Mullingar (; Irish: An Muileann gCearr, meaning "the left-handed mill") is the county town of County Westmeath in Ireland. It is the 3rd most populous town in the midlands region with a population of 20,928 in the 2016 census.

The Counties of Meath and Westmeath Act (Henry VIII 34) of 1543, proclaimed Westmeath (which then included Longford which separated in 1586) a county, separating it from Meath. Mullingar became the administrative centre for County Westmeath. The town was originally named Maelblatha, and takes its modern name from a mill noted in the legend of Colman of Mullingar.

Traditionally a market town serving the large agricultural hinterland, Mullingar remains a significant commercial location. It had a tradition of cattle-trading until 2003, when its cattle market was closed for development of a mixed commercial and residential scheme called Market Point. However, in 2014 the local County Council have allowed an annual Christmas Market to take place on Mount Street.

Mullingar is famous for the neighbouring lakes, Lough Owel, Lough Ennell and Lough Derravaragh, which attract many anglers. Lough Derravaragh is also known for its connection with the Irish legend of the Children of Lir. The town of Mullingar is linked to Lough Ennell via Lacy's Canal and the River Brosna. Another waterway of significance is the Royal Canal, which loops around Mullingar.

Among Mullingar's major exports are items of pewterware produced by Mullingar Pewter. Also associated with Mullingar is Genesis Fine Art, which produces gift items. The "Pilgrims" sculpture on Mullingar's Austin Friars Street, at which location there once stood an Augustinian Friary, was crafted by Genesis on foot of a commission by the Mullingar chapter of Soroptimists International.

Two print newspapers serve the community: the Westmeath Examiner and the Westmeath Topic together with a blog, Mullingar News and Views.

Local government and politics

Westmeath County Council is the local authority for Westmeath. The county council comprises two constituencies or “municipal districts”. Mullingar town is in the Mullingar Municipal District which comprises thirteen members. The current mayor is Councillor Ken Glynn.

The town is part of the Longford–Westmeath constituency for elections to Dáil Éireann.

There is a Chamber of Commerce in Mullingar, and Mullingar is one of the three towns that forms the Midlands Gateway region, along with Athlone and Tullamore, set up as part of the Government’s National Spatial Strategy 2002-2020.



The Mullingar Town Band was founded in 1879 by Father Polland as a Holy Family Confraternity Band. The local Military Barracks supplied many of the early members who themselves were serving members of the British Regimental bands stationed in Mullingar. Many of the members of these bands settled in the town and joined the band. The Mullingar Confraternity Band remained under the auspices of the Confraternity until the 1940s, when it was handed over to a committee and continued under the title of Mullingar Brass and Reed Band. And thus it remained until membership had dwindled to 3 or 4 members by 1957. In 1979, the centenary was celebrated with a membership of 100 – one member for every year of the band's existence.

The band has a dual role of marching band – The Celtic Crusaders – and a concert band. It has won some of the top awards in Ireland, Northern Ireland and England. Entirely voluntary, it is maintained financially by membership fees and fundraising. Every four years since 1974 both the Celtic Crusaders and Concert Band attend the International Youth Band Festival in Purmerend, the Netherlands. In 2004 the band completed a successful exchange with the Cardinal Gibbons High School Band, Raleigh, North Carolina. They travelled to Midsomer Norton, England in July 2006 for the Open European Championships, bringing home four gold medals, including a gold with distinction in the senior concert section for the first time. In 2015 the Celtic Crusaders were Irish Marching Band Association League champions, after securing one first and two second-place results in the IMBA League.

The Stables is a nationally recognised music venue in Mullingar which first opened in 1989. The club hosts a wide variety of music and has featured well-known performers; critic and writer Ronan Casey has described it as an "essential" stop for any national touring act. Niall Horan, born and raised in Mullingar, is a member of the boy band One Direction. Horan is the only non-British member the band. He was the first Irish citizen to sing at the Olympic Games in London 2012, and has also won four Brit Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards with One Direction. Niall Breslin who is in the band "The Blizzards" is also from Mullingar. The Academic are another local band that has begun to exposure on the national stage.

In popular culture

In Doubt, a 2008 film adaptation of the John Patrick Shanley stage play, starring Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, the town is referenced in dialogue between the main character, Sister Aloysius (Streep), and the school caretaker.

Mullingar featured on Three Men in a Boat on BBC 2 on 30 December 2009, in an episode called "Three Men Go to Ireland". Dara Ó Briain, Rory McGrath and Griff Rhys Jones were greeted by a large crowd on the Market Square and enjoyed a night at the Mullingar Greyhound Stadium during this episode where Dara O'Briain's dog Snip Nua raced.

The Furey Brothers also sang "The Reason I Left Mullingar", a song written in 1980 by Pat Cooskey.

The song "Ode in Praise of The City of Mullingar", was written by William J Macquorn Rankine.

Mullingar is mentioned in the song "The Rocky Road to Dublin" by The Dubliners. It is one of the few songs in the 2009 film, Sherlock Holmes that was not composed for the film.

The town is also associated with Irish author James Joyce, who was an occasional 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. James referred to Mullingar in three of his novels, mentioning it twelve times in Ulysses, in chapter 14 of Stephen Hero, and three times in Finnegans Wake.

Mullingar was mentioned at the very end of the very popular song "Horse Outside" by the Rubberbandits, in which the bridesmaid was promised a horse-back ride out to Mullingar.

