From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Castlereagh (disambiguation).
An Caisleán Riabhach
Skyline of Castlerea
Castlerea is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°46′00″N 8°30′00″W / 53.7667°N 8.5°W / 53.7667; -8.5Coordinates: 53°46′00″N 8°30′00″W / 53.7667°N 8.5°W / 53.7667; -8.5
Country Republic of Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Roscommon
Elevation 82 m (269 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Urban 3,055
Irish Grid Reference M670797

Castlerea (Irish: An Caisleán Riabhach, meaning "brindled castle") is located in the west of County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland. It is the second largest town in the county with a population of 3,055 (as of 2011). Roughly translated from Irish, Castlerea can mean Brindled Castle (Caisleán Riabhach) or King's Castle (Caisleán ). The town is built on the River Suck and the River Francis, both tributaries of the River Shannon.


Clonalis House, just west of the town, is the ancestral home of the Clan O'Conor, the last High Kings of Ireland. The dynasty gave eleven high kings to Ireland and twenty-four kings to Connacht.

On July 11, 1921 an RIC man (Sgt. James King) was shot on Patrick St., and died of his wounds shortly afterward. Later that day, the July 11th truce was called ending the War of Independence. These were the last shots fired during the Irish War of Independence.[1]


  • The first president of Ireland and founder of the Gaelic League, Dr. Douglas Hyde was born in Castlerea on 17 January 1860.
  • Castlerea was also the birthplace in 1815 of Sir William Wilde, a noted surgeon and historian and father of the celebrated dramatist and wit, Oscar Wilde.
  • Dr. Matthew Young, (Church of Ireland) Bishop of Clonfert ca. 1798, an eminent natural philosopher and mathematician, was a native of Castlerea.
  • The retired Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Killala, Thomas Finnegan, was born in the village of Cloonfellive near Castlerea.
  • Other notable people from the town include the poet Michael McGovern and the fur trader Andrew McDermot.
  • The town is the birthplace of Sumo Ireland president John Gunning.
  • Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, TD, and Independent member of Dáil Eireann, comes from Castlerea.
  • A qualified accountant Aidan Heavey arrived in England from Castlerea in 1993 and has since become one of the most influential Irish businessmen in Britain: the chief executive of Tullow Oil has taken the publicly listed company from meager beginnings to a billion-pound enterprise.[2]
  • John Grenham, author of 'Tracing Your Irish Ancestors' and other Irish heritage publications,[3] grew up in Castlerea. He is also a columnist and blogger with The Irish Times.[4]
  • The professor of biology at McMaster University, Turlough Finan,[5] grew up on Patrick Street. His brother Irial Finan, who also grew up in Castlerea, is an executive vice-president of the Coca-Cola Company.[6]
  • John Waters, columnist with the The Irish Times and author of 'Jiving at the Crossroads', was born and raised on Main Street in Castlerea.

The Sandfords[edit]

Theophilus Sandford was the first member of the Sandford family to obtain extensive lands in Castlerea. As a member of Cromwell's army in Ireland, he received a large allocation of lands confiscated from the O'Connor Don family, which included Castlerea. The grant was part of the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652, which was revised in 1662 after the restoration of Charles II. Castlerea developed under the Sandfords, who established a distillery (at its height producing more than 20,000 of gallons of whiskey annually), a brewery, and a tannery. His descendants continued in power through the 19th century. The estate was acquired by the Land Commission and the Congested Districts Board. The demesne in which it was set survives; the people of Castlerea now enjoy it as a public park.


In Association Football, the members of Castlerea Celtic were the 2006 Ruby Oil Roscommon and district Premier league and cup champions, having achieved the double for the first time since 1979. In 2009 they became Connaught junior cup champions for the first time, defeating West United from Galway in the final. There has been a large increase in the popularity of soccer in the town in recent years. A fine new clubhouse and Astroturf facility has recently been built by Castlerea Celtic. The town also has a Gaelic Football Club: St. Kevin's.

The town has an unusually high number of talented pool players. This results in the Roscommon pool league title being won by one of the Castlerea pool teams in the competition on a regular basis and often a final being contested by two teams from Castlerea.


Climate Table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average daily maximum temperature (°C) 10 11 12 14 18 20 23 23 19 16 12 11 15.75
Average daily minimum temperature (°C) −3 −2 0 1 4 7 9 8 6 3 0 0 2.75
Mean total rainfall (mm) 80 50 60 50 60 60 60 80 70 80 70 80 800
Source: Yahoo! Weather

Education and industry[edit]

Castlerea's major employers include Supervalu, Harmac Medical Products, Colour Communications Europe, Finola Foods and Lidl. A Film Production House, Round Edge Films is based in Ballingare in Castlerea.

The schools in the town are all located in the same area. The area includes two primary schools – St. Anne's Primary School and St. Paul's Primary School – as well as St. Michael’s Special Needs School, which caters to students of all ages.

The area also includes Castlerea Community School, for second-level students. The school provides Leaving Cert Applied classes. State examinations (Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate) are held in the school annually. Transition Year was not run in the school for several years, but was run in 2011 and will continue to run in coming years depending on numbers and interest. The school offers two PLC (Post-Leaving Certificate) courses – Business and Social Care. Both courses run for a duration of one year and are taught and directed by second-level teachers in the school. A Government fee of approximately €500 per year applies for these courses. The Principal of the school is Mary Mullarkey, and the Vice Principal is Anthony McCormack. There are approximately 500 students in the school.


Castlerea railway station opened on 15 November 1860.[7] The railway station serves the following routes: Dublin Heuston, Ballina and Westport.


Amenities in the town include a nine-hole golf course, an outdoor swimming pool (open to the public every June, July and August), a library, a soccer pitch, a children's playground, a GAA pitch and a large public park. The GAA owns a squash court and a handball court in the town. St. Kevin's is the local Gaelic Football club.

St. Patrick's Church (estd.1896) is the Catholic Church of the town, and is administered by Canon Joe Fitzgerald and Fr. Micheál Donnelly.

The Neighbourhood Youth Project (NYP) is a social venue for teenagers in the town.


Castlerea is twinned with Newark, New Jersey and Soulac Sur Mer, France.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]