Monaghan is the county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

 of County Monaghan
County Monaghan
County Monaghan 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 Monaghan. Monaghan County Council is the local authority for the county...

 in Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. Its 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
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

 and Letterkenny
Letterkenny , with a population of 17,568, is the largest town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. The town is located on the River Swilly...



The toponym
Toponymy is the scientific study of place names , their origins, meanings, use and typology. The word "toponymy" is derived from the Greek words tópos and ónoma . Toponymy is itself a branch of onomastics, the study of names of all kinds...

 Muineachán derives from a diminutive plural form of the Irish word muine meaning "brake" (a thickly overgrown area) or sometimes "hillock". The county council
County council
A county council is the elected administrative body governing an area known as a county. This term has slightly different meanings in different countries.-United Kingdom:...

's preferred interpretation is "land of the little hills", a reference to the numerous drumlin
A drumlin, from the Irish word droimnín , first recorded in 1833, is an elongated whale-shaped hill formed by glacial ice acting on underlying unconsolidated till or ground moraine.-Drumlin formation:...

s 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".

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Monaghan town features a red hand on a shield on a tower. It has been speculated that the red hand here is the hand of the O'Neill family since the Battle of Clontibret
Battle of Clontibret
The Battle of Clontibret was fought in County Monaghan in March 1595 during the Nine Years War, between the crown forces of England's Queen Elizabeth and the Irish army of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone...

 between the forces of Hugh O'Neill and the English Crown was fought in northern Monaghan in May 1595.


The Battle of Clontibret
Battle of Clontibret
The Battle of Clontibret was fought in County Monaghan in March 1595 during the Nine Years War, between the crown forces of England's Queen Elizabeth and the Irish army of Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone...

 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
-People:*Aline MacMahon, an American actress*Bernard MacMahon, an Irish bishop*Brian MacMahon, a British-American epidemiologist*Bryan MacMahon, a Judge of the Irish Circuit Court*Hugh MacMahon, an Irish bishop...

 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 conquest of Ireland.

On the Hill of Lech, 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 kilometres (3 mi) south-west of Monaghan, the petrosomatoglyph
A petrosomatoglyph is an image of parts of a human or animal body incised in rock. Many were created by Celtic peoples, such as the Picts, Scots, Irish, Cornish, Cumbrians, Bretons and Welsh. These representations date from the Early Middle Ages; others of uncertain purpose date back to megalithic...

 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.

The Ulster Canal
Ulster Canal
The Ulster Canal is a disused canal running through part of County Armagh, County Tyrone and County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland...

 through Monaghan linking the River Blackwater
River Blackwater, Northern Ireland
The River Blackwater is a river in County Armagh and County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, as well as County Monaghan and County Cavan in Republic of Ireland, which has its source to the north of Fivemiletown, County Tyrone...

 at Moy
-Places:* Loch Moy, a loch south of Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland.** Moy, Highland, a village beside Loch Moy** Moy Hall, also near the loch and the ancestral home of the chiefs of Clan Mackintosh** Rout of Moy, an event in the Jacobite rising of 1745...

 with the River 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...

 near Clones
Clones is a small town in western County Monaghan, in the 'border area' of the Republic of Ireland. The area is part of the Border Region, earmarked for economic development by the Irish Government due to its currently below-average economic situation...

 was built between 1825 and 1842. By the time it was completed, competition in the form of the Ulster Railway
Ulster Railway
The Ulster Railway was a railway company operating in Ulster, Ireland. The company was incorporated in 1836 and merged with two other railway companies in 1876 to form the Great Northern Railway .-History:...

 from Belfast to Clones was already under construction. The canal was never a commercial success and was formally abandoned in 1931.

The Ulster Railway linked Monaghan with and Belfast
Belfast Great Victoria Street railway station
Belfast Great Victoria Street is a major railway station serving the city centre of Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is one of two major stations in the city, along with , and is one of the four stations located in the city centre, the others being Belfast Central, and . It is near Great Victoria...

 in 1858 and with the Dundalk and Enniskillen Railway at Clones in 1863. It became part of the Great Northern Railway
Great Northern Railway (Ireland)
The Great Northern Railway was an Irish gauge railway company in Ireland.The Great Northern was formed in 1876 by a merger of the Irish North Western Railway , Northern Railway of Ireland, and Ulster Railway. The Ulster Railway was the GNRI's oldest constituent, having opened between Belfast and...

 in 1876. The partition of Ireland
Partition of Ireland
The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

 in 1922 turned the boundary with County Armagh
County Armagh
-History:Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha...

