County Westmeath facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Westmeath
Contae na hIarmhí
Coat of arms of Westmeath
Coat of arms
Motto: Triath ós Triathaibh  (Irish)
"Noble above nobility"
Location of Westmeath
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Dáil Éireann Longford–Westmeath
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
Area
 • Total 1,840 km2 (710 sq mi)
Area rank 21st
Population (2016) 88,396
 • Rank 22nd
Vehicle index
mark code
WH
Website www.westmeathcoco.ie

County Westmeath (/wɛstˈmð/ west-MEEDH; Irish: Contae na hIarmhí or simply An Iarmhí) is a county in Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster and is part of the Midlands Region. It originally formed part of the historic Kingdom of Meath (Midhe). It was named Mide because kingdom was located in middle of Ireland (the word Mide means middle). Westmeath County Council is the government for the county, the capital is Mullingar. The population of the county is 88,396.

History

Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the territory of the Kingdom of Meath was subsumed into the Lordship of Meath and granted by King Henry II of England, in his capacity as Lord of Ireland, to Hugh de Lacy in 1172. Following the failure of male heirs, the Lordship was split between de Lacy's great-granddaughters. The western part was awarded to Margery and her husband, John de Verdun, son of Walter de Lacy while the eastern part, centred on Trim, was awarded to Maud.

The official establishment of County Westmeath dates to 1543, and it was named after the kingdom of Mide.

Geography and political subdivisions

Westmeath is the 20th largest of Ireland's 32 counties by area and the 22nd largest in terms of population. It is the sixth largest of Leinster’s 12 counties in size and eighth largest in terms of population. It was named after the historic kingdom and province of Meath, of which the county was the most western part. Westmeath was shired under The Counties of Meath and Westmeath Act of 1543. The Hill of Uisneach in the barony of Moycashel is sometimes regarded as the notional geographical centre of Ireland although the actual geographic centre of Ireland lies in neighbouring County Roscommon. The summit of Mullaghmeen is the highest point in County Westmeath. At just 258 metres this makes it the lowest county top in Ireland.

Demography

Westmeath's population growth has been stronger than the national average. After the Great Famine, the population of Westmeath declined dramatically. It stabilized in the middle of the 20th century, and has continued to grow. Westmeath's proximity to Dublin with good motorway facilities and frequent rail service has made commuting popular.

County Westmeath saw a decline in population during 18th and 19th century, due to the immigrants leaving it for better opportunities in America. The largest town in the county is Athlone, followed by the County town Mullingar. Westmeath is the largest county by population in the Irish Midlands. Important commercial and marketing centres include Moate, Kilbeggan, Kinnegad, Ballinahown, Delvin, Rochfortbridge, Killucan and Castlepollard. According to the 2011 census 51.9% of Westmeath households have at least one Irish speaker.

Westmeath is one of oldest counties in Ireland to have census in 1841.Some of the records of that census have been digitized and maintained by the National Archives of Ireland.

According to the latest census of April 2011 Westmeath had a population of 86,164, consisting of 42,783 males and 43,381 females. It was also revealed by central statistics office that despite being overall increase in population, rural population still faced declination. The population of pre-school age (0-4) was 6,882, of primary school going age (5-12) was 10,111 and of secondary school going age (13-18) was 7,141. There were 9,796 persons aged 65 years and over. The number of persons aged 18 years or over was 63,112.

People

Christ le Roi Mullingar
Christ the King Cathedral, Mullingar

Notable Westmeath natives include:

  • Tony Allen one half of music duo Foster & Allen
  • The Blizzards, music group
  • Arthur Booth-Clibborn,
  • Emmet Cahill, singer from Irish group Celtic Thunder
  • Dr.Michael Joseph Curley, Archbishop of Washington
  • Joe Dolan, singer
  • Domnall Midi, King of Mide
  • Thomas Duffy, awarded the Victoria Cross
  • Gormflaith ingen Flann Sinna, Queen of Tara
  • Nuala Holloway, artist and former Miss Ireland
  • Niall Horan, member of boyband One Direction
  • James Lennon, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
  • Máel Sechnaill II, King of Mide and King of Ireland
  • John Count McCormack, tenor
  • John Joe Nevin, boxer
  • Niall mac Aed Ó hUiginn, poet
  • Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair, businessman
  • Walter Raleigh spent time at Killua Castle
  • Brendan Shine, Singer
  • Túathal Techtmar, High King of Ireland
  • Field Marshal George Wade
  • Seán William McLoughlin, (1990–) popular YouTube game commentator known by the name of Jacksepticeye.

Gallery

Images for kids


County Westmeath Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.