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Ballinasloe

Ballinasloe is a town in the easternmost part of County Galway in Ireland. It is regarded as the largest town in Galway with a population of 7,674, which includes Ballinasloe Urban and Ballinasloe Rural.Name and historyThe town developed as a crossing point on the River Suck, a tributary of the Shannon. The Irish placename – meaning the mouth of the ford of the crowds – reflects this purpose. The latter part of the name suggests the town has been a meeting place since ancient times. The patron saint of Ballinasloe is Saint Grellan, whom tradition believes built the first church in the area at Kilcloony. A local housing estate, a GAA club, the branch of Conradh na Gaeilge, and formerly a school are named after him.October Fair and FestivalEvery October, Ballinasloe is host to the ancient annual October Fair. Chiefly agricultural in the past, it is now focused on the horse. The Ballinasloe Fair is one of the oldest horse fairs in Europe; bathed in history it dates back to the 18th century. Today the ever popular fair is still held, along with a festival that attracts up to 100,000 visitors from all over the world. The town also boasts a successful summer festival called An tSúca Fiain.EconomyThe biggest local employers are Portiuncula and St. Brigid's hospitals. The Dubarry shoe manufacturing company has been based in the town, although manufacturing at the plant ceased in November 2004. The American pen manufacturing company A. T. Cross had a factory in the town for many years as did electrical components company Square D.
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