Neale, County Mayo
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|Elevation||60 m (200 ft)|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
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Neale, also known as the Neale (in Irish, An Éill), is a small village in the south of County Mayo in Ireland. It is located near the villages of Cong 4 km to the south-west, Cross 4 km to the south and the town of Ballinrobe about 5 km to the north.
The Neale is steeped in historical and archaeological wealth which is virtually unknown. Spread over the landscape are the ruins of the Norman castles occupied by the McDonnell mercenaries. Adjacent to The Neale village is the home of the first Englishman to settle in the country – sheriff and map maker – John Browne. The Neale village also hosted the great uncrowned king of Ireland, Charles Stewart Parnell, and Michael Davitt during the Land League era. The system of organised ostracisation of over bearing landlords and agents – later termed boycotting by Fr. O'Malley (Parish priest in The Neale), was first put into operation at Lough Mask House where Captain Boycott attempted to raise the rents. Journalists from all over Europe and America converged on the tiny village to witness the non-violent resistance, which in later years, was the hallmark of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
On 27 October 2012, the Neale GAA Junior team became the first team within the Club to win the County Mayo Junior Club Championship beating a much fancied Ardnaree team by 2–09 to 1–17 after extra time at MacHale Park Castlebar. Playing Junior status for the last 110 years, the Neale then took their place at Intermediate level in 2013 for the first time in the Club's proud history. Ecstatic scenes of joy and emotion were ever present upon the sound of the final whistle to what was a fairytale ending to a County Final that will never be forgotten.
Follies and Monuments
The Pyramid of The Neale is an example of a folly. A folly was building that served no purpose and there are five main types: Temples, Pillars, Grottos, and Small Castles. This step pyramid was built around 1760 and is a 30 foot structure rising from a series of steps from the base nearly 40 feet in width. The present John Kilmaine in Alcester, England gave us the following information: "It is said that the pyramid is constructed on the old tumulus. The building of the pyramid is attributed to Sir John Browne the 7th Baronet and 1st Baron of Kilmaine, in memory of his brother, Sir George Browne. The structure, which at one time was crowned by a lead figure of Apollo, was designed by the Earl of Charlemont for his brother in law, Sir John Browne, The Neale". There are a few varying stories of the building of the Pyramid. One such story is that Lord Kilmaine was anxious to find a way of relieving the extreme poverty of his tenants in the post famine years, so he eemployed several men to pick up the stones around the estate.He had those stones piled up and built into a pyramid. This provided the poor people with a little additional income. In the later years a wind-vane adorned the top of the pyramid, so the landlord could indulge in his passion for meteorology and the recording of weather systems over a pereiod of 30 years. The Office of Public Works refurbishedthe Pyramid in 1990.
Temple Monument It was in the 18th century that the Penal Laws were enforced and the great houses and estates of the landlords were built . The Neale estate was approximately 400 acres, and was surrounded by a high double wall. Inside the wall, the landlord built a number of unusual monuments or follies. The Temple is an unfinished temple of carved stone. It was the last folly to be built in 1865 by John Browne, Baron of Kilmaine in honour of his first title Lord Mount Temple. It is hexagonal and has 6 plain Doric columns, at one time it had a timber roof. The base of the Temple, with the arches. Dates from an earlier time and it is probable that the columns were replaced on top of the old structure to give it elevation. The Temple was used by the ladies of the Big House for family meetings, knitting and relaxing. In addition to relaxing at the Temple, the ladies also walked "The Cavendish Walks", both inside and outside the estate.
Gods Of The Neale About 200 yards east of The Neale village, inside the old demesne wall and close to the ruins of Lord Kilmaine's house, is a stone monument that is known as The Gods of The Neale. A collection of stone slabs with carvings of three mythical figures, a griffin, a unicorn and an angel is enshrined in a stone structure. The inscription refers to the sculptured figures as Deithe Feile, Diana Ffeale, and The Gods of The Neale, from which The Neale gets its name. Among other mythological characters mentioned in the inscription is Loo Lave Adda (Lú Lamhfhada) whose hand is reputed to be buried under a nearby "Long Stone".
The Long Stone The Lia Lugha (Stone of Lu) is said to mark the burial place of Lugh Lamhfhada (Lu of the Long Hand) who was slain in the Battle of Moyturna. Lu was the son of Nuadha, King of the Tuatha De Danann. The stone is at the fork of the roads from Cross and from Cong, south of the Neale village. It is known locally as the Long Stone
The Neale is perhaps in recent years best known for its archaeological interest, as many unusual and unique artefacts and ruins surround the village, dating from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages. These include cairns, stone circles, raths, ringforts and crannogs.
The Neale also boasts beautiful scenery and scenic walks in and around the village, which has been described[by whom?] as one of the most picturesque in Ireland. Facilities and services in the area include Mellottes grocery shop and bar, adjoining the bar is the highly recommended[by whom?] Pyramid restaurant. Within a 100m walk of Mellottes is Gibbons Bar which is a traditional Irish pub complete with a thatched roof. Temple Carrig House B&B is within walking distance of the village, it is a recently built Bed & Breakfast.
The Neale is hometown to Irish/American Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist Jeff Greene - Atlantic Aurora Recording Artist who in 2008/9 recorded and performed with the Legendary Henry McCullough.
St John the Baptist Church & Calvary is in the centre of the village, built in 1875, the foundation for which, was laid by Rev Fr. O'Malley. Fr. O'Malley Millennium Park was named in honour of Fr. John O'Malley for his role in the success of the Land League movement and his enormous support of his parishioners. He built the old Neale school in 1883 and the existing church in 1875. This monument was erected from the stone from the old school and church in the year 2000.