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Castletownshend National School

& History

The attractive village of Castletownshend is situated on the coast about 8km from Skibbereen. The village developed around the castle, which was built in the mid 1600s by the Townshends and is the seat of the family. The steeply inclined main street runs down to the castle, the quayside and the harbour.

The village sits on the north side of Castlehaven Harbour in the parish of Castlehaven, which owes its name to the castle that protects the haven. A unique feature of Castletownshend is the two sycamore trees growing in the roundabout in the centre of the village. It is very unusual in that, because of its history it has a planned look and feel of a Northern English Village in many ways. 

The Castle is totally authentic both inside and out and still has the original family in residence. The pier and harbour are picture perfect and sheltered with old stone buildings on the quay. Some very grand period Manor Houses are also dotted around the village.

Knockdrum Fort

Near the school is “Knockdrum” stone fort. This is situated on top of Knockdrum Hill. It was used during Bronze Age times and indeed much  later ,as a secure and safe place to live in. 

They could see the enemy ships coming into Castletownshend Harbour from the hill-top view. It’s fairly large with a thick stone wall surrounding it. 

There are a number of carved stones around the entrance  of the fort and an underground passage inside (sou-terrain). This was used for escape in the case of attack. Legend says it leads under the ground, down to a nearby lake.

The Three

Our school area is one which is rich in history. On  a hill to the east of the school stands the “Three Fingers”.

These are 3 standing stones. Long ago there used to be 5 standing stones but one fell and another was removed to the village of Castletownshend a few hundred years ago. It is believed to be  in the garden of “Speranza”.

It is said that these were Giant’s Fingers-Fionn MacCumhaill’s, others say that they were part a sundial to tell the time in the past.

War of the Buttons

Our school featured in the opening scene of the 1994 movie War of the Buttons, where the youth of the fictional villages of Carricdowse and Ballydose in 1960’s Ireland would battle each other over their opponents buttons which would be cut off in order to get them into trouble with their parents.