Irish: Caisleán Uidhilín

Castlewellan village, from the "Peace Maze"
 Castlewellan shown within County Down
Population 2,392 (2001 Census)
CountyCounty Down
CountryNorthern Ireland
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode district BT31
Dialling code 028
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK ParliamentSouth Down
NI AssemblySouth Down
List of places
Northern Ireland

Coordinates: 54°16′01″N 5°55′59″W / 54.267°N 5.933°W / 54.267; -5.933

Main Street, Castlewellan, May 2010

Castlewellan (from Irish Caisleán Uidhilín, meaning "Uidhilín's castle") is a village in County Down, Northern Ireland. It is beside Castlewellan Lake and Slievenaslat mountain, 11 miles (18 km) southwest of Downpatrick. It lies between the Mourne Mountains and Slieve Croob. It had a population of 2,392 people in the 2001 Census.

Castlewellan has a wide main street which runs through two main squares lined with chestnut trees. The town was designed by a French architect for the Annesley Family. The Annesley family did not always own the land as they bought it from The Maginess Family. (see Earl Annesley), then owners of what is now Castlewellan Christian Conference Centre and Forest Park, and is unique within Ireland due to its tree lined squares both in the old town (upper square) and new town (lower square) as well as its very wide main street. The old market house in the upper square was built in 1764 and now houses the public library.[1]

Places of interest

Old Market House, December 2009
St Malachy's Roman Catholic Church, May 2010
St Paul's Church of Ireland, May 2010


12 July 1849 saw the Dolly's Brae conflict. After learning that an attack upon their parade was planned, up to 1400 armed Orangemen marched from Rathfriland to Tollymore Park near Castlewellan, County Down. When 1000 armed Ribbonmen attacked them on their homeward journey, shots were fired, Catholic homes were burnt and about 80 Ribbonmen killed.[10]

The Troubles

For more information see The Troubles in Castlewellan, which includes a list of incidents in Castlewellan during the Troubles resulting in two or more fatalities.

Castlewellan throughout the course of The Troubles, had a significant paramilitary presence in the Village, mostly through the presence of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA)

In January 2009 a 300 lb car bomb was abandoned outside Castlewellan. It had been destined for the British Army base at Ballykinler. Óglaigh na hÉireann, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it had planned to drive the bomb through the gates of the barracks before detonating it.[11]



Castlewellan railway station was opened on 24 March 1906 by the Great Northern Railway of Ireland, but closed on 2 May 1955.[15]

Trains used to connect Newcastle and Belfast via Lisburn.


The Celtic Fusion International Musical Arts Festival has been held annually in the town since 2002.[16]



Castlewellan is classified as an intermediate settlement by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)[18] (i.e. with population between 2,250 and 4,500 people). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 2,392 people living in Castlewellan. Of these:


See also


  1. "".
  2. Drumena Cashel, Irish Antiquities, archived from the original on 14 March 2005
  3. Drumena Stone Fort, Megalithic Ireland
  4. "Forest Service".
  5. Gerd Krüssmann, Manual of Cultivated Conifers, Portland: Timber Press, 1995, p. 101
  6. Peace Maze Archived 20 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. "Canoe tragedy victim 'was a hero'". BBC News. 7 April 2007.
  8. "Banbridge". Travel Now. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
  9. "Goward Dolmen in Clonduff parish". Ros Davies' Co. Down, Northern Ireland Genealogy Research Site. Retrieved 2007-12-11.
  10. "Parades and Marches - Chronology 2: Historical Dates and Events". Conflict Archive on the Internet (CAIN). Retrieved 28 January 2010.
  11. Rayment, Sean (25 April 2009). "Dissident republicans preparing to bomb UK". Telegraph (25 April 2009). London. Archived from the original on 29 April 2009. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
  12. "St Malachy's Primary School, Castlewellan".
  13. Clarke, Barry. "St Malachys High School - St Malachys High School Castlewellan".
  14. Boirche, Bunscoil Bheanna. "School Aims".
  15. "Castlewellan station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
  16. "Celtic Fusion International Musical Arts Festival". Irish Music Magazine. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  17. Castlewellan Town FC
  18. "NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2015".

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