Castlebar History in Co. Mayo
Castlebar is a town steeped in history and has played a major part in some of the most pivotal events in Irish history including the 1798 Rising, which incorporated 'The Races of Castlebar' and The Land War. The development of the town goes back to 1609 when Sir John Bingham of the Bingham family obtained the grant of a market and fair and four years later King James 1 granted a charter of incorporation. However, Castlebar is named after De Barrie, one of the Normans who came to Mayo and established a Castle in this area in 1235.
George Bingham seized control of Castlebar in the latter part of the 16th century and the Binghams would retain that power for a further three centuries. In the late 18th century, Charles Bingham was granted the title of 'Earl of Lucan', which was often refferred to as Lord Lucan. His daughter married into the Spencer family, who were the descentants of Lady Diana Spencer. The Third Earl of Lucan beacame a very unpopular figure due to his harsh treatment of tenants during the Great Famine in Castlebar. The Fourth Earl was more sympathetic towards the Irish cause and provided grounds for schools and churches. The Church of the Holy Rosary was built in Castlebar at the end of the 19th century.
As Ireland regained Independence in the early part of the 20th century, Castlebar become the prominant town in County Mayo. New industries were set up which improved the economic situation in the town, with the Hat Factory becoming a focal point for business in the town. Culture and Sport also blossomed in Castlebar as a Boxing Club was established, while the Rugby Club enjoyed a renaissence.
Castlebar has produced many famous people which have excelled in their chosen field. Louis Brennan, who was born on Main Street, invented the Dirigible Torpedo and the Gyroscope Monorail. Margaret Burke Sheridan, who was born on the Mall, became one of the leading Sopranos in Europe during the early years of the 20th century, while another Castlebar born musician, Stephen Garvey, became famous for his work in Opera and in Orchestral circles.