‘Beguiling’ Castletownshend is toast of Britain

February 15th, 2023 7:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Castletownshend has been named one of Ireland’s ‘most charming’ villages.(Photo: Anne Minihane)

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‘IT couldn’t have come at a better time,’ bar and restaurant owner Fergus O’Mahony said of a newspaper’s glowing review of Castletownshend.

British newspaper The Guardian has listed the historic village as one of Ireland’s top ten most charming, and it has come at a time when a lot of people in the UK are making their holiday bookings, said Fergus.

The 196 residents of Castletownshend – which developed around a 17th-century castle that was built by Richard Townshend – are hoping it will bring a lot of people into the village. 

‘When the road is tarmacked and the kerbs are done after the Council finish their works, the whole village will look brilliant,’ said Fergus, proprietor of Mary Ann’s bar and restaurant. ‘There’s a load of work being done and a number of houses have been bought, bringing new people to the area, and creating a constant sense of renewal.’

In a single sentence The Guardian has captured the magic of the village.

‘Castletownshend’s beguiling streets,’ it states, ‘plunge steeply down to its quays. It feels like a slipway, as if the tall, elegant houses might cast off at any moment and disappear over the hazy horizon into another realm.’

The village, famously, has three magnificent stained glass windows from the artist Harry Clarke, in St Barrahane’s Church. 

‘The spirit of the past,’ the article continues, ‘lingers like the salty air from a time when Anglo-Irish gentry gathered for a game of croquet while waiting impatiently for cucumber sandwiches to be served on the lawn.’

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