 into an international frontier, after which trains were routinely delayed by customs inspections. In 1957 the Government of Northern Ireland
Government of Northern Ireland
The Government of Northern Ireland is, generally speaking, whatever political body exercises political authority over Northern Ireland. A number of separate systems of government exist or have existed in Northern Ireland....

 made the GNR Board close the line between and the border, giving the GNRB no option but to withdraw passenger services between the border and Clones as well. CIÉ
-Organizations:* Cambridge International Examinations, an international examination board* Cleveland Institute of Electronics, a private technical and engineering educational institution — the International Commission on Illumination...

 took over the remaining section of line between Clones, Monaghan and Glaslough
Glaslough is a village and townland in the north of County Monaghan, Ireland, on the R185 regional road south of the border with Northern Ireland and northeast of Monaghan Town. Glaslough won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1978. Castle Leslie, the large Victorian country house and luxury...

 in 1958 but withdrew goods services between Monaghan and Glaslough in 1959 and between Clones and Monaghan in 1960, leaving Monaghan with no railway service.

In February 1919 the first self-consciously proclaimed soviet
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 in the United Kingdom was established at Monaghan Lunatic Asylum. This led to the claim by Joseph Devlin
Joseph Devlin
Joseph Devlin, also known as Joe Devlin, was an Irish journalist and influential nationalist politician...

 in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom that "that the only successfully conducted institutions in Ireland are the lunatic asylums"

On 17 May 1974 an Ulster loyalist
Ulster loyalism
Ulster loyalism is an ideology that is opposed to a united Ireland. It can mean either support for upholding Northern Ireland's status as a constituent part of the United Kingdom , support for Northern Ireland independence, or support for loyalist paramilitaries...

 car bomb
Car bomb
A car bomb, or truck bomb also known as a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device , is an improvised explosive device placed in a car or other vehicle and then detonated. It is commonly used as a weapon of assassination, terrorism, or guerrilla warfare, to kill the occupants of the vehicle,...

 exploded in the Friday evening rush hour killing seven people. It was detonated outside Greacen's public house on North Road in a car that had been stolen earlier that afternoon in Portadown. The bomb killed Paddy Askin, Thomas Campbell, Thomas Croarkin, Archie Harper, Jack Travers, Peggy White and George Williamson. It also injured scores of civilians and caused extensive damage to the fabric of the town with North Road and Mill Street among the areas worst affected. This was one of the few incidents in the Republic during The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

 of Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

; three other bombs exploded on the same day in Dublin in what became known as the Dublin and Monaghan bombings
Dublin and Monaghan Bombings
The Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974 were a series of car bombings in Dublin and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. The attacks killed 33 civilians and wounded almost 300 – the highest number of casualties in any single day during the conflict known as The Troubles.A loyalist...

. The Ulster loyalist paramilitary group Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) claimed responsibility in 1993.

A monument in memory of the victims was unveiled by Professor Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese
Mary Patricia McAleese served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was the second female president and was first elected in 1997 succeeding Mary Robinson, making McAleese the world's first woman to succeed another as president. She was re-elected unopposed for a second term in...

, President of Ireland
President of Ireland
The President of Ireland is the head of state of Ireland. The President is usually directly elected by the people for seven years, and can be elected for a maximum of two terms. The presidency is largely a ceremonial office, but the President does exercise certain limited powers with absolute...

, on 17 May 2004 on the 30th anniversary of the atrocity. The sandstone and metal column containing seven light wells bearing the names of each of the seven victims of the bombing was designed by Ciaran O'Cearnaigh and stands as a reminder of one of the darkest days in Ireland's modern history.


Monaghan continues to host one of Ireland's most prestigious and established blues festivals in the country; the Harvest Time Blues
Harvest Time Blues
Harvest Time Blues is an annual music festival held in Monaghan town, in Ireland. Since its launch in 1990, it has become one of the "one of Ireland's leading live music festivals"...

 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 fortieth anniversary. It is held every May Bank Holiday
Bank Holiday
A bank holiday is a public holiday in the United Kingdom or a colloquialism for public holiday in Ireland. There is no automatic right to time off on these days, although the majority of the population is granted time off work or extra pay for working on these days, depending on their contract...


Founded in 1974, Monaghan County Museum is recognised as one of the leading provincial museums in Ireland, with a prestigious Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

 Award conferred in 1980, among others, to its credit. The museum is located in a mid-Victorian stone building of three stories, formerly two separate town houses, on Hill Street. It aims to acquaint its visitors with the history of County Monaghan
County Monaghan
County Monaghan 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 Monaghan. Monaghan County Council is the local authority for the county...

 and its people.

The town is also home to Monaghan United F.C., who play in the League of Ireland Premier Division.

Local Government

Local Issues are dealt with by the Monaghan Town council which elects nine members. The town forms part of the Monaghan ward for local elections for elections to Monaghan County Council
Monaghan County Council
Monaghan County Council is the local authority which is responsible for County Monaghan in Ireland. The Council is responsible for Housing and Community, Roads and Transportation, Urban planning and Development, Amenity and Culture, and Environment. The county seat is at Monaghan Council Offices...

 and part of the Cavan-Monaghan constituency for elections to Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann
Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas , which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann . It is directly elected at least once in every five years under the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote...


The largest party on the town council is Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin
Sinn Féin is a left wing, Irish republican political party in Ireland. The name is Irish for "ourselves" or "we ourselves", although it is frequently mistranslated as "ourselves alone". Originating in the Sinn Féin organisation founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith, it took its current form in 1970...

, a left-wing Republican
Irish Republicanism
Irish republicanism is an ideology based on the belief that all of Ireland should be an independent republic.In 1801, under the Act of Union, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland...

 party, which holds four of the nine seats. Fine Gael
Fine Gael
Fine Gael is a centre-right to centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland. It is the single largest party in Ireland in the Oireachtas, in local government, and in terms of Members of the European Parliament. The party has a membership of over 35,000...

, a conservative party holds three, with Independents and the liberal conservative Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...

 holding two and one each respectively. The current mayor is Robbie Gallagher of Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil
Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party , more commonly known as Fianna Fáil is a centrist political party in the Republic of Ireland, founded on 23 March 1926. Fianna Fáil's name is traditionally translated into English as Soldiers of Destiny, although a more accurate rendition would be Warriors of Fál...


Town Layout and Architecture

The centre of the town is made up of four interconnecting squares: Market Square (or Street), Church Square, The Diamond and Old Cross Square.

Dating from the seventeenth 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
A sundial is a device that measures time by the position of the Sun. In common designs such as the horizontal sundial, the sun casts a shadow from its style onto a surface marked with lines indicating the hours of the day. The style is the time-telling edge of the gnomon, often a thin rod or a...

. It was originally located in the Diamond, the traditional centre 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.Two landmark buildings remain from the eighteenth century, Aviemore House (built in 1760) on Mill Street and the "extremely elegant" Market House
Market House, Monaghan
Market House, in Monaghan, Republic of Ireland, was designed by Colonel William Hayes of Avondale, Rathdrum, County Wicklow and stands in the middle of Market Square. Completed in 1792, the building is of five bays in length with the centre three arches projected with a secondary pediment. The...

 (from 1792) on Market Square.

Monaghan is notable for the quality of its nineteenth-century architecture, which adds a sense of dignity to the attractive town centre and its environs. Of its Victorian buildings, the courthouse on Church Square by Joseph Welland
Joseph Welland (architect)
Joseph Welland was born in County Cork and became an Irish Architect for the Board of First Fruits and later the Ecclesiastical Commissioners...

, which was built in 1830, is the most stately. With its sandstone facade of Doric columns supporting a pediment that bears the royal arms of the House of Hanover, Monaghan Courthouse constitutes an integral part of Church Square.

The Rossmore Memorial in The Diamond was built in 1876 as a memorial to the 4th Baron Rossmore
Henry Westenra, 4th Baron Rossmore
Henry Cairns Westenra, 4th Baron Rossmore of Monaghan was an Anglo-Irish soldier and peer who was briefly a member of the House of Lords before his death at the age of 22 in a riding accident.-Life:...

, who died after a hunting accident at Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I it...

 in 1874. This Victorian
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 monument, described by architectural historian C.E.B. Brett as "formidable and striking" is octagonal in shape, with central marble columns supporting a fountain. Around it, the eight grey 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.

The Gothic-Revival St. Macartan's Cathedral by J.J. McCarthy is recognized as being "one of McCarthy's best works: an excellent example of the High Victorian ecclesiastical style at its best, rich without ever being over-ornate". The building comprises a delicate rose window and an impressive soaring spire and took over thirty years to complete. Construction work began in 1861 and the cathedral was finally dedicated in 1892. Originally the nave was intended to be two bays longer but lack of funds meant that the design was cut back. The Cathedral sits on imposing site overlooking the town. Occupying a similarly commanding site on the opposite side of the town is St. Macartan's College for boys (from 1840), a 17-bay classical structure with a bell tower and private chapel, by the Newry-born architect Thomas Duff
Thomas Duff
Thomas John Duff was an Irish architect from the town of Newry, County Down. Duff was the principal architect of a number of Roman Catholic churches and cathedrals in the northeast of Ireland....

