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Baile an Ghearlánaigh
Foleys Tea Rooms, Castlebellingham
Foleys Tea Rooms, Castlebellingham
Castlebellingham is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°54′N 6°23′W / 53.900°N 6.383°W / 53.900; -6.383Coordinates: 53°54′N 6°23′W / 53.900°N 6.383°W / 53.900; -6.383
CountyCounty Louth
 (includes Kilsaran townland)

Castlebellingham (Irish: Baile an Ghearlánaigh)[2] is a village and townland in County Louth, Ireland. The village has become quieter since the construction of the new M1 motorway, which bypasses it.[citation needed] The population of Castlebellingham-Kilsaran (named for the two townlands which make up the census area) increased from 721 inhabitants as of the 2002 census to 1,126 people as of the 2016 census.[1][3]

History and features of note[edit]

Castle Bellingham, Co. Louth

The castle of Castlebellingham served as one of the ancestral homes for members of the Bellingham family from the 17th century to the mid-20th century. The family originated in the small town of Kendal, Westmorland in England. The original ancestor of the Irish Bellinghams, Alan Bellingham, hailed from here.[4] Henry Bellingham, a descendant of Alan was a cavalry officer who first came to Ireland during the English Civil War. The lands of Gernonstown were granted to Henry during the Cromwellian Settlement, in which a large amount of native Irish lands were given to Englishmen in reward for their service. Henry is named in the list of grantees under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation of Charles II s. In 1666, Charles II formally granted the lands to him for his ‘faithful service as a good soldier in the late wars’.[5]

The calvary near the castle was built by Sir Henry Bellingham in memory of his first wife, Lady Constance.[6] A collection of inset religious panels is to be seen on the upper facades of many of the village buildings. These are also a reflection of Sir Henry's religious sentiments, and they are unique in Ireland. In addition to the many panels, there are biblical quotations cut into the stone window sills of some buildings. North of the castle is a carefully preserved group of "widows' dwellings", built from charitable motives by Sir Henry. The war memorial in the village was built in the Celtic style in 1920 and was unveiled by Cardinal Logue.[7]

Castlebellingham was the ancestral home of the eponymous Bellingham baronets until the late 1950s. The last Bellingham to live there was Brigadier General Sir Edward Bellingham, born in 1879, last Lord Lieutenant of Louth (1921), and Guardian of the Rolls (Custos Rotulorum).[6] He was then elected to the Irish free State Senate in 1925-36. The house was purchased by Dermot Meehan in 1958 from the Irish Land Commission for £3,065.00. Meehan spent several years converting the house into the Bellingham Castle Hotel, which remains today. Meehan sold the hotel and 17 acres in 1967 for £30,636.61. The hotel, including the 17 acres, was offered for sale at €1,500,000 in 2011.

In December 2012, the hotel was bought by the Corscadden family, who also own and run Cabra Castle Hotel in Kingscourt, County Cavan and Ballyseede Castle Hotel in Tralee, County Kerry. Bellingham Castle has also been a wedding venue since 1905.[8]


Castlebellingham railway station opened on 1 April 1851, but finally closed on 6 September 1976.[9]

Castlebellingham motorway service area on the M1 opened on 29 September 2010.[citation needed]


The area is home to the Gaelic football team the O'Connell's. In 2012, the team won their first Intermediate Championship. After victories over Laois and Meath opposition, they narrowly lost to Monasterevin of Kildare in the Leinster final.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Castlebellingham-Kilsaran". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Baile an Ghearlánaigh / Castlebellingham". Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Castlebellingham - Kilsaran (Ireland) Census Town". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  4. ^ Boyle, Séan (2004). Looking Forward, Looking Back: Stories, Memories and Musings of Castlebellingham/ Kilsaran/ Stabannon. Dundalk. p. 12.
  5. ^ Leslie, James B. (1986) [1908]. History of Kilsaran. Dundalk. p. 46.
  6. ^ a b "Introduction to Bellingham Castle Hotel". Bellingham Castle Hotel. Archived from the original on 17 April 2001. Retrieved 16 September 2007.
  7. ^ Notes by Patrick Comerford, accessed 5 Dec 2016
  8. ^ "Irish Castles in Louth County | Smarmore Clinic". Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Castlebellingham station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 16 September 2007.

External links[edit]