Cootehill (Irish: Muinchille) is a rapidly-expanding market town in County Cavan in the Ireland. It has a population of approximately 4000 people. It has a very wide street (Market Street). Market Street boasts an impressive display of trees (though there was fierce opposition to their planting in the early 1990s as people did not want a reduction in parking spaces).
Scene: Main St
Date: 1910 (estimate)
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Read about Cootehill below
Cootehill (Irish: Muinchille) is a rapidly-expanding market town in County Cavan in the Ireland. It has a population of approximately 4000 people. It has a very wide street (Market Street). Market Street boasts an impressive display of trees (though there was fierce opposition to their planting in the early 1990s as people did not want a reduction in parking spaces). In recent years, Cootehill has borne witness to the launching of a spacious new carpark at the rear of the town (thus alleviating the worries of the protesters from the early 1990s).
Cootehill was established as a market town in the late seventeenth century, and had strong ties to the Irish linen industry.
The Cootes of Cootehill have been famous throughout the ages, for example, one Thomas Coote was a judge in a court of Common Pleas in the eighteenth century, and other Cootes have served as sheriffs and under-sheriffs in the nineteenth century.
The late Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid, was born there in 1895. He was Archbishop of Dublin from 1940 until 1972. McQuaid is famous for having played a part in the drafting DeValera's Constitution in 1937, and many of the Catholic overtones in Bunreacht na hÉireann are attributable to his influence.
Also born in Cootehill in 1895 was Major General Eric Dorman-Smith, (later Dorman-O'Gowan) a noted British Army soldier, and the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway's 'Colonel Cantwell'. McQuaid and Dorman-Smith were boyhood friends, despite the apparent disparity of background and later career.
Paddy Smith, Fianna Fáil TD and the longest-serving member of Dáil Éireann was born there in 1901. Other famous personalities connected with Cootehill are Ceancomhairle Rory O'Hanlon and his son Ardal O'Hanlon, one of Ireland's premier comedians. Bertie Ahern, the Taoiseach visited Cootehill in 2006, and Gerry Adams from Sinn Fein has been known to pass through.
Cootehill's proximity to the artists' retreat at Annaghmakerrig makes it a favourite haunt for writers, poets and playwrights, from Patrick McCabe to Seamas Heaney.
Industry and tourism
In 1837 it became the site of one of the first eight branches of Ulster Bank which remains to this day. The town is also home to Abbott Laboratories, which manufactures a range of nutritional infant formulae. Other factories include Eakins and Whelans Shoes, and the Cootehill Enterprise Centre is home to the widely known Carleton Bakery. Agriculture and related industry, as well as retail, are the main employers.
The surrounding lakes and rivers provide a scenic backdrop which attract not only anglers, but other visitors and sports enthusiasts. Swimming and swimming instruction is available in the summer months, while boating and kayaking remain popular. Equestrians are also attracted to Cootehill and the surrounding countryside, and historians and architects find much to interest them. Bellamont House is widely regarded as the finest example of Palladian Architecture in Ireland, and remains in a well-preserved condition. A megalithic tomb on the Shercock road is also fascinating to visitors.
Cootehill has strong links with the arts. As well as the various poets and writers who relax around Cootehill, visual artists too have made it their refuge. the Cootehill library regularly hosts exhibitions of local artists' work, and in 2006 it showcased a selection of pieces from the Irish Museum of Modern Art, including work by internationally-renowned artists. The Cootehill Arts Festival is also a key event in the Irish arts calendar, and features plays, workshops, readings, fringe theatre and experimental work, such as the unforgettable Duchess of Malfi, performed in 2002.
Live music - whether classical music, traditional music, country or rock, is an important part of the lives of Cootehillians, and weekends see local pubs and venues packed to capacity to hear both local groups and famous ensembles.
Walks in Dartrey and Bellamont Forest provide a great location to reflect on peace, tranquillity and the leisurely pace of life in Cootehill.
With the building boom of the last number of years the town has had a number of problems with parking and roads. The old cavan road and Chapel Lane have become one way streets, to allow space for parking. With the growth of the national and local economy (and population) the town has seen the construction of a number of new housing estates. Cootehill is fast becoming popular with commuters to Dublin, Drogheda, Cavan and other major urban hubs. The widespread building of new accommodation and housing, coupled with improved infrastructure, has seen the population expand by about 30 in recent years. Coootehill is fast embracing cosmopolitanism and multi-culturalism, while retaining its traditional eighteenth-century rustic charm.
The town was recently awarded (December, 2006) a grant of a quarter million to meet the future business needs of the area. The main shopping district in the town has two department stores, a designer jewellery boutique, clothing boutiques and hair and beauty salons, a shoe store, a sports store, and Cavan's largest pharmacy in the centre of Market St. Hardware, computers, electrical goods, televisions, furniture, home-wares, garden supplies, fishing supplies, photographic supplies, flowers, medical supplies and veterinary services are but some of the goods and services available in Cootehill.
Dining choices are extensive, with ethnic cuisine from Hong Kong and North India, a Bistro, a casual Diner, several coffee shops and home bakeries, a pannini bar, and several other casual dining options catering to every taste. The town's two hotels - the White Horse on Market St. and Errigal House Hotel on the Cavan Road - offer both formal and informal dining options. Tourists in the area favour Errigal House, with its marvellous country views, and the numerous guest-houses in the area.
The town has two national schools: the Darley and St. Michael's. St Michael's is the larger of the two, with over 200 students from the ages of 4 to 12. The local secondary school: St. Aidans Comprehensive School serves the practical and academic needs of the area's population. Graduates from St Aidans have also gone on to become doctors, carpenters, scientists, lawyers, architects, actors, musicians, business people, artists, dentists and artisans. The Holy Family School, Monaghan Road caters to students with special needs. Tanagh Outdoor Education Centre provides adventure sport activities (canoeing, orienteering, etc.) for school groups and others.
Heritage and Culture
The dominant architectural style reflects the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, with a number of fine Georgian buildings in the town centre. The town has a number of other fine architectural buildings: a beautiful arched sandstone facade now home to the AIB, stands at the far end of Market Street, positioned juxtaposed to the Gothic architecture of the Church Of Ireland place of worship. Within 100 yards of one fine religious building stands another; the renovated St. Michaels Catholic Chapel, with its well kept grounds is an inspiring site as visitors enter the town (see Architecture link below).
The Cootehill Court House is yet another example of beautiful architecture, though the building is in sore need of refurbishment. this was designed and built in 1832 by William Dean Butler.