Church Square is very much an environment in which the civic pride of Victorian improvers lives on in the satisfying essay in the Ruskinian-Gothic style that is the Bank of Ireland building, as much as in the peaks of St. Patrick's Church of Ireland and the Dawson Obelisk. One of the most interesting aspects of Monaghan's Victorian architectural heritage, which also includes the former railway station, the Orange Hall on North Road and the Westenra Hotel on the Diamond, 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 was carried out with unprecedented frequency in the town of Monaghan and is still reflected today in the edifices of The Diamond, Church Square and Mill Street, helping to secure Monaghan's status as one of Ulster's more attractive large towns.


The town 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 in the region with both Moffett and Combilift major participants in the materials handling market. There is a campaign to boost tourism by reopening the Ulster Canal
Ulster Canal
The Ulster Canal is a disused canal running through part of County Armagh, County Tyrone and County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland and County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland...

 in a scheme which would eventually allow boats to travel from towns in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, such as Newry
Newry is a city in Northern Ireland. The River Clanrye, which runs through the city, formed the historic border between County Armagh and County Down. It is from Belfast and from Dublin. Newry had a population of 27,433 at the 2001 Census, while Newry and Mourne Council Area had a population...

, by way of Monaghan to places as far south as Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

, as well as Dublin.

Monaghan once had a thriving furniture manufacturing industry. Since 1990, this has diminished greatly under global competition. However, notable manufacturers such as Rossmore Furniture(which took its name from the magnificent Rossmore Forest Park, situated just outside the town) continue to operate from the town.


Celebrated Monaghan residents have included:
  • The Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Gavan Duffy
    Charles Gavan Duffy
    Additional Reading*, Allen & Unwin, 1973.*John Mitchel, A Cause Too Many, Aidan Hegarty, Camlane Press.*Thomas Davis, The Thinker and Teacher, Arthur Griffith, M.H. Gill & Son 1922....

     (1816–1903) - Politician and writer. Born and raised in Dublin Street (formerly Ballywollen Street), co-founder of The Nation
    The Nation (Irish newspaper)
    The Nation was an Irish nationalist weekly newspaper, published in the 19th century. The Nation was printed first at 12 Trinity Street, Dublin, on 15 October 1842, until 6 January 1844...

    . Subsequently became the eighth Premier of Victoria in Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     and member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom
    Privy Council of the United Kingdom
    Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, usually known simply as the Privy Council, is a formal body of advisers to the Sovereign in the United Kingdom...

  • Juan MacKenna
    Juan Mackenna
    Brigadier Juan Mackenna was an Irish-born, Chilean military officer and hero of the Chilean War of Independence. He is considered to have been the creator of the Corps of Military Engineers of the Chilean Army....

     (1771–1814) - Military hero of the Chilean War of Independence and co-liberator of Chile. Raised at Willville House, Monaghan town.
  • William Whitla
    William Whitla
    Sir William Whitla was an Irish physician and politician.-Early life:Born at The Diamond, Monaghan, County Monaghan, Ireland, the fourth son of Robert Whitla, a woollen draper and pawnbroker, and his wife, Anne, daughter of Alexander Williams of Dublin...

     (1851–1953) - Politician and physician.
  • Thomas John "Tommy" Bowe - Rugby player for Ulster
    Ulster Rugby
    Ulster Rugby, usually referred to simply as Ulster, is an Irish professional rugby union team based in Belfast, representing the Irish province of Ulster, that competes in the RaboDirect Pro12 and also competes in the Heineken Cup...

    , Ospreys and Ireland
    Ireland national rugby union team
    The Ireland national rugby union team represents the island of Ireland in rugby union. The team competes annually in the Six Nations Championship and every four years in the Rugby World Cup, where they reached the quarter-final stage in all but two competitions The Ireland national rugby union...

    . Born in Monaghan town in 1984.
  • Alexander Williams RHA
    Alexander Williams RHA
    Alexander Williams RHA is best remembered as a landscape and marine painter, but he was also an ornithologist and taxidermist of note and a professional singer. He was born at the house of his aunt in the Diamond, Monaghan town. His mother, Alice Williams had gone to visit her sister-in-law, Anne...

     (1846-1930) - Artist, born in Monaghan town.
  • Mary McCleary - Author, has lived most of her adult life in Monaghan.

See also

  • List of towns and villages in the Republic of Ireland
  • Market Houses in the Republic of 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...

  • Monaghan Utd F.C.
    Monaghan United
    Monaghan United F.C. is an Irish football club playing in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland. The club, founded in 1979 and elected to the league in 1985, hails from Monaghan and play their home matches at Gortakeegan, Monaghan...

    , a local football team

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.