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Ros Ó gCairbre
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Rosscarbery or Roscarbery (Irish: Ros Ó gCairbre, meaning "Cairbre's wood") is a town in County Cork, Ireland. The town is on a shallow estuary, which opens onto Rosscarbery Bay. Rosscarbery is in the Cork South–West (Dáil Éireann) constituency, which has three seats.
The area has been occupied from very early times, as is evidenced by the Neolithic remains (pred 2000 BC) such as portal dolmens. The area is very strong in Bronze Age remains - including a number of stone circles. There are also two inscribed stones in Burgatia. The number of ring forts and holy wells witnesses the Iron Age and transition from the Old to the New (Christian) God.
Rosscarbery was home to the School of Ross, a major centre of learning, at one time being a university town, and one of the major cities in Europe, around the 6th century. Due to its popularity as a centre of pilgrimage it was also known as Ros Ailithir ("Wood of the Pilgrims"). The hereditary chieftains of the area, or tuath, were the O'Learys, known as Uí Laoghaire Ruis Ó gCairbre, until it passed to Norman control in the early thirteenth century. The entire region had belonged to the ancient Corcu Loígde, of whom the O'Learys were one of the leading septs.
The town itself has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent times, despite the lack of any major industry in the area, and being just outside the commuter belt for the city of Cork. The majority of new housing is holiday accommodation, which results in an annual swell in population during summer months. According to the 2006 census, the population of the town is 936.
There is a cathedral in the town, an unusual feature for what now would be considered a sleepy country town. It is a Church of Ireland cathedral - St. Fachtna's Cathedral. St Fachtna's is the smallest cathedral in Ireland, and is the size of a typical parish church.
The annual horse fair is held in the Square every year on August 26.
Rosscarbery is a popular tourist destination in the summertime, being in proximity to at least three fine beaches. The nearest of these, the "Warren Beach", is about a mile from the village, and is designated a blue flag beach, along with the nearby Owenahincha beach. The Warren Beach has experienced extensive coastal erosion in recent times, but remedial works have been undertaken throughout 2004/2005. Rosscarbery Pitch & Putt Club is located at the beach.
Bohonagh is a recumbent stone circle located 2.4 km east of Rosscarbery. The circle of 12 stones is thought to date from the Bronze Age. A boulder burial is sited nearby. (grid ref: 308 368, Latitude: 51.580102N Longitude: 8.998987W)
Castle Salem is also near the town, and was the home to the Morris family from around 1660 until the early 1800s. The castle is now a guest house and run by the Daly family who bought the castle in 1895.
Fachtna of Rosscarbery (died c. 600), founder of Ros Ailithir monastery.
The poet Airbertach mac Cosse was lector and superior of Ros Ailithir monastery, where he died in 1016.
The athlete Timothy J. O'Mahony (1864 - 1914) was born in a house in the main square. He was the Irish quarter mile champion in 1885, 1886 and 1888, and became the USA quarter mile champion in 1888.
Also connected with Rosscarbery is William Thompson (1775-1833), the Irish political and philosophical writer and socialist reformer.
Tom Barry, a leader of the Irish War of Independence is associated with the town. Meda Ryan's biography - the standard reference text on Tom Barry - states that Barry was born in Kerry to Cork parents, and the 1901 census records the Ryan family living in Killorglin at that time. (Barry's father [also Thomas] was posted to Killorglin barracks as an RIC constable.) Tom Barry had moved to Rosscarbery with his family by 1911, and a Rosscarbery house bears a plaque to this effect. In his memoirs (Guerrilla Days in Ireland) Barry recalls riding a cow through the town's main street to amuse other boys. There is a plaque on the site of the former RIC Barracks, beside the current Garda Station, commemorating the taking of the RIC Barracks by Tom Barry's Flying Column in March 1921.
The town has a strong tradition of GAA, its local team being Carbery Rangers, founded in 1887. In November 2003, Carbery Rangers won their first ever football County Junior A title, and subsequently a Junior Munster, Intermediate County, Munster, and All-Ireland titles. The club has since graduated to the senior ranks.
Rosscarbery Rowing Club competes at regattas in West Cork and at the Irish Coastal Rowing Federation Championships each August.
See Annals of Inisfallen (AI)