CASTLETOWN, or CASTLETOWN-BEARHAVEN, a post-town, in the parish of KILACONENAGH, barony of BERE, county of CORK, and province of MUNSTER, 31 miles (W.) from Bantry, and 202 (S. W.) from Dublin; containing 1468 inhabitants. This town takes its name from an ancient castle that stood here, and is celebrated as being the place where the only part of General Hoche's army that landed was made prisoners, in 1796. It is situated on an inner bay, on the northern side of the harbour of Bearhaven, and comprises one long street of newly built houses, running along the margin of the bay of Castletown, opposite the northwestern point of Bear island. The town has grown up since the discovery of the Allihais copper mines, in 1812, as, prior to that time, it consisted of only a few fishermen's cabins, but now it contains more than 300 houses, with several large shops, and is rapidly increasing. It is the only town in the barony, and there is none nearer than Bantry, which is 31 Irish miles distant. It is encircled by lofty mountains, except towards the south-east, where, on the opposite side of the bay, rise the lofty hills of Bear island, crowned by signal and martello towers.

The trade consists principally in supplying the miners in Kilcateerin. Fairs are held on Jan. 1st, Easter-Tuesday, May 12th, and Sept. 4th, principally for the sale of cattle, pigs, sheep, and pedlery. A constabulary police force has. been stationed here, for which there is an excellent barrack. It is also the residence of the district inspecting commander of the coastguard, whose district includes Garnish, Colaris, and Castletown. Petty sessions are held irregularly, and a manorial court once a month, for the recovery of debts under 40s. A bridewell with separate cells has been recently erected for the temporary confinement of prisoners. The little bay of Castletown is advantageously situated, and vessels of 400 tons' burden may anchor in safety: it opens by a deep channel into the northern branch of Bantry or Bearhaven bay. The pier affords great protection to the fisheries, and is much used for trading purposes; the timber, iron, and other articles for the supply of the neighbourhood being landed here; but the roads connected with it are still in a bad state. Belonging to this port are four decked boats of 20 tons' burden each, 12 hookers of 12 tons, and 51 yawls of 4 tons, which furnish employment to about 400 fishermen. A little westward from the town is the church of Kilaconenagh; and there is a large cruciform Roman Catholic chapel, built in the year 1822, at an expense of £1000.

The male and female parochial schools, built in 1825, are supported by the Cork Diocesan Association and the vicar: there is also a large national school recently built, and a dispensary. There are some remains of Dhermod's castle, and the residence of the inspector of the coast-guard occupies part of its site. Many silver coins have been found at Ross McOwen, including one of Cromwell's; and near Mill cove is a very beautiful cascade.

The harbour of Bearhaven is very large, well sheltered, and sufficiently deep for the largest ships, with a good bottom. There are two entrances; the western, which is the most direct and readiest for vessels arriving from the west or south; and the eastern, which is the safest for strangers. On this bay was situated the castle of Dunboy, which was surrendered to the Spaniards, on their invasion of Ireland in 1601 by its owner, Daniel O'Sullivan. Early in the following year, however, when it should have been given up to the English, in execution of the treaty of Kinsale, O'Sullivan, provoked at the capitulation of the Spaniards, and disdaining to acknowledge their right to divest him of his ancient property, took possession of the castle by surprise and seized the arms and ammunition the Spaniards had deposited there. In April, the English army marched against the O'Sullivans to Bantry, where they embarked, and on the 6th of June landed on the opposite side of the bay, in spite of attempts to oppose their descent. Dunboy was defended for O'Sullivan by a garrison of 143 chosen men, under the command of Richard McGeoghegan, who made one of the most obstinate defences ever known in the kingdom; notwithstanding which the castle ultimately fell into the hands of the English, and was demolished. Bearhaven gives the title of Viscount to the ancient family of White, Earls of Bantry, which was ennobled for its zeal and activity against the French fleet, in 1796.—See KILACONENAGH.

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