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Monaghan Town
Location of Monaghan Town
centerMap highlighting Monaghan Town
Irish grid reference
Province: Ulster
County: County Monaghan
Elevation: 71 m (233 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Town:
 - Environs:


Monaghan (Irish: Muineachán) is a town in Ireland, the administrative capital of County Monaghan. Monaghan's population at the 2006 census stood at 7,811 (including rural area). The town is located on the main road - the N2 road - from Dublin north to both Derry and Letterkenny.

The name derives from a diminutive plural form of the Irish word muine meaning "brake" (a thickly overgrown area) or sometimes "hillock". The county council's preferred interpretation is "land of the little hills", a reference to the numerous drumlins in the area.

Another translation of the name splits the Irish name into "Muine Acháin" - with "acháin" meaning field. With this separation, and depending on the interpretation of "muine", "Muine Acháin" could be translated to "bushy (over-grown) field" or "hilly field".

The coat of arms of Monaghan town features a red hand on a shield on a tower. It might be reasonable to think that the red hand here is the hand of the O'Neill family since the Battle of Clontibret between the forces of Hugh O'Neill and the English Crown was fought in northern Monaghan in May 1595. Only a specialist in heraldry could confirm this but it could have been created or added on to an existing coat of arms after the battle[citation needed].


Town layout

The centre of the town is made up of four interconnecting squares: Market Square (or Street), Church Square, The Diamond, and Old Cross Square. Sited in Market Square is the Market House (built 1792), now an art gallery. The County Museum, which has won the Council of Europe Award for its display of history and archaeology, is located nearby.

Dating from the 17th century, the oldest remaining architectural feature in Monaghan town is the "Old Cross" - located in Old Cross Square. It is not fully agreed that it is in fact a cross, but may in fact have been a seventeenth century sundial. It was originally in the Diamond, Monaghan Town, the traditional center of the town, and was used as a hiring cross and for the attaching of proclamations. It was moved to its present location in 1876 to allow for the construction of the Rossmore Memorial.

The Rossmore Memorial in The Diamond was built in 1876 as a memorial to the 4th Baron Rossmore who died after a hunting accident at Windsor Castle in 1874. This Victorian monument is octagonal in shape, with central marble columns supporting a fountain. Around it, the eight gray columns support the pinnacled superstructure which rises to a dome. The dome is surmounted by a spire supported by yet more columns. The letters of Rossmore (also 8 in number) are spaced out around the monument.

Two buildings remain from the 18th century, Aviemore House (1760) on Mill Street and the Market House (1792) on Market Square (or Street). Also notable is the Gothic-Revival St Macartan's Cathedral with its striking rose window and spire, built between 1861 and 1891. Originally the nave was intended to be 2 bays longer but lack of funds meant that the design was cut back. The building sits on a hill in an imposing site overlooking the town. Occupying a similarly commanding site on the opposite side of the town is St. Macartan's College for boys(1840), a grand 17-bay classical structure complete with bell tower and private chapel, by the celebrated Newry-born architect Thomas Duff. The school is known as the highest-ranking school in Co. Monaghan in the survey of Irish schools for the production of the annual School League Tables and is regularly a highly-ranked institution at national level.


Monaghan Courthouse

Monaghan is notable for the quality of its nineteenth-century public architecture, which adds a sense of grandeur and loftiness to the highly attractive town centre. Of its Victorian buildings, the courthouse on Church Square by Joseph Welland (1798–1860), which was built in 1830, is particularly impressive. With its sandstone facade of demi-fluted Doric columns supporting a pediment that bears the royal arms of the House of Hanover, Monaghan Courthouse constitutes an integral part of the stately set-piece that is Church Square, an environment in which the civic pride of Victorian "improvers" lives on in the satisfying essay in the Venetian-Gothic style that is the Bank of Ireland building as much as in the towering peaks of St. Patrick's Church of Ireland and the Dawson Obelisk. One of the most interesting aspects of Monaghan's rich Victorian architectural heritage, which also includes the former railway station, the grand Westenra Hotel on the Diamond and the similarly fine red-brick Orange Hall on North Road, is the rounded corners that connect the town's buildings from one street or square to the next. This practice of rounding corners in order to open up panoramic vistas is still reflected today in The Diamond, Church Square and Mill Street and is completely unique to the town of Monaghan, helping to secure its status as one of Ulster's most attractive large towns.


The Battle of Clontibret between the forces of Hugh O'Neill, The O'Neill and the English Crown was fought in northern Monaghan in May 1595. The territory of Monaghan had earlier been wrested from the control of the MacMahon sept in 1591, when the leader of the MacMahons was hanged by authority of the Dublin government; this was one of the events that led to the Nine Years War and the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland.

The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, P.C., the eighth Premier of Victoria in Australia, was born in Dublin Street, Monaghan Town, on 12 April 1816.

On 17 May 1974 seven people died when a car bomb exploded during the Friday evening rush hour. This was one of the few incidents in the Republic during The Troubles in Northern Ireland; three other bombs exploded on the same day in Dublin in what became known as the Dublin and Monaghan bombings. The loyalist paramilitary group Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), claimed responsibility in 1993.

On the Hill of Lech (or previously Mullach Leaght), the Hill of the Stone was the inauguration stone of the Mac Mahons. It overlooks Ballagh Lough to the west, which was once known as Lough Leck. Situated 5 km (3 mi) south-west of Monaghan, the petrosomatoglyph was last used in 1595, but was destroyed by a farm owner in 1809. It is said to be built into the wall of a Mill.[citation needed]

In February 1919, the first soviet in the British Isles was established at Monaghan Lunatic Asylum.


It is a centre for the timber-frame house building industry with Kingspan Century being the largest of its kind in Europe and has a large furniture manufacturing industry. Engineering also features prominently in the region with both Moffett [1] and Combilift [2] big players in the Materials Handling market. There is a campaign to boost tourism by reopening the Ulster Canal in a scheme which would eventually allow boats to travel from Northern Irish towns such as Newry and Coleraine by way of Monaghan to places as far south as Limerick as well as to Dublin.

Monaghan continues to host one of Ireland's most pretigious and established blues festivals in the country[1]; the Harvest Time Blues Festival. It is hosted every September across Monaghan Town.

The Fiddler of Oriel Muineachán Competition also known as Féile Oriel which was first held in 1969 returned this year in time for its 40th Anniversary. "[3]" the Féile Oriel Festival. It is held every May Bank Holiday weekend.

Famous Faces

Celebrated Monaghan residents have included the famous politician and writer Sir Charles Gavan Duffy (1816–1903). Born in Dublin Street (formerly Ballywollen Street), Duffy, along with Thomas Davis, went on to become a co-founder of The Nation, a hugely influential nineteenth-century periodical. He ultimately held the post of premier of Victoria, Australia, one which saw him achieve the success that defined him as one of the most distinguished politicians of Victorian times. Comedian Ardal O'Hanlon is also from Monaghan.



  1. ^ Monaghan Post, 2007-09-06. "Who’s Behind the Blues?"

See also

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun




  1. A county in the Republic of Ireland.
  2. A town in the county of Monaghan


  • Irish: Muineachán


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