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Callan, County Kilkenny facts for kids

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Green Street, Callan, at sunset
Green Street, Callan, at sunset
Callan is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
County County Kilkenny
 • Total 5 km2 (2 sq mi)
65 m (213 ft)
Irish Grid Reference S410440

Callan (Irish: Callainn) is a town in County Kilkenny in Ireland. Situated 16 km (10 mi) south of Kilkenny on the N76 road to Clonmel, it is near the border with County Tipperary. It is the second largest town in the county, and has a population of 2,475 as of the 2016 census. Callan is the chief town of the barony of the same name.

History of the name

"The Moat" situated in Callan

Callan was founded by William the Marshal in 1207 and reputedly gets its name from the High King of Ireland, Niall Caille. It is reported that while at war with the Norsemen the High King arrived in Callan to find that its river was in flood. The King witnessed his servant trying to cross the river and being swept away by the fast flowing current.

The King, recorded in history as a man of action, seeing the impending disaster, impetuously urged his horse into the fast flowing river in a vain bid to save his servant, only to be also overcome and drowned by the torrent. The river in question is now named the "Kings River".


Edmund Rice's childhood home at Callan

Callan is the birthplace of some famous people, namely:

  • Gerald Comerford (died 1604), the principal landowner in Callan in the late sixteenth century and also an influential politician and judge; his tomb can still be seen at St Mary's Church.
  • Edmund Ignatius Rice, founder of the Irish Christian Brothers and the Presentation Brothers
  • Patrick Cudahy (1849–1919), American industrialist and philanthropist
  • Callan also has links with Asa Griggs Candler's family and the Coca-Cola company.
  • Perhaps its most famous inhabitant was Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin (1780–1838), who was a schoolmaster and linen-draper in the town, and kept a diary in the Irish language between 1827 and 1835. This recorded in great detail the life of the town, which he named Callain an Chlampair or "Callan of the Ructions". At the time the town was notorious for its extreme poverty. Amhlaoibh's diary is considered one of the most detailed contemporary accounts of life in Ireland at the time from a native perspective.
  • John Locke, Ireland's Poet in Exile, was born here in 1847. He was the author of many well known poems, including The Calm Avonree and Dawn on the Irish Coast, also referred to as the Emigrants Anthem and for which he is probably best remembered.
  • Tony O'Malley, Irish painter
  • James Hoban who designed The White House and Leinster House among others was born in Desart, near Callan.
  • Thomas Kilroy Irish playwright and novelist. Author of historical novel The Big Chapel.
  • Thomas Nash (Newfoundland) Irish fisherman, settled in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Founder of Branch, Newfoundland and Labrador

Recent developments

Neil Jordan's film Breakfast on Pluto with Cillian Murphy and Liam Neeson was filmed in Callan during August–September 2005. During the two weeks of filming in Callan, the main streets of the town were transformed for use in the film.

In 2007, Callan celebrated its 800th year. President Mary McAleese launched the 800th celebrations of the town being granted a charter.

On April 19, 2013, the discount superstore Aldi opened its 100th Irish store in Callan.

In order to commemorate those who died in the Callan area during world war one, a statue was erected outside the church of the assumption on green street. A ceremony was held in order to pray for those who fought in the war and also for the families of those who died during the great war.

Places of interest

  • The Moat, located at the top of Moat Lane just off Bridge Street, The Moat as it is locally known is one of Ireland's best preserved Motte-and-bailey's.
  • Saint Marys, located on Green Street.
  • The Workhouse, located in Prologue, Callan
  • Callan Augustinian Friary, known locally as the "Abbey Meadow" can be found at the North East end of Callan and can be accessed via Bridge Street.
Callan Augustinian Friary

Callan Local Electoral Area

The Callan Local Electoral Area of County Kilkenny includes the electoral divisions of Aghaviller, Ballinamara, Ballybeagh, Ballycallan, Boolyglass, Burnchurch, Callan Rural, Callan Urban, Coolaghmore, Danesfort, Dunamaggan, Earlstown, Ennisnag, Grange, Kells, Killamery, Kilmaganny, Kilmanagh, Knocktopher, Mallardstown, Outrath, Scotsborough, Stonyford, Tullaghanbrogue, Tullahought and Tullaroan.


Callan had two primary schools, Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Iognáid Rís. the two schools amalgamated in 2007 to form Bunscoil McAuley Rice. Callan also has two secondary schools; the boys' school, Coláiste Éamann Rís, and the girls' St. Brigid's College.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Callan para niños

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