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This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. It needs additional references or sources for verification. Tagged since August 2008. It may require copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone, or spelling. Tagged since January 2011. Rochfortbridge Droichead Chaisleán Loiste —  Town  — Rochfortbridge Location in Ireland Coordinates: 53°24′58″N 7°17′46″W / 53.416°N 7.296°W / 53.416; -7.296Coordinates: 53°24′58″N 7°17′46″W / 53.416°N 7.296°W / 53.416; -7.296 Country Ireland Province Leinster County County Westmeath Government  - Dáil Éireann Longford–Westmeath  - EU Parliament North–West Elevation 32 m (105 ft) Population (2006)  - Urban 1,473  - Rural 200 Time zone WET (UTC+0)  - Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1) Area code(s) +353-44-92 Irish Grid Reference N462407 Rochfortbridge (Irish: Droichead Chaisleán Loiste) is a village in County Westmeath, Ireland, with a population of 1,473 persons. It is located at the intersection of the R400 and the N6 national primary route, which recently bypassed the village. Rochfortbridge, Village View The electoral district of Castlelost in Rochfortbridge had 1,473 inhabitants as of the 2006 census; this was a rise in population of 6.6% from 2002.[1] Rochfortbridge is part of the Kilbeggan electoral area, and has four county councillors. The present councillors, elected in 2009, are Colm Arthur (Fine Gael), Gerry Corcoran (Labour), Joseph Flanagan (Fine Gael), and Paul Daly (Fianna Fáil).[2] Contents 1 History 1.1 Mercy Convent Rochfortbridge 1.2 Deaf and Dumb Institute 1.3 St. Joseph's Secondary School 1.4 Archaelogical sites in Rochfortbridge 2 Present day 3 See also 4 References 5 External links 5.1 Westmeath County Council Development plans for Rochfortbridge 5.2 Newspaper articles concerning the redevelopment of Rochfortbridge History Rochfortbridge (Pass of Kilbride) was once a stopping point on the main East-West/West-East route (an Slí Mór) across Ireland. The village evolved around a river crossing over the river Derry. It is believed that there used to be a delousing station here during the Great Famine.[citation needed] The original bridge at Rochfortbridge was called Beggars Bridge. The bridge was replaced by Robert Rochfort MP, and gives the town its name. Droichead Chaistleán Loiste, the Gaelic name for Rochforbridge translates as "Castlelost Bridge". There is an important local oral tradition that the body of a beggarman was discovered on the old bridge, and that his pockets contained a sum of money – enough to rebuild the bridge. This story and others are extremely relevant to local people even though there is no historical basis. The original bridge was a toll bridge with a toll of one farthing to cross either way. The village proper was set out by Robert Rochfort, MP for Westmeath from 1651 to 1727, and grandfather of Robert, 1st Earl of Belvedere. The village was set out c. 1700 on receiving a grant from Queen Anne to hold a monthly market in the area.[citation needed] As part of the village building programme, Rochfort financed and built a new bridge over the river Derry. This bridge gave the village its name: Rochfort Bridge. Following the death of Rochfort in 1727, the village and its logistics were controlled by his son George Rochfort. George died just three years later, in 1730, and the village was then under the control of his son Robert Rochfort (soon to become 1st Earl of Belvedere). On the death of the 1st Earl, the village passed to his son and heir George Augustus Rochfort, the 2nd Earl of Belvedere. George's second wife Jane, Countess Belvedere, placed her mark strongly on the village of Tyrrellspass. In 1797 Lt. Col. Robert Rochfort (aka Bobby Bán; 1743–1797), son of the 1st Earl, and brother of the 2nd Earl, died and his estate at Dunboden passed to the Cooper family. The other great Rochfort Estate at Gaulstown also changed hands, with Gaulstown passing to Lord Kilmaine. It was the Cooper Family and Lord Kilmaine that in 1847 rebuilt the village to its present state, as part of a famine relief programme. Almost all of the original village dwellings were demolished during this village revamp by the Coopers of Dunboden and Lord Kilmaine of Gaulstown. The only remaining building of the Rochfort era that still stands in the village is the Protestant church, just off what is now the village's main street. Mercy Convent Rochfortbridge In 1862 the Mercy Convent was established in Rochfortbridge, and in 1872, with help from the donations of a local family, it was extended to house a school for females who had a hearing or visual disability. This institution continued until the 1940s, when the Sisters of Mercy established the secondary school.[3] Deaf and Dumb Institute In 1892, at the request of the Most Rev Dr Nulty, Bishop of Meath, M M Stanislaus opened a Deaf and Dumb School in the part of St Joseph's which had been occupied by the Sisters of Mercy before their move to the new convent in 1872.[4] St. Joseph's Secondary School The demand for secondary education and a lack of such facilities in the area, lead in 1947 to permission being sought from the Bishop to set up a Secondary School at St. Joseph’s in Rochfortbridge. Permission was granted, and in order to fund this venture shares belonging to St. Joseph’s Deaf Mute Institute were sold. The Department of Education required a certified secondary teacher, so a secondary top was established. This worked in conjunction with the national school. In 1948 on 7 September, 14 students, mainly boarders, began their academic career at St. Joseph’s. Conditions were very primitive all over the country at this particular time, but the situation improved in 1949 when electricity was brought to the locality. In 1949 two lay teachers were appointed, Ms. Maureen Doyle, BA H Dip and Ms. B. Galvin. When Sr. Magdalene completed her BA and H Dip it was decided to discontinue the secondary top and to establish a proper secondary school with Sr. Magdalene as principal. For two years state exams were held in Loreto, Mullingar for the Rochfortbridge students, and in 1952 some of the Sisters visited No. 1 Hume Street to secure a centre for exams. In 1953 a Leaving Cert Centre was established in the school and gradually the enrolment increased with 65 boarders registered in 1957. 