The town of Oldcastle and its surrounding areas have had a long and chequered history. The area was the birthplace of St Oliver Plunkett, the last Irish Catholic martyr to die in England. Oldcastle, like the rest of the country in general, suffered quite badly during the Great Famine and of subsequent emigration. Due to the continuation of a gaelic way of life in the north of the county, Oldcastle suffered far more than the richer more arable land in the southern part of Meath as the poorest class where Irish culture was strongest was obliterated by starvation and emigration.
Scene: Chapel St
Date: 1910 (estimate)
10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper, larger sizes also available
Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
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Read about Oldcastle below
Oldcastle (Irish: An Seanchaisleán) is a town in County Meath, Ireland. It is located in the north-west of the county near the border with Cavan, approximately 21kms from Kells. As of the 2006 census the area's population stood at 4,272 with 2,226 people living in the town itself. CSO Census 2006
The town of Oldcastle and its surrounding areas have had a long and chequered history. The area was the birthplace of St Oliver Plunkett, the last Irish Catholic martyr to die in England. Oldcastle, like the rest of the country in general, suffered quite badly during the Great Famine and of subsequent emigration. Due to the continuation of a gaelic way of life in the north of the county, Oldcastle suffered far more than the richer more arable land in the southern part of Meath as the poorest class where Irish culture was strongest was obliterated by starvation and emigration. Nonetheless, land patterns visible today still reveal a strong attachment to the pastoral farming of the Gael. Politically and culturally the area has a strong tradition of support for radical republicanism, the Gaelic Athletic Association and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a local paper published in the town in the early 1900's gave it's name to one of the Irish political parties, Sinn Féin, and it is one of the few areas in north Leinster where cock fighting, one of modern Ireland's earliest methods of political socialisation originating from the development of canals in the eighteeth century, maintains a strong although highly secretive support base.
In recent years Oldcastle's growth, as with many other places in Ireland, has been symbolised by it becoming a major destination for workers, mainly from Eastern Europe, who come to work in the numerous industries, particularly furniture, bedding and victualling, located in the area.
Tourism plays an important part of life in Oldcastle. Located a short distance away from the town itself are the Loughcrew Cairns. They are a major source of tourism for the area attracting many visitors each year. They are considered by many to be among the oldest prehistoric complexes in the world. Built around 3300 BC as passage tombs they predate the Great Pyramid of Egypt by around 500 years. Oldcastle is also the home of one of Ireland's largest online travel agents - Travelpaths.
Oldcastle has been 'The bedding capital of Ireland' now for two decades. Gleneagle Woodcrafts and Respa Bedding are two well known industries that have made a name for themselves in Ireland and are a major source of employment for the area. Other sizeable enterprises operate in Oldcastle and provide a considerable amount of employment to the town.
Also notable are the engineering firms located in the parish of Moylagh, County Meath, approx. 5 miles from the town. These industries have attracted many foreigners to the area for work, mainly from Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, and Poland.
Oldcastle is served by many educational and social amenities. As well as a mixed primary school, Gilson National School, there is also a second level Vocational School, St. Oliver Post Primary. This secondary school has been expanded in recent years, with the opening of a large new building in 2002. St. Oliver Post Primary won the All Ireland Vocational Schools Senior Cup 'B' Competition on the 3/3/2007 in Gaelic Football.
Recently a brand new community library was opened replacing a smaller library in the town and is now located next to the local Credit Union.
For many years the Oldcastle train station provided a transport link between the area and the rest of the country. The train station provided a much needed source of revenue and income for the local farmers as well as other industries in the area as it allowed local goods and produce to be transported to the main ports of Ireland for export. The train station closed in 1963 during a period in Irish history when a lot of rural lines were closed.