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Monaghan Town - Church Square

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Photo Details

  • County: Monaghan
  • Town: Monaghan Town
  • Scene: Church Square
  • Date: 1910 (estimate)


  • Digitally remastered
  • 10' x 8' printed on quality photo paper, larger sizes also available
  • Also available mounted & framed, ask for details
  • Colour images can be printed in black& white if preferred.
  • Read about Monaghan Townbelow

Monaghan Town

Monaghan (Irish: Muineachán) is a town in the Republic of Ireland, the administrative capital of County Monaghan. The name derives from a diminutive plural form of the Irish word muine meaning 'brake' (a thickly overgrown area) or sometimes 'hillock'. The county council's preferred interpretation is 'land of the little hills', a reference to the numerous drumlins in the area. Another translation of the name splits the Irish name into 'Muine Acháin' with 'acháin' meaning field so depending on your interpretation of 'muine' it either menas an over-grown or bushy field or a hilly field. Monaghan's population at the 2006 census stood at 7,811 (including rural area).

Town Layout

The centre of the town is made up of four interconnecting squares: Market Square (or Street), Church Square, The Diamond, and Old Cross Square. Sited in Market Square is the Market House (built 1792), now an art gallery. The County Museum, which has won the Council of Europe Award for its display of history and archaeology, is located nearby.

The oldest remaining architectural feature in Monaghan town dates from the 17th century and is the Old Cross, Monaghan located in Old Cross Square. It is not fully agreed that it is in fact a cross, but may in fact have been a seventeenth century sundial. It was originally in the Diamond, Monaghan Town, the traditional center of the town, and was used as a hiring cross and for the attaching of proclamations but was moved to its present location in 1876 to allow for the construction of the Rossmore Memorial.

The Rossmore Memorial in the Diamond was build in 1876 as a memorial to the 4th Baron Rossmore who died after a hunting accident at Windsor Castle in 1874. This is a victorian monument and is octagonal in shape. The central marble columns supports a fountain while around it the eight gray columns support the pinnacled superstructure which rises to a dome surmounted by a spire supported by yet more columns. The letters of Rossmore (also 8 in number) are spaced out around the monument.

Two buildings remain from the 18th century, Aviemore house (1760) on Mill Street and the Market House (1792) on Market square (or street). The most outstanding building of all is St Macartan's Cathedral with its wonderful rose window and spire, built between 1861 and 1891. Originally the nave was intended to be 2 bays longer but lack of funds meant that the design was cut back. The building sits on a hill overlooking Monaghan Town and is quite imposing.


The Battle of Clontibret between the forces of Hugh O'Neill and the English Crown was fought in northern Monaghan in May 1595. The territory of Monaghan had earlier been wrested from the control of the MacMahon sept in 1591, when the leader of the MacMahons was hanged by authority of the Dublin government; this was one of the events that led to the Nine Years War (Ireland) (1595-1603) and the Tudor re-conquest of Ireland.

Charles Gavan Duffy, the first premier of New South Wales in Australia, was born in Dublin Street, Monaghan Town on 12th April 1816

On 17 May 1974 seven people died in a terrorist incident in the town when a car bomb exploded during the Friday evening rush hour. This was one of the few incidents in the Republic during The Troubles in Northern Ireland; three other bombs exploded on the same day in Dublin in what became known as the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings.

On the Hill of Lech or previously Mullach Leaght, the Hill of the Stone , three miles south-west of Monaghan was the inauguration stone of the Mac Mahons. It was last used in 1595, but unfortunately this petrosomatoglyph was destroyed by a farm owner in 1809.


Today the town is a prosperous and growing one. It is a centre for the timber-frame house building industry and has a large furniture manufacturing industry. There is a campaign to boost tourism by reopening the Ulster Canal in a scheme which would eventually allow boats to travel from Northern Irish towns such as Newry and Coleraine by way of Monaghan to places as far south as Limerick as well as to Dublin.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Monaghan town features a red hand on a shield on a tower. It might be reasonable to think that the red hand here is the hand of the O'Neill family since the Battle of Clontibret between the forces of Hugh O'Neill and the English Crown was fought in northern Monaghan in May 1595. Only a specialist in heraldry could confirm this but it could have been created or added on to an existing coat of arms after the battle.