Oldcastle, County Meath
Oldcastle is a town in County Meath
County Meath
County Meath is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Mid-East Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Mide . Meath County Council is the local authority for the county...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. It is located in the north-west of the county near the border with Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

, approximately 21 km from Kells
Kells, County Meath
Kells is a town in County Meath, Ireland. The town lies off the M3 motorway, from Navan and from Dublin. In recent years Kells has grown greatly with many Dublin commuters moving to the town....

. The R154
R154 road
The R154 road is a regional road in Ireland, linking the R147 near Clonee, County Meath to Crossdoney in County Cavan. The road is single carriageway throughout. Many parts of the route have dangerous bends.-Route:...

 and R195
R195 road
The R195 road is a regional road in Ireland linking Castlepollard in County Westmeath to Virginia in County Cavan. It passes through the town of Oldcastle, County Meath and several villages and hamlets en route.The road is long.-References:...

 regional road
Regional road
A regional road in Ireland is a class of road not forming a major route , but nevertheless forming a link in the national route network. There are over 11,600 kilometres of regional roads. Regional roads are numbered with three digit route numbers, prefixed by "R" A regional road in Ireland is a...

s cross in the town's market square. As of the 2006 census the town's population stood at 2,226.

In recent years Oldcastle has grown mainly due to an influx of workers from Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 to work in the several industries, particularly furniture, bedding and victualling located in the area.


The area was the birthplace of St Oliver Plunkett, the last Irish Catholic martyr to die in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...


Oldcastle is the 18th century creation of the Naper family who had received parts of the Plunkett estate following the Cromwellian wars. St. Oliver Plunkett, a 17th century Archbishop of Armagh
Archbishop of Armagh
The Archbishop of Armagh is the title of the presiding ecclesiastical figure of each of the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland in the region around Armagh in Northern Ireland...

, who was hung, drawn & quartered in Tyburn, London in 1681 on false charges, was the most famous member of this family.

It was also the birthplace of Isaac Jackson, son of Anthony Jackson III (who some say was a yeoman son in turn of the Charles II courtier, Sir Anthomy Jackson II, of Killingswold Grove, East Yorkshire, England) of Eccleston, Lancashire, England who died in nearby County Cavan after 1666. Isaac was an early Quaker in Ireland, as was his father. He moved to Ballitore, County Kildare, where he married and raised a large family, mostly all of whom emigrated with their parents to Chester County
Chester County, Pennsylvania
-State parks:*French Creek State Park*Marsh Creek State Park*White Clay Creek Preserve-Demographics:As of the 2010 census, the county was 85.5% White, 6.1% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American or Alaskan Native, 3.9% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian, 1.8% were two or more races, and 2.4% were...

, Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1725.

Oldcastle suffered quite badly during the Great Famine and subsequent emigration. Owing to the continuation of a Gaelic way of life in the north of the county, Oldcastle suffered far more than the richer more arable land in the southern part of County Meath. The poorest class lived where Irish culture was strongest and were obliterated by starvation and emigration. Nonetheless, land patterns visible today still reveal a strong attachment to the pastoral farming of Gaelic
The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

 culture. Politically and culturally the area has a strong tradition of support for radical republicanism, the Gaelic Athletic Association
Gaelic Athletic Association
The Gaelic Athletic Association is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders...

 and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann is the primary Irish organisation dedicated to the promotion of the music, song, dance and the language of Ireland. The name of the organisation is often abbreviated to Comhaltas or CCÉ...

; a local paper published in the town in the early 1900s gave its name to one of the Irish political parties, Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...


Fennor Upper and Lower in Oldcastle is said to be named after Queen Maive's daughter, Findabair
In Irish mythology, Findabair or Finnabair , whose name likely means "White Phantom" and is etymologically related to Gwenhwyfar, the Welsh original of Guinevere, was the daughter of Ailill and Medb of Connacht....

 (Fennor). In Irish Mythology
Irish mythology
The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not entirely survive the conversion to Christianity, but much of it was preserved, shorn of its religious meanings, in medieval Irish literature, which represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branch and the Historical Cycle. There are...

 she was sent as an offering to Cúchulainn in his fight against Maive and her army from Connaught. She was killed by Cuchulainn and the area was named after the place where she was murdered and buried.

A monument was erected in 1961 in Oldcastle Square by Meath Brigades Executive, Old IRA Federation, 1916-1921 to the memory of Commandant Seamus Coogan and Commandant Patrick McDonnell who were killed by the British Forces during the war of Independence. The monument in the form of a cross was unveiled by Sean Dowling Chairman of the National Federation of the Old IRA.

In November 1997 McKevitt and other IRA
Irish Republican Army
The Irish Republican Army was an Irish republican revolutionary military organisation. It was descended from the Irish Volunteers, an organisation established on 25 November 1913 that staged the Easter Rising in April 1916...

 dissidents held a meeting in a farmhouse in Oldcastle, County Meath, and a new organisation styling itself Óglaigh na hÉireann was formed. The organisation attracted disaffected Provisional IRA members from the republican stronghold of South Armagh, as well as other areas including Dublin, Belfast, Limerick, Tipperary, County Louth, County Tyrone and County Monaghan.


Annual vents such as the Oldcastle Show and Le Chelie are some of the highlights of the year. The Oldcastle Show is held every August in the Gilson National Park and Le Cheile is held on the bank holiday weekend in August at various venues around the town. Aslan
Aslan, the "Great Lion," is the central character in The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of seven fantasy novels for children written by C. S. Lewis. He is the eponymous lion of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and his role in Narnia is developed throughout the remaining books...

