrait has hung in the hall in Ballyowen since the late 1800's.
Daniel O'Connell, (1775-1847)

"The Uncrowned King of Ireland" and relative of the McCan family, his portrait hangs in the hall of Ballyowen House


  • One of the family, Pierce McCan became a leader in the Irish Nationalist freedom movement and was the Commander of the Tipperary Brigade for the famous 1916 rising. Famous leaders of the rising were regular visitors during this period, including Eamon DeValera and Michael Collins. Unused ammunition supplies from the 1916 rebellion were only recently found in the house attic. Pierce McCan's political activity landed him in jail in Gloucester England and while there Pierce was elected as member of thefirst independent Irish Parliament in 1919. This creates a very proud link between the house and Irish history. Sadly, Pierce McCan died while in prison from pneumonia. His funeral was one of the largest the region has ever seen and pictures record the famous Michael Collins and Harry Boland carrying his coffin to the train in Dublin before it reached Cashel and was interred in the village graveyard with a funeral oration by Cathal Brugha.
  • Agricultural history is also evident throughout the estate with beautiful old farm buildings still intact, including various staff apartments and a bell tower for summoning workers to meals, and it still works! There is also finely crafted stonework throughout.

The Pennefather's held seats in the Irish Parliament from the 1690s and After the Act of Union in 1800, they sat as MP's in Westminster.


Pictures of members of 1st independent Irish Parliment in 1919, including Pierce McCan

Pierce McCan was the Commander of the Tipperary Brigade in the Easter 1916 Rising.
He is featured in the above picture.