Kilbeggan means “Church of Beccan” named after St Beccan who founded a monastery in C6.
The historic town of Kilbeggan or CillBeagain is first mentioned in the Annals of Loch Ce in 1196. The Lambart family set up a market in 1606, which still takes place every Saturday. Two famous historic figures who represented Kilbeggan in Parliament in C18 were John Philpott Curran (MP 1784-91) and Henry Flood (1784-91). In 1798 a rebellion took place in the town and many locals were killed. On the June Bank Holiday weekend 2012, the Kilbeggan Knighthood Festival based on the knighting of a local innkeeper in C18 was a tremendous success and brought many visitors.
Kilbeggan is located in the centre of Ireland on the National M6 motorway Dublin to Galway and only one hour from Dublin and the main airport. Buses are available hourly between Dublin & Galway. It’s easily accessible to the three larger towns of Athlone, Mullingar, and Tullamore.
Racing commenced in Kilbeggan in March 1840 and since 1901 it has been held on the present site on the Mullingar Road (1 mile from the town) except during WWII. It was based on a voluntary committee and this personal touch has continued to be part of its success. Famous days included the visit of Prince Aly Khan in 1953 with beautiful Hollywood actress Gene Tierney to ride a winner on a horse called Ynys; George Garrett, USA Ambassador attended & won with his horse Comic Dancer in 1949; and Neil Jordan famous film director was part owner of Cristy’s Picnic who won the first ever Midland’s National in 1997.Many strange stories have occurred from the telegram from the House of Commons that saved the races in 1917 to the horse that drowned in 1973.
Kilbeggan racecourse has only all National Hunt racing and since 1992 the number of meetings has increased from 3 to 8 with around half the races sponsored. Facilities provided since 1990 include a new complex, pavilion, weigh room etc. Being in the centre of Ireland just off the M6 helps to draw crowds from all over Ireland. The races are about fun, friendship, atmosphere, which will provide events that appeal to kids, young adults, families, friends and visitors. The Midlands National each July is the highlight of the season and the biggest summer steeplechase outside the Galway Festival. Children’s entertainment, music, best dressed ladies competitions etc help to make it more than just a race meeting and more a great social event.
Further Information: Paddy Dunican, Secretary/ Manager at the racecourse
Kilbeggan Distillery was established in 1757 and is the oldest in the world. John Locke came to Kilbeggan in 1843 and the distillery reached a peak in the 1880’s when over 100 people were employed. After many ups & downs it ceased production in 1953.In the 1980’s the local Development Association restored the wheel and started development of the museum leading to the arrival of Cooley Distillers and Beam Inc. Over 50,000 people visited he distillery in 2012.
The Kilbeggan Distillery Experience allows visitors to discover Irish whiskey in C19 and brings you up to present where you can hear, smell and taste Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey as its distilled today. It’s an authentic Irish experience not to be missed.
Kilbeggan Distillery Experience is open 7 days per week from 9AM to 6PM April to October and 10AM to 4 PM November to March.
Kilbeggan has excellent secondary & primary schools, church, shops, pubs, and restaurant. It has walks along the Grand Canal Route with its unique flora & fauna and you can visit Ardan Woods Reserve plus the Westmeath Way walk. Many sporting organisations like the GAA, Pitch & Putt, Soccer etc provide excellent facilities and the Brosna river is the heart of the town.