Sneha Girap

Ashbourne, County Meath

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Country  Ireland
Province  Leinster
Population  14,019

Ashbourne, historically called Killeglan or Kildeglan (Irish: , meaning "Deaglans church"), is a town in County Meath, Ireland. It is about 20 km north of Dublin city centre and is bypassed by the M2 motorway.

Contents

Map of Ashbourne, County Meath

Funeral in ashbourne co meath 2010


Ashbourne town co meath ireland


History

Ashbourne, County Meath in the past, History of Ashbourne, County Meath

Recent archaeological excavations in the area around Ashbourne have revealed evidence of settlement back to neolithic times. In the townland of Rath, to the north of the town centre, a Bronze Age settlement was found during the construction of the M2 motorway. Excavations in the vicinity of the cemetery Killegland revealed the extent of the early Christian settlement, with souterrains, house sites and a large enclosure centred around the remains of the church that is visible in the cemetery. This would link the townland name of Killegland - meaning Declans Church - to pre-Patrician settlement in the area. Archaeological excavations on the site of Lidl supermarket revealed the original medieval town, with several house remains, associated field systems, fish traps and mill races.

Ashbourne, County Meath in the past, History of Ashbourne, County Meath

Hugh de Lacy, Lord of Meath set about building fortified houses, called mottes and baileys, in case the native Irish would regroup and attack. The remains of a motte and bailey can be found in Ratoath 5 km from Ashbourne.

Once settled, Hugh de Lacy divided the land among his army. A large portion at Killeglan was given to a family called Wafre in 1220. This family lived there until 1420, the last member of this family having built a tower house (a fortified house often called a castle). The castle and lands became the property of the Segrave family, who remained owners until 1649. The first of the family recorded in Meath, Richard Sydgrave, was Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer 1423-5. They became one of the most influential and wealthy non-aristocratic families in Ireland during the 16th century, with two gaining the high political office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, while another became High Sheriff of Meath; Richard Segrave ( died 1598) and his son Patrick Segrave were both judges of the Court of Exchequer (Ireland).

However, their political power and possessions were removed during the religious wars of 1641 to 1650. Indeed, during the Cromwellian period, Oliver Cromwells son, Henry, stayed for a time in Killeglan Castle. With the final subjugation of the native Irish after 1690, and the imposition of religious persecution in the Penal Laws, a new land-owner named Thomas Carter gained possession of the Killeglan lands. He did not live there, and the castle fell into dis-repair and eventually into ruin. The Carter family held high office in Irish politics during the 18th century but their fortunes waned in the early 19th century. When the Carter estates were sold in the 1840s, the Killegland lands were bought by Frederick Bourne.

Frederick Bourne was a rich entrepreneur who made his fortune from roads and transport. Before 1820 in Ireland roads were almost non-existent. Government regulations allowed for considerable spending on roads, and the subsequent improvements ensured greater post-coach services. Bourne owned a coach company and financed road-building, collecting revenue from tolls. He financed a ten mile (old Irish miles) section of road from Dublin to Killegland. He decided to build a small town with an inn, a hotel and other small businesses to make money from travellers. He built this village near his ten mile tollbooth and named the place after his favourite tree, and himself, i.e. Ash and Bourne. This began in 1820.

Bournes idea was a great success. However, by 1850 rail was taking business from the roadways, and the Bourne family fortune declined. In 1821 the population was 133, by 1841 it was 411. Unfortunately the Irish famine took its toll from 1845 to 1851, and the population declined. Frederick Bourne left his land at Killegland, and his village of Ashbourne, to his son Richard in 1844. Richard lived in the village, and his first home is now the Ashbourne House Hotel on Frederick Street. Later he built a modest house down Castle Street near where the last remains of the Wafre and Segrave tower house were. Richard married the daughter of a wealthy local family, Elizabeth Mangan, and had several children. The eldest, Thomas, became his fathers heir and the last landlord of Ashbourne. He left Ireland and went to live in Northfleet, Kent, England in 1899. The land was sold to the local tenants.

References

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