County Westmeath (/wɛstˈmiːð/ west-MEEDH; Irish: Contae na
hIarmhí or simply An Iarmhí) is a county in Ireland. It is in the
Leinster and is part of the Midlands Region. It originally
formed part of the historic
Kingdom of Meath
Kingdom of Meath (Midhe 'middle'). It was
Mide because the kingdom was located in the geographical centre
of Ireland (the word
Mide meant 'middle'). Westmeath County Council
is the administrative body for the county, and the county town is
Mullingar. The population of the county is 88,770.
2 Geography and political subdivisions
3 Local government and politics
7 Road transport
11 See also
14 External links
Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the territory of the Gaelic
Kingdom of Meath
Kingdom of Meath formed the basis for the Anglo-Norman Lordship of
Meath granted by King
Henry II of England
Henry II of England to Hugh de Lacy in 1172.
Following the failure of de Lacy's male heirs in 1241, the Lordship
was split between two great-granddaughters. One moiety, a central
eastern portion, was awarded to Maud (de Geneville) as the liberty of
Trim; the other moiety, comprising north-eastern and western portions,
went to Maud's sister Margery (de Verdun) and in 1297 became the royal
county of Meath. The liberty and royal county were merged in 1461.
While the east of the county was in the English Pale, the west was
Gaelicised in the fourteenth century and outside the control of the
sheriff of Meath.
In 1543, during the Tudor reconquest of Ireland, the Parliament of
Ireland passed an act dividing the county into two, the eastern
portion retaining the name Meath and the western portion called
Geography and political subdivisions
Westmeath is the 20th largest of Ireland's 32 counties by area and the
22nd largest in terms of population. It is the sixth largest of
Leinster’s 12 counties in size and eighth largest in terms of
Hill of Uisneach
Hill of Uisneach in the barony of
sometimes regarded as the notional geographical centre of Ireland
although the actual geographic centre of Ireland lies in neighbouring
County Roscommon. The summit of
Mullaghmeen is the highest point in
County Westmeath. At just 258 metres this makes it the lowest county
top in Ireland.
Local government and politics
The head office of
Westmeath County Council
Westmeath County Council is located in Mullingar.
There are currently 20 councillors. The three electoral areas of
Athlone (7 seats), Mullingar-Coole (7 seats) and
Kilbeggan (6 seats). The Local Government (Ireland) Act
1898, provided the framework for the establishment of County Councils
throughout Ireland. The first meeting of
Westmeath County Council
Westmeath County Council was
held on 22 April 1899.
Westmeath's population growth has been stronger than the national
average. After the Great Famine, the population of Westmeath
declined dramatically. It stabilized in the middle of the 20th
century, and has continued to grow. Westmeath's proximity to Dublin
with good motorway facilities and frequent rail service has made
County Westmeath saw a decline in population in the century following
the Great Famine, with many leaving for better opportunities in
America. The largest town in the county is Athlone, followed by
County town Mullingar. Westmeath is the largest county by
population in the Irish Midlands. Important commercial and marketing
centres include Moate, Kilbeggan, Kinnegad, Ballinahown, Delvin,
Killucan and Castlepollard. According to the 2011
census 51.9% of Westmeath households have at least one Irish
Westmeath is one of the few counties in Ireland where some census
records from 1841 are still available.Some of the records of that
census have been digitized and maintained by the National Archives of
According to the latest census of April 2011 Westmeath had a
population of 86,164, consisting of 42,783 males and 43,381 females.
It was also revealed by central statistics office that despite being
overall increase in population, rural population still faced
declination. The population of pre-school age (0-4) was 6,882, of
primary school going age (5-12) was 10,111 and of secondary school
going age (13-18) was 7,141. There were 9,796 persons aged 65 years
and over. The number of persons aged 18 years or over was 63,112. 
Canal at Mullingar
Barbavilla Stud Horses
Initially, development occurred around the major market centres of
Mullingar, Moate, and Kinnegad.
Athlone developed due to its military
significance, and its strategic location on the main Dublin–Galway
route across the River Shannon.
Mullingar gained considerable
advantage from the development of the Royal Canal. The canal
facilitated cheap transport of produce to Dublin, Britain and Europe.
Mullingar expanded further with the coming of the Midland
Great Western Railway network in the nineteenth century.
Tourism in Westmeath is generally based on its many water amenities.
The county lakes include Lough Derravaragh, Lough Ennell, Lough Owel,
Lough Sheelin and Lough Ree. Both the Grand Canal, and the
Royal Canal flow through Westmeath, and the
River Shannon (Ireland's
key tourism waterway) has a modern inland harbour in Athlone.
In 2017 the largest employment sectors within Westmeath were :
percentage of total employment
Wholesale & retail trade
Health & social work
Real estate, renting & business activities
Hotels & restaurants
Two major "Greenway" projects are intended to improve cycling
facilities. The Athone -
Mullingar section of the
Dublin – Galway
Greenway that travels along the old railway corridor between Athlone
Mullingar was constructed in 2015.  The
Royal Canal Greenway
takes tourists from the county boundary to Mullingar, and then on
towards Longford. Those wishing to use the Dublin-
Galway Greenway will
be able to transfer from the
Royal Canal route to the old rail
corridor on towards Athlone.
The development of industry in Westmeath was mainly based on food
processing and consumer products. Whiskey is distilled in Kilbeggan
and tobacco is processed in Mullingar. The county has an extensive
beef and dairy trade. In recent times, the manufacturer Alkermes has
located in Athlone. The eastern part of the county is home to
commuters many of whom work at the technology parks on the western
side of Dublin.
Mullingar is renowned for the high quality of its beef and veal.
Weaned cattle from the west of the Shannon are fattened for market on
the lush grasslands of Meath and Westmeath. The cattle are also used
to maintain grassland to help sustain wildlife in the areas fringing
the Bog of Allen.
Westmeath is home to many stud farms. The plains of Westmeath, covered
in calcium-rich marl, contribute significantly to calcification of
foal bones during their formative years. Westmeath mares are usually
put into foal in spring to facilitate summer growth. Pregnancy lasts
for approximately 335–340 days and usually results in one foal.
Horses mature when they are around four years old.
Westmeath also has railway infrastructure with a number of trains
passing through towns in the county. The Dublin–Westport/Galway
railway line runs though the county, with services from
to Galway/Westport/Ballina inter-city train service stops at Athlone,
Dublin-Sligo railway line
Dublin-Sligo railway line service stops at Mullingar. The
Moate railway station to
Mullingar could be
reopened for trains from
Dublin Connolly. Other major
infrastructural projects and plans for the county include Transport
Roads are of good quality in the county. As part of the Transport 21
infrastructure programme undertaken by the government, both the N4 and
N6 roads have been upgraded to motorway or dual carriageway standard.
All towns that these roads passed through are now bypassed, such as
Moate and Kinnegad. Both
within commuting distance from Westmeath following the completion of
the M6 motorway in December 2009.
Midlands (ATM) Gateway
National Development Plan
Athlone IT International Arena in Athlone
Westmeath is an active sporting county. The
Westmeath GAA senior
football team won the
Leinster Senior Football Championship, the
Delaney Cup, in 2004. They also won the National Football League
Division 2 in 2001, 2003 and 2008. The Westmeath senior hurling team
has enjoyed much recent success winning the
Christy Ring Cup in 2005,
2007 and 2010.
Athlone Town F.C. have won the League of Ireland Championship on two
occasions, in 1980 and 1982, and the
FAI Cup in 1924.
Westmeath Ladies won the 2011 All-Ireland Intermediate Football
Athlone Institute of Technology boasts a €10 million international
athletics arena, which opened in early 2013. The International Arena
has a footprint of 6,818m2 and an overall building floor area of
9,715m2. Some 850 tonnes of structural steel and fifty thousand
concrete blocks went into the construction of the facility, which can
house two thousand spectators.
Westmeath Snooker Ranking Tournaments officially recognised by The
Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland Billiards & Snooker Association are organised
and run by St Mary's Snooker Club Bishopgate Street Mullingar. The
Ranking events in Junior,Intermediate and Senior events are:
Mullingar Open Snooker Championship
Westmeath Open Snooker Championship
St.Mary's Open Classic Snooker Championship
The Midland Open Snooker Championship
Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar
Notable Westmeath natives include:
Tony Allen one half of music duo Foster & Allen
The Blizzards, music group
Arthur Booth-Clibborn, pioneering Salvation Army officer in France and
Emmet Cahill, singer from Irish group Celtic Thunder
Dr.Michael Joseph Curley, Archbishop of Washington
Joe Dolan, singer
Domnall Midi, King of Mide
Thomas Duffy, awarded the Victoria Cross
Gormflaith ingen Flann Sinna, Queen of Tara
Nuala Holloway, artist and former Miss Ireland
Niall Horan, member of boyband One Direction
James Lennon, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
Máel Sechnaill II, King of
Mide and King of Ireland
John Count McCormack, tenor
John Joe Nevin, boxer
Niall mac Aed Ó hUiginn, poet
Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, businessman
Dublin brothel keeper was born here in about 1727
Walter Raleigh spent time at Killua Castle
Brendan Shine, Singer
Túathal Techtmar, High King of Ireland
Field Marshal George Wade
Seán William McLoughlin, (1990–) popular YouTube game commentator
known by the name of Jacksepticeye.
