Westmeath apopted Village plan
Collinstown (or Baile na gCailleach) is a Westmeath (Iar-Mhí expanding village 18 km north east of the Westmeath county town of Mullingar.
The old Irish name of this village, translated to town of the veiled women, in olden times were referred to irreverently as town of the hags, where there was once a convent established on the Nun's island of nearby Lough Lene.
Collinstown (St. Mary's parish) was known in the past as Maypole, and has grown to a population of approximately 700.
Lough Lene Inn
Local Services & Activities
St. Mary's catholic arish church
Plant and garden centre
Grocery Shopping (Gala &Spar)
Collinstown Filling Station, (Light hardware, Petrol and solid home fuel)
Equestrian horse riding training centre Barbavilla
Mini-Golf (Pitch & Putt)
Fishing Lough Lene Angling Association
Bingo (weekly on Tuesday)
I.C.A - Irish country women activities
Local Hunting & Blood sports
Hill walking and cycling
For basic and daily needs, Collinstown (or Baile na gCailleach) posesses quite a number of retail outlets. Gala, Spar, Collinstown fuel filling station, combined with the Lough Lene Inn and the Maypole bar provide for the local custom.
The different associations attend the populations interests locally.
An Post Collinstown
Collinstown also is doted with a much appreciated local post office and the associated services.
Village Bed & Breakfast
Business visitors and tourists are welcomed and cared for by the village bed & breakfast.
The Maypole Bar
Refreshments and beverages, from the Maypole bar and the Lough Lene Inn are also available to all, where a friendly welcome awaits you.
A national school for primary schooling built to replace the old school for a growing community answers the educational needs for the community.
The school is situated between the parish church of St. Mary's and the new creche.
A new creche adjacent to the national school and St. Mary's parish church now acts as a dy care centre for small children.
Opposite the creche is situated the local gargen centre, Peaceful plants, also servicing the communities near and far.
Collinstown has been an inhabited area from pre-Christian times, proven by the presence of a multitude of Ringforts many now over grown, and other historic relics, may be visited in the surrounding high ground surrounding Lough Lene.
The area also boasts of ancient burial-grounds associated with Saint Colman who was responsible of 7 early christian cells, of which Lene and Carric, are near by, and during peanal times there are the christian mass paths, and styles by which pilgrims travelled on foot through fields to Sunday mass.
Turgesius the viking had a fortress built upon the major Lough Lene island nearby. These historical relics and others, are clearly marked upon the ordinance survey maps no. 41 & 42 of the Ordinance Survey maps of Ireland (OSI).
West of Collinstown in the Ranaghan area, and south-west of Lough Lene, remain today different ringforts of which at least one is attributed to the tyrant Viking, Turgesius. From the high ground they overlook the lake and were easy to defend. Legend has it that he dwelled here before being killed by Melaghlin or Malachy the local Meath /Westmeath chieften. In addition to this fort, Turgesius also had another upon the biggest island of Lough Lene which still today bears his name, Turgesius Island.
Collinstown also has close historic links with the religious orders, the irish name Baile na gCailleach associated to the Nuns convent upon the second island on Lough Lene, and finally, the saint Taurin, saint Fechan, and Evreux Benedectine monks who came from Normandy, associated with Fore Abbey.
The above mentioned ringforts, and recorded protected structures are marked with small turquoise circles here in the village plan:
Lough Lene Bell
In 1882, the Royal Irish Academy, were presented with the Bell of Lough Lene, by the Barbavila estate proprietor Mr. William Barlow Smythe. Being owner also of the two of the islands upon Lough Lene, where the bell had been discovered, Castle Island, the previous year, by a boy fishing for eels,
Given the close proximity to the Fore Abbey, the estate owner Smythe concluded that the bell possibly belonged to the St Feichin Abbey; During the Viking and Anglo-Norman oppressions, it may have been transferred to Nun's Island, before being eventually being hidden upon Castle Island.
The Bell has a faint outline of the Christian Celtic [[cross]] upon opposing sides of the bell. The has an ornamental periiphal border. Smythe pronounced that ornamentation was generally reserved for the cases or [[shrines for that era and was therefore most unusual.
