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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Mayo County > Castlebar
Castlebar (Irish: Caisleán an Bharraigh, meaning ‘Barry's Castle ’) is the county town of, and at the centre of, County Mayo, Ireland. It is Mayo's largest town. 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).

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 original route of the town river is thought to have once flowed. 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.

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.

The Museum of Country Life is located on the outskirts of Castlebar. It is the only branch of the National Museum of Ireland located outside Dublin.

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 & Event Centre, with a capacity of two thousand two hundred fully seated, four thousand standing, 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.

The local Gaelic football and hurling team is the Castlebar Mitchels club. They are a club with a proud and illustrious past including two 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. Construction is well under way and is believed it will be ready for the first League game on the 1st February 2009, and fully complete for the Championship in June. Other nearby GAA clubs include Breaffy GAA, Parke GAA and Ballyvary Hurling Club.
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In: Mayo
People: 10,665
Speak: English, Irish
Type: Hertiage City
GPS: -9.2988, 53.8608