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Caisleán an Bharraigh
The Mall Castlebar.jpg
Market Street Castlebar.jpg
Mayo Peace Park Castlebar Ireland.jpg
Lough Lannagh Bridge Castlebar.jpg
A montage of Castlebar. From top: The Mall, Market Street, Lough Lannagh Bridge viewing towards Croagh Patrick.
Castlebar Coat of Arms.png
Ar Aghaidh
(Meaning: Forward)
Ireland adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°51′39″N9°17′56″W / 53.8608°N 9.29880°W / 53.8608; -9.29880 Coordinates: 53°51′39″N9°17′56″W / 53.8608°N 9.29880°W / 53.8608; -9.29880
Province Connacht
County County Mayo
49 m (161 ft)
 (2016) [1]
Time zone UTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code +353(0)94
Irish Grid Reference M146905

Castlebar (Irish : Caisleán an Bharraigh, meaning 'Barry's Castle') is the county town of County Mayo, Ireland. Developing around a 13th century castle of the de Barry family, from which the town got its name, the town now acts as a social and economic focal point for the surrounding hinterland. [2] With a population of 12,318 in the 2011 census (up from 3,698 in the 1911 census), Castlebar was one of the fastest growing town in Ireland in the early 21st century. [3]


A campus of Atlantic Technological University and the Country Life section of the National Museum are two important facilities in the area. The town is linked by railway to Dublin, Westport and Ballina. The main route by road is the N5.


Print depicting the "Castlebar Races" of 1798 Castlebar Races WynneC.jpg
Print depicting the "Castlebar Races" of 1798
Castlebar, circa 1880 Main Street, Castlebar, Co. Mayo (5785938352).jpg
Castlebar, circa 1880

The modern town grew up as a settlement around the de Barry castle, which was built by a Norman adventurer in 1235 and was later the site of an English garrison. The castle was located at the end of Castle Street, where the town river is thought to have originally flowed. Castlebar Military Barracks operated in the town for many years: it was finally closed in March 2012 and the buildings and grounds have been purchased by the local town and county councils. 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 British garrison in the town during the failed Irish Rebellion of 1798, which was so comprehensive it would later be known as "The Races of Castlebar". [4] A short-lived provisional Irish Republic had been declared upon General Humbert's arrival at Killala. Following the victory at Castlebar John Moore, head of the Mayo United Irishmen and the brother of a local landowner, was declared president of the Province of Connacht. 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 still own large tracts of the town and county. [5] The town received its charter from King James I in 1613, and is today governed by 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 County Mayo, at the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar on 21 October 1879. [6]

The name of the town comes from the castle built in 1235 (see above). [7] This castle is depicted in the top of the crest, with two yew trees on either side because Castlebar is the county town of Mayo (Irish : Maigh Eo, meaning 'plain of the yew trees'). The crosses represent the parish of Aglish (the official name of the parish of Castlebar). The 1798 'Races of Castlebar' is commemorated with the Pikes in the top left-hand corner. Underneath, the words 'Ar Aghaidh' can be found, which means 'Forward'.


Castlebar expanded rapidly during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. [14] Castlebar's population grew in the late 1990s, rising by one-third in the six years between the 1996 and 2002 census. According to the 2016 census, the population stood at 12,068, [1] a fourfold increase in the 90 years since 1926, when the population of Castlebar was 4,256. [15]


Aerial view of Castlebar Castlebar large view from above.jpg
Aerial view of Castlebar

Castlebar is the location for important festivals and traditions, among which is the International Four Days' Walk. [16] A well-established blues music festival in venues across the town took place for many years on the weekend before the first Monday in June, but has not taken place since 2011. [17] During the 1970s and 1980s the town hosted the International Castlebar Song Contest which was televised nationally on RTÉ. [18] The Museum of Country Life is located on the outskirts of Castlebar, and is the only branch of the National Museum of Ireland located outside Dublin. [19]

Castlebar is home to The Linenhall Arts Centre, which exhibits visual art throughout the year, as well as hosting live drama and music performances. [20] The Linenhall also organises an annual children's arts festival called Roola Boola (an anglicisation of the Irish phrase rí rá agus ruaile buaile which in this context means "boisterous fun"). The Royal Theatre and Event Centre, with a capacity of two thousand two hundred fully seated, four thousand standing, [21] hosts larger-scale productions and popular music concerts.