The bell, appears similar to two other bells from that early Christian period. These had been found in Bangor, Co. Down in the year 1832, and another in [[Cashel]] county Tipperary in 1849. Smythe, the Barbavila owner, believed that the Lough Lene Bell was contemporary to these bells which were believed to be from the 7th century, therefore supporting his theory that it was possible that it could have been a relic of St. Feichin's.
The Folklore Commission also hold an account of Kit "the Blade" Fagan's discovery of the bell, which consequentially triggered a local treasure hunt for further artifacts around [[Collinstown]] and Fore.
While the original ''Lough Lene Bell'' remains within the National Museum, a half sized replica holds the prided place as the Ceann Comhairle's Bell in Dáil Éireann.
This replica was presented to the Dáil in 1931 by the widow of Major Bryan Cooper, a former member of the House.
During the last century, the Barbavilla House & Estate provided much needed employment in the area. Houses farm buildings, and animal dwellings were built from stone for employees throughout the immediate surroundings of Barbavilla in and around Collinstown. These stone houses, the old school, and farm buildings are protected through local heritage conservation laws, and have been well conserved for the beholding eye. The notable feature of these buildings of stone is the roofing tile baked from local red coloured clay, was manufactured within the Barbavilla estate for all of the constructed buildings, some of these remaining buildings are identified by the small moss-green circles, also in the above link.
Barbavilla was once home to the Smyth’s, an old English landlord, and is now become an industrial complex for automotive parts.
The sister parish of Collinstown, St. Fechin's, the village of Fore, which also has a historic interest, an ancient monastery, a European centre of learning during the middle ages. The Fore village, next to the Benedictine Abbey ruin, is situated in the north of Westmeath, the lake-county of Ireland north of Lough Lene.
Stream-Engine, Iralco Collinstown
Lough Lene Inn
Fish form lough Lene
Lough Lene where freshwater brown trout, crayfish (white-clawed, Austropotamobius pallipes, Lereboullet), perch, and other fish may be caught. Lough Lene is also known as the first inland lake to obtain a Blue flag [http://www.blueflag.org/] for its pollution-free water-associated resources.
This blue flag has been allocated with regularity to Lough Lene because of the Lough Lene agricultural communities commitment to preserving this water resource and habitat, for fish and wild-life. Vandals have deteriorated the site and have regretfully, failed to obtain the treasured Blue flag in 2006.
The Lough Lene Angling association, the association which administers the fishing permits and stocks released the following stocks in 2006:
2006 Lough Lene Fish Stocks
january 2006, 6000 1 year old brown trout
April 2006, 2000 2 year old brown trout
May 2006, 2000 2 year old rainbow trout
July 2006, 1500 trout
August 2006, 5000 summer lings Brown trout
Oct. 2006, 25000 Autumn Fingerlings Rainbow Trout
Oct. 2006, 25000 Autumn Fingerlings Brown Trout
Oct. 2006, 4000 1 year old Brown Trout
Wind-surfing on Lough Lene
Bathing, sailing, wind-surfing, for beginners, and authorised fishing, jetty facilities are available at the Collinstown lake access point named locally as "The Cut" about 2km north of the village.
The Cut Lough Lene
The Pitch and putt club of Collinstown is also an obligatory stop for many European tourists.
Lough Lene Gaels G.A.A. sporting link
Lough Lene Gaels GAA
Commerce & Industry
Since 1964, the IRALCO Irish Aluminium Company situated in the Barbavilla Estate have made automotive parts for major European car companies, employing personnel locally.
Other Industriel activities are as follows:
Beef & Dairy farming,
Goats cheese production,
Westmeath County Council
Ordenance Survey of Ireland (maps no. 41 and no.42)
Viking Ireland Network school project
Lough Lene Monks Boat
Associated L.Lene boat text
Lough Lene Gaels
Loughs of Westmeath
St. Colman (Colman Mac Luachain 6th/7th century)
Betha Colmáin Maic Lúacháin, or, The Life of Colmán son of Lúachan
Town of Westmeath
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