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Castlegregory (Irish: Caisleán Ghriaire) is a village in County Kerry, Ireland. It is situated on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula, halfway between Tralee and Dingle. Castlegregory has a population of 205 (CSO 2006).
Castlegregory was named after a castle built by Gregory Hoare in the 16th century. It is the capital of Lettragh, whose population is now a quarter of what it was before the Great Irish Famine, and it remains the only place in the area which resembles a real village.
The village is located at the foot of a sandy peninsula called the Maharees separating Brandon Bay to the west from Tralee Bay on the east. Off the peninsula are a number small islands, called the Seven Hoggs, or the Maharee Islands. A small fishing harbour is located at Fahamore on Scraggane Bay, about 5 km outside the village at the tip of the Maharees peninsula. The village is surrounded by the mountains of the Dingle peninsula and overlooked directly by Beenoskee and Stradbally Mountains. To the west is Brandon Mountain. Castlegregory is also the name of the parish which includes most of the north east area of the Dingle Peninsula. The village is renowned as a tourist destination as it is near to spectacular beaches located on the Maharees peninsula. Castlegregory Golf and Fishing club, a nine hole links golf course is also located nearby, to the west of the village on the shores of Lough Gill, a freshwater lake.
On the largest of the Magharee islands, Illauntannig (Irish Oileán tSeanaigh), the ruins of a 7th-century monastic site founded by St Senach, stand containing:
- two oratories
- three beehive (or Clochan) huts
- three examples of a leacht (or altar)
- Castlegregory Pattern Day is celebrated on 15 August, when the tradition is to eat locally-made mutton pies. The event is known for attracting several celebrities each year. Colin Farrell and Cathal Lafferty attended in 2007.
The Wren's Day on the 26th of December is also celebrated. The traditional straw dresses have given way to pajamas, curtains, Halloween masks, and Christmas decorations, but there is still plenty of traditional Irish music to be heard.
Castlegregory GAA Club was first known as Castlegregory Allen, named after William Allen, one of the Manchester Martyrs. The club took part in the first Kerry County Championship played in 1889. For well over 40 years football was played on a pitch with a 21 feet gradient from top to bottom, however a new ground was opened on 17 May 2003.
Common surnames in Castlegregory
O'Connor, Moriarty, Fitzgerald, Spillane, Courtney, Kennedy, Sullivan, Flynn, Ashe, O'Donnell, McCarthy, Murphy, O'Neill, Connor, Shea, Maunsell, Harrington, Deen, Egan, Kelliher, Kenny, Mahony, Crean, Farrell, Griffin, Hoare, Lynch, McKenna, Moore, O'Flaherty, Cahillane, Bynane,
Like many rural towns in Ireland Castlegregory has seen much of its younger population migrate to large urban centers such as Dublin. Despite net outward migration the population has remained consistent due to high birth rates and large family sizes.
As a result of this there is a large Castlegregory diaspora throughout Ireland and indeed the rest of the world. Many of the families of recent migrants keep holiday homes in Castlegregory and often spend the summer there.
One notable transient family are the Fitzgeralds of Castlegregory. Like many transient families of Kerry, the Fitzgeralds can be distinguished from the local population by their hybrid Kerry-Dublin accent, which is considered strange in both Kerry and Dublin. Brian and Edward Fitzgerald are described by locals and Dubliners alike as having particularly stupid sounding accents.
- Castlegregory was the terminus of a branch line of the Tralee and Dingle Light Railway. The railway station opened on 1 April 1891, closed for passenger and goods traffic on 17 April 1939, and finally closed altogether on 10 March 1947.
- "Castlegregory and the Maharees". Ireland's Dingle Peninsula. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
- "Castlegregory". MyGuide Ireland. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
- http://www.celebritywonder.com/html/colinfarrell.html Celebrities. Retrieved on 2008-01-14
- "Castlegregory GAA Club History". Castlegregory GAA club. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
- "Castlegregory station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
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