Facts & Geography
Facts and Geography
- Mullingar has a current population of 19,794 (2011 Census).
- The town of Mullingar was founded by the Normans 800 years ago. The original population was a mixture of Gaelic Irish and French, English, Welsh, Flemish and Breton immigrants.
- In 1575, Plague decimated the population and, in 1597, the town was completely burned by the O’Neills.
- In 1806, a transport revolution was brought to the town with the completion of the Royal Canal, followed by the railway in 1848.
- In 1858, Lord Greville purchased the town and his family remained landlords until the 1920’s. In 1868, Lord Greville leased a Right of Way to the War Minister for 10,000,000 years – the longest lease in the world.
- The town was lit by gas from 1859 and a telegraph office opened in 1853.
- Mullingar has had a town band since 1879 !
- Mullingar is the only other place in Ireland that the author James Joyce spent time in outside of Dublin and his book ‘Ulysses’ features the Greville Arms Hotel, which is Mullingars longest established hotel. Joyce’s father, John was a civil servant posted from Dublin to compile an electoral register of Mullingar and the surrounding townlands.
- During the First World War, scores of Mullingar men served in the armed forces and many were killed or injured. The town was also a major military training depot.
- The first Gardai arrived in the town in 1922.
- St. Finians College was built in 1908. County Hospital was built in 1936.
- Joe Dolan (1939-2007) is one of Mullingars best known residents and the most successful recording artist from the town with countless singles and albums that reached the top of national and international charts.
- Other famous Mullingar residents include : Niall Breslin (Bressie), J.P. Donleavy(author), Josephine Hart (author), Niall Horan (One Direction), Tina Kellegher (actress), John Joe Nevin (Irish International and Olympic Boxer) and Michael O’Leary (CEO of Ryanair).
- ‘Beef to the heels of a Mullingar heifer’ is a famous Mullingar expression, complementing us on the quality of our cattle !
- Rory Mc Ilroy (World No.1 Golfer, March 2012) won the Mullingar Sratch Cup in 2006 when he was just 16 years of age….The famous Mullingar Scratch Cup has also been won by Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke.
Mullingar is located in the heart of the lakelands, where history and heritage combine to create a mythical, magical landscape that stun the senses. Every single striking landscape is steeped with ancient stories of great kings, valiant heroes, epic deeds, sorcery and unspeakable loss through the deceit, betrayal and treachery that accompanies the greatest of our legends.
Located west of Mullingar is the Hill of Uisneach, which is the centre of Ireland not just geographically but also effectively with the highways of early Ireland converging near its centre.
It was the ancient seat of the Kings of the kingdom of Meath. Its importance as a crossroads of ancient highways meant that it became a meeting place where important rituals and assemblies were celebrated. In later times its importance was cemented in the minds of the Celts with its associations with St. Patrick and St. Brigid.
The surrounding areas of Mullingar display some incredible built heritage, and the area owes a great deal to the Georgians and their Golden Age of engineering. The gloom of the medieval grey stone was swept aside to make room for an architectural age of elegance where neo-classical grand houses looked out into the well-groomed sweeping landscapes. Belvedere House, Gardens and Park just outside Mullingar provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the experience of ‘The Big House’ as well as the beauty created by visionary garden designers, both when they mimic nature with sweeping meadows and woodlands and when they control it with formal walled gardens.
For more information on Mullingar, visit the www.discoverireland.ie Discover Ireland Centre with tourism information and a gallery located in the Market House in the very centre of Mullingar. Information leaflets on Mullingar Short Walks around the town and along the Royal Canal are available there.
A sculpture of famous Mullingar singer, Joe Dolan stands outside the Market House. He is pictured here with James Joyce !