Charleville, County Cork

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Ráth Luirc
Charleville town centre
Charleville town centre
Charleville is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 52°21′18″N 8°41′02″W / 52.355°N 8.684°W / 52.355; -8.684Coordinates: 52°21′18″N 8°41′02″W / 52.355°N 8.684°W / 52.355; -8.684
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Cork
Elevation 100 m (300 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Urban 3,672
 • Ethnicity
(2011 Census)
Irish Grid Reference R530230

Charleville or Ráth Luirc (Irish: Ráth Luirc or An Ráth) is a town in north County Cork, Ireland. It lies in the Golden Vale, on a tributary of the River Maigue, near the border with County Limerick. Charleville is on the N20 road and is the second-largest town between Limerick and Cork (Mallow is the largest). The Roman Catholic parish of Charleville is within the Diocese of Cloyne. Significant industries in the town include Kerry Co-Op and the construction and services sectors.


Charleville was founded in 1661 by Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery. The name 'Charleville' is French for 'Charles Town'. Roger Boyle had been a supporter of Oliver Cromwell in the English Civil War. When King Charles II was restored in 1660, he had to prove his loyalty to the crown. He did this by naming Charleville after the English king. The Irish version 'Ráth Luirc' was given official recognition in the 1920s by the Irish Free State. This name in its shortened form 'An Ráth', meaning 'the Fort' in English, is represented by the use of a fort in the crest of local sports teams. Iarnród Éireann ceased to use the name Ráth Luirc as the sole official name of the station in the 1980s; although it is still retained (as at all Irish railway stations) in the bilingual station signs.

The villages of Brohill and Rathgoggin, who in their former guise preceded the formation of the town of Charleville in the area, fell under the rule of the following political entities: the Eoghanachta of southern Munster, at some point by the Hiberno-Norman Lordships of Ireland 1169–1541 although this rule was nominal rather than actual and subsequently by the Kingdom of Desmond 1118 – 1596.

The lands of Broghill and Rathgogan were purchased by Roger's father Richard Boyle as a part of the Plantations of Munster and Roger subsequently established his residency there after the founding of Charleville.

Charleville, c.1909-1912

During the time of the Penal Laws, practising the Catholic faith was illegal. As a result, the parish of Charleville was amalgamated with the parishes Bruree and Colmanswell, both in the Diocese of Limerick. In 1704, Fr. Daniel Mac Namara of Bruree was registered as the Catholic priest for this very large pastoral area.[2] The fact that Catholics had to attend Mass secretly meant that the old chapel in Holy Cross cemetery was abandoned. The remains of this church – now overgrown with ivy – are still to be seen in the centre of the graveyard. Indeed, like so many other pre-1700 churches, the old church of Holy Cross literally became part of the surrounding graveyard, in that several gravestones, both marked and unmarked, are to be found within the building itself. Upon one such gravestone is a Latin epithaph to none other than Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill (1691–1754), who was, in his time, the Chief Poet of Munster, as well as a native of Charleville.


Charleville is geographically located at 'the heart of Munster', within the Golden Vale region. It is 60 km from Cork city to the south and 40 km from Limerick city to the north.

Because of its strategic location, Charleville is a convenient location for distribution centres for the Munster region. In 2007, Lidl set up their Munster distribution centre here.


Charleville is a centre for the food processing industry, with brands such as Charleville Cheese and Golden Vale produced by Kerry Co-Op.


Charleville has a strong retail sector,[citation needed] It is home to retailers such as Murrays, Morans, Bridgets, charisma fashions and Noonans Sports. Dunnes Stores recently opened a store in the town center. Charleville is also home to stores and restaurants such as Lidl, Supervalu, Subway, Supermacs, Papa Johns, Elverys Sports and Aldi.


Numerous spin-offs both in the town of Charleville and the surrounding area were created when Golden Vale Engineering closed its doors in 1983. The largest amongst these were BCD Engineering, Diamond Engineering and Sapphire Engineering. BCD is the second largest employer in Charleville.[citation needed]


Golden Vale (part of the Kerry Group) continue to make cheese products in the town. Golden Vale is the largest employer in Charleville.[citation needed]


Charleville has numerous pubs and also two nightclubs, as well as two theatre facilities and is home to the North Cork Drama Festival which is held in the Parochial Hall. The second facility is the Schoolyard Theatre which is home to the Shoestring Theatre group.


The Irish railway network also connects to Cork, Tralee and Dublin Heuston, with the Dublin-Cork line running by. Formerly there was a junction at Charleville, for trains running directly from Limerick via Croom (see Irish railway history). Charleville railway station opened on 19 March 1849 and was closed for goods traffic travelling to Limerick on 6 September 1976.[3]

From Charleville railway station trains run northwards via Limerick Junction (for connecting trains to Tipperary, Clonmel, Carrick-on-Suir to Waterford) to Limerick (for connecting trains to Ennis and Galway as well as Nenagh). And via Portalington (for trains to Athlone, Westport) and Kildare (for Kilkenny). Heading southwards trains run to Cork, Kilarney and Tralee.

Charleville is on the main Cork – Limerick – Galway bus route and has hourly connections with these 3 cities for most of the day. Charleville is situated on the R515 regional road which connects Newcastle West, Co. Limerick with Tipperary Town in County Tipperary. Charleville is equidistant from Cork Airport and Shannon Airport. Both are 65 km away.




  • Charleville AFC
  • Ráth Luirc GAA Club
  • Charleville Camogie Club
  • Charleville RFC
  • Charleville Golf Club
  • Charleville Pitch and Putt Club
  • Ráth Luirc GAA Sports Centre(Squash, badminton and tennis facilities)
  • Handball Court

Places of interest[edit]

  • Charleville Library – is an example of a historic building which has been put into use again after years of neglect. It was formally the Protestant Church of the Parish but went into disrepair in the 1950/1960s when the Protestant population of the area declined.


Charleville has a Community Council and a Chamber of Commerce.


Twin town[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2011 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2011 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  2. ^ 'From Bruree to Corcomohide' by Mainchín Seoighe
  3. ^ "Charleville station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 31 August 2007. 
  4. ^ Tom Hennigan: "Life of Cork woman and heroine in Paraguary to be featured in TV drama", Irish Times, 14 May 2011. (confirmed by baptismal certificate)