Castlemaine -  Caisleán na Mainge

In my boyhood days when I knew no care how joyfully I played, In its field so green and beautiful it grows a silvery plain.

But alas, alas those days are gone, I no longer can remain, But I must go full of grief and woe from you sunny Castlemaine.

The village of Castlemaine is the south east gateway to the Dingle Peninsula and sits on the banks of the river Maine at the base of the Slieve Mish mountains at the eastern end of Dingle Bay. From this small picturesque village the river Maine twists and turns as it flows west to join the Atlantic ocean at Castlemaine Harbour. 

Throughout history the river Maine was a strategic crossing point between north and south Kerry and the village takes its name from a defensive castle erected on a bridge over the River Maine in medieval times. Nowadays the N70 road from South Kerry to the county capital of Tralee crosses the river Maine and passes through the centre of the village. A junction with the R561 marks the start of the south coast of the Dingle Peninsula.

The whole area of Castlemaine and the estuary at Castlemaine harbour is known for diverse wildlife and flora as well as geological beauty with views of mountains, sea and farmland. Close to Kerry Airport and to the Ring of Kerry the friendly village of Castlemaine makes an ideal base for exploring Kerry and a great first stop when visiting the Dingle Peninsula.

image of sheet music for wild colonial boy ballad

'The Wild Colonial Boy' ballad

Castlemaine is known for being the birthplace of the Wild Colonial Boy whose exploits in Australia were made famous in the well known ballad. There are many different versions of the Irish/Australian ballad 'The Wild Colonial Boy'. The song tells of a young Irish emigrant convicted of highway robbery and sentenced to death. After escape this Robin Hood type character robbed from the rich to feed the poor until he was captured and shot. The Irish version of the song is about ‘Jack Duggan’ who left Castlemaine in the early 1800s. A bar in the village is named after him.

“There was a wild colonial boy, Jack Duggan was his name, He was born and raised in Ireland in a place called Castlemaine."


view of castlemaine harbour area from the R561 road dingle peninsula Co.kerry Ireland

Castlemaine Harbour SAC

The area around Castlemaine is of major ecological importance, with coastal habitats of excellent quality. Castlemaine Harbour is a very important site for wintering waterfowl providing good quality feeding and roosting habitats for an excellent diversity of waterbirds, including geese, waders, divers and seaduck. Species of birds found here include Brent geese, cormorants, shelduck, wigeon, dunlin, redshank, golden plover, oystercatcher. Part of this area is a Statutory Nature Reserve. it includes long stretches of river and stream which are excellent habitats for Salmon, Lamprey and Otter. 

The protected natterjack toad is one of the rare animals found in the area.

The Siege of Castlemaine

 Castlemaine takes its name from a defensive castle built on a bridge spanning the River Maine.The River Maine would have flooded in winter and was a strategic river crossing in Munster. A pen and ink map drawing depicting the Castle on the bridge at Castlemaine exists in the UK National Archives, Kew, England. The drawing is of the Siege of Castlemaine by Sir John Perot, Lord President of Munster, in 1572 and was probably drawn shortly after Sir John Perrot's victory in August 1572. The map shows the castle spanning the River Maine, Perot's camp, two Gallyglas camps, Macarte More's camp, two cannons firing at the castle, the first camp, the abbey, the ferry, wood and bog. The siege was part of a campaign by Perot against rebels.


How to get to Castlemaine

Directions: From Kerry Airport take the R561 west. From Tralee take the N70 south. Castlemaine is where the N70 intersects the R561. 



Castlemaine - Directory

Directory links to related businesses, events and providers on the Dingle Peninsula

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