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|Elevation||100 m (300 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Rathdowney or Rathdowny (Irish : Ráth Domhnaigh) is a town in southwest County Laois, Ireland. It lies some 32 km southwest of Portlaoise in the Irish Midlands, at the point where the R433 regional road from Abbeyleix to Templemore is crossed by the R435 from Borris-in-Ossory to Johnstown. The R433 provides access for Rathdowney to the Dublin-Cork M8 motorway, while the R435 links the town to the Dublin-Limerick M7. According to the 2011 census the population stands at 1,208.
Irish is a Goidelic language of the Celtic languages family, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family. Irish originated in Ireland and was historically spoken by Irish people throughout Ireland. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of habitual but non-traditional speakers across the country.
County Laois is a county in Ireland. It is located in the south of the Midlands Region and is also located in the province of Leinster, and was formerly known as "Queen's County." The modern county takes its name from Loígis, a medieval kingdom.
A regional road in Ireland is a class of road not forming a major route, but nevertheless forming a link in the national route network. There are over 11,600 kilometres of regional roads. Regional roads are numbered with three-digit route numbers, prefixed by "R".
Rathdowney is named after a nearby ringfort, or ráth, which was levelled in 1830. This ráth is mentioned three times in the Annals of the Four Masters:
Ringforts, ring forts or ring fortresses are circular fortified settlements that were mostly built during the Bronze age up to about the year 1000. They are found in Northern Europe, especially in Ireland. There are also many in South Wales and in Cornwall, where they are called rounds. Ringforts come in many sizes and may be made of stone or earth. Earthen ringforts would have been marked by a circular rampart, often with a stakewall. Both stone and earthen ringforts would generally have had at least one building inside.
Events from the year 1830 in Ireland.
The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland or the Annals of the Four Masters are chronicles of medieval Irish history. The entries span from the Deluge, dated as 2,242 years after creation to AD 1616.
The settlement of Rathdowney has existed since at least the 9th century. Historically it forms part of the Kingdom of Osraige, and today it remains part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ossory, as such Rathdowney is not historically part of Laois. The present-day county of Laois is a modern administrative construct. A half mile southeast of Rathdowney, there stood until 1836, the ruins of a castle called Rathpiper, which most probably took its name from "Pipard", a descendant of Adam de Hereford.This locality of "Pyperath" within Rathdowny parish appears to have been a royal site associated with the medieval Mac Giolla Phádraig dynasty, as documents relating to meeting there in 1558 show.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ossory is a Roman Catholic diocese in eastern Ireland. It is one of six suffragan dioceses in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Dublin. The current Ordinary is the Most Reverend Dermot Farrell, who was appointed by the Holy See on 3 January 2018 and ordained bishop on 11 March 2018.
Mac Giolla Phádraig (pronunciation) is a native Irish dynastic surname which translates into English as "Son of the Devotee of (St.) Patrick". In the medieval period, the Mac Giolla Phádraigs were hereditary kings of Osraige; today, the name is commonly translated to "Fitzpatrick".
The Croppy's Grave located in the town's central square is the still visible cobbled grave of a croppy revolutionary hanged and buried there in 1798. The site also contains a recent memorial.
Croppy was a nickname given to Irish rebels fighting for independence from Britain during the 1798 Rising.
The town was raided at least once by anti-treaty forces during the Irish Civil War of 1922 to 1923.
The Irish Civil War was a conflict that followed the Irish War of Independence and accompanied the establishment of the Irish Free State, an entity independent from the United Kingdom but within the British Empire.
Queen Victoria passed through Rathdowney during her first visit to Ireland in 1849 and in a letter to her maternal sibling Princess Feodora of Leiningen about the visit to Ireland she described passing through a town assumed to be Rathdowney by historians as "a quaint village, surrounded by hills" and went on to describe it as "an idyllic small town".
Saint Andrew's Church of Ireland church, which dominates the square and the town to a lesser degree; stands on the traditional site of an older Roman Catholic church, which was located there from medieval times until the Reformation. A new Catholic church was constructed on Main Street in the 1830s this church served the catholic population of the area for the next 120 years before it too was tumbled; to be replaced by a shrine and carpark. A new larger, modern Catholic church, the Church of the Holy Trinity, was built on the west side of the town and opened in the late 1950s.
Some "mass pits" or outdoor areas used for Catholic masses during penal times are located in the vicinity of the town and are well signposted for those interested.
The Meadow Meats processing plant is part of the Dawn Meats Group and was the largest employer in the town. This factory stands on the old Perry's Brewery site, it was purchased by Lyons Meats in 1968 and converted by them to a meat processing facility, which went into production in 1971. The largest employer currently is Dunnes Store Ltd. Rathdowney is also something of a centre for several out lying villages and is the focal point of a large agricultural hinterland.