There are Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland (Anglican), Elim Pentecostal, and evangelical (Calvary Church Castlebar) churches in the town. There are also several spiritualist gatherings. There is also a male voice choir, the Mayo Concert Orchestra, and a marching band in the town.[ citation needed ]


Restaurants in Castlebar include Italian, Indian, Chinese, Irish, Polish and fast food restaurants, as well as several cafés.[ citation needed ]

A lot of the public houses closed during the building boom in the 1990s. In 1990, Castlebar had 54 licensed premises, although this number had fallen to fewer than 30 public houses by 2008. One of the oldest pubs in Castlebar is John McHale's pub, located on New Line. The pub is known for its sale of a Meejum of Guinness, which is slightly less than a pint. It once had 'the best pint of Guinness in Ireland' according to a national tabloid. [22]


Museum of Country Life Country Life Museum - - 113145.jpg
Museum of Country Life
Former Linen Hall, Castlebar Linen hall-castlebar.JPG
Former Linen Hall, Castlebar

Castlebar is traditionally a market town, and it is still a destination for shoppers from all over the west of Ireland.[ citation needed ]

Castlebar is also home to the health care company Baxter Healthcare and manufacturer Fort Wayne Metals. [23]



Castlebar is served by the N5 national primary road and the N60 and N84 national secondary roads. In 1990 a relief road was built around Castlebar, removing through traffic on the N5 from the main street. This road is a basic two-lane road. It suffers from chronic congestion, particularly in the summer months when thousands of tourists have to negotiate the bottleneck en route to neighbouring Westport and Achill Island. A bypass of Castlebar of dual-carriageway standard was approved by [24] An Bórd Pleanala in July 2014, and construction began in late 2019.


Castlebar railway station is a station on the Dublin to Westport service. Passengers can travel to Ballina and Foxford by travelling to Manulla Junction and changing trains [25]

The station opened on 17 December 1862. [26]

Old airport

Castlebar used to have a commercial airport; the site where it once stood is now occupied by Castlebar Retail Park. [27] The airport's IATA code was CLB and its ICAO code was EICB. [28]


Atlantic TU campus in Castlebar Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology at Castlebar. - - 586127.jpg
Atlantic TU campus in Castlebar

In addition to a number of national (primary) schools, Castlebar's secondary schools include St Gerald's College (a De La Salle boys school), St Joseph's Secondary School (a girls school), and Davitt College (a mixed vocational school).[ citation needed ]

Third level and further education colleges in the town include Atlantic TU's Mayo campus (formerly Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology), the Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim Education and Training Board, and Castlebar College of Further Education. [29]



MacHale Park MacHale Park, Castlebar, Ireland, November 2016.jpg
MacHale Park

The local Gaelic football and hurling team is the Castlebar Mitchels GAA club. Throughout its history, the club has won over 30 Mayo Senior Football Championship titles and two Mayo Senior Hurling Championship titles. The club reached the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship final in 2014 and 2016. [30] [31] Other nearby GAA clubs include Breaffy GAA, Parke GAA, Islandeady GAA and Ballyvary Hurling Club.

MacHale Park in Castlebar is one of the larger GAA grounds in Ireland, with a capacity of approximately 28,000. [32] In the early 21st century, the Mayo county board oversaw the building of a new stand with dressing rooms and offices underneath and a plan to add fifteen extra rows of seating to the 'Albany' end.[ citation needed ]


Local soccer teams include Castlebar Celtic F.C., which was established in 1924. As of 2014, it had a team playing in the Mayo Super League and a senior women's side playing in the Continental Women's National League. [33] There is also a youth program which provides teams from under 10s to under 18s for boys and under 14 to under 17 for girls, as well as an under 8 academy. They play their home games in Celtic Park, in the centre of the town. Castlebar Town FC were formed in the 1970s (as Castlebar United) as an alternative to Celtic. Other local teams include Snugboro United, Ballyheane FC, Manulla FC and Ballyvary Blue Bombers.[ citation needed ]


Castlebar RFC, a rugby union club and one of the original founding members of the Connacht branch of the IRFU in 1885, reformed 1928 and again revived in the 1970s. Its grounds are located at Cloondeash on the outskirts of the town, with two pitches and a club house. The club, which plays in a navy and light blue strip, participates in provincial (Connacht Junior League Div.1B) and national league competitions. Castlebar won the Cawley Cup in 2009 and reached the final in 2017. The ladies team, which was formed in 2012, won the Connacht Development League Final in November 2013.[ citation needed ]

Other sports

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

There are also several martial arts clubs teaching a variety of disciplines including Karate, Kickboxing, Savate, Krav Maga, Haedong Kumdo, Ninjitsu and Tai Chi.[ citation needed ] Castlebar played host to the WOMAA World Martial Games in both 2007 and 2008 which saw hundreds of competitors from all over the world competing over the three-day event. [34] [ better source needed ]

Annalistic references

The Annals of the Four Masters contain a few references to the Castlebar area, then known as Claenglais:

Notable people

Enda Kenny, former Taoiseach (2011-2017) Enda Kenny 2015 (cropped).jpg
Enda Kenny, former Taoiseach (2011–2017)

Twin towns – sister cities

Castlebar is twinned with:

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">County Mayo</span> County in Ireland

County Mayo is a county in Ireland. In the West of Ireland, in the province of Connacht, it is named after the village of Mayo, now generally known as Mayo Abbey. Mayo County Council is the local authority. The population was 137,231 at the 2022 census. The boundaries of the county, which was formed in 1585, reflect the Mac William Íochtar lordship at that time.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Connacht</span> Traditional province in the west of Ireland

