Rathangan, County Kildare
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|Irish Grid Reference||N668196|
Rathangan (//; Irish: Ráth Iomgháin, meaning "Iomghan's Fort") is a town in the west of County Kildare, Ireland, with a population of 2,374. It is located 65 km (40 mi) from the centre of Dublin, and 14 km (8.7 mi) from Kildare, at the intersection of the R401, R414, and R419 regional roads. The Slate River and the Grand Canal run through the town.
Rathangan is situated beside the Bog of Allen, and is in close proximity to the lowlands of the Curragh. In recent years, the town has grown significantly to become a big commuter base for people working in Dublin.
The rath or fort of Iomghain, from which the town gets its name, has been dated to between 600 and 700 AD, and is situated to the northwest of the modern town on the Clonbulloge road. The extension of the Grand Canal to Monasterevin and Athy in the late 18th century led to the current layout of the town, due to the building of houses for the canal engineers which were complemented by grander houses for the local gentry.
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary 1837: RATHANGAN, a market and post-town, and a parish, partly in the barony of EAST OPHALY, but chiefly in that of WEST OPHALY, county of KILDARE, and province of LEINSTER, 14 ¾ miles (W.) from Naas, and 30 (S. W. by W.) from Dublin, on the road from Kildare to Edenderry; containing 2911 inhabitants, of which number, 1165 are in the town, which is entirely in the barony of West Ophaly, and near the Grand Canal, and in 1831 contained 215 houses.
It is a chief station of the constabulary police, and has a market on Monday, and fairs in June, and on 26 Aug. and 12 Nov.. The parish comprises 8872 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: the principal seat within its limits is Tottenham Green, that of Geo. Tottenham, Esq.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Kildare, being the corps of the prebend of Rathangan in the cathedral of Kildare, and in the patronage of the Duke of Leinster and the Bishop, of whom the former has the right of presentation for two turns and the latter for one: the tithes amount to £553. 16. 11. The glebe-house was erected in 1810, by aid of a loan of £625 and a gift of £100 from the late board of First Fruits; and there is a glebe comprising 29a. 2r. 26p. The church is a neat edifice with a handsome tower; the whole is in excellent order. In the R. C. divisions the parish forms part of the union or district of Kildare. The chapel is a spacious building: there is also a meeting-house for the Society of Friends. In a school under the National Board, and one supported by Lord Harberton, about 200 children are educated; and there are three private schools, in which are about 120 children. There is a dispensary in the town, supported in the usual manner.
Bord na Móna's increased activity in the 1940s boosted the population and the number of transient workers, but the closure of the canal systems and the decline of bog based interests of the company led to a decline in the town's fortunes. This in turn led to an increase in emigration by the town's young people.
The upturn of Ireland's economy in the 1990s again led to increased prosperity, and the extension of the M7 through the nearby towns of Kildare and Monasterevin has made Dublin more accessible, leading to a housing boom in the town. The town has recently opened its newly renovated Community Centre. The people of the town held numerous fund raising events over the years in order for the centre to be completed. It is now open and various groups have the opportunity to use the centre such as the Scouts Club. There was also a very successful Ceili held in March to raise money for cancer research.
The primary sporting activities in Rathangan are Gaelic football (Rathangan GAA), tennis, soccer, and hurling (cricket, rugby, polo, and chess are also played). Meggers, or horseshoe pitching, also takes place during the summer. Rathangan is famed for coarse angling for roach, bream, perch, and hybrids. Trout have been caught in the Slate River on occasion. Recently Ardscoil Rath Iomgghain have become Leinster Champions on 5 March 2015. There was an impressive display of skill by both teams with Rathangan beating Confey College with the final score being 2-17-0-6. They then went on to overcome Colaiste Ghobnatain from Co. Cork to be crowned all Ireland Champions for the first time in the Schools footballing history.
The Rathangan Lughnasa festival is held during the August Bank Holiday weekend, to celebrate the arts and crafts, music, literature, history, and sports of the town. Damien Dempsey, Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club, The Blizzards, The Walls, Jack L, and John Spillane have all performed in the town as part of the Lughnasa since 2004. In 2009 The Lughnasa Festival played host the biggest concert ever staged in Rathangan when international band The Waterboys headlined the bill which also included Mundy.
Fiona O'Loughlin t.d. Former mayor of county Kildare, elected to The Dáil in 2016 to be become the first person from Rathangan to have achieved this feat as well as becoming the first woman elected in Kildare South.
- Bruce Springsteen In 2015 A US genealogist published an article in Irish America Magazine confirming Springsteen’s great-great-grandmother, Ann Garrity, came from the townland of Mount Prospect. Megan Smolenyak found Ms Garrity was 14 years of age when she left Ireland with her two sisters in 1852 for Freehold, New Jersey.
- Brian Dowling; winner of Big Brother in 2002 and Ultimate Big Brother in 2010, ex-presenter of SMTV, and The Mint.
- Jedward, twin duo who gained fame on the UK talent show The X Factor.
- British military strategist and diplomat, Major-General Sir George Pomeroy Colley KCSI CB CMG Governor of South Africa.
- The Poet William A. Byrne (William Dara) was from Rathangan and wrote about the place.
- Maura Laverty, writer, broadcaster and journalist
- Edward Broy, revolutionary, republican, founder of Garda Síochána
- Sean J Conlon Owner and Founder of Conlon & Co A Real Estate Merchant Bank in Chicago.
- Declan Brennan, Underage International Rules player, Former Senior County Footballer, Member of Kildare GAA U21 team who made it to the All Ireland football final, host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Lord Commander of the British Empire
- James E. Fitzmorris, Jr. former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana traces his Irish roots to his -great-great-grandparents Martin Fitzmaurice and Maragaret O'Neill who lived in Rathangan and the surrounding townlands
- James M Fitzmorris, b. 1969 his cousin, playwright and screenwriter: The Last Madam, A Truckload of Ink and From a Long Way Off. Allen Parish, Rathangan and Kilmeage Catholic Baptismal Records
- CSO 2006 census population by town
- Google Map showing Rathangan
-  A Ramble In Rathangan, Seamus Kelly, 2005
- Kildare.ie history of Rathangan
- Rathangan Lughnasa Summer Festival 2006
- Brian Dowling Biography
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