Caisleán an Bharraigh
A montage of Castlebar. From top: The Mall, Market Street, Lough Lannagh Bridge viewing towards Croagh Patrick.
Coat of arms of Castlebar
Ar Aghaidh
(Meaning: Forward)
Castlebar is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°51′39″N 9°17′56″W / 53.8608°N 9.29880°W / 53.8608; -9.29880
CountyCounty Mayo
49 m (161 ft)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)94
Irish Grid ReferenceM146905

Castlebar (Irish: Caisleán an Bharraigh, meaning 'Barry's Castle') is the county town of County Mayo, Ireland. Developing around a 13th-century castle of the de Barry family, from which the town got its name, the town now acts as a social and economic focal point for the surrounding hinterland.[2] With a population of 13,054 in the 2022 census (up from 7,648 in the 1991 census),[1] Castlebar was one of the fastest growing towns in Ireland in the early 21st century.[3]

A campus of Atlantic Technological University and the Country Life section of the National Museum are two important facilities in the area. The town is linked by railway to Dublin, Westport and Ballina. The main route by road is the N5.


Print depicting the "Castlebar Races" of 1798
Castlebar, circa 1880

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 town river is thought to have originally flowed.[4]

The town was granted a charter of incorporation in 1613 by James I of England. Under the charter the town had a portreeve (mayor) and a fifteen-member corporation and was entitled to elect two members to the Parliament of Ireland.[5] The Linen Hall, established as a clearing house for local linen materials, was completed in 1790.[6]

Armed conflict has been the centrepiece of the town's historical heritage. French forces under the command of General Jean Humbert aided in a rout of the British garrison in the town during the failed Irish Rebellion of 1798, which was so comprehensive it would later be known as "The Races of Castlebar".[7] A short-lived provisional Irish Republic had been declared upon General Humbert's arrival at Killala. Following the victory at Castlebar John Moore, head of the Mayo United Irishmen and the brother of a local landowner, was declared president of the Province of Connacht. 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 still own large tracts of the town and county.[8]

Castlebar Military Barracks was established in 1834:[9] it was finally closed in March 2012 and the buildings and grounds have been purchased by the local town and county councils.[10]

The Irish National Land League was founded by Michael Davitt, of Straide in County Mayo, at the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar on 21 October 1879.[11]


The name of the town comes from the castle built in 1235 (see above).[12] This castle is depicted in the top of the crest, with two yew trees on either side because Castlebar is the county town of Mayo (Irish: Maigh Eo, meaning 'plain of the yew trees'). The crosses represent the parish of Aglish (the official name of the parish of Castlebar). The 1798 'Races of Castlebar' is commemorated with the Pikes in the top left-hand corner. Underneath, the words 'Ar Aghaidh' can be found, which means 'Forward'.


Castlebar expanded rapidly during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.[20] Castlebar's population grew in the late 1990s, rising by one-third in the six years between the 1996 and 2002 census. According to the 2016 census, the population stood at 12,068,[19] a threefold increase in the 90 years since 1926, when the population was 4,256.[21]


Aerial view of Castlebar

Castlebar is the location for important festivals and traditions, among which is the International Four Days' Walk.[22] A well-established blues music festival in venues across the town took place for many years on the weekend before the first Monday in June, but has not taken place since 2011.[23] During the 1970s and 1980s the town hosted the International Castlebar Song Contest which was televised nationally on RTÉ.[24] The Museum of Country Life is located on the outskirts of Castlebar, and is the only branch of the National Museum of Ireland located outside Dublin.[25]

Castlebar is home to the Linenhall Arts Centre, which exhibits visual art throughout the year, as well as hosting live drama and music performances.[26] The Royal Theatre and Event Centre has capacity of 2,200 people fully seated or 4,000 people standing.[27] hosts larger-scale productions and popular music concerts.

