Newcastle West, Limerick

Newcastle West in the Civil Parish of Newcastle.

Newcastle West (Irish: an Caisleán Nua Thiar) or simply Newcastle (an Caisleán Nua, formerly anglicized Castlenoe) is a town in west County Limerick. Ireland. It is the largest town in the county, excluding Limerick city, and sits on the River Arra which flows into the River Deel. Newcastle West is on the N21 road from Limerick to Tralee, between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale.

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.

FOUNDATION & DEVELOPMENT: 

Newcastle West grew up around a castle, the ruins of which are located off the town square. The large castle ruins are well maintained. The castle was built by the FitzGerald family who arrived at some point after 1194, by 1298 the castle had been completed in stone. The town then came to be known as Newcastle, West Limerick, but over time the 'west' became part of Newcastle and the town was known by the current name Newcastle West. 

According to Begley, the parish was called Newcastle and Ardagh in 1704. Newcastle was joined with Monagea from 1722 until 1764 when it became a separate parish. Lewis stated that parts of Monagea and Killeedy were in the parish of Newcastle West. 

Two notable mentions included in the history of the diocese of Limerick were the first Monsignor in the diocese, Richard Baptist O'Brien in 1881, and Denis Hallinan who was P.P. here and later became Bishop. 

Sir William Courtenay, the local landlord, held 10,500 acres (42 km2) of land in Newcastle West in the late 16th century. He was a staunch Catholic and suffered persecution for his beliefs. His son George may have practiced his faith in secret. Their home was reputed to have had a room in which priests were hidden. William Courtenay was denounced in the House of Commons as a papist recusant in 1624. 

During the reign of Elizabeth l, three battles were fought near here. Tradition has it that the locals killed many of the Knights Templar. The town was sacked in 1302 and destroyed in 1315. Two of the Earls of Desmond died here. Garrett (better known as Gearóid Iarla) in 1399, and James, the 8th Earl, in 1462. 

Markets were held on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Large numbers used to attend Thursday's hiring fairs for farm workers. Fairs were held on April 1, May 3, July 12, August 20, October 1, and December 10. 

The motto that goes with the town coat of arms is "As Dúchas Dóchas", which may be translated as 'Our Hope springs from our Traditions'. The town now has a population of around 6,600. 

BUSINESS & COMMERCE: 

The West Limerick and Newcastle West area has traditionally had a strong Dairy and Agricultural contribution to the local economy. Huge changes have occurred during the last 20 - 30 years seeing the expanding of the town as a services centre for West Limerick, also bringing an increase in population.  

Many people who work in Limerick City live in Newcastle West and its environs and commute the 42 kilometres (26 miles) daily. However, Newcastle West itself is now a large centre of employment with a strong business and entrepreneurial culture. Large to medium employers include Pallas Foods, Rettig Myson, Ballygowan Spring Water and Filtertek.

There are dozens of Businesses employing 10-50 including PSE Power Systems, Brian A Flynn, Brian Scully Services and Nolan Products. Hundreds are employed in the retail stores including local and international multiples. In recent times, there has been national success stories in e-business from local companies like HuntOffice.ie and Irish Tourism.com, who are growing information technology skills and employment in the emerging knowledge economy of the town. 

RETAIL:

Newcastle West has numerous supermarkets, including Dooley's SuperValu, a Tesco, an Aldi, and a Lidl. The town is also well known for its clothes shopping with numerous fashion boutiques stocking designer labels, including Ela Maria, Kimono, Bella Sola, The G Boutique, and Platform. 

TRANSPORT:

Newcastle West is situated on the Irish national primary road N21, where it is joined by the R520, R521 and R522 regional roads. Newcastle West is a forty minute drive from Limerick City and an hour from Killarney. It is within a one-hour drive of Shannon, and Kerry International Airports, and two hours from Cork Airport. The town is serviced by regular Bus Éireann buses and Dublin Coaches to Tralee, Killarney, Limerick and Dublin.

The town was connected to the railway network until 1975, as part of the "North Kerry" line, from Limerick city to Tralee, via Rathkeale and Listowel.

Newcastle West Railway station was on Bishop Street and opened on 1 January 1857.

It closed for passenger traffic on 4 February 1963, regular goods traffic on 2 December 1974 and finally closed on 3 November 1975, although occasional passenger special trains, diesel and steam hauled, had operated into the 1970s.

The station had an unusual layout, with two turntables and water columns for steam locomotives, the result of the lines from the Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale directions having been built by different companies. After the tracks were lifted in the late 1980's, the former station house was restored as a private house within the Bishops Court development of the station area.

The Great Southern Trail walking and cycling route follows the line of the railway, passing the site of the demolished twin arch road bridge which spanned the lines to Rathkeale/Limerick and Abbeyfeale/Tralee just before they diverged. www.irelandxo.com - Great Southern Trail

SPORT:

Newcastle West is home to numerous sports clubs, including Newcastle West GAA club, Newcastle West Rugby Football club, and two association football clubs: Newcastle West A.F.C. and Newcastle West Rovers F.C. 

PLACES OF INTEREST:

Please refer to Newcastle West - Visitors Guide.  www.irelandxo.com - Newcastle West

 HISTORICAL LINKS:  

1829 Tithe Applotment Books - Newcastle West and Surrounding Townlands 

1852 Griffith Valuation - Newcastle West (Glenquin Barony) 

1852 Griffith Valuation - Newcastle West (Shanid Barony) 

1901 Census Ireland – Newcastle West 

1911 Census Ireland - Newcastle West (Rural) 

1911 Census Ireland - Newcastle West (Urban) 

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Shared on IrelandXO by: 

St Kieran’s Heritage Association 

Address Newcastle West, Limerick
Website http://visitnewcastlewest.ie/
Parish(es) Newcastle West (Limerick)
Category (ies) Heritage/Culture Tourist Attraction