, The Saw Doctors
The Saw Doctors
The Saw Doctors are an Irish rock band. Formed in 1986 in Tuam, County Galway, they have achieved eighteen Top 30 singles in Ireland, including three number ones. Their first number one, "I Useta Lover," topped the Irish charts for nine consecutive weeks in 1990, and still holds the record for the...

 and Shane McGowan have headlined the festival for a number of years.


Oldcastle is a centre for anglers & is ideally located 6.4 km from Lough Ramor
Lough Ramor
Lough Ramor is a large natural lake of 741 hectares situated near Virginia, County Cavan. From early records Vita Tripartita identified as being in the territory of Cenal Muinreamhair. The literal meaning of the term Muinreamhair is 'fat-neck' and appears to be derived from a prehistoric or...

 (County Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

), a lake that is noted for its coarse fishing.

Oldcastle is also ideally located 10 km from Lough Sheelin
Lough Sheelin
Lough Sheelin is a limestone freshwater lough in Ireland located in County Westmeath, County Meath and County Cavan near the village of Finea and the town of Granard County Longford....

 (County Cavan) which is noted for its trout fishing.

Oldcastle GAA club is 125 years old.

The town has a wide range of other clubs available for all to join.


Oldcastle had a bed-manufacturing industry including firms such as Gleneagle Woodcrafts, Briody Bedding and Respa Bedding which are a major source of employment for the area.

There are the engineering firms located in the parish of Moylagh, County Meath
Moylagh, County Meath
Moylagh is part of the parish of Oldcastle in the northwest of County Meath, Ireland. The parish is small but has received an influx of new residents in the past few years, mainly from Dublin and Eastern Europe....

, approximately 8 km (5 mi) from the town. These industries have attracted many immigrants to the area for work, mainly from Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, and Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...


In 2010, a Head shop
Head shop
A head shop is a retail outlet specializing in drug paraphernalia used for consumption of cannabis, other recreational drugs, legal highs, legal party powders and New Age herbs, as well as counterculture art, magazines, music, clothing, and home decor; some head shops also sell oddities, such as...

, since closed, opened up in Oldcastle on the Mountnugent road, across from the Oldcastle House Hotel. Local citizens of Oldcastle protested against the store when it opened.


Tourism is important to Oldcastle. The town is located a short distance from the Loughcrew Cairns
Loughcrew is near Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland. . Loughcrew is a site of considerable historical importance in Ireland...

, a major tourist attraction. Built around 3300 BC as passage tombs they predate the Great Pyramid
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact...

 of Egypt.

Local Geography

Oldcastle is located in the foothills of Sliabh na Caillaigh.

In 2005, an environmental disaster occurred in Oldcastle when a sewage treatment plant overflowed and spilled into the River Inny
River Inny
The River Inny is a river in Ireland. It flows from Lough Kinale under the Bridge of Finea into Lough Sheelin in County Cavan and heads south to Lough Derravaragh...

. 4,000 wild brown trout were killed as a result.


There is a mixed primary school, Gilson National School, and a secondary school, Iarbhunscoil Oiliféir Naofa (St. Oliver Post Primary). This secondary school has been expanded in recent years, with the opening of a new building in 2002.
The secondary school celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009, opening four new classrooms on the date. Noel Dempsey
Noel Dempsey
Noel Dempsey is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician. He was a Teachta Dála for the Meath and Meath West constituencies from 1987 to 2011...

 and Bishop Micheal Smith were present. On 3 March 2007 the school won the All-Ireland Vocational Schools Championship
All-Ireland Vocational Schools Championship
The All-Ireland Vocational Schools Championship is a Gaelic Athletic Association football and hurling competition. There are two levels of competition. Individual schools compete for county, provincial and All-Ireland competitions...

 Senior Cup 'B' Competition in Gaelic football
Gaelic football
Gaelic football , commonly referred to as "football" or "Gaelic", or "Gah" is a form of football played mainly in Ireland...


Recently a new community library was opened replacing a smaller library in the town and is located next to the local Credit Union
Credit union
A credit union is a cooperative financial institution that is owned and controlled by its members and operated for the purpose of promoting thrift, providing credit at competitive rates, and providing other financial services to its members...



The Gilson National School is said by the local Chamber of Commerce to be the "Gem in the Crown of Oldcastle's architecture" The Gilson National School's trust & building owes its existence to the generosity of Laurence Gilson, a native of Oldcastle Parish.

The Show Hall in Oldcastle is located near the church. It hosts bingo, show dances, show bands and Le Chelie concerts annually.


Oldcastle railway station, at the end of a branch line from Navan
-People:Navan was the childhood home of Pierce Brosnan, who appeared in the television series Remington Steele and was the fifth film actor to play James Bond. TV personality Hector Ó hEochagáin, and comedians Dylan Moran and Tommy Tiernan also hail from Navan....

, opened on 17 March 1863 and for many years provided a source of revenue and income for local farmers as well as other industries in the area by allowing local goods and produce to be transported to the main ports of Ireland for export. The station closed for passenger traffic on 14 April 1958 and the branch finally closed altogether on 1 April 1963, during a period when numerous railway lines were being closed.

Bus Éireann Route 187 services Oldcastle from Monday to Saturday. It provides transport to neighbouring towns and villages of Mountnugent, Ballyjamesduff, Virginia and Kells. There are four journeys both to and from Oldcastle each weekday. Subject to road safety the bus will stop to pick up and set down passengers at any safe point along the route

See also

  • List of towns and villages in Ireland
  • Midlands Gateway
    Midlands Gateway
    -Midlands Gateway or Lake-Counties Gateway:Centered between the major Irish airports, of Dublin, Shannon, and Knock, with ever improving ground infrastructure, the Irish government and local authorities plan to alleviate urban problems, by decentralising to growing gateways such as the Midlands...

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