Callan, in the centre of a fertile plain, is an ancient market town which was strongly fortified in medieval times. Corporate rights were granted to the town in 1271. In 1408 there was a battle here in which the Prince of Ossory and 800 of his men were slain by the English. There are some remains of the fifteenth-century Augustinian priory founded by Sir James Butler, and traces of the castle which was bombarded by Cromwell in 1650. In the main street stands a handsome memorial in Kilkenny limestone to Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762-1844), founder of the Irish Christian Brothers. James Hoban, architect of the White House at Washington. D.C., was born near Callan in 1762. Robert Fulton, designer of the first steamship was born here in 1765.
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