Castlepollard

About

Clonmellon is a small village approximately 20km from Mullingar town.

It has a population of 1,163 (2016)

Castlepollard (Irish: Baile na gCros or Cionn Toirc) is a small town in north County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland. It lies west of Lough Lene and northeast of Lough Derravaragh and Mullingar.

The name Castlepollard comes from the name of a castle or fortified manor built by the English army captain Nicholas Pollard in the early 17th century. The village’s official Irish name is Baile na gCros (anglicised Ballinagross), meaning “town of the cross (or crossroads”. However, the name Cionn Toirc (anglicised Kinturk), meaning “head of the boar”, has also been applied to the village. The townland of Kinturk Demesne covers the southern part of the town.

Built heritage

The original village layout, much of which dates to the 19th century,[6] is preserved and now landscaped in a central triangular green. Surrounded by buildings from the Georgian period, a sculpture on the square depicts a scene from the locally centred legend of the Children of Lir. A plaque outlines the story in several languages. The setting of the legend is Lough Derravaragh. There are several ringforts on the surrounding high ground. Two ancient forts are of archaeological 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. He held sway in Danish Dublin (Dyflin) and Shannon Viking port near Clonmacnoise.

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 Mother and Baby home there for many years; the property was sold to Midlands Health Board in 1971.

Castlepollard’s 19th century Market House was rebuilt in 1926

In the early nineteenth century, the main village and the Pollard family properties underwent a reconstruction program. The Kinturk Demesne residence and the adjacent town buildings were rebuilt in the Georgian style of the period. Some common lands were enclosed. A new Church of Ireland building was erected in the Square, along with the Market house. Located on the west side of the green, this was the village’s major public building and landmark. The quarterly Court of Petty Sessions convened here.

During the War of Independence the Irish Republican Army (IRA) burned the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks located on the Mullingar Road. The RIC then moved to the courthouse. In 1921, the IRA began a wave of burnings which targeted government offices throughout Ireland. This was a concerted effort to cripple the UK civil service in its day-to-day administration of the country. The Market House was also torched. Two sitting magistrates were kidnapped by the IRA on their way to the court. The men were held hostage locally, reportedly in a cow byre on the Hill of Moal. They were later released unharmed after forty eight hours, and the village was spared reprisals. The Market House was rebuilt in 1926, and served as the village fire station until a purpose-built fire station was constructed. The Market House was also used as the village library for a number of years.

Later 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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlepollard