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COUNTY WESTMEATH (/wɛstˈmiːð/ west-MEEDH ; Irish : Contae na hIarmhí or simply An Iarmhí) is a county in Ireland . It is in the province of Leinster
Leinster
and is part of the Midlands Region . It originally formed part of the historic Kingdom of Meath (Midhe). It was named Mide because kingdom was located in middle of Ireland (the word Mide means middle). Westmeath County Council is the government for the county, the capital is Mullingar. The population of the county is 88,770.

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 Geography and political subdivisions * 3 Local government and politics * 4 Demography * 5 Economy * 6 Railways * 7 Road transport * 8 Sport * 9 People * 10 Gallery * 11 See also * 12 Towns/villages * 13 References * 14 External links

HISTORY

Following the Norman invasion of Ireland , the territory of the Gaelic Kingdom of Meath formed the basis for the Anglo-Norman Lordship of Meath granted by King 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 east still called Meath and the west called Westmeath.

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 population. The Hill of Uisneach in the barony of Moycashel is 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 is located in Mullingar
Mullingar
. There are currently 20 councillors. The three electoral areas of Westmeath are Athlone
Athlone
(7 seats), Mullingar-Coole (7 seats) and Mullingar- 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 was held on 22 April 1899.

DEMOGRAPHY

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 commuting popular.

County Westmeath
County Westmeath
saw a decline in population during 18th and 19th century, due to the immigrants leaving it for better opportunities in America
America
. The largest town in the county is Athlone
Athlone
, followed by the County town Mullingar
Mullingar
. Westmeath is the largest county by population in the Irish Midlands
Irish Midlands
. Important commercial and marketing centres include Moate , Kilbeggan , Kinnegad , Ballinahown , Delvin , Rochfortbridge , Killucan and Castlepollard . According to the 2011 census 51.9% of Westmeath households have at least one Irish speaker.

Westmeath is one of oldest counties in Ireland to have census in 1841.Some of the records of that census have been digitized and maintained by the National Archives of Ireland.

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.

HISTORICAL POPULATION

YEAR POP. ±%

1500 6,990 —

1510 5,290 −24.3%

1550 5,002 −5.4%

1580 14,999 +199.9%

1585 14,054 −6.3%

1600 4,335 −69.2%

1610 8,790 +102.8%

1653 12,090 +37.5%

1659 12,672 +4.8%

1672 13,550 +6.9%

1680 15,998 +18.1%

1690 21,666 +35.4%

1700 25,771 +18.9%

1710 31,677 +22.9%

1725 39,611 +25.0%

1735 42,889 +8.3%

1745 42,520 −0.9%

1755 40,345 −5.1%

1765 39,881 −1.2%

1771 50,167 +25.8%

1775 53,444 +6.5%

1781 68,771 +28.7%

1788 81,798 +18.9%

1790 97,319 +19.0%

1801 103,740 +6.6%

1811 107,566 +3.7%

1813 104,671 −2.7%

1816 121,451 +16.0%

1821 128,819 +6.1%

1831 136,872 +6.3%

1841 141,300 +3.2%

1851 111,407 −21.2%

1861 90,879 −18.4%

1871 78,432 −13.7%

1881 71,798 −8.5%

1891 65,109 −9.3%

1901 61,629 −5.3%

1911 59,986 −2.7%

1926 56,818 −5.3%

1936 54,706 −3.7%

1946 54,949 +0.4%

1951 54,463 −0.9%

1956 54,122 −0.6%

1961 52,861 −2.3%

1966 52,900 +0.1%

1971 53,570 +1.3%

1979 59,885 +11.8%

1981 61,523 +2.7%

1986 63,379 +3.0%

1991 61,880 −2.4%

1996 63,314 +2.3%

2002 71,858 +13.5%

2006 79,346 +10.4%

2011 86,164 +8.6%

2016 88,396 +2.6%

ECONOMY

Canal at Mullingar
Mullingar
Barbavilla Stud Horses

Initially, development occurred around the major market centres of Mullingar, Moate, and Kinnegad. Athlone
Athlone
developed due to its military significance, and its strategic location on the main Dublin–Galway route across the River Shannon . Mullingar
Mullingar
gained considerable advantage from the development of the Royal Canal
Royal Canal
. The canal facilitated cheap transport of produce to Dublin, Britain and Europe. Athlone
Athlone
and Mullingar
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 Lene , Lough Sheelin and Lough Ree
Lough Ree
. Both the Grand Canal , and the Royal Canal
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 :

SECTOR PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL EMPLOYMENT

Wholesale & retail trade 15%

Health & social work 13%

Education 11%

Manufacturing industries 9%

Agriculture 8%

Real estate, renting & business activities 7%

Hotels "> The Athlone
Athlone
IT International Arena in Athlone
Athlone

Westmeath is an active sporting county. Westmeath GAA senior football team won the Leinster
Leinster
Senior Football Championship , the Delaney Cup, in 2004. They also won the National football league competition 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
Athlone
Town F.C. have won the League of Ireland Championship in 1980 and 1982, and the FAI Cup in 1924.

Westmeath Ladies team have won the 2011 All-Ireland Intermediate Football Championship.

Athlone
Athlone
Institute of Technology boasts an €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 50,000 concrete blocks went into the construction of the facility which can house 2,000 spectators.

Westmeath Snooker Ranking Tournaments officially recognised by The Republic of Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Billiards "> Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar
Mullingar

Notable Westmeath natives include:

* Tony Allen one half of music duo Foster ">

Map *

The roundabout, Castlepollard *

Mullingar
Mullingar
*

Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar
Mullingar
*

Church of Ss. Peter and Paul, Athlone
Athlone
*

Austin Friars, Mullingar
Mullingar
*

Mullingar
Mullingar
Centre *

The Royal Canal, Mullingar
Mullingar
*

Celtic Cross at Columb Military Barracks, Mullingar
Mullingar
*

Lough Derravaragh ">

Lough Ennell *

Hill of Ben Fore *

Columb Baracks, Mullingar
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 *

Dublin- Mullingar
Mullingar
Train *

Kiloutou, Mullingar
Mullingar
*

Church of St. Peter and Paul, Athlone
Athlone
*

Delvin Castle

SEE ALSO

* List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Westmeath) * Lord Lieutenant of Westmeath * High Sheriff of Westmeath

TOWNS/VILLAGES

* Athlone
Athlone
* Ballinahown * Ballinalack * Ballykeeran * Ballymore * Ballynacargy * Castledaly * Castlepollard * Castletown-Geoghegan * Clonmellon * Collinstown * Coole * Crookedwood * Delvin * Drumcree * Drumraney * Finnea * Fore * Glassan * Horseleap * Kilbeggan * Killucan and Rathwire * Kinnegad * Milltownpass * Moate * Mount Temple * Moyvoughly * Mullingar
Mullingar
, the county town * Multyfarnham
Multyfarnham
* Raharney * Rathconrath * Rathowen * Rochfortbridge * Rosemount * Streamstown * Tang * Tubberclare * Tyrrellspass

REFERENCES

* ^ "Kingdom of Mide". * ^ "ArcGIS Web Application". census.cso.ie. Retrieved 2017-08-01. * ^ 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 2015-06-24. * ^ "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. Retrieved 2008-06-28. * ^ " Population
Population
decline in County". * ^ "Demographics of Westmeath". * ^ "Westmeath Archives". * ^ "Rural Population
Population
Decline". * ^ "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. * ^ Census for post 1821 figures. * ^ "Census". * ^ " County Westmeath
County Westmeath
Census". Archived from the original on 4 April 2010. Retrieved 12 August 2010. * ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". 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 Irish Po