Charlestown in Co. Mayo
We are grateful to Cathal Henry who supplied many of the photographs and most of the historical information for these pages.
Charlestown, located on the intersection of two National Primary routes, the N17 and the N5, along the eastern border of County Mayo, has been hosting visitors for nigh on one hundred years . . . and in ever increasing numbers since the development of Ireland West Airport Knock, just three miles down the road. It is not surprising when one considers the fine bank of approved accommodation in the town and the excellent restaurants which specialise in home-cooked quality food.
Popularly known as the International Gateway to the West of Ireland, Charlestown is now, with the development of Ireland West Airport Knock, the most accessible town in the West of Ireland.
There are a wide range of activities available to visitors in the area: golfing (7 miles), fishing in the many lakes and rivers in the area, cycling trips on quiet, traffic-free country roads and exploration of the many archaeological remains in the area, with mapped walking routes in beautiful scenic and rural surroundings.
Charlestown was built in the middle of the last century, on the initiative of Lord Dillon's agent, Charles Strickland adjoining Bellaghy in County Sligo. The town has now a population of approximately 800 people. Visitors to Charlestown are welcomed with true West of Ireland hospitality.
The town is well planned with wide open streets and parking facilities. Located on the intersection of two National Primary routes, the N17 and the N5, Charlestown is an ideal stopover or centre to stay and visit other locations.
Accommodation is readily available in Charlestown where visitors can savour Irish family life, hospitality and good Irish food, and the extended community life in the town by strolling in the streets and visiting friendly hostelries to meet the Local characters.
The Town Hall (built around 1900), St James' Church, the old 'Eureka' Cinema which opened its doors in 1939 and provided many hours of enjoyment and entertainment, particulary for the younger generation of a bygone era.
Barnacahoge Stone Fort is situated about five miles from Charlestown. It dates back to the seventh or eighth century. Ringforts were the homesteads of farmers who lived in Ireland about two thousand years ago, and the remains of stone houses and wooden huts are often found within the walls. Stone forts are particularly common in Western Ireland where stone was more plentiful and where every inch of earth was needed for tillage.
St. Attracta's Well is probably the best known relic of St. Attracta's ancient mission in the fifth century and is located in Tample, 2 miles from Charlestown. Tample graveyard has the famous Costelloe Tomb located there. Urlaur Abbey, in the parish of Kilmovee was founded in 1434, but was destroyed by Cromwellian soldiers in 1654.
Urlaur Abbey and lakes are a 10 minute drive from Charlestown with Lough Talt, a well-known trout fishing lake set in scenic surroundings, is five miles from Benada Abbey, built in 1483 by the Augustinians.
Local tourism interests have developed a range of leisure walks and cycle tours in the area, and details of these are available in restaurants and places of accommodation.