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|Elevation||45 m (148 ft)|
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Rathkeale (Irish : Ráth Caola, meaning 'Caola's ringfort ' ) is a town in west County Limerick, in Ireland. It is 30 km (18 mi) southwest of Limerick city on the N21 road to Tralee, County Kerry, and lies on the River Deel. Rathkeale has a significant Irish Traveller population, and since 1995, almost half the town residents were members of the traveling community. Rathkeale also has the largest concentration of descendants of the German Palatines who immigrated to Ireland in the early 18th century.
Rathkeale has shopping facilities, a museum, two primary schools, and a community college (Coláiste na Trócaire, founded in 1995). The town has a large Roman Catholic parish church, Augustinian Abbey ruins, and the Holy Trinity Church of Ireland church.
On the south-western edge of the town is the 15th-century tower house of Castle Matrix. The castle was built as a fortress during the early 1400s by Thomas FitzGerald, 7th Earl of Desmond, and was later the home of Maurice FitzGerald, 9th Earl of Desmond. It contains a display of art objects, holds historical records, and is one of a series of significant Desmond properties in County Limerick (see also Adare, Askeaton, and Newcastle West).
In the cemetery of the Holy Trinity Church are many gravestones bearing names of Irish Palatine families. These families came from Rheinland-Pfalz, in the Rhineland Palatinate, Germany as refugees in 1709. Many of their descendants now live in North America,.The region around Rathkeale, namely the townlands of Killeheen, Ballingrane, and Courtmatrix, contains the largest concentration of Palatine descendants in Ireland today. Rathkeale's former railway station on the closed North Kerry railway line from Limerick to Tralee has been converted into the Irish Palatine Museum.
Bus: Rathkeale is served by Bus Eireann routes 13 and 14 which operate between Limerick and Tralee and Killarney respectively.
Railways: Rathkeale railway station opened on 1 January 1867, closed for passenger traffic on 4 February 1963, and permanently closed on 2 December 1974.The Great Southern Trail, an off-road trail for cyclists and walkers, is a greenway rail trail which follows the route of the former Limerick-Tralee railway line between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale.
Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south of Ireland. In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a "king of over-kings". Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into counties for administrative and judicial purposes. In later centuries, local government legislation has seen further sub-division of the historic counties.
County Kerry is a county in Ireland. It is located in the South-West Region and forms part of the province of Munster. It is named after the Ciarraige who lived in part of the present county. The population of the county was 155,258 at the 2022 census, a 5.1% increase from the 2016 census.
County Limerick is a western county in Ireland. It is in the province of Munster and is located in the Mid-West which comprises part of the Southern Region. It is named after the city of Limerick. Limerick City and County Council is the local council for the county. The county's population at the 2016 census was 194,899 of whom 94,192 lived in Limerick City, the county capital.
Tralee is the county town of County Kerry in the south-west of Ireland. The town is on the northern side of the neck of the Dingle Peninsula, and is the largest town in County Kerry. The town's population was 23,691 as of the 2016 census, thus making it the eighth largest town, and 14th largest urban settlement, in Ireland. Tralee is well known for the Rose of Tralee International Festival, which has been held annually in August since 1959.
Dingle is a town in County Kerry, Ireland. The only town on the Dingle Peninsula, it sits on the Atlantic coast, about 50 kilometres (30 mi) southwest of Tralee and 71 kilometres (40 mi) northwest of Killarney.
Ardfert is a village in County Kerry, Ireland. Historically a religious centre, the economy of the locality is driven by agriculture and its position as a dormitory town, being only 8 km (5 mi) from Tralee. The population of the village was 749 at the 2016 census.
Castleisland is a town and commercial centre in County Kerry in south west Ireland. The town is known for the width of its main street. As of the 2016 Census, Castleisland had a population of 2,486.
Askeaton, is a town in County Limerick, Ireland. The town on the N69, the road between Limerick and Tralee, is built on the banks of the River Deel some 3 km upstream from the estuary of the River Shannon.
