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Source: John Salter

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Charleville is a town in north County Cork, Ireland. It lies in the Golden Vale, on a tributary of the River Maigue, near the border with County Limerick. Charleville is on the N20 road and is the second-largest town between Limerick and Cork . The Roman Catholic parish of Charleville is within the Diocese of Cloyne. Significant industries in the town include Kerry Co-Op and the construction and services sectors.

The old name for the place was Rathcogan, later Rathgogan or Rathgoggan, the last still the name of the civil parish around the town. The name means Cogan's rath , after the family of Miles de Cogan, granted lands there after the 12th-century Norman invasion. The new town begun by Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery in 1661 was named Charleville after Charles II, who had been restored to the throne the previous year. Later Irish speakers referred to the town as An Ráth "the rath", a short form of the older Irish name. The name Ráth Luirc ["Lorc's rath"] was first attached to Charleville in an 1849 collection of 18th-century Irish-language poems with English translations. The translation of an aisling by Conchúbhar Máistir Ó Ríordáin interpreted Ráth Loirc as denoting the town of Charleville. T. F. O'Rahilly felt that Ráth Loirc , like the more common Clár Loirc, was a poetic name for Ireland. D. A. Binchy felt the term, also used by Aogán Ó Rathaille, did refer to a specific place, but likely somewhere in Muskerry, not Charleville. After the 1920 local elections, Sinn Féin-dominated councils loyal to the self-proclaimed Irish Republic often sought to replace placenames having British monarchic allusions with older Gaelic names. Although Rathgoggan was mooted by Charleville Rural District Council, Risteárd Ó Foghladha ["Fiachra Eilgeach"] advised that Ráth Luirc was the old name, and it was changed to Rathluirc in 1920. Ó Foghladh claimed Lorc was an ancient king of Munster; in fact Lóegaire Lorc was a mythical High King of Ireland. The Placenames Commission was established in the 1940s to systematically determine the authentic Irish names of places, and based on its advice that An Ráth was the commonly-used name among the last generations of local Irish-speaker, this was legally made the Irish name in 1975. Thus the town had the anomalous position that its English-language legal name was an Irish name different from its Irish-language legal name. The name "Charleville" remained in common use. In December 1989, a plebiscite of residents under the Local Government Act 1946 voted on four names: of 2200 electors, 1500 voted, over 90% for Charleville. Official documents before and after 1989 have often used "Rathluirc " or similar formulations. Local sports teams have a rath or fort in their crest, reflecting the Irish name.


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