There are Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland (Anglican), Elim Pentecostal, and evangelical (Calvary Church Castlebar) churches in the town. A mosque was opened in October 2023.[28]

One of the oldest pubs in Castlebar is John McHale's pub, located on New Line. The pub is known for its sale of a Meejum of Guinness, which is slightly less than a pint. It once had 'the best pint of Guinness in Ireland' according to a national tabloid.[29]


Museum of Country Life
Former Linen Hall, Castlebar

Castlebar is also home to the health care company Baxter Healthcare and manufacturer Fort Wayne Metals.[30]



Castlebar is served by the N5 national primary road and the N60 and N84 national secondary roads. In 1990 a relief road was built around Castlebar, removing through traffic on the N5 from the main street. This road is a basic two-lane road. It suffers from chronic congestion, particularly in the summer months when thousands of tourists have to negotiate the bottleneck en route to neighbouring Westport and Achill Island. A bypass of Castlebar of dual-carriageway standard was approved by An Bórd Pleanala in July 2014,[31] and construction began in late 2019. It was completed in 2023.[citation needed]


Castlebar railway station is a station on the Dublin to Westport service. Passengers can travel to Ballina and Foxford by travelling to Manulla Junction and changing trains[32]

The station opened on 17 December 1862.[33]

Old airport

Castlebar used to have a commercial airport; the site where it once stood is now occupied by Castlebar Retail Park.[34] The airport's IATA code was CLB and its ICAO code was EICB.[35]


Atlantic TU campus in Castlebar

In addition to a number of national (primary) schools, Castlebar's secondary schools include St Gerald's College (a De La Salle boys school), St Joseph's Secondary School (a girls school), and Davitt College (a mixed vocational school).[citation needed]

Third level and further education colleges in the town include Atlantic TU's Mayo campus (formerly Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology), the Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim Education and Training Board, and Castlebar College of Further Education.[36]



MacHale Park

The local Gaelic football and hurling team is the Castlebar Mitchels GAA club. Throughout its history, the club has won over 30 Mayo Senior Football Championship titles and two Mayo Senior Hurling Championship titles. The club reached the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship final in 2014 and 2016.[37][38] Other nearby GAA clubs include Breaffy GAA, Parke GAA, Islandeady GAA and Ballyvary Hurling Club.

MacHale Park in Castlebar is one of the larger GAA grounds in Ireland, with a capacity of approximately 28,000.[39] In the early 21st century, the Mayo county board oversaw the building of a new stand with dressing rooms and offices underneath.[citation needed]


Local soccer teams include Castlebar Celtic F.C., which was established in 1924. As of 2014, it had a team playing in the Mayo Super League and a senior women's side playing in the Continental Women's National League.[40] There is also a youth program which provides teams from under 10s to under 18s for boys and under 14 to under 17 for girls, as well as an under 8 academy. They play their home games in Celtic Park, in the centre of the town. Castlebar Town FC were formed in the 1970s (as Castlebar United) as an alternative to Celtic. Other local teams include Snugboro United, Ballyheane FC, Manulla FC and Ballyvary Blue Bombers.[citation needed]


Castlebar RFC, a rugby union club and one of the original founding members of the Connacht branch of the IRFU in 1885, reformed 1928 and again revived in the 1970s. Its grounds are located at Cloondeash on the outskirts of the town, with two pitches and a club house. The club, which plays in a navy and light blue strip, participates in provincial (Connacht Junior League Div.1B) and national league competitions. Castlebar won the Cawley Cup in 2009 and reached the final in 2017. The ladies team, which was formed in 2012, won the Connacht Development League Final in November 2013.[citation needed]

Other sports

There is an 18-hole golf club in the town, as well as athletics, basketball, racquetball, tennis and other clubs. The council provides an indoor heated swimming pool and there are numerous gyms.

