CHARLEVILLE is a busy market town in North Cork, located close to the border with Limerick. It is situated in a rich agricultural area known as the Golden Vale which spans parts of Counties Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. It is in the townland of Ráth Luirc or An Ráth, indicating that there was a settlement here in Early Medieval times, over a thousand years ago. The lands were purchased by Richard Boyle, one of the most successful Elizabethan adventure colonists in Ireland. Roger, his son and First Earl of Orrery and Lord – President of Munster, founded the town of Charleville in 1661 and named it in honour of King Charles II. The town was the centrepiece of a vast estate owned by the Earl.
The town, as it is today, was laid out in a formal plan with two parallel wide streets. It was granted a charter in the late 17th century with a Sovereign and two bailiffs elected annually by the twelve burgesses. Boyle’s principal residence was Charleville House, a magnificent manor set within a vast deerpark. The house was located to the north of the town- it was burnt by Irish forces in 1690 and nothing of the house now remains.
Charleville, like most Irish towns, underwent a period of rebuilding in the late 18th/early 19th century and most of its elegant streetscape dates to this period. One feature of the streetscape, now almost entirely disappeared, were the many side lanes that gave… read more