The name Castlepollard comes from the name of a castle or fortified manor built by the Army captain Nicholas Pollard in the early 17th century. The village’s official Irish name is Baile na gCros meaning “town of the cross”. However, the name Cionn Toirc (meaning “head of the boar”), has also been applied to the village.
The well preserved original village layout is now landscaped in a central triangular green. Surrounded by buildings from the Georgian period, a fine sculpture on the square depicts a scene from the famous locally centred legend of the Children of Lir.
There are several ringforts on the surrounding high ground. Two ancient forts are of special archeological interest. Randoon is located in nearby Ranaghan, south west of Lough Lene, and Turgesius Island, is situated on Lough Lene. Turgesius was a Viking leader who sojourned here with a local lover while on respite from his seafaring.
Castlepollard has two churches which serve the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Christian communities. Kinturk House, the Georgian period Pollard residence, now serves as St. Peter’s Centre. It was purchased by the Sacred Heart Sisters from the family in 1935, who added a chapel wing. A hospital designed by T.J. Cullen (1879–1947) was built c. 1935 and was part of “an extensive hospital construction programme initiated during the first decades of the Irish Free State financed by the Irish Hospitals – Sweepstake. The sisters operated a Magdalen Asylum there for many years; the property was sold to Midlands Health Board in 1971.
Recent additions to the built environment include multiple housing estates, the Area Office of the Westmeath County Council and the Castlepollard Community College’s new school building (2004), both on the Mullingar Road.
Mergon International, a manufacturer of moulded parts, is one of the main businesses in the town. The town has a good retail base, and is a vibrate commercial centre for North Westmeath, consisting of Filling Stations, Banks, Post Office, Council Buildings, Primary and Secondary schools, a number of Grocery/Newsagent Shops, Hairdressers, Beauty Salon’s, Boutiques, Drapery stores, Furniture stores, Pharmacy’s and a large Hardware store. Castlepollard also has number of pubs and is home to the Hotel Castlepollard.
Places of interest
The interiors, part Georgian, part Gothic revival, have a fine collection of furniture and pictures. The guided tours also take in the splendid Victorian kitchens and laundries, complete with all their equipment.
The village of Fore is in a valley between two hills. Here you will see the ancient ruins of a Christian monastery.
Fore is “the town of the springs” and was named after St. Fechin’s spring, which is beside the old church.