1963 saw a new chapter in education in Rochfortbrige when the Bishop announced the extension of St. Joseph’s to accommodate the boys of the district. The Curriculum was expanded to include subjects such as woodwork, metalwork and science. Due to the increasing numbers further accommodation was required and in 1973 a house and land adjoining the school was purchased. This was the start of plans for a major building project which involved a tremendous amount of fundraising and culminated in the opening of a new school in 1983. Still planning further expansion the Parochial House and gardens were purchased in 1987 and work began soon after on a new sports hall, which was opened in 1990. The enrolment numbers continued to increase and a new science lab and seven classrooms were opened in 1992. The present principal of St. Joseph's Secondary School is Eileen Alford, who grew up in the village. Archaelogical sites in Rochfortbridge Other historical sites in the village area include "Castlelost" castle, motte and graveyard. There is also a fine example of a ring fort in the middle of the village which is preserved along with the Convent of Mercy. There are also many Megalithic and Neolithic sites plus many notable buildings in the area. Present day The new N6 outside Rochfortbridge The village has a new N6 Dual Carriageway from Kinnegad to Athlone bypassing the village. The village has two primary and one secondary school within the village with two further primary schools in the parish. The village of Rochfortbridge is a rural agricultural and dormitory village. Alongside the rural farmhouses and detached residential homes there are a number of town houses and housing estates in the village. The Socio economic data provided by the 2006 census show that there are 45 farmers in the village with 33 farmworkers. This compares to 226 professional workers, including teachers, social workers, nurses, gardaí (positions that would normally require at least a diploma qualification), and 826 workers who range from skilled manual (carpenters, electricians, etc.) to unskilled labourers. There are a further 179 persons who refer to themselves as employer managers. Educational data derived from the 2006 census for Rochfortbridge show that attainment in higher education is below the national average (which is approximately 18.5%). There are 10 persons who hold a primary degree: 4 male and 76 female. There are a further 8 males and 6 females who hold a professional qualification but not a degree; 6 males and 14 females who hold a degree and also a professional qualification; 7 males and 13 females who hold a postgraduate diploma and a degree; and 1 male and 3 females who are reported to have a masters degree. There are no holders of doctorates in Rochfortbridge.[5] The housing estates within the village (in order of construction) are: 1950s Derrygreenagh Park – Built in the 1950s by the state agency Bord na Mona as housing for its employees, Derrygreenagh Park was one of a small number of housing estates built to a particular design. The estate has won an award for its tidiness, and has the added attraction of a pitch-and-putt course. Ahona - A small estate built in the 1950s by Bord na Mona. 1990–2000 Castle Park - A small housing estate built by Westmeath County Council to the west end of the village. Castle Park Estate was enlarged as part of Westmeath County Council's Housing Programme. Brookfield – A small estate built by Westmeath County Council in the 1990s, consisting of dormer semi-detached houses. Castlelost Vale – A large estate, built in the late 1990s. Rahanine Manor – A large estate, built in the late 1990s. Stonebridge Park – A large estate. The Sycamores – A small estate, built in the late 1990s The Crescent – A small estate, built in the late 1990s There are two public houses in Rochfortbridge: Bagnalls Pub – Built in the early 2000s as part of a small retail development. Lysters Bar – Also on the main street of the village, now ran by the Kenny family Local businesses in the village are varied and include a supermarket, pizza shop, hair salons, Chinese takeaway, bookmakers', café, takeaway, garage service station, estate agent, pharmacy, general stores, a Post Office, and an aluminium/PVC fabriction factory. See also List of towns and villages in Ireland References ^ Ireland 2006 Census, p. 33 ^ [1] ^ [2] ^ [3] ^ [4] External links Westmeath County Council Westmeath Community Development Rochfortbridge Gaelic Football Club Rochfortbridge Soccer Club Rochfortbridge Local Website. Rochfortbridge Community Worldwide Westmeath County Council Development plans for Rochfortbridge 2008 Village enhancement plan 2008–2014 village plan Newspaper articles concerning the redevelopment of Rochfortbridge 2011 Bus stop meeting Against the odds the blowins bed down 2010 Rochfortbridge: 'It's a very natural, not contrived sense of community' Flag ship amenities for Rochfortbridge Confusion over proposed Playground v · d · ePlaces in County Westmeath County town: Mullingar Towns and villages Athlone · Ballinahown · Ballykeeran · Ballymore · Ballynacargy · Castlepollard · Castletown-Geoghegan · Clonmellon · Collinstown · Coole · Crookedwood · Delvin · Drumcree · Drumraney · Finnea · Fore · Glassan · Horseleap · Kilbeggan · Killucan and Rathwire · Kinnegad · Milltownpass · Moate · Mount Temple · Moyvoughly · Mullingar · Multyfarnham · Raharney · Rathconrath · Rathowen · Rochfortbridge · Rosemount · Streamstown · Street · Tang · Tubberclare · Tyrrellspass Baronies Brawny  · Clonlonan · Corkaree · Delvin · Farbill · Fartullagh · Fore · Kilkenny West · Moyashel and Magheradernon · Moycashel · Moygoish · Rathconrath List of townlands in County Westmeath · Category:Geography of County Westmeath