Places to Visit in Monaghan
Pastoral in landscape, County Monaghan represents the agricultural best of Ireland. Located in Ulster province, but not actually part of Northern Ireland, its citizens claim strong ties, through emigration, to various places in Canada, including Prince Edward Island.
County Monaghan contains mountains, hills, plains, lakes, rivers and forests well suited to enjoyable outdoor pursuits such as boating, fishing, and cycling, as well as its share of historical sites and religious monuments. Monaghan Town is the county town, and the region’s famous citizenry includes author Patrick Cavanaugh and boxer Barry McGuigan.
The natural beauty of Ireland is probably best experienced at two of County Monaghan’s Forest Parks – Dun na ri and Carnagh. The former is filled with captivating sights, including unique rock formations as well as a wide variety of native plants and animals. Carnagh Forest Park features a nature reserve endowed with lakes and deep forests where trees, fish, animals and insects survive and thrive in government-protected areas.
Though County Monaghan is famous for its agricultural pursuits, its residents over the centuries have also been known for their creativity and artistic abilities. These are on display for visitors to enjoy at Carrickmoss Lace Gallery, a celebration of an embroidery style that has been passed down through the generations since 1820, along with an interesting history that includes several world famous patrons.
Famous worldwide collections of artistic, historical and religious treasures can be examined at Monaghan County Museum. The St. Louis Convent Heritage Centre displays art and craftwork and memorabilia collected by the sisters of this religious order during the course of their work at a variety of locations around the world.
Rural Ireland as seen through the poetic eyes of Patrick Kavanaugh, one of County Monaghan’s famous citizens, can be explored at the Literary Resource Centre created in his honor. Those familiar with Kavanaugh’s works will enjoy a tour through the surrounding area through many of the locations featured in his writings.
Historical events, both religious and secular, are memorialized in County Monaghan at the monastic ruins and high cross of Clones and Corracrin Church, as well as at Drumbanagher Hill, where battles have been waged from the Viking Era onward.
Dating back to the Gaelic traditions, the ruling family of County Monaghan was named Mc Mahon, in close association with the O’Connolly and McKenna clans. The boundaries of the area of land that makes up today’s County Monaghan were set in the late 16th century.
Unlike the neighboring counties, Monaghan escaped plantation in the early 1600s. Its rich lands remained under the control of its native people until shortly after an ill-fated rebellion in 1641, but Monahan was never extensively planted as other counties.
The famine affected the agriculturally oriented citizens of County Monaghan, especially the potato farming class. Linen and lace production minimized the severity somewhat, especially in comparison to the western counties.
Common surnames in County Monaghan include: Boyle, Connolly Hanratty, McMahon and McNally.