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Newcastle West, County Limerick

Newcastle West is a town located in the south-west of County Limerick, in Ireland. Outside the Limerick city, Newcastle West is the largest town in the county. The town is situated on the banks of River Arra, which flows into the River Deel. Within 16.09 km of distance, Newcastle West is surrounded by several villages, including Broadford, Kilmeedy, Feenagh, Killeedy and Ashford.

The town grew up around a castle of Earls of Desmond, whose remains can still be seen off the town square. In 1184, Knights Templars built a castle at Newcastle West; after which the town came to be known as Castle-Roe. Later, the town became popular as Newcastle, West Limerick. With the passage of time, west became part of Newcastle and the town came to be known as Newcastle West.

In 1704, Newcastle and Ardagh were together called parish. However, in 1722, Newcastle clubbed with Monagea and remained with it until1764. After this, Newcastle West became a separate parish and included parts of Monagea and Killeedy. During late 16th century, Sir William Courtenay owned around 42 square kilometre land in Newcastle West. Furthermore, during the reign of Elizabeth I, the town became a battleground, where locals killed many of the Knights Templars.

Owing to the battles, the town was sacked in 1302 and destroyed in 1315. Two of the Earls of Desmond; namely, Garrett and James, the 8th earl, died in Newcastle West itself. Currently, Newcastle West is a bustling town that is inhabited by 7,291 people. Other 3,210 live in the environs of the town. Buildings of historic interest like Courthouse, old Railway Station and old IRA monument are reminiscent of the years gone by.

Desmond Banqueting Hall and Castle is the most notable landmark of the town. Built in the 13th century, this banquet hall of the Desmond Castle was the seat of the Earl of Desmond. Today, the castle is part of a collection of ruined buildings belonging to the Fitzgerald. It is open to public for guided tours between May and September. Spread over 400638.786 square kilometres, Castle Demesne is popular parkland, with playing areas and sports fields.

Churchtown Graveyard and Grotto that dates back hundreds of years, is another popular attraction of the town. Opposite this church stands Old IRA Monument, which was unveiled by President Sean T.O’Kelly in 1955. Church of the Immaculate Conception, which was built in 1828 by Father Thomas Coll P.P., also stands witness to the interesting history of the town. Iron Footbridge, Famine Graveyard, St. Bridget’s Well and Carnegie Library are other buildings of historical importance that can be seen in Newcastle West.

For golf lovers, the town boasts two golf courses; namely, Newcastle West Golf Club in Ardagh and Killeline Golf Club. Killeline Lodge & Leisure swimming pool & gym and Woodveiw Riding Centre are other sports facilities available in the town. Newcastle West also has a strong tradition of music, and several popular Irish music groups are from this town. From a demolished town, Newcastle West has emerged as an ordered settlement at present, which attracts numerous visitors to the town.

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