Castlecomer is a town in the north of County Kilkenny. It is bounded on the east by the River Barrow, the west by the River Nore and dissected in the centre by the River Dinnin. The name Castlecomer comes from the Irish Caislean an Chumai which means "the Castle at the confluence of the Waters", the "waters" referring to the rivers Deen, Brocagh and Cloghogue while the "castle" refers to the Norman castle built in 1171 on the mound opposite the gates to "Castlecomer Demesne".
The town was associated with the coal mining industry since the 17th century. Until 1969, coal mining was the key economic activity in Castlecomer and the surrounding areas. Mining began in the mid 17th Century with the extraction of iron ore. Huge areas of oak woodland were cleared to feed the smelting furnaces. Coal deposits were found beneath the shale and these were to form the basis of the coal mining industry in the area which lasted for over 300 years.
Castlecomer Discovery Park
Castlecomer Discovery Park is a Social Community Enterprise operating on a Not for Profit basis. Set in the former grounds of the Wandesforde Estate, Castlecomer Discovery Park comprises 80 acres of stunning natural woodland and lakes and began as a community project to rejuvenate the town of Castlecomer following the closure of the coal mines in 1969.
This relatively ‘young’ park opened to the public in 2007 with the launch of the Coal Mining Exhibition, Visitor Centre and Design Craft studios which are located in the former stable yard. The Park continues to evolve and is actively developing a range of exciting recreational, cultural and educational activities for visitors of all ages.