Connacht, or Connaught, is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the west of Ireland. Until the ninth century it consisted of several independent major Gaelic kingdoms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Westport, County Mayo</span> Town in County Mayo, Ireland

Westport is a town in County Mayo in Ireland. It is at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the west coast of Ireland. Westport is a tourist destination and scores highly for quality of life. It won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition three times in 2001, 2006 and 2008. In 2012 it won the Best Place to Live in Ireland competition run by The Irish Times.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lahardane</span> Village in Connacht, Ireland

Lahardane, also sometimes spelled Lahardaun, is a village in the parish of Addergoole, County Mayo, Ireland, adjacent to Lough Conn and to Nephin, and close to the towns of Crossmolina, Castlebar and Ballina. The 2016 census recorded a population of 178.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ballinrobe</span> Town in County Mayo, Ireland

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Castlebar Celtic F.C. Football club

Castlebar Celtic F.C. is an Irish association football club based in Castlebar, County Mayo. They currently play in the Mayo Association Football League. They have previously fielded teams in the League of Ireland U20 Division, the A Championship and the Connacht Senior League. The club previously operated a women's team.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kilmovee</span> Village in Connacht, Ireland

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Islandeady</span> Village in Connacht, Ireland

Islandeady is a village in County Mayo, Ireland, about halfway between the towns of Castlebar and Westport.

Mayo Association Football League is an association football league that features amateur and junior clubs from County Mayo. Its top division, the Super League, is a seventh level division in the Republic of Ireland football league system. The two top divisions – the Super League and the Premier Division – are sponsored by Elverys Sports and Welcome Inn Hotel respectively. Clubs from the league also compete in the FAI Junior Cup and the Connacht Junior Cup. A Mayo League representative team also competes in the League of Ireland Cup.

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Castlebar Celtic W.F.C. Football club

Castlebar Celtic W.F.C. is an Irish association football club based in Castlebar, County Mayo. The club is the women's section of Castlebar Celtic and has entered teams in the Women's National League, the Mayo Women's Football League and the FAI Women's Cup.

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Castlebar Mitchels GAA Gaelic games club in County Mayo, Ireland

Castlebar Mitchels is a Gaelic Athletic Association club based in the Castlebar area in County Mayo, Ireland. The club was founded in 1885 and is named after the nationalist John Mitchel (1815–1875). Though football is the club's dominant sport, hurling is also played. The club's name became a source of controversy in 2020, due to Mitchel's racism, advocacy of slavery and support for the Confederate States of America.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Cora Staunton</span> Multi-code female Irish footballer

Cora Staunton is an Irish sportswoman. She is best known as a ladies' Gaelic footballer, winning four All-Irelands and three Ladies' National Football League titles with Mayo. She has also been an All Star on eleven occasions. In addition to playing Gaelic football, Staunton has also played three other football codes at a senior level. In 2006, as an association footballer, she won an FAI Women's Cup winner's medal with the Mayo Ladies' League representative team. In 2013, she began playing rugby union for Castlebar Ladies in the Connacht Women's League. In she 2018 made her Australian rules football debut in the AFLW competition for the Greater Western Sydney Giants, establishing herself by 2022 as one of the league's greatest all-time great goalkickers. She has also played for the Ireland women's international rules football team. Staunton works as a HSE liaison officer, working with women from the Irish Travellers community.

The Connacht Junior Cup or Connaught Junior Cup is a cup competition organised by the Connacht Football Association for junior association football clubs. In the seasons when there has been no active Connacht Senior League or Connacht Senior Cup, this junior cup competition has effectively been the top level competition for non-League of Ireland clubs affiliated to the CFA. As a result, it is often simply just referred to as the Connacht Cup or Connaught Cup. The inaugural winners were Galway Town. The competition's most successful clubs have been Castlebar Celtic and Galway Bohemians who have been winners at least nine times each. Sligo Rovers, Longford Town, Galway Rovers and Mervue United were all winners before going on to join the League of Ireland.

Jason Coy is a former Gaelic footballer for Knockmore GAA. Coy was brought up just outside of Ardagh in Cloghans, County Mayo. He attended Knockmore Primary School and Gortnor Abbey Secondary School in Crossmolina. He won Connacht and All-Ireland GAA Schools titles under Gerry Leonard for Gortnor Abbey.

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Sarah Rowe is a dual code sportswoman and a former Republic of Ireland women's association football international. In addition to association football, Rowe has also played two other football codes at a senior level. She has played ladies' Gaelic football for Mayo and women's Australian rules football for Collingwood in the AFLW. At club level, Rowe has played association football for Castlebar Celtic, Raheny United and Shelbourne Ladies in the Women's National League. Rowe was a member of the Republic of Ireland U19 team that won their group at the 2014 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship and qualified for the semi-finals. In 2016 she was also a member of the Shelbourne Ladies team that won a Women's National League/FAI Women's Cup double.


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