Video of Newcastle West, County Limerick, Republic of Ireland
Newcastle West (Irish: an Caisleán Nua Thiar) or simply Newcastle (an Caisleán Nua,
formerly anglicized Castlenoe) is a town in west County Limerick, Ireland. It is
largest town in the county, excluding Limerick city, and sits on the River Arra which
flows into the River Deel. Newcastle West is in the middle of a great bowl-shaped
valley in West Limerick, known one time as the valley of the Wild Boar, apparently
due to the abundance of this animal here when the area was thickly wooded.
Newcastle West grew up around a castle, the ruins of which are located off the town
square. The large castle ruins are well maintained.
Newcastle West used to be called Castle-Roe, after a castle built there by the Knights
Templar in 1184. The town then came to be known as Newcastle, West Limerick, but
over time the 'west' became part of Newcastle and the town was known by the current
name Newcastle West.
The West Limerick and Newcastle West area has traditionally had a strong Dairy and
Agricultural contribution to the local economy. Huge changes have occurred during
the last 20 – 30 years seeing the expanding of the town as a services centre for
West Limerick, also bringing an increase in population. Many people who work in Limerick
City live in Newcastle West and its environs and commute the 42 kilometres (26 mi)
daily. However, Newcastle West itself is now a large centre of employment as there
is a strong business and entrepreneurial culture locally. Large to medium employers
include Pallas Foods, Rettig Myson, Ballygowan Spring Water and Filtertek. There
are dozens of Businesses employing 10-50 including PSE Power Systems, Brian A Flynn,
Brian Scully Services and Nolan Products. Hundreds are employed in the retail stores
including local and international multiples. In recent times, there has been national
success stories in e-business from local companies like HuntOffice.ie and IrishTourism.com,
who are growing information technology skills and employment in the emerging knowledge
economy of the town.
The entire West Limerick area has a very strong tradition of music, with many renowned
traditional Irish musicians coming from the area. Newcastle West has an active pipe
band, and at one time also had a Brass & Reed band. A musical society was formed
in 2009 and it has been very successful in producing 'Blood Brothers'. A local band
called The Rivermen are very popular, and have been playing modern pop and classics
for many years. Traditional music, ballad and folk sessions and various modern electric
bands can be heard in many of the local pubs on a regular basis, including The Shamrock
on South Quay where a ballad session can frequently be found on Sunday nights. The
Goat St. Blues Festival is based in Clery's pub on South Quay.