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An Caisleán Riabhach
|Country||Republic of Ireland|
|Elevation||82 m (269 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference||M670797|
Castlerea (//; Irish: An Caisleán Riabhach, meaning "brindled castle") is the second largest town in County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland. It is located in the west of the county and, as of 2011, has a population of 3,055. Roughly translated from Irish, Castlerea can mean Brindled Castle (Caisleán Riabhach) or King's Castle (Caisleán Rí). The town is built on the banks of the River Suck and the River Francis, both of which are tributaries of the River Shannon.
Clonalis House, located in the west of Castlerea, is the ancestral home of the Clan O'Conor, the last of the High Kings of Ireland. The O'Conor dynasty produced eleven high kings of Ireland and twenty-four kings of Connacht.
Theophilus Sandford, a member of Oliver Cromwell's army in Ireland, received a large allocation of lands confiscated from the O'Connor family as part of the Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652. This package included Castlerea. 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. Sandford's descendants continued in power through the 19th century. The estate was later acquired by the Land Commission and the Congested Districts Board. The demesne in which it was set survives and is now enjoyed as a public park.
On 11 July 1921, Seargent James King of the Royal Irish Constabulary was shot in Castlerea on Patrick Street and died of his wounds shortly afterward. The Truce of July 1921 was declared later that day, making these the last shots fired during the Irish War of Independence.
At some point in the early 1960s, an elephant which was part of Fossett's circus died while the circus was performing in Castlerea. According to the local authority engineer at the time, it was buried under the Fair Green, now part of Castlerea Co-op Livestock Mart.
- Dr. Douglas Hyde, the first President of Ireland and founder of the Gaelic League, was born in Castlerea on 17 January 1860.
- Sir William Wilde, a noted surgeon and historian and father of Oscar Wilde, was born in Castlerea in 1815.
- Dr. Matthew Young, a Bishop of Clonfert ca. 1798, a natural philosopher, and a mathematician, was a native of Castlerea.
- Thomas Finnegan, the retired Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Killala, was born in the village of Cloonfellive near Castlerea.
- Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, former TD, and now an MEP, comes from Castlerea.
- Aidan Heavey arrived in England from Castlerea in 1993 and became chief executive of Tullow Oil and one of Britain's most influential Irish businessmen.
- John Grenham, author of 'Tracing Your Irish Ancestors' and other Irish heritage publications, grew up in Castlerea. He is a columnist and blogger with The Irish Times.
- John Waters, columnist for the The Irish Independent and author of 'Jiving at the Crossroads', was born and raised on Main Street in Castlerea.
- Other notable people from the town include the poet Michael McGovern and the fur trader Andrew McDermot.
|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
Castlerea's major employers include Supervalu, Harmac Medical Products, Colour Communications Europe, Finola Foods and Lidl. Film production house Round Edge Films is based in Ballingare within Castlerea.
The schools in the town are all located in the same area; they include two primary schools (St. Anne's Primary School and St. Paul's Primary School), St. Michael’s Special Needs School (which serves all ages), and Castlerea Community School (for second-level students). Castlerea Community School instructs approximately 500 students; It provides Leaving Certificate Applied classes as well as the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate state examinations. As of 2011, the school also offered Transition Year and two Post-Leaving Certificate courses (Business and Social Care).
Amenities in the town include a nine-hole golf course, an outdoor swimming pool open to the public during summers, 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. The Neighbourhood Youth Project (NYP) is a social venue for teenagers in the town. St. Patrick's Church (estd.1896) is the Catholic Church of the town, and is administered by Canon Joe Fitzgerald and Fr. Micheál Donnelly.
- Chronology of Irish History 1919 – 1923, Dublin City University
- Seán Grenham
- Irish stars make it big in Britain
- John Grenham's website
- Irish Times 'Irish Roots' column
- "Castlerea station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
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