Video of Rochfortbridge, County Westmeath, Republic of Ireland
Rochfortbridge (Irish: Droichead Chaisleán Loiste) is a village in County Westmeath,
Ireland, with a population of 1,473 persons. It is located at the intersection of
the R400 and the N6 national primary route, which recently bypassed the village.
The electoral district of Castlelost in Rochfortbridge had 1,473 inhabitants as of
the 2006 census; this was a rise in population of 6.6% from 2002. Rochfortbridge
is part of the Kilbeggan electoral area, and has four county councillors.
Rochfortbridge (Pass of Kilbride) was once a stopping point on the main East-West/West-East
route (an Slí Mór) across Ireland. The village evolved around a river crossing over
the river Derry. Droichead Chaistleán Loiste, the Gaelic name for Rochfortbridge
translates as "Castlelost Bridge". It is believed that there was a delousing station
here during the Great Famine.
The original bridge at Rochfortbridge was called Beggars Bridge. Local oral tradition
holds that the body of a beggarman was discovered on the old bridge, and that his
pockets contained a sum of money — enough to rebuild the bridge. This story and others
are important to local people even though there is no historical confirmation. The
original bridge was a toll bridge with a toll of one farthing to cross either way.
The village has a new N6 Dual Carriageway from Kinnegad to Athlone bypassing the
village. The village has two primary and one secondary school within the village
with two further primary schools in the parish.
The village of Rochfortbridge is a rural agricultural and dormitory village. Alongside
the rural farmhouses and detached residential homes there are a number of town houses
and housing estates in the village.
The Socio economic data provided by the 2006 census show that there are 45 farmers
in the village with 33 farmworkers. This compares to 226 professional workers, including
teachers, social workers, nurses, gardaí (positions that would normally require at
least a diploma qualification), and 826 workers who range from skilled manual (carpenters,
electricians, etc.) to unskilled labourers. There are a further 179 persons who refer
to themselves as employer managers.