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Town Portrait

Sunday 5th May 2019 Riverchapel Community Complex

Coinciding with Street Feast at Riverchapel Community Complex, and with support from Gorey Men’s Shed, artist Michelle Browne invited
people attending the community field day to take part in a contemporary barn-raising event – highlighting the need for a community building for Riverchapel. The former bandstand at Courtown pier inspired the twelve-sided structure, constructed in modular wooden sections and adorned with a multicoloured ribbon roof.

Town Visit

20 July 2018 at Riverchapel Community Complex

Town Motif

6 June 2018, Riverchapel National School, 93 students participated.

Courtown has been a favourite destination for Irish holidaymakers in general, and Dubliners in particular, for the best part of two centuries. Although there is thought to have been a fishing village at nearby Kiltennell before that, the town of Courtown itself did not begin to develop until after the construction of the large stone harbour there between 1825 and 1840. This was initiated – and then continued as a famine-relief project – by Lord Courtown, who had been granted land in the area in the mid-eighteenth century. The harbour proved popular with local fishermen and visitors alike, and by the mid-nineteenth century, Courtown had become a popular tourist destination. Its popularity – and the numbers of visitors – increased dramatically when the railway line from Dublin was extended to nearby Gorey in 1863.

Today the population still fluctuates a lot between winter and summer seasons but the year-round population has expanded significantly thanks to the construction of commuter estates during the Celtic Tiger years. Courtown and nearby Riverchapel have been amalgamated by continuing development into one larger village, with community facilities and services tending to be located in Riverchapel, while commercial and tourist facilities are mainly based in Courtown. This affects the presence of a town centre in Courtown, along with the loss of their Community Centre in a 2012 storm. Courtown has always been considered a recreational destination and was famous in Wexford and the surrounding counties for having not one, but two, dance halls – to which people travelled from miles around to hear the latest showbands.