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An Caisleán Riabhach
|Elevation||82 m (269 ft)|
|Eircode routing key||
|Telephone area code||+353(0)94|
|Irish Grid Reference|
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 had a population of 1,992 at the 2016 Census. Roughly translated from Irish, Castlerea is generally thought to mean 'brindled castle' (Caisleán Riabhach). An alternative translation is 'castle of the king' (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, Sergeant James King of the Royal Irish Constabulary was shot in Castlerea on St Patrick Street and died of his wounds shortly afterward. The Truce of July 1921 was declared later that day, making Sergeant King the last casualty of the Irish War of Independence.
On 17 June 2020, Detective Garda Colm Horkan was shot dead by a 43-year-old man in Castlerea when his firearm was snatched from him who then fired fifteen rounds at him. Horkan became the 89th garda to be killed in the line of duty.
Castlerea hosts soccer club Castlerea Celtic and St Kevin's, a Gaelic football club and the Castlerea Kings basketball team. The enterprise hub located in the town business park is also home to the towns gym and to Castlerea boxing club.
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 Convent National School and St Paul's Boys National 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 Castlerea golf club, established in 1905 and moved to its current location in 1907. It is a 9-hole course. There is an outdoor swimming pool open to the public during summers with a modern refurbished playground adjacent, a public library, a soccer pitch and O'Rourke Park which is a GAA pitch. The demesne is a large public park accessible off Main Street and home to some trees planted by notable figures including former US ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith. 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 (built in 1896) is the Catholic Church of the town. The town serves as the trailhead for the Suck Valley Way, with the 105-kilometre long trail beginning and ending in the town.
The main route through the town is the second primary route N63 leading from Roscommon town onward to Mayo, Sligo and the northern part of Roscommon are accessible from the R361 while mid-Roscommon is accessible via the R377.
- John F. Cryan, U.S. politician, was born in Castlerea.
- Thomas Finnegan, former Catholic Bishop of Killala, was born in the village of Cloonfellive near Castlerea.
- Luke 'Ming' Flanagan, former TD, and now an MEP, comes from Castlerea.
- Gerry Gannon, the builder and property developer, is a native of Castlerea.
- John Gunning, sports journalist working in Japan
- 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.
- Dr Douglas Hyde, the first President of Ireland and founder of the Gaelic League, was born in Castlerea on 17 January 1860.
- Michael McGovern, poet
- Andrew McDermot, fur trader
- Stephen Rochford, GAA player and manager
- John Waters, Former journalist and author of several books including 'Jiving at the Crossroads', was born and raised on Main Street in Castlerea.
- 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.
Castlerea is twinned with:
- "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements Castlerea". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 12 January 2020.
- Chronology of Irish History 1919 – 1923 Archived 11 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Dublin City University
- Brady, Tom; Murray, Eavan (19 June 2020). "Suspect fired 15 shots, hitting Det Garda Colm Horkan at least five times, before bullets ran out". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- "Garda Colm Horkan is 89th member of force killed in line of duty". The Irish Times. 18 June 2020. Retrieved 10 July 2020.
- "Castlerea station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
- Irish stars make it big in Britain[permanent dead link]
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