Castlebar is Mayo's largest town. The town's population exploded in the late 1990s, increasing by one-third in just six years, though this massive growth has slowed down greatly in recent years. A campus of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the Country Life section of the National Museum of Ireland are two important local amenities. The town is connected by railway to Dublin and the neighbouring Mayo towns of Westport and Ballina. The town has several small satellite villages around it, such as Ballyvary, Ballyheane, Breaffy and Parke. The main route by road is the N5. Its economy is primarily service-based. The population at the 2006 census was 15,214.
Local Churches. There are Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland (Anglican), Elim Pentecostal and Spiritualist churches in the town. There is a recently-established Mayo male voice choir and Mayo Concert Orchestra. There is also a marching band in the town - one of the few survivng marching bands west of the Shannon Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Castlebar experienced significant immigration, growth and investment.edit
Arts and Event Centres. Castlebar is home to The Linenhall Arts Centre, which exhibits visual art throughout the year, as well as hosting live drama and music performances. The Linenhall also organises an annual children's arts festival called Roola Boola (an anglicisation of the Irish phrase rí rá agus ruaile buaile which in this context means "boisterous fun"). The Royal Theatre and Event Centre, with a capacity of two thousand two hundred fully seated, four thousand standing, hosts larger-scale productions and popular music concerts.edit
Festivals. Castlebar is the location for important festivals and traditions, among which is the International Four Days' Walk. A well-established blues music festival in venues across the town takes place on the weekend before the first Monday in June each year. During the 1970s and 1980s the town hosted the International Castlebar Song Contest which was televised nationally on RTE.edit. The Heart of Castlebar Festival where the main street becomes pedestrianized with a wide range of stalls and performances. Thousands of people flocked to main street last year to this festival.Croí na Nollaig in December where Stalls and plenty of Sales are available.
Sports. Watch Gaelic Football and Hurling at McHale Park, soccer at Milebush Stadium and Celtic Park. Play golf at Castlebar Golf Club, sometimes in summer its possible to see cricket being played on the Mall. Take a cycle around the town, there are now cycle lanes on some roads, play basketball, racquetball and handball at An Sportlann and De La Salle Community Sports Centre. Go swimming at Castlebar Swimming pool and play tennis at Castlebar Tennis Club`s new tennis centre near Lough Lannagh.edit