Castlecomer’s rich and varied history is centred around the Wandesforde family and its coal mining heritage. Having been destroyed and rebuilt twice, present day Castlecomer is modelled on the Italian town of Alsinore in Italy. Discover some of the key moments in its evolution by scrolling down below. Check out our illustrated town map here.
The Founding of Castlecomer
William the Marshal, 1st Earl of Pembroke erects a motte and castle at the strategically important situation at the meeting of Castlecomer’s three rivers.
The Wandesfordes Arrive
After being granted lands in 1635, Christopher Wandesforde designed and built the Italian inspired town and Demesne. Castlecomer and the surrounding area remained owned by the Wandesforde family for the next 300 years.
Mill race built
In the 1700s the Deen River was diverted to create a Mill race adjacent to the Dublin Bridge. This served the two Mills operating in the Mill Lane /Lacken area of the town. Another Mill, Proctors Mill at Ballyhemmon operated on the Deen River too and still survives today.
The Battle of Castlecomer
The united Irishmen marched on Castlecomer from Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford following a bloody defeat at the Battle of Vinegar Hill. Following a sustained melee and artillery bombardment from the British, the town was razed to the ground allowing the English forces to retreat under a cloud of gunpowder smoke. The rebels with their numbers weakened, abandoned their plans to spark revolt and marked on to Co. Laois
Mining Industry is Born
Castlecomer’s vast mining industry sprang up from the accidental discovery of coal during early iron ore extraction works during the 1700s. Operating for over 300 years, the industry was responsible for invention of several pioneering mining technologies still in use around the rest of the world to this day.
Castlecomer House Rebuilt
The second, more imposing house begins construction opposite the demesne at the Discovery Park. Sadly demolished in the 1970, all that now remains is the gate lodge, and bridge over the river which once formed part of the moat around the house.
This is the excerpt. In the past Castlecomer had a busy railway line. Castlecomer railway station opened on 21 February 1921 with a passenger service between Castlecomer and Kilkenny.