Rathkeale is a friendly town just off the N21 road about 15 minutes from Newcastle West. Its location puts the it within 35 minutes of 30,000 people, excluding the 191,000 who live in Limerick City. With the opening of the Adare Bypass, Rathkeale will be more accessible to Limerick City and easily reached by people as far away as costal Foynes.
The townland is home to almost 1,700 people in about 500 families. In 2018 almost 70% of the population was under 50 years of age with about 20% aged 30 to 34, the typical marriage and first home buyer group. On average Rathkeale welcome 22 new babies per year. Its elders (70+ years of age) represent 14% of the community. Almost 80% of the population claims to be in good health.
Almost half of Rathkeale workers are skilled, professional, managerial and/or technical. A quarter work in the Professional Services and Public Administration sector. An additional quarter work in Commerce and Trade. Almost a fifth work in Agriculture and Construction. Manufacturing and other industries account for the rest. Over 80% of the adult population is formally educated with 25% having third level, professional, technical, certificate level or apprenticeship qualifications. Just 4% of Rathkeale workers are unskilled.
61% of Rathkeale people live in their own home and 34% rent. Over 70% of households have one or more cars. The average journey to work or school is less than 15 minutes for over half of all commuters. Half of all households have personal computers and it’s hard to imagine anyone without a smartphone.
Culturally, Rathkeale is Irish, Catholic, overwhelmingly white but a little more conservative than the rest of the country. It also a community with more than its fair share of accomplished athletes who compete at the Olympic, international, national and regional level.
Unlike other small towns it boasts a notable Traveller community. Some live in the town all year while others stay at their own houses between the months of December and March – just one of the reasons why Rathkeale has the best St. Patricks Day parade in the county.
Crime in Rathkeale is low and has dropped almost every year since 2010. In 2017 it stood at 34% of 2010 with just 7 crimes per 100 people. That is half the crime rate of Newcastle West and comparable to similar sized towns like Askeaton, Croom and Ballingarry.
Statistics from the 2016 Census as interpreted by David Lamont of the Rathkeale Community Council.
Crime numbers based on Garda station statistics available in December 2018.