Search billions of records on


Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)


Source: 'LAOIS An Environmental History'. 1983. by John Feehan.

Bilboa Church, Co Carlow c2006
Image supplied by Carloman
(Click on image to enlarge)
Bilboa Church, Co Carlow c2006
Image from 'LAOIS An Environmental History'.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Bilboa - The Mining Village

(This village is located on the Borders of Carlow and Laois and the River Dinin)

The abandoned urban settlements of the Normans are not the only class of deserted villages in Laois. The mining settlements, which date to the last century and the early part of this are another group of villages which have left almost as little trace in the contemporary landscape. There were three of them in particular: Newtown, Bilboa and Moscow. Newtown was the earliest of the three, laid out in the old townland of Boulavoneen by the Grand Canal Company in the later part of the eighteenth century on a regular, grid-like pattern of streets. The modern hamlet of Crettyard, a cluster of houses along the Athy-Castlecomer road which ran along the northern edge of Newtown, is all that survives of this miniature Johannesburg, whose straight streets have vanished among hedgerows and crofts.

Bilboa lay at the extreme southern tip of the county, in a bleak and beautiful and forgotten part of the plateau that forms a sort of no-manís-land between Kilkenny, Carlow and Laois. Without coal there would have been little settlement at Bilboa, but at the time of writing the little cluster of families in this beautiful area struggles to maintain its identity, and to survive as a distinct localised community, proud of its individuality and its tradition. Of the early mining village, only the church remains.

Not a trace remains of Moscow, which was situated north-eastwards from Newtown Cross. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century saw the growth in many parts of industrial Britain - particularly in mining districts of villages which became little bastions of militant socialism. These came to be known popularly as Little Moscows, and Moscow in Laois is one of the very few Irish examples - perhaps the only one? The early twentieth century miners were perhaps the only proletarian community in Laois with a developed class consciousness: among them the early seeds of socialism germinated and flourished, and the Revolution of 1917 filled them with hope of the dawning of a new age.

Source: 'LAOIS An Environmental History'. 1983. by John Feehan.
Bilboa National School
Bilboa Police Station
Bilboa Post Office
Bilboa C of I Church
Bilboa C of I Church
Boolyvannanan wood nr Bilboa
Bilboa C of I Church

Images curtsey of Mr William Muldowney. Feb 2007, OSI maps & Google Earth Maps

The information contained in these pages is provided solely for the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
© 2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP