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Mullingar - Westmeath - B/W Earl St

old irish photo

After the most recient census of 2006, the Westmeath central administrative centre, Mullingar, and dependent surrounding dwelling area posesses a population of 18,529, making it the largest population within County Westmeath.

Mullingar also possesses amenities such as libraries, secondary schools, gymnasiums, snooker halls, internet-cafes, Arts Centre, and railway station and had a proud tradition of cattle-trading up until 2003, when its cattle market was finally closed for development of a mixed commercial and residential scheme called the Market Point.


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Photo Details

  • County: Westmeath
  • Town: Mullingar
  • Scene: Earl St
  • 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 Mullingar below


Mullingar (An Muileann gCearr in Irish, meaning 'the left-handed mill' or 'the Wry-Mill') is the administrative centre of County Westmeath, Ireland and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Meath. Local government affairs are administered for the county from the town and county council buildings.

After the most recient census of 2006, the Westmeath central administrative centre, Mullingar, and dependent surrounding dwelling area posesses a population of 18,529, making it the largest population within County Westmeath.

Mullingar also possesses amenities such as libraries, secondary schools, gymnasiums, snooker halls, internet-cafes, Arts Centre, and railway station and had a proud tradition of cattle-trading up until 2003, when its cattle market was finally closed for development of a mixed commercial and residential scheme called the Market Point.

Mullingar is also famous for the neighbouring lakes, Lough Owel and Lough Ennell, which attract many anglers, as well as Lough Derravaragh. Lough Derravaragh is best known for its connection with the Irish legend of the Children of Lir. Having being turned into swans, the four children of King Lir spent three hundred years on Lough Derravaragh before moving to other locations around Ireland. Lough Lene has a reputation for its gin-clear water, historic ringforts, and wind-surfing. In recent times one of Mullingar's major exports has become the items of fine pewterware produced by the firm of Mullingar Pewter located near the town. Genisis fine art is also produced locally and has worldwide appeal with one of its sculpures of the 'Pilgrims' dominating the dispensary house at Austin Friars St where once there was an Augustinian Friary.

The current total zoned area within the town and environs is approximately 1,280 hectares, based on the Westmeath County Development Plan 2002-2008. This area therefore, is considerable less than the areas zoned in Athlone and Tullamore.

Mullingar forms part of the Midlands Gateway, along with Athlone and Tullamore.

Transport Roads

Mullingar lies on national primary route N4, the main Dublin - Sligo road, 79 km (49 miles) from the capital. The town is served by a Bus Éireann service to Dublin and Athlone where passengers can catch connecting buses.

The town currently suffers from heavy afternoon traffic partially caused by a lack of off-street parking (however an underground carpark has recently been constructed to help solve this problem). The town is bypassed and a ring road has been completed in a bid to further alleviate traffic. A new road to Athlone is also in the planning stages.


In the 19th century the town was served for a time by the Royal Canal - however displaced first by the railway and then the car, it is no longer commercially used for the transport of goods or people.


The Midland Great Western Railway line to Mullingar from Dublin opened in stages from 1846 to 1848, arriving in Mullingar on 2 October 1848. This was to a temporary station, adjacent to the greyhound stadium. The original mainline ran from Dublin (Broadstone) to Galway via Mullingar and Athlone, the Mullingar to Galway section opening in August 1851. The present station opened with the branch line to Longford on 14 December 1855.

There were two secondary stations in Mullingar, Canal Crossing cattle bank was on the Sligo Line and on the Athlone Line, Newbrook racecourse had its own station. This was unique in that it was a two platformed station with both platforms on the Down Line.

Nowadays, the line northwest to Longford and Sligo is the mainline, Galway is accessed from Heuston Station via Portarlington and the line between Mullingar and Athlone is disused. Mullingar station is served by national rail company Iarnród Éireann's Arrow commuter services to Dublin and InterCity trains to/from Sligo. Calls have been made for the line to Athlone via Moate to be reopened to facilitate more services between Galway and Dublin.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland have a secondary base in the town.

Health Service

Mullingar's hospital services the entire Longford Westmeath area. A large extension was built in the early 1990s to accommodate the ever increasing population. Due to a change in government however investment was halted and the empty shell has laid idle since. Many protests have followed but to no avail.

St. Lomans Psychiatric hospital is also located in Mullingar. It provides Psychiatric services to all of the midlands.


Columb Barracks is a major military base in the county comprising of the 4th Field Artillery Regiment and the HQ of the 54 Reserve Field Artillery Regiment(Army Reserve)formally the FCA(9 FAR). Mullingar contains several industrial estates including Lough Sheever Corporate Park and the Lynn Industrial estate. Two of the towns major manufacturing plants - Penn tennis balls and Tarkett - both closed in the early 2000s causing many job losses. However newer industries have absorbed the job losses - including Capmark, Oakley, P.E.M. Engineering, Trend Technologies,Taconic International and Mullingar Pewter which are all sizeable operations. The town is also home to a Van Nelle (Ireland) (a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco) tobacco factory which has provided employment for many years and Iralco - an automotive component manufacture is located near the town. The town recently won a €25m Lidl Warehouse and distribution center which will employ between 100 and 150. A new site for the IDA Business Park has been sited aloung the new N52 bypass. A major addition to the towns telecommunications infrastructure - a broadband network - was completed in 2004 - this is expected to increase the areas attractiveness to large multinational companies. Tesco Ireland had wanted to build a superstore in Lakepoint Retail addition to its current store but the local council because of fear of a monopoly turned this down.


