Killeshandra or Killashandra is a village in County Cavan
County Cavan
County Cavan is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Cavan. Cavan County Council is the local authority for the county...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

, located 20 km
KM, Km, or km may stand for:*Kilometre *Kernel methods*Kettle Moraine High School*Khmer language *Kuomintang , a centre-right political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan...

 (12 mi
Miles is the plural of mile.Miles may also refer to:- People :*Miles Brothers, American cinema pioneers* Miles ** Miles Browning, World War II admiral** Miles Davis, jazz trumpet player** Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver...

) northwest of Cavan town and is central to County Cavan's lakeland and geopark region, set in the unique Erne
River Erne
The River Erne , in the northwest of Ireland, rises in Beaghy Lough, two miles south of Stradone in County Cavan and flows 64 miles through Lough Gowna, Lough Oughter and Upper and Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, to the sea at Ballyshannon, County Donegal...

 catchment environment of rivers, lakes, wetlands and woodland. Together with the Lough Oughter
Lough Oughter
Lough Oughter is a lake, or complex of lakes, in County Cavan covering approximately 8931 hectares. It is on the River Erne, and forms the southern part of the Lough Erne complex...

 Special Protected Area (SPA), has since 2010 become recognised under the EU programe for wildlife Natura 2000
Natura 2000
Natura 2000 is an ecological network of protected areas in the territory of the European Union.-Origins:In May 1992, the governments of the European Communities adopted legislation designed to protect the most seriously threatened habitats and species across Europe. This legislation is called the...

. Killeshandra is specially noted by Failte Ireland
Fáilte Ireland
Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority of the Republic of Ireland. This authority was established under the National Tourism Development Authority Act of 2003 and replaces and builds upon the functions of Bord Fáilte, its predecessor organization...

 as an Angling Centre of Excellence. as well as having several looped walking trails linking the Killykeen forest park.


Killeshandra town owes its origins to the Ulster Plantation, when Sir Alexander Hamilton from Innerwick, Scotland was granted lands by the crown in 1610 to build a castle and create a Protestant community around the barony of Tullyhunco. The 1641 rising and civil war was a particularly difficult period in Killeshandra's history, as the Hamiltons with their neighbours the Craig's were forced off their settled lands by the O'Reilly's. It was not until after the war and during the Restoration (1660)
Restoration (1660)
The term Restoration in reference to the year 1660 refers to the restoration of Charles II to his realms across the British Empire at that time.-England:...

 period that Sir Francis Hamilton regained control of the area and set about building a market town with Scottish planters and migrant Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

 settlers who were especially noted for their industry and thriftness. The new settlers and their families quickly adapted to the local conditions, which included the building of the first Killeshandra Episcopalian
Scottish Episcopal Church
The Scottish Episcopal Church is a Christian church in Scotland, consisting of seven dioceses. Since the 17th century, it has had an identity distinct from the presbyterian Church of Scotland....

 church in 1688 with its elegant French Rococo
Rococo , also referred to as "Late Baroque", is an 18th-century style which developed as Baroque artists gave up their symmetry and became increasingly ornate, florid, and playful...

 style windows and Hamilton heraldic embellishment (mistakenly nowadays referred to as from the Jacobean era
Jacobean era
The Jacobean era refers to the period in English and Scottish history that coincides with the reign of King James VI of Scotland, who also inherited the crown of England in 1603 as James I...

), together with the beginnings of flax growing and linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

 processing in the Cavan region.

Linen production around Killeshandra grew considerably following an incentive in 1760 from the Linen Board, and was later quoted in Pigot's 1824 Directory as: The greatest linen market in the county, and the inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood are principally employed in its manufacture. However, failure to capitalise on industrial methods of linen production when market sales were approaching their peak meant that Killeshandra would inevitably lose out in the race to compete with the bigger linen export producing towns further north, eventually leading to hardship and destitution for many local flax growing linen producers.

The present population of 417 persons (according to 2006 CSO census statistics) has reduced considerably since the famine period when there were several thousand people living here, continuing up and down with the rise and fall of sustainable employment. Killeshandra looked to its agriculture base throughout the twentieth century to rebuild itself while the Creamery became the home of one of Irelands leading dairy and milk processing co-operatives. Other agri related businesses also grew, Fletcher's sawmills was built on the site of an earlier brewery. While since the 1860's the town was serviced with a railway line to Crosdoney and Cavan town. The closure of the railway in 1947 to goods and passengers was a symptom of population decline throughout the region. The eventual closure of Fletcher's sawmills and the decline in street market trading would also signal the end for Killeshandra's iconic linen market house. Built by Robert H. Southwell in 1792, the market house was demolished in the late 1960s. Other notable factors affecting Killeshandra's potential for growth being rural electrification, which did not reach the area until the mid 1950s, much later than other centres.

