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Baile an Chaisleáin
Castletownshend is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 51°32′N 9°11′W / 51.533°N 9.183°W / 51.533; -9.183
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Cork
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)

Castletownshend (Irish: Baile an Chaisleáin)[1] on Ireland's southwest coast, is a village about eight km from Skibbereen, in County Cork, Ireland. The village developed around a small 17th century castle built by Richard Townsend, whose descendants still reside there. As of 2007, the castle is open to the public as a bed and breakfast.

The main street of the town, lined with large homes from the 18th century, runs down a sharply sloped hill leading to Castlehaven Harbour and the castle. The Church of St. Barrahane (COI), built in 1826, overlooks the town. Its main architect was James Pain. This replaced the original Church built in 1761. There are 52 steps up to the Church, one for every Sunday of the year. It is noted for its stained glass windows; the East Window by Harry Clarke, was given to the Church in 1915 in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Somerville by their Grandchildren. The Window in the South Wall of the Chancel and The Third Window on the South Side are also by Harry Clarke. The Eastern Window on the North Side, The Eastern Most Window on the South Side and The Second Window on the South Side are all by Powell's of London. In the Church Porch there is an Oar from a rescue boat from the S.S. Lusitania (sank by a German U Boat in 1915) in memory of the many drowned passengers and crew who were brought into the Harbour.

The Church is also noted for the classical music festival it has sponsored every year since 1980.

Notable People[edit]

Castletownsend was the home of Edith Anna Somerville the co-author of the Irish RM series of humorous novels on Irish Life in the early 1900s. Her home Drishane house, is open for public visits and hosts an exhibition of items related to her life and works.

The uncle of Edith Anna Somerville, Sir Joscelyn Coghill (1826–1905) was a well known patron of early photography, being one of the founders of the Royal Hibernian Photographic Society of Ireland (1854). He photographed much of the estate of Drishane throughout his life.[2]

Sir Patrick Buckley (1841–1896) was born near the village in the townland of Gortbrack. While a student at the Catholic University of Leuven he volunteered for the Irish Papal Brigade and was taken prisoner defending the Papal States. Later he emigrated to New Zealand where he became Colonial Secretary and Attorney-General. His sister Ellen Buckley married the famous Irish Fenian Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa.

Hiram Hope (1854-1890), a former Coastguard in Castletownshend is buried in the cemetery at the Church of St. Barrahane.

Sailing & Fishing[edit]

The sea inlet provides a sheltered harbour for inshore fishing boats and yachts. It is a popular port of call for cruising yachts in the Summer months


  1. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland. Baile an Chaisleáin Verified 2011-02-11.
  2. ^ And Time Stood Still; Vol 2: A Pictorial History of Skibbereen and District. Pub 2008 by De la Salle

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 51°32′N 9°11′W / 51.533°N 9.183°W / 51.533; -9.183