How Maelblatha became An Muileann gCearr (Mullingar)

Saint Colman of Mullingar (Colmáin Maic Lúacháin) one day in the late 6th or early 7th century, was asked by his mother, 'My good son, help us, for we are in a great plight.' Colman went to the mill with his sack of barley upon him, as Colum Cille took the sack upon him to the stone which is in the refectory at Iona, (Maelblatha, was its name then, and there is luck upon every food that is upon it). Now on his arrival there was Conall's corn under the mill and it was wheat. Colman ordered it to cease, for he was in great haste(?); but the steward would not do it at his bidding. 'Then put it in,' said the cleric, 'and we will put (ours in) on this side, and God will divide for us.' They did thus, and Colman put his hand against the mill and turned it lefthandwise, so that thenceforward it has been Mullingar (Wry Mill ). And God exchanged the corn so that Colman had wheat and the steward had barley. So God's name and Colman's were magnified through the miracle.

Information From

Betha Colmáin Maic Lúacháin, or, The Life of Colmán son of Lúachan Life of Colman of Lynn alternatively, one may find where the old copy of the original has been all these years in France Bibliothèque de Rennes


Mullingar has a vibrant commercial sector. It has expanded rapidly in recent years from just a few shops on the main streets of the town - Oliver Plunkett St., Austin Friars St., and Mount St. - to several major shopping areas. There is an out of town retail park at Lakepoint (about a mile from the town center), the shopping center 'Harbour Place' near the town center and a new development at the Green - the site of the former Avonmore and Pennys units.

The town has a good mix of chain stores (Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Penneys, Lidl, SuperValu, Boots, Specsavers, Lifestyle Sports, Atlantic Homecare,Mothercare and more) and local retailers. The town also has branches of all the major banks - AIB, Bank of Ireland, Halifax, Ulster Bank, National Irish Bank etc. and building societies - First Active, EBSThe Town also has one of the countries largest Credit Unions (St.Colemans Credit Union)on Oliver Plunkett St in the town centre etc.

Mullingar also boosts a Farmers' Market which is held every Sunday and a small market which is located around the Penneys carpark near the Green.


Mullingar's main tourist attractions are its lakes - Lough Owel, Lough Lene and Lough Ennell - which are popular among anglers - and Belvedere House and Gardens which is heavily promoted for its beauty. The town has several hotels - the Greville Arms Hotel,Annebrook House Hotel, Bloomfield House Hotel and the 4 star Mullingar Park Hotel which houses a conference centre among others.

The town is also known for it's connections to Irish author James Joyce, who was a frequent visitor to Mullingar during his youth. Joyce's father, John, was a civil servant posted from Dublin to compile an electoral register of Mullingar and the surrounding townlands. He often stayed in the Greville Arms Hotel, where some of the scenes in his celebrated novel, 'Ulysses', are set.

Notable buildings Mullingar's most famous building is the cathedral of Christ the King Mullingar, the cathedral of the Diocese of Meath.The Cathedral was dedicated historically on the day World War II broke out

Notable citizens

Cllr. Pat Whelan is the present Chairman of Mullingar Town Council (2006/07).

Mullingar is the home town of the ska-pop band The Blizzards as well as rock bands Innate, The Aftermath, Waiting To Explode, Peter Doran and enigmatic rockers Triega.

Mullingar is also the home town of Declan Power author of 'Siege at Jadotville'

Mullingar is home to J. P. Donleavy, author of 'The Ginger Man'.

Mullingar is the home town of the well-known singer Joe Dolan and of Michael O'Leary, the CEO of Ryanair.

Mullingar is the home town of author and Joycean scholar Leo Daly, whose books include, 'The Rock Garden', and 'James Joyce and the Mullingar Connection'.

Mullingar is the home town of the President of Dublin City University, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski whose family home is at Knockdrin, just outside the town.

Patrick Graham, one of Ireland's most highly rated artists, was born in Mullingar in 1943.

Columb Barracks has housed soldiers decorated for bravery:

Comdt Adrian Aisnworth,Military Medal for Gallantry 2nd Class(C/O 9 FAR fca)

Captain Thomas Boyle, Distinguished Service Medal 2nd Class

Sergeant John Quirke, Distinguished Service Medal 2nd Class

Corporal William Allen, Distinguished Service Medal 2nd Class, who now lives in Collinstown

Sergeant Patrick Mulcahy, Distinguished Service Medal 3rd Class, posthumous