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County Westmeath
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
Kingdom of Meath
(Midhe 'middle'). It was named Mide
Mide
because the kingdom was located in the geographical centre of Ireland (the word Mide
Mide
meant 'middle').[1] 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]

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[edit] 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.[3] 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 Westmeath.[4] Geography and political subdivisions[edit] Westmeath is the 20th largest of Ireland's 32 counties by area and the 22nd largest in terms of population.[5] It is the sixth largest of Leinster’s 12 counties in size and eighth largest in terms of population. The Hill of Uisneach
Hill of Uisneach
in the barony of Moycashel
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
Mullaghmeen
is the highest point in County Westmeath. At just 258 metres this makes it the lowest county top in Ireland.[6] Local government and politics[edit] The head office of Westmeath County Council
Westmeath County Council
is located in Mullingar. There are currently 20 councillors. The three electoral areas of Westmeath are Athlone
Athlone
(7 seats), Mullingar-Coole (7 seats) and Mullingar- Kilbeggan
Kilbeggan
(6 seats).[7] 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.[8] Demography[edit] Westmeath's population growth has been stronger than the national average.[9] 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 in the century following the Great Famine, with many leaving for better opportunities in America.[10] The largest town in the county is Athlone, followed by the 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, Rochfortbridge, Killucan
Killucan
and Castlepollard. According to the 2011 census 51.9% of Westmeath households have at least one Irish speaker.[11] 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 Ireland.[12] 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.[13] 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. [14]

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%

[15][16][17][18][19][20]

Economy[edit]

Canal at 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. 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
Lough Sheelin
and Lough Ree. Both the Grand Canal, and the Royal Canal
Royal Canal
flow through Westmeath, and the River Shannon
River Shannon
(Ireland's key tourism waterway) has a modern inland harbour in Athlone. In 2017 the largest employment sectors within Westmeath were [21]:

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 & restaurants 7%

Two major "Greenway" projects are intended to improve cycling facilities. The Athone - Mullingar
Mullingar
section of the Dublin
Dublin
– Galway Greenway that travels along the old railway corridor between Athlone and Mullingar
Mullingar
was constructed in 2015. [22] The Royal Canal
Royal Canal
Greenway takes tourists from the county boundary to Mullingar, and then on towards Longford. Those wishing to use the Dublin- Galway
Galway
Greenway will be able to transfer from the Royal Canal
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
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. Railways[edit] 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 Dublin
Dublin
Heuston to Galway/Westport/Ballina inter-city train service stops at Athlone, while the Dublin-Sligo railway line
Dublin-Sligo railway line
service stops at Mullingar. The line from Athlone
Athlone
via Moate
Moate
railway station to Mullingar
Mullingar
could be reopened for trains from Galway
Galway
to Dublin
Dublin
Connolly. Other major infrastructural projects and plans for the county include Transport 21. Road transport[edit] 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 Mullingar, Athlone, Moate
Moate
and Kinnegad. Both Dublin
Dublin
and Galway
Galway
are within commuting distance from Westmeath following the completion of the M6 motorway in December 2009.

Midlands (ATM) Gateway National Development Plan Transport 21

Sport[edit]

The Athlone
Athlone
IT International Arena in Athlone

Westmeath is an active sporting county. The Westmeath GAA
Westmeath GAA
senior football team won the Leinster
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
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 Championship. Athlone
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.[23] 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
Mullingar
Open Snooker Championship Westmeath Open Snooker Championship St.Mary's Open Classic Snooker Championship The Midland Open Snooker Championship

People[edit]

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 Switzerland 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
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 Peg Plunkett, Dublin
Dublin
brothel keeper was born here in about 1727 Walter Raleigh
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
TP O'Connor
Journalist, an Irish nationalist political figure, and a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons Robbie Henshaw Irish Rugby International

Gallery[edit]

Map

The roundabout, Castlepollard

Mullingar

Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar

Church of Ss. Peter and Paul, Athlone

Austin Friars, Mullingar

Mullingar
Mullingar
Centre

The Royal Canal, Mullingar

Celtic Cross at Columb Military Barracks, Mullingar

Lough Derravaragh
Lough Derravaragh
& Knockeyon

Lough Ennell

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

Dublin- Mullingar
Mullingar
Train

Kiloutou, Mullingar

Church of St. Peter and Paul, Athlone

Delvin
Delvin
Castle

See also[edit]

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

Towns/villages[edit]

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

References[edit]

^ "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 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
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. ^ "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
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 Irish Population
Population
History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.  ^ https://www.ibec.ie/IBEC/Press/PressPublicationsdoclib3.nsf/vPages/Newsroom%7Eibec-highlights-need-to-address-infrastructure-imbalance-15-02-2017/$file/Local+Economic+Indicators+2017.pdf ^ " Westmeath County Council
Westmeath County Council
- Westmeath Royal Canal
Royal Canal
Greenway". westmeathcoco.ie. Retrieved 16 March 2018.  ^ "AIT International Arena". ait.ie. 

External links[edit]

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
Athlone
Advertiser (Local newspaper) Westmeath Enterprise Westmeath Examiner (Local Newspaper) Westmeath Bands Westmeath Architectural Heritage (NIAH) Ardnagrath National School Website Rosemount GAA Website Westmeath Tourism Official Website

Places adjacent to County Westmeath

County Longford County Cavan
County Cavan

County Roscommon
County Roscommon

County Westmeath

County Meath
County Meath

County Offaly
County Offaly

v t e

Places in County Westmeath

County town: Mullingar

Towns

Athlone Moate Mullingar

Villages

Ballinahown Ballykeeran Ballymore Ballynacargy Baylin Castledaly Castlepollard Castletown Geoghegan Clonmellon Collinstown Coole Crookedwood Delvin Drumcree Drumraney Finnea Fore Glassan Horseleap Kilbeggan Killucan
Killucan
and Rathwire Kinnegad Milltownpass Mount Temple Moyvoughly Multyfarnham Raharney Rathconrath Rathowen Rochfortbridge Rosemount Streamstown Street Tang Tubberclare Tyrrellspass

Baronies

Brawny Clonlonan Corkaree Delvin Farbill Fartullagh Fore Kilkenny West Moyashel and Magheradernon Moycashel Moygoish Rathconrath

List of townlands of County Westmeath List of civil parishes of County Westmeath Category:Geography of County Westmeath

v t e

Counties of Ireland

The counties are listed per province

 Connacht

Galway Leitrim Mayo Roscommon Sligo

 Leinster

Carlow Dublin

Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown Fingal South Dublin

Kildare Kilkenny Laois Longford Louth Meath Offaly Westmeath Wexford Wicklow

 Munster

Clare Cork Kerry Limerick Tipperary Waterford

 Ulster

Antrim† Armagh† Cavan Donegal Down† Fermanagh† Londonderry† Monaghan Tyrone†

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 / 53

.