Today Killeshandra as well being a base for the renowned Lakeland Dairy Company is noted as a tourist destination for anglers, ramblers and wildlife enthusiasts including photographers. Comfortable B&Bs are located within a short distance of the town together with good restaurant facilities and local pubs with traditional music.

Dairy Industry

Killeshandra Co-operative Society Ltd was formed in December 1896. The milk from 987 cows had been promised by local farmers and a committee was tentatively decided upon to establish and form a creamery. Thus was the start of an industry which grew to become recognised as a model for the rest of the country to follow and described as being the best creamery of its time, winning prizes for butter and dairy products both at home and abroad. By the time of its centenary year Killeshandra Co-op was handling the milk from over 4,000 farmer suppliers. Today this is transformed through mergers with other dairy companies to form the internationally recognised Lakeland Dairies, to become the second largest dairy co-operative and fourth largest dairy processor in Ireland. The Co-op operates across 15 counties on a cross border basis processing over 700 million litres of milk annually into a range of value-added products and food ingredients which are exported worldwide, remains a significant employer in the region.


  • Michael Donohoe
    Michael Donohoe
    Michael Donohoe of Philadelphia was a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania from 1911 to 1915. He was an Irish Catholic Democrat....

     (1864–1958), Philadelphia Democrat
    Democratic Party (United States)
    The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

     and U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     from 1911 to 1915, was born in Killeshandra.
  • George Richardson (VC)
    George Richardson (VC)
    George Richardson VC was born in Derrylane, Killeshandra, County Cavan and was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.-Details:He was 27 years old, and a private...

     (1831-1923) of Derrylane, Killeshandra.
  • John Joe O'Reilly (footballer) (1919–1952), former Cavan Gaelic football star.
  • Philip O'Reilly
    Philip O'Reilly
    Colonel Philip O’Reilly was a Member of Parliament for County Cavan, Ireland in the Irish Parliament from 1639 to 1641.-Ancestry:His Gaelic name was Phillip mac Aodh mac Sean mac Aodh Conallach O’Raghallaigh and by the English he was named Philip McHugh McShane O'Rely. His father, grandfather and...

     former MP for Cavan and 1641 Rebellion leader.
  • Tom O'Reilly
    Tom O'Reilly (Cavan politician)
    Thomas P. O'Reilly , known as Tom O'Reilly, was an Irish Gaelic footballer, politician and farmer from County Cavan. He was born at the Derries Upper, Killeshandra, County Cavan...

    , former Cavan politician
  • William Hales
    William Hales
    William Hales was an Irish clergyman and scientific writer.He was born in Cork, Ireland, the son of Samuel Hales, the curate at the cathedral church there....

     (1747-1831) Mathematician and for 43 years rector of Killeshandra parish
  • Alan Boyle (actor), The Butcher Boy (film)
    The Butcher Boy (film)
    The Butcher Boy is an 1997 Irish tragicomic drama film adapted to film by Neil Jordan and Patrick McCabe from McCabe's 1992 novel of the same name....

  • Eamonn Owens (actor), The Butcher Boy (film)
    The Butcher Boy (film)
    The Butcher Boy is an 1997 Irish tragicomic drama film adapted to film by Neil Jordan and Patrick McCabe from McCabe's 1992 novel of the same name....

  • Stephen King
    Stephen King (Gaelic footballer)
    Stephen King was a former Gaelic football player for Cavan.-Playing career:He debut for Cavan in 1980, but didn't have much success in the early years only winning a Railway Cup Medal with Ulster in 1984. In 1989, Cavan had a great run in the National Football League claiming the Div. 2 title and...

    , former Cavan Gaelic football star.

See also

  • List of towns and villages in Ireland
  • Market Houses in Ireland
    Market Houses in the Republic of Ireland
    Market houses are a notable feature of many Irish towns with varying styles of architecture, size and ornamentation making for a most interesting feature of the streetscape. Originally there were three, four or even five bays on the ground floor which were an open arcade. An upper floor was...

  • Irish linen
    Irish linen
    Irish linen is the brand name given to linen produced in Ireland. Linen is cloth woven from, or yarn spun from the flax fibre, which was grown in Ireland for many years before advanced agricultural methods and more suitable climate led to the concentration of quality flax cultivation in northern...

  • Midland Great Western Railway
    Midland Great Western Railway
    The Midland Great Western Railway was the third largest Irish gauge railway company in Ireland. It was incorporated in 1845 and absorbed into the Great Southern Railway in 1924. It served part of Leinster, County Cavan in Ulster and much of Connaught...

External links

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