There are also several martial arts clubs in the area,[citation needed] and Castlebar hosted the WOMAA World Martial Games in both 2007 and 2008.[41][better source needed]

Notable people

See also: Category:People from Castlebar and List of Mayo people

Enda Kenny, former Taoiseach (2011–2017)

Twin towns – sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in the Republic of Ireland

Castlebar is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ a b "Castlebar (Ireland) Agglomeration". Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  2. ^ "Castlebar And Environs Development Plan 2008-2014" (PDF). Mayo County Council. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Booming Castlebar grows and grows". The Irish Times. Irish Times. 8 January 2001. Retrieved 29 June 2022. Castlebar is now the second fastest growing town in the State
  4. ^ "Castle Street". The Street Names of Castlebar. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  5. ^ Hoban, Brian. "A Summary of the History of Castlebar in Co. Mayo". Mayo Ireland. Mayo Ireland. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  6. ^ "The Linen Hall, Linenhall Street, Knockthomas, Castlebar, County Mayo". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 26 November 2023.
  7. ^ "The Rising in the West". Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  8. ^ Comerford, Patrick. "Remembering 1798 in Castlebar". Archived from the original on 10 November 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Historical tour of Castlebar". Mayo, Ireland. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Barracks closures will see 500 redeployed". Irish Times. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Council should purchase Land League hotel". The Mayo News. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Castlebar, Co. Mayo West of Ireland |". Archived from the original on 10 November 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  13. ^ for post 1821 figures
  14. ^ 1813 estimate from Mason's Statistical Survey
  15. ^ For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee “On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses Irish Population, Economy and Society edited by JM Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54
  16. ^ New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850 by Joel Mokyr and Cormac O Grada in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 473–488
  17. ^ " - Census". Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  18. ^ "City Population – Castlebar (Mayo)". Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  19. ^ a b "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Castlebar". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  20. ^ "Population". CSO. Archived from the original on 10 July 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  21. ^ "Castlebar,", Encyclopædia Britannica, 14th ed., vol. 5 (London and New York, 1929).
  22. ^ "Castlebar International Four Days Walking Festival". Archived from the original on 27 October 2012.
  23. ^ Castlebar Blues Archived 15 February 2013 at
  24. ^ "The Mayo News". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  25. ^ "Find Us | Directions | Maps | Country Life | National Museum | Mayo". Archived from the original on 12 April 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  26. ^ Centre, The Linenhall Arts. "Theatre, music, dance, cinema and art in Mayo, Linenhall Arts Centre". Archived from the original on 3 November 2005. Retrieved 11 August 2005.
  27. ^ "The Royal - Perfect Tips and Ideas for Life". The Royal. Archived from the original on 10 August 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  28. ^ "New Mosque Opening Today in Castlebar".
  29. ^ "Jonny McHales". Traditional Irish Pubs. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  30. ^ "West - IDA Ireland Investment Promotion Agency". Archived from the original on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  31. ^ "Bord Pleanála gives 'green light' to new N5". 8 July 2014. Archived from the original on 23 April 2016. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  32. ^ "Irish Rail Printable Timetables". Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  33. ^ "Castlebar station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 6 September 2007.
  34. ^ "Airport". Archived from the original on 21 October 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  35. ^ "Castlebar - Ireland". 25 July 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2019. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  36. ^ "Castlebar College of Further Education". Archived from the original on 21 November 2016. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
  37. ^ "St. Vincent's crowned champions courtesy of Connolly masterclass". Irish Independent. 17 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  38. ^ "Ballyboden dominate Castlebar to win first ever All Ireland title". Irish Examiner. 17 March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  39. ^ "Re-surfacing Of Hastings Insurance Machale Park". 18 April 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  40. ^ "Clubs: Castlebar Celtic FC". Women's National League. FAI. Retrieved 27 February 2014.[permanent dead link]
  41. ^ "womaa". Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  42. ^ Hand, Lise (29 November 2011). "Enda bids sad farewell to mother". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  43. ^ Evening Journal Almanac, 1883. 1883. p. 146. Retrieved 3 December 2023 – via Internet Archive.
  44. ^ Armitstead, Claire (2 December 2018). "Sally Rooney: 'I don't respond to authority very well'". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  45. ^ "Sister Cities". City of Dixon Illinois. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  46. ^ "20th anniversary of Castlebar twinning with German town to be marked". The Connaught Telegraph. 15 September 2020. Archived from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  47. ^ "Featured Irish Cities In the Valley: Peekskill". Hudson Valley Magazine. 5 March 2015. Archived from the original on 18 March 2021. Retrieved 31 December 2020.