Port Laoise, or Portlaoise is the county town of County Laois, Ireland. It is located in the South Midlands in the province of Leinster. The 2016 census shows that the town's population increased by 9.5% to 22,050, which is well above the national average of 3.8%. It is the most populous and also the most densely populated town in the Midlands Region, which has a total population of 292,301 at the 2016 census. This also makes it the fastest growing of the top 20 largest towns and cities in Ireland.
Templemore is a town in County Tipperary, Ireland. It is a civil parish in the historical barony of Eliogarty. It is part of the parish of Templemore, Clonmore and Killea in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.
Roscrea is a historical market town in County Tipperary, Ireland. In 2016 the town had a population of 5,446. The town is one of the oldest in Ireland which developed around the ancient monastery of Saint Crónán of Roscrea, parts of which remain preserved today.
Charleville is a town in north County Cork, Ireland. It lies in the Golden Vale, on a tributary of the River Maigue, near the border with County Limerick. Charleville is on the N20 road and is the second-largest town between Limerick and Cork. The Roman Catholic parish of Charleville is within the Diocese of Cloyne. Significant industries in the town include Kerry Co-Op and the construction and services sectors.
Borris-in-Ossory is a village in west County Laois, Ireland. Bypassed by the M7 motorway on 28 May, 2010, the village is situated on the R445 road close to the County Tipperary border between the towns of Mountrath and Roscrea.
The Synod of Ráth Breasail was an Irish national church council which took place in Ireland in 1111. It marked the transition of the Irish church from a monastic to a diocesan and parish-based church. Many Irish present day dioceses trace their boundaries to decisions made at the synod.
The R445 road is a regional road in Ireland. The route is a non-motorway alternative route to the N7/M7 motorway between Naas and Limerick, and at 170 km it is one of the longest regional roads in Ireland. Indeed, much of the route comprises roads that were formerly part of the N7 between the cities, prior to motorway and other bypasses. Some of the R445 route also comprises local link roads to new N7/M7 route sections.
Clonaslee is a village in north County Laois, Ireland, situated in the foothills of the Slieve Bloom Mountains on the R422 Mountmellick to Birr road. Clonaslee is approximately 100 km west of Dublin, and is close to the towns of Portlaoise and Tullamore.
The Laois Senior Hurling Championship is an annual Gaelic Athletic Association competition organised by Laois GAA among the top hurling clubs in County Laois. The winner receives the Bob O'Keefe Cup and qualifies to represent the county in the Leinster Senior Club Hurling Championship, the winner of which progresses to the All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championship. Rathdowney-Errill are current (2019) Senior Hurling Champions after beating Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton by a score line of 0-17 to 1-09.‘
Durrow is a small town located in south-east County Laois, Ireland. Bypassed by the M8 motorway on 28 May 2010, the town is located on the R639 road at its junction with the N77. The River Erkina flows through Durrow and joins the River Nore about 1.5 km east of the town.
Cullahill or Cullohill is a small village situated on the R639 road in County Laois, Ireland.
Donaghmore is a small village in County Laois in Ireland.
The R435 road is a regional road in Ireland linking Borris-in-Ossory, County Laois to the R693 south of Johnstown, County Kilkenny. It passes through the town of Rathdowney County Laois en route. It joins the M7 motorway at junction 21, 1km south of Borris-in-Ossory.
St Canice's Cathedral, also known as Kilkenny Cathedral, is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland in Kilkenny city, Ireland. It is in the ecclesiastical province of Dublin.
The Ashfield Gales consisted of six generations of a Gale family who owned the Ashfield estate in Killabban Parish, Queens County, Ireland from the mid-17th Century until 1851.
Upper Ossory was an administrative barony in the south and west of Queen's County in Ireland. In late Gaelic Ireland it was the túath of the Mac Giolla Phádraig (Fitzpatrick) family and surviving remnant of the once larger kingdom of Ossory. The northernmost part of the Diocese of Ossory and medieval County Kilkenny, it was transferred to the newly created Queen's County in 1600. In the 1840s its three component cantreds, Clarmallagh, Clandonagh, and Upperwoods, were promoted to barony status, thereby superseding Upper Ossory.
Coolkerry is a civil parish in the barony of Clarmallagh in County Laois. It is separated into two disjoint areas by an arm of Aghaboe civil parish.
Aghaboe, or Aughavoe, is a civil parish in County Laois. It lies partly in the barony of Clarmallough and partly in the barony of Clandonnagh.
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