The village of Killucan (Irish: Cill Lucaine, Church of Lucan) is situated in the gentle, rolling countryside in the east of the County. Killucan is on the R156 about 15 km (9.3 mi) from Mullingar and 60 km (37 mi) from Dublin.
The villages has prospered throughout history due to their excellent land and transport links to Dublin. The Royal canal and the Sligo-Dublin railway line pass through the area although neither is used as a mode of transport any more. The canal is impractical while the railway station (called Killucan Station and located nearby at Riverstown) closed many years ago (although the line remains in use). Killucan has recently prospered due to its proximity to the M4 to Dublin which means it is less than an hour’s drive away, well within Dublin’s ever expanding commuter belt. Killucan was well suited to this rapid expansion as it had many of the facilities needed for an increased population, unlike many other of the small towns in Ireland which have rapidly grown recently. There are three primary schools and one secondary school in the area as well as ample sport facilities (such as a free golf course and fishing lake), a library and many other amenities.
The origins of the name Killucan are uncertain but it probably comes from the Irish Cill Lucaine (Church of Lucan). Lucan was a 6th century abbot who is believed to have founded a church in the area. The church however did not survive to the Middle Ages and no trace of it remains today. The present day church in Killucan is St. Etchén’s. There has been a church on this site since the time of the Normans (the De Lacys). The present church on the site dates from 1802. Inside this church is a 13th-century chalice. On the east end of the site are the remains of a 15th-century MEDIVAL tomb.
The parish of Killucan is one of the largest in Westmeath (by area). It includes Killucan and Rathwire as well as the countryside around them. The village of Raharney about 4 km (2.5 mi) to the east of Killucan is also part of Killucan parish. St. Joseph’s Church is in Rathwire while St. Mary’s is in Raharney.
There is a primary school, St. Patrick’s NS, Edmonton, Killucan [www.edmontonns.scoilnet.ie] and a secondary school, Columba College located in Killucan.
The Royal Canal
The twin villages reached the height of their prosperity during the 18th and 19th centuries due to the arrival of first the Royal canal in 1805 and later the Midland Great Western Railway. The canal was built between 1790 and 1817, reaching Killucan from Dublin in 1805. It grew in importance transporting people and goods until the mid-19th century. After this the advent of rail and road travel in Ireland led to its slow decline and it formally closed in 1961. It was abandoned and became unusable for many years. Nowadays thanks to the Amenity group it has been restored for leisure boats from Dublin to Abbeyshrule in Co. Longford. The remaining section from Abbeyshrule to Cloondara was due to open in 2006. It is to walk the entire length using the Royal Canal Way. The Canal is a particularly important amenity in Killucan, being used for fishing, walks, boating and even canoeing. The Harbour at Thomastown (1 kilometre South of Killucan) was recently expanded to cater for the growing number of tourists who rent barges from there. The canal through Killucan passes through the Killucan Flight, a stretch of eight locks over 2 km (1.2 mi). East of the flight there are no further locks for 27 km (17 mi) while there are no further locks to the west until past Mullingar, the highest point on the Canal.