Castlemaine Town
County Kerry

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Castlemaine village is the gateway to both the Dingle Peninsula and the Ring of Kerry. Castlemaine, a former market town, is situated on the harbour of Castlemaine, on the southwest coast of Ireland. It takes its name from a castle erected on the bridge over the River Maine in 1215 by Mac Carthy More and the Earl of Desmond as a defence to the River Maine crossing.

Each chief was to protect it alternately; but when the Earl received possession of it from MacCarthy, he refused to admit McCarthy, and kept entire possession of the castle, which remained in his family under the reign of Elizabeth.

But it was sacked and destroyed by Cromwellian troops under Ludlow.

Castlemaine is situated on the north side of the river Maine and lies southeast of the Slieve Mish range of mountains and is almost cut off from Dingle Bay. The Maine flows into the harbour of Castlemaine, the castle stood over it and projected considerably on the east side; and buttresses of the arch by which it was supported are still remaining, and the stone socket on which the pivot of the castle gate turned is still to be seen.

An old burial ground about 1.5 miles west of the town contains a standing stone and two Ogham stones.

There are three hospitable bars in the town; one of them as you drive in from the Killarney road, named after the famous “Wild Colonial Boy”, is definitely worth a stop.

To the west of the town lies the ruins of Castledrum, where the Australian outlaw, known as the Wild Colonial Boy was born. He is celebrated in a song of the same name. The tune originated in Ireland and emigrated to Australia.

                                                  Wild Colonial Boy

There was a wild colonial boy, Jack Duggan was his name, He was born and raised in Ireland in a place called Castlemaine. He was his father's only son, his mother's pride and joy, And dearly did his parents love the wild colonial boy.

At the early age of sixteen years he left his native home, And to Australia's sunny shore he was inclined to roam. He robbed the rich, he helped the poor, he shot James McAvoy, A terror to Australia was the wild colonial boy.

One morning on the prairie as Jack he rode along A-listening to the mockingbird a-singing a cheerful song, Out stepped a band of troopers, Kelly Davis and Fitzroy They all set out to capture him, the wild colonial boy.

"Surrender now, Jack Duggan, for you see we're three to one, Surrender in the Queen's high name for you're a plundering son." Jack drew two pistols from his belt and proudly waved them high "I'll fight, but not surrender," said the wild colonial boy.

He fired a shot at Kelly which brought him to the ground, And turning round to Davis he received a fatal wound. A bullet pierced his proud young heart from the pistol of Fitzroy And that was how they captured him, the wild colonial boy.

The villain may be based on the career of Jack Donahue. Jack Donohue was a criminal who was transported to Australia. He escaped and resumed a life of crime, but was eventually captured and shot in 1830.

The song became so popular in Australia, otherwise known as “Van Demans Land”, that the government feared that it might encourage rebellion among the Irish population in Australia and for 10 years it was illegal to sing the song in pubs.

Do you know who you are? Does your great, great grandfather come from Castlemaine or nearby?

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