Cecil Boyd-Rochfort - born at Middleton Park
House,Castletown-Geoghegan, British thoroughbred racehorse trainer who
was British flat racing Champion Trainer five times.
George Arthur Boyd-Rochfort
George Arthur Boyd-Rochfort - Born at Middleton Park
House,Castletown-Geoghegan, awarded the Victoria Cross
TP O'Connor Journalist, an Irish nationalist political figure, and a
Member of Parliament in the House of Commons
Robbie Henshaw Irish Rugby International
The roundabout, Castlepollard
Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar
Church of Ss. Peter and Paul, Athlone
Austin Friars, Mullingar
The Royal Canal, Mullingar
Celtic Cross at Columb
Military Barracks, Mullingar
Lough Derravaragh & Knockeyon
Hill of Ben
Hill of Ben Fore
Columb Baracks, Mullingar
19th century concrete stile
19th century concrete stile,(v1) Mass-Path, Ranaghan, Collinstown
Alternative 19th century concrete stile (v-2) mass path, Ranaghan
Bell of Lough Lene
Turgesius Island, Lough Lene
Sunset on Lough Lene
The Cut, Lough Lene
Church of St. Peter and Paul, Athlone
List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Westmeath)
Lord Lieutenant of Westmeath
High Sheriff of Westmeath
Killucan and Rathwire
Mullingar, the county town
^ "Kingdom of Mide".
^ "ArcGIS Web Application". census.cso.ie. Archived from the original
on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
^ Ellis, Steven G. (2015-05-07). Defending English Ground: War and
Peace in Meath and Northumberland, 1460–1542. Oxford University
Press. pp. 62–64. ISBN 9780199696291. Retrieved
^ "1543 (34 Hen. 8) c. 1 An Act for the Division of Methe in two
Shires". The Statutes at Large passed at the Parliaments held in
Ireland. 1: 1310 to 1612. B. Grierson. 1765.
pp. 232–235. ; short title "Counties of Meath and
Westmeath Act 1543" assigned by "Statute Law Revision Act 2007,
Schedule 1, Part 1". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
^ Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline
Ireland. pp. 186–191.
Mullaghmeen Hill". MountainViews.ie. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
^ "Electoral Area Boundaries" (PDF).
^ "About Us". Westmeath County Council. Archived from the original on
2008-05-07. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
^ "Demographic context" (PDF). Offaly County Council Development Plan
2009 - 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2008.
Population decline in County".
^ "Demographics of Westmeath".
^ "Westmeath Archives".
^ "Westmeath Census 2011".
^ For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years,
Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865.
^ "Server Error 404 - CSO - Central Statistics Office". www.cso.ie.
Retrieved 16 March 2018.
^ "Census". Archived from the original on 7 May 2016.
County Westmeath Census". Archived from the original on 4 April
2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
^ Lee, JJ (1981). "Pre-famine". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.
Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late
K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in
Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review. 37
(4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
Westmeath County Council
Westmeath County Council - Westmeath
Royal Canal Greenway".
westmeathcoco.ie. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
^ "AIT International Arena". ait.ie.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for County Westmeath.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to County Westmeath.
Westmeath Census information
Westmeath Community Development
STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK FOR THE MIDLANDS GATEWAY; Census
statistics page 27
Athlone Advertiser (Local newspaper)
Westmeath Examiner (Local Newspaper)
Westmeath Architectural Heritage (NIAH)
Ardnagrath National School Website
Rosemount GAA Website
Westmeath Tourism Official Website
Places adjacent to County Westmeath
Places in County Westmeath
County town: Mullingar
Killucan and Rathwire
Moyashel and Magheradernon
List of townlands of County Westmeath
List of civil parishes of County Westmeath
Category:Geography of County Westmeath
Counties of Ireland
The counties are listed per province
Italics denote non-administrative counties.
Brackets denote non-traditional counties.
†denotes non-administrative counties of Northern Ireland
Coordinates: 53°30′N 7°30′W / 53.500°N 7.500°W /