Nicholas Pollard, an English Army captain from Devonshire, arrived in Ireland in 1597 during the Nine Years' War. He fought under the Earl of Essex's command against the Gaelic Irish forces. After that campaign, Captain Pollard was settled on land in the Mayne area. Cionn Torc (Kinturk), a lush valley between the lakes, was granted 'in capite' by the ageing Queen Elizabeth I to Captain Pollard. He built a small castle at Rathyoung which he called Castle Pollard.
Walter Pollard, first son of Nicholas, married Ismay Nugent of Roscommon. He received a regrant of the desmene during the restoration period following the Civil War and Cromwellian confiscations. The grant was made by charter from King Charles II, and approved by the Irish Parliament. In addition, he was granted a permit for a weekly market and a fair which was held four times annually. The Pollard family was reconfirmed in the manorial title by the edict of William and Mary. Serving as Commissioner for Supplies during the War of the Three Kingdoms, Pollard sat in the Irish Parliament, and became High Sheriff of the county in 1692. The family gradually improved the residence and the desmene. They rebuilt the adjoining out buildings and developed the village of Castlepollard. They intermarried with the Dillon family of Ladyhill, the Packenhams, the Duttons, the Tuites, and other landed county families. The descendants of Nicholas Pollard lived here at Kinturk Desmene into the early twentieth century.
The well preserved original village layout is now landscaped in a central triangular green. Surrounded by buildings from the Georgian period, a fine sculpture on the square depicts a scene from the famous locally centred legend of the Children of Lir. A plaque outlines the story in several languages. The setting of the legend is the picturesque Lough Derravaragh. There are several ringforts on the surrounding high ground. Two ancient forts are of special archaeological interest. Randoon is located in nearby Ranaghan, south west of Lough Lene, and Turgesius Island, is situated on Lough Lene. Turgesius was a Viking leader who sojourned here with a local lover while on respite from his seafaring. He held sway in Danish Dublin (Dyflin) and Shannon Viking port near Clonmacnoise.
Castlepollard has two churches which serve the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Christian communities. Kinturk House, the Georgian period Pollard residence, now serves as St. Peter's Centre. It was purchased by the Sacred Heart Sisters from the family in 1935, who added a chapel wing. A hospital designed by T.J. Cullen (1879–1947) was built c. 1935 and was part of "an extensive hospital construction programme initiated during the first decades of the Irish Free State" financed by the Irish Hospitals' Sweepstake. The sisters operated a Magdalen Asylum there for many years; the property was sold to Midlands Health Board in 1971.
In the early nineteenth century, the main village and the Pollard family properties underwent a major reconstruction program. The Kinturk Desmene residence and the adjacent town buildings were rebuilt in the classical Georgian style of the period. Some common lands were enclosed. A new Church of Ireland building was erected in the Square, along with the Market house. Located on the west side of the green, this was the village's major public building and landmark. The quarterly Court of Petty Sessions convened here.
During the War of Independence the Irish Republican Army (IRA) burned the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks located on the Mullingar Road. The RIC then moved to the courthouse. In 1921, the IRA began a wave of burnings which targeted United Kingdom government offices throughout Ireland. This was a concerted effort to cripple the UK civil service in its day to day administration of the country. It was very successful. The Market House was also torched. Two sitting magistrates were kidnapped by the IRA on their way to the court. The men were held hostage locally, reportedly in a cow byre on the Hill of Moal. Happily, they were released unharmed after forty eight hours, and the village was spared reprisals. The Market House was rebuilt in 1926, and serves as the Town Fire Station.
Recent additions to the built environment include multiple housing estates, the Area Office of the Westmeath County Council, and the Castlepollard Community College's new school building (2004), both on the Mullingar Road.