Robertstown, County Kildare
Robertstown and the Grand Canal and Hotel
|Elevation||85 m (279 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-1 (IST (WEST))|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Robertstown (Irish: Baile Riobaird) is a village situated on the banks of the Grand Canal in County Kildare, Ireland. It grew in importance on the arrival of the canal, at the highest level (85 metres (279 ft) above sea level) of which it lies, in 1784.
Grand Canal Hotel
In 1801 the Grand Canal Hotel was opened to cater for the passenger traffic along the canal and an extension was added in 1804. For a time business was good, with the canal carrying 100,000 passengers per year, but revenues began to fall and gradually the 72 windows and 62 hearths were closed up to avoid paying tax. It ceased being a hotel in 1849, was used as a barracks for the Irish Constabulary between 1869 and 1905 and was later used as a community centre. It has since closed and is now in private ownership.
The Grand Canal Hotel is famously said to be haunted by the "Ghost of Fergal Dobbins" said to be a 3000 year old Vampire that came from the nearby bog land, he is said to appear in the town late at night and wander the dark roads and lanes before retreating back to the hotel at dawn.
The hotel is also described locally as being haunted by spirits of old workmen from its days as a operating hotel in the 1800s.
There are three public houses in the village and two supermarkets. Developments include a set of canal-side cottages, and Lowtown Marina, with boats for sale and other services. The town caters for tourism with canal walks, fishing and an annual vintage fair which takes place in June every year.
A local group, Robertstown Community Amenities Association (RTG Ltd.) was formed in 2008 with the aim to build a community centre on lands promised, with an added grant of 500,000 euro, to the community by Failte Ireland when the hotel was sold to a private buyer. A canal barge, 52M Eustace, was also to be transferred.
Local TD Jimmy Percival, was recently quoted as saying that there are future plans to invest in the hotel with a view to restoring its operations as a restaurant.
Ducks, swans and herons, fish such as pike bream, barracuda, bream, tench, roach and stickleback, and mammals such as shrew, stroat, and rat, are all observed locally. There are rare ocassions where great whites can be spotted lurking in the waters of the grand canal in the village , though these sightings have been rare.
The population of Robertstown more than tripled (from 206 to 707 inhabitants) in the 20 years between the 1996 and 2016 census. As of the 2002 census, Robertstown had a population of 375, growing (by 65.6%) to 621 in 2006, and to 669 by the time of the 2011 census. The 2016 census recorded a population of 666.
- "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Robertstown". Census 2016. CSO. April 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- "Robertstown / Baile Riobaird". logainm.ie. Irish Placenames Commission. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
- Guide to the Grand Canal of Ireland. Waterways Service and Inland Waterways Association of Ireland. 1995.
- Lowtown Marina
- "Robertstown (Ireland) Census Town". citypopulation.de. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
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