A Visit to Historic Charleville Town Worthwhile

Now that summer is here and Irish people will be for the most part staying in the country for their holidays this year, perhaps they may consider a trip to Charleville town in North Cork to sample the fantastic history and all that the town has to offer the visitor.

Charleville (An Rath), is the most northerly town in Cork county, and the first one encountered by the visitor travelling from Limerick, Galway or the mid-lands to Cork City, and adjacent to the Cork/Limerick border, within easy access of Cork, Kerry and Shannon airports, and the sea ports of Ringaskiddy, Cobh and Foynes in Co. Limerick. Charleville is twinned with Plouaret and Le Vieux Marche in Brittany, while Charleville Heritage Society is twinned with Croesgoch Heritage Society in Wales.

A great welcome awaits people, especially history tourists, visiting this land-locked plantation town that was founded by Roger Boyle or Lord Broghill, the Earl of Cork and Orrery in 1661. Situated mid-way between the urban areas of Cork and Limerick cities, Charleville is located in the lush pastureland of the Golden Vale, Europe’s richest dairying area in the heart of Munster. For the visitor, the town is an ideal base to visit the top tourist attractions that lie within an hour’s drive of Charleville in Counties Cork, Kerry, Clare, Limerick, Tipperary or Waterford.

Sample the hospitality of the 90-bedroom, four-star Charleville Park Hotel, or stay in one of the top-class B&B’s in the town and area, and enjoy the delicious food in the town’s restaurants and selected bars.

Charleville town itself is steeped in history, so why not engage the services of one of the qualified guides of Charleville Heritage Society to lead you through its historic streets, or visit Holy Cross graveyard, the resting place of Jacobite poet Seán Clárach Mac Domhnaill and members of the famous Croke family.

Walk in the footsteps of the Liberator, Daniel O’Connell or Padraig Pearse, the executed Leader of the 1916 Easter Rising, or Archbishop Thomas W. Croke of Cashel and Patron of the G.A.A., after whom Croke Park is named, or Daniel Mannix, who was Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia for forty-six years, or see the derelict house where the Charleville Olympian, Terence Robert Beaumont Sanders was born in 1901 and grew up, later to win an Olympic medal for rowing for England at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris.

Learn about Church of Ireland Bishop and Antiquarian and Keeper of the Book of Armagh, William Reeves of Down, Connor and Dromore, or poet and translator John Anster, who translated ‘Faust’ from the German to the English language, both of whom were born in Charleville.

Book a visit to the Provincial Heritage Centre located in the third House of the Mercy Order in Ireland where you will be greeted by the curator Sr. Bernadette Maria, who will relate stories of Sr. Josephine Croke experience in the Crimean War. or Holy Cross Catholic Church built in 1898 with the foundation stone laid by Charleville born Bishop Robert Browne of Cloyne, who completed the building of Cobh Cathedral.

See where Professor Daniel Binchy, the first Irish Minister to Germany from 1929 to 1932 was born, or the house where Eliza Lynch the National Heroine of Paraguay in South America was born, or Marie Ryan the person who presented Caravaggio’s masterpiece, ‘The Last Taking of Christ’ to the Jesuit Order. Hear the story of the Charleville evictions of 1847 during the town clearance by the Earl of Cork and Orrery.

Though Charleville is steeped in history there is much more to the town than that. it is a vibrant industrial, commercial, retail and residential centre, and is the most industrialised town in North Cork.

It has two food factories in Kerry Group and Dawn Meats, along with four stainless and specialist steel processing plants, consulting engineering companies and a waste water plant. It is a welcoming town with a diverse population, a thriving retail centre featuring many national brand names, excellent schools and facilities, and is well worth a visit.

Author: Michael McGrath, Charleville Heritage Society