Moycashel

Castletown Geoghegan
Town

Castletown in winter
Castletown Geoghegan
Castletown Geoghegan
Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 53°26′49″N 7°29′20″W / 53.447°N 7.489°W / 53.447; -7.489Coordinates: 53°26′49″N 7°29′20″W / 53.447°N 7.489°W / 53.447; -7.489

Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Westmeath
Elevation 95 m (312 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 • Total 693
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference N337442

Castletown Geoghegan (Irish: Baile Chaisleáin na nGeochagán)[2] in County Westmeath, Ireland, lies south west of Lough Ennell near the county town of Mullingar. Castletown was the seat of the Geoghegan family of the medieval Barony of Moycashel, County Westmeath. The family were descendants of the Southern Ui Neill. They were major landholders in south Westmeath prior to the War of the Three Kingdoms. They lost considerable portion their estates through the confiscation and resettlement acts of the late 17th century. Lilliput, on the shores of Lough Ennel is in Dysart, a neighbouring village approximately 3 miles from Castletown Geoghegan. Nearby Middleton Park House, a magnificent 19th century Georgian house and estate, is now open to the general public.

History

Elementary tilling and farming methods were first applied by primitive communities along the fertile high ground of the lake country during the Stone age. The MacEochagáin family are descended from Fiacha, son of Niall Naoi Noigíallach. Niall is reputed to have captured and enslaved the teenage Magnus Succetus - who later returned to preach Christianity as Patricius - in a raid on the Cumbrian or Welsh coast. The descendants of Niall's son Fiacha (Fiachu Fiachrach) were collectively known as Cenel Fhiachaigh, of the southern Ui Neill (later anglicised as Kenaleagh and Kindalane). The medieval barony was surrendered and regranted to the family in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. One of the principal Geoghegan castles was located in the village at this time, as is the original motte and bailey.

The Geoghegans and other local Gaelic chieftains of the area were part of a notable long term alliance. The 'Irish of Meath' included the O'Melaghlin (McLaughlin), O'Maolmhuidhe (Molloy), Kearney, Fox, Dalton and Brennan families. These native septs also suffered heavy property confiscation and resettlements after the wars of the 17th century. They are prominent in the Annals of Clonmacnoise, a notable collection of historical records. This collection was translated from the original Irish into Elizabethan English by Conall Geoghegan, a 16th century Franciscan monk.

Abbe James Mac Geoghegan, born in nearby Uisneach, wrote his celebrated Mac Geoghegan's History of Ireland at Chartres in France in the 18th century. [1]

The surrounding territories were held by the Tyrrells of Fartullagh, the Dillon's of Drumrany (which lay to the west between Moate and Athlone). The Nugents of Delvin, later Lords Delvin and Marquess of Westmeath and the Tuites of Sonagh were to the east.

Sport

Among the most popular local sports are G.A.A. football and hurling. The Castletown Geoghegan Hurling Club sports the black and amber stripe. It was introduced by a Kilkenny railway employee, and became a tradition here. The club holds 12 senior hurling titles, 1923, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1979, 1982, 1986, 1990, 2004 and 2013. The club has a very strong junior component. It achieved two National titles at under the 14 level in 2007 and 2010 The club crest depicts the ruins of a castle on the shores of Lough Ennel with the sun rising in the background.

The 1946 Epsom Derby winner, Airborne was bred near the village in 1943.[3] Oscar Time was trained locally by Martin Lynch, the successful horse trainer and jockey.

Amenities

The village has a fine nineteenth century church and school, St. Michael's. The Church of Ireland building is now in ruins and the ancient churchyard is currently overgrown and unkempt. The motte and bailey mound of the original fortification is still intact, but the castle stone was used in the construction of the Georgian period Vastina House and its gate lodge. The great Joe Glennon and his acting family spent summer holidays here for many years en route from Dysart.

There are three friendly pubs in the village -Drakes, Brennans and Ned Claffey's, in addition there is a convenience shop also called Claffeys, a garage and the area Garda Siochana station.

See also

References

External links

  • Geoghegan Clan
  • Field Study of the midlands
  • Niall of the Nine Hostages
  • Westmeath County Council information source
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