Castlebar

Castlebar

Castlebar, town (1991 pop. 7,648), seat of Co. Mayo, W Republic of Ireland. It is a market for a farm area. Cured bacon and manufactured hats are products of the town, and Lough Castlebar is a fishing center. Castlebar was occupied by the French in 1798.
Castlebar is the county town of, and at the centre of, County Mayo, Ireland. A campus of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the Country Life section of the National Museum of Ireland are two important local amenities. The town is connected by railway to Dublin and the neighbouring Mayo towns of Westport and Ballina. The town has several small satellite villages around it, such as Breaffy. The main route by road is the N5. Its economy is primarily service based. The population at the 2006 census was 11,891 (including environs).

History

The modern town grew up as a settlement around the de Barry castle in the 12th century and was later the site of an English garrison. A military barracks operates in the town to this day. Armed conflict has been the centrepiece of the town's historical heritage. French forces under the command of General Humbert aided in a rout of the English garrison in the town during the failed Irish Rebellion of 1798. This was so comprehensive that it would be known as "The Races of Castlebar". A shortlived provisional Republic of Connaught was declared following the victory and John Moore, head of the Mayo United Irishmen and the brother of a local landowner, was declared its president. His remains are today interred in a corner of the town green, known as the Mall, previously the cricket grounds of Lord Lucan, whose family, the Binghams, have owned and own large tracts of the town and county. The town received its charter from King James I in 1613 and is today governed by an urban district council, a subdivision of Mayo County Council. The Lake in Castlebar is also known as Lough Lannagh.

The Irish National Land League was founded by Michael Davitt, of Straide in Co. Mayo, at the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar on 21 October 1879.

Culture

Castlebar is the location for important festivals and traditions, among which is the International Four Days Walk. A well-established blues music festival in venues across the town takes place on the weekend before the first Monday in June each year.

Castlebar is home to The Linenhall Arts Centre which exhibits visual art throughout the year, as well as hosting live drama and music performances. The Linenhall also organises a children's arts festival (Roola Boola) annually. The Royal Theatre, with a capacity of two thousand, hosts larger-scale productions and popular music concerts.

There are Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland (Anglican, Elim Pentecostal and Spiritualist churches in the town. There is a recently established Mayo male voice choir, and Mayo Orchestra. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Castlebar experienced significant immigration, growth and investment.

Retail

Castlebar is traditionally a market town, and it is still a major destination for shoppers from all over the west of Ireland. It boasts an increasing number of national and international chain stores, and several new shopping areas have been developed in the past 10-12 years on what were considered the outskirts of the town. The modern shopping precinct along Hopkins Road is now the commercial heart of the town, surpassing Main Street.

Castlebar is the second biggest retail centre in Connacht, after Galway city. A survey by consultants Experian showed that e284 million is spent in by shoppers in Castlebar every year. The Irish Retail Centre Rankings (http://press.experian.com/documents/showdoc.cfm?doc=3152) show Castlebar is the 12th biggest retail centre in the Republic of Ireland in terms of retail spend, and 20th on the island of Ireland overall.

However, the survey counts many major shopping centres separately from the cities they are situated in. If the spend for several major shopping centres in the Dublin area are included with the Dublin figures, Castlebar moves up to the seventh-biggest retail centre in the Republic. It is surpassed only by the Republic's five main cities, and the town of Tralee.

Sport

The local Gaelic football and hurling team is the Castlebar Mitchels club. They are a club with a proud and illustrious past including twenty seven Mayo senior football championship and one Mayo senior hurling championship titles. After a couple of years in the doldrums the club regained its place amongst Mayo's elite senior football clubs in 2005. The club boasts a very strong underage football structure.McHale Park located in Castlebar is one of the major Gaelic Athletic Association grounds in Connacht with a capacity of 36,000. The Mayo County board has recently submitted a planning application to increase the capacity to 41,000, which includes a whole new stand to replace the existing one (with dressing rooms and offices underneath) and adding fifteen extra rows of seat to the 'Albany' end. Further development will also lead to the knocking of the press area on the McHale road side and replacing it with a modern press area and TV stand. Other nearby GAA clubs include Breaffy GAA, Parke GAA and Ballyvary Hurling Club.

The local soccer team is Castlebar Celtic. They currently have a team playing in the Mayo Super League. In addition to this they have a thriving underage structure in place. They compete in the Ulster/Connacht section of the Eircom U-21 League of Ireland. They play their home games in Celtic Park. Other local soccer teams include Snugboro United who have their home at Conway Park just on the outskirts of the town and the junior soccer team, Ballyvary Blue Bombers.

There is a Rugby Union club, with pitch and clubrooms near the town, with active participation in provincial and national leagues.

There is an 18 hole golf club in the town, as well as active basketball and other clubs. The council provides an indoor heated swimming pool and there are numerous gyms.

People

Castlebar is the birthplace of:

Transport

Twinning

Castlebar is twinned with the town of Höchstadt in Germany and Peekskill, New York, it was also twinned with the town of Auray located in Brittany, France and at one stage with Ballymena in Northern Ireland too. it is also twined with ancona a city in the north east of italy.

Web Site

The Web Site for the region can be found at www.castlebar.ie

As of 3rd June 2008 the Web site is shut down due to a threat of legal action by Tony Geraghty, editor of the local free paper Mayo Echo following comments posted (and subsequently removed at Mr Geraghty's request) following a controversial article printed in the paper.

Since publication of the original article, the debate has moved onto national radio, and groups have been formed on Facebook and Myspace in support of the Web site. There is also a campaign site with a link to a petition.

See also

External links

References

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