Newcastle West or simply Newcastle is a town in west County Limerick, Ireland. It is the largest town in the county, excluding Limerick city, It is also the county town, and sits on the River Arra which flows into the River Deel. Newcastle West is in the middle of a great bowl-shaped valley in West Limerick, known one time as the valley of the Wild Boar, apparently due to the abundance of this animal here when the area was thickly wooded. The crest of the town carries the image of a wild boar. Newcastle West is on the N21 road from Limerick to Tralee, between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale. In 2016, the population of the town was 6,619.
Abbeyfeale is a historic market town in County Limerick, Ireland, near the border with County Kerry. The town is on the N21 road from Limerick to Tralee, some 21 kilometres south-west of Newcastle West and 16 kilometres south-east of Listowel and 38 kilometres north-east of Tralee.
Adare is a village in County Limerick, Ireland, located south-west of the city of Limerick. Adare is designated as a heritage town by the Irish government.
Abbeydorney is a village in County Kerry, Ireland. Located 9 kilometres (6 mi) north of the county town of Tralee, the village had a population of 418 as of the 2016 census of Ireland. Abbeydorney falls within the civil parish of O'Dorney.
Castlegregory is a village in County Kerry, Ireland. It is situated on the north side of the Dingle Peninsula, halfway between Tralee and Dingle. As of the 2016 Census, Castlegregory had a population of 250.
The N21 road is a national primary road in Ireland. The route runs from the M20 outside Limerick to Tralee with connecting roads to other parts of County Kerry. It is 84.37 km (52.43 mi) in length. It runs through the towns of Abbeyfeale, Newcastle West, Adare and the village of Templeglantine. Prior to October 2010 the N21 also ran through the town of Castleisland. The town has since been bypassed. Rathkeale was also bypassed in 1992.
Rathmore is a small town in Kerry, Ireland, lying immediately west of the border with Cork. Rathmore is divided into two parts, one being the main commercial centre, and the other being the administrative centre where the schools and churches are located which is colloquially known as Rath Beg. It lies at the heart of the Sliabh Luachra area known for its traditional Irish music and culture. The local GAA club is Rathmore GAA. The SAG is in Rathmore and helps the elderly in the area. The town host the farmer's market every Saturday in the community centre.
Templeglantine, officially Templeglentan, is a village in west County Limerick, Ireland between Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale on the N21 national primary route – the main road from Limerick to Tralee. The village is approximately 55 kilometres southwest Limerick City and roughly 45 kilometres east of Tralee. Templeglantine is often simply referred to as 'Glantine' by natives and other west Limerick locals.
Blennerville is a small village and now a suburb of Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. It is approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) west of the town centre on the N86 road to Dingle, where the River Lee enters Tralee Bay. The village was formerly Tralee's port, and is connected to the town centre by the Tralee Ship Canal. Part of Blennerville electoral division falls within the area of Tralee Town Council, and at the 2011 census had a population of 141. The remaining portion, outside the urban boundaries, had a 2011 population of 556.
The Great Southern Trail, comprising the Limerick Greenway and North Kerry Greenway, is a greenway rail trail under development in County Limerick and County Kerry in Ireland. It is intended to be 85 kilometres long when completed and run from Limerick to Tralee. It is an off-road trail intended for use by cyclists and walkers along the route of the Limerick-Tralee line, formerly operated by the Great Southern and Western Railway, which opened between 1867 and 1880 and was closed in 1977. As of 2021, approximately 40 kilometres of the route between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale had been developed. The developed section of the trail passes through Ardagh, Newcastle West and Barnagh.
Ardagh is a village and civil parish in County Limerick, Ireland. The village is situated on the R523 regional road. The nearest town is Newcastle West, about three miles away, on the R521 road to Foynes and Shanagolden. Primary level educational for the village and its surroundings is provided by St Molua's National School. The parish is bounded to the west by Athea, to the north by the parish of Coolcappa, to the east Rathkeale and to the south by Newcastle West. The local GAA team is known as St. Kierans, a club which represents both the parish of Ardagh-Carrigkerry as well as Coolcappagh-Kilcolman.
The Limerick–Tralee line, also known as the North Kerry line, is a former railway line from Limerick railway station to Tralee railway station in Ireland. It also has branch lines to Foynes and Fenit. Most of the line today has now been converted into the Great Southern Trail.