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Towns & Villages › Castlerea


Castlerea also known in Irish as ‘An Caisleán Riabhach’ meaning ‘brindled castle’ or ‘King’s Castle’ is beautifully located on the banks of the river Suck and the river Francis. Castlerea is a small vibrant town steeped in history and is best known for its strong connection to the ancient High Kings of Connaught and Ireland, as well as being the birthplace of Sir William Wilde, a noted historian and Dr. Douglas Hyde, the first president of Ireland.

The Suck Valley Way allows walkers to explore Castlerea’s rich past. Once you arrive in Castlerea then, the trail continues through the impressive Demesne parkland. The Demesne is at the heart of the town and was once home to the Sandford family who were granted the land during Penal times. The town developed under the Sandford family who remained in power in Castlerea until the 19th century. Today the Demesne is a beautiful park with walkers following the Suck Valley Way along by the river. While in the Demesne it is also worth your while to take a peek into the Fairy Village, home to Castlerea’s magical folk!! The Suck Valley Way continues onto a forested path bringing walkers to the opposite side of the town. On this path you will come across the grave of ‘Cindy the Elephant’, Cindy visited Castlerea as part of the circus in 1958 and became famous for visiting one of the local pubs. This path exits onto Ballindrimley Road and into the ancient woods of Clonalis. At the end of this trail walkers will be rewarded with magnificent views of Clonalis House which was once home to the ancient High Kings of Connaught and at times the High Kings of Ireland. It is said that Clonalis Demesne is the last remnant of the ancient Kingdom of Connaught. The house that stands today was built in 1878 and has been lovingly restored by the O’Conor Nash family who are direct descendants of the Kings of Connaught. Tours of this magnificent house are available in the summer season. For more information click here.

While in Castlerea you can choose from a variety of dining options to fuel up before continuing your journey on the Suck Valley Way. For those who wish to stay in Castlerea there are many accommodation options available including a hotel in the heart of the town, B&B and self-catering accommodation. For a full list of accommodation, click here.

For more information on Castlerea and to keep up to date with everything that is happening, visit the Castlerea town website.

The Castlerea Town App is another great way for visitors to explore Castlerea and provides lots of information on key attractions in the town.

Leaving Castlerea, the Suck Valley Way branches off in two directions, walkers have the option to continue on to the heritage village of Ballintubber or cross the N60 and follow the path through pasture, bog land and wood land to reach another of the friendly villages on route, Ballymoe in county Galway.

Look out for the Suck Valley Way map boards located outside Castlerea Train Station and The Trinity Arts Centre.

Getting to Castlerea

By train

Castlerea is on the main Westport / Dublin line and is served by 3 trains daily. For a timetable, click here.

By Bus

Castlerea is served by Bus Éireann Expressway and Bus Éireann Local Services. To plan your journey, click here.