Pat of Mullingar is an Irish rebel song.

Outside Mullingar, a play by John Patrick Shanley.

Mullingar is mentioned several times in The Hostage, a play by Irish playwright Brendan Behan, in the context of the Civil War.

A short video was compiled for Mullingar man Niall Horan's song 'this town' showing an illustrated outline of Mullingar.

Places of interest

Mullingar's main tourist attractions are its lakes – Lough Owel, Lough Derravaragh and Lough Ennell – which are popular with anglers – and Belvedere House and Gardens which is heavily promoted for its beauty. The town has several hotels. The Greville Arms Hotel has latterly begun creating a mini-museum, and also holds the two Brit awards presented to Niall Horan. James Joyce's connection with the hotel is marked on the premises. In the rooftop garden, there stands a large granite monument which formerly stood at Dominick Street. It was presented to the town by Lord Greville.

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

Columb Barracks, which closed in March 2012, was a major military base in the county housing the 4th Field Artillery Regiment and the HQ of the 54 Reserve Field Artillery Regiment (Army Reserve). 1916 Centenary Monument Green Bridge Mullingar, the Monument was unveiled by Cllr Billy Collentine MCC on Easter Monday 2017 in front of a large crowd that gathered for the Event. Mullingar Tidy Towns were the organisation that built this historic monument in memory of the 1916 Easter Rising.


Mullingar's commercial sector has expanded in recent years from just a few shops on the town's main thoroughfares – Oliver Plunkett Street, Austin Friars Street, and Mount Street – to several major shopping areas. There is an out-of-town retail park at Lakepoint (about 1.6 km from the town centre), the Harbour Place Shopping Centre near the town centre, and a new development at the Green – on the site of the former Avonmore and Penneys units.

The town has a mix of local retailers and chain stores (Tesco, Dunnes Stores, O2, Penneys, Lidl, SuperValu, Boots, Specsavers, Heatons, Lifestyle Sports and others. The town also has branches of all the major banks – AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB – and a branch of EBS building society. The town also has one of the country's largest credit unions (St Colman's Credit Union).

Arguably the largest development in Mullingar, the proposed "Mullingar Central" development was to have been located between Mount Street, the Railway station and Blackhall Street. Planning permission was granted for retail, commercial and residential units. Phase 1, which included tax offices, library, civic offices and County Council buildings was officially opened on 11 June 2009. Phase 2 did not, however proceed, and given the current economic situation, it is unlikely that it will come to fruition.

Mullingar contains several industrial estates including Lough Sheever Corporate Park and Clonmore Industrial Estate and Mullingar Business Park. The Industrial Development Authority (IDA) also has a business park at Marlinstown, a site prepared in readiness for any multinational employer that might choose to locate in Mullingar. However, as of 2015, only one plot on the site has been acquired by an employer, Patterson Pumps, which is constructing a new plant to which it intends moving its entire Irish operation from its current location, at Mullingar Business Park. Two of the town's major manufacturing plants – Penn tennis balls and Tarkett – both closed in the early 2000s causing many job losses. Significant local employers include the Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar [1], 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) factory which has provided employment for many years.

Iralco, an automotive component manufacturer, is located nearby in Collinstown continues to provide employment to a skilled work force. The town is home to a €25m Lidl warehouse and distribution centre. Mullingar is well served by internet providers, and speeds of up to 240 Mbit/s are available in the town. As of April 2015, eircom Wholesale has announced that by mid 2017, it will be able to offer ISPs the opportunity to purchase access to Fibre to the Home (FTTH) technology in Mullingar, as well as Athlone and Kinnegad, which will allow for speeds of up to 1,000 Mbs.

Mullingar has a Chamber of Commerce which represents almost 160 businesses from many commercial sectors.



Mullingar lies near the national primary route N4, the main Dublin – Sligo road, 79 km (49 mi) from the capital. The N52 also connects Mullingar to the Galway-Dublin M6 motorway. The town is served by Bus Éireann services to Dublin, Athlone (where passengers can catch connecting buses), Sligo, Cavan, Tullamore and Ballina.

The town currently suffers from heavy afternoon traffic partially caused by a lack of off-street parking problem. The town is bypassed and a ring road has been completed in a bid to further alleviate traffic.


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 town of Mullingar is also linked to Lough Ennell via Lacy's Canal and the river Brosna.


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 Station) to Galway via Mullingar, then via Moate to 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.

These days, the Dublin-Sligo railway 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 currently disused. Mullingar station is served by national rail company Iarnród Éireann's Arrow commuter services to Dublin and InterCity trains to/from Sligo.

The Railway Preservation Society of Ireland have a secondary base in the town. There is a photo survey of the disused Athlone Line via Moate.


The Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar serves the entire Longford-Westmeath area. A large extension was built in the early 1990s to accommodate the ever-increasing population. A change in government, however, halted investment and the extension lay as an empty shell until late 2006 when funding was finally secured to ensure its completion. There are several other hospitals in the town: St Loman's, which provides psychiatric services to all of the Irish Midlands; St Mary's, a care centre for older people; and the St Francis Private Hospital.


The town has several primary schools. Those run under the Catholic ethos are Presentation NS, St Mary's NS and St Colman's NS, as well as the Irish language primary school, Gaelscoil an Muileann. All Saints NS is a Church of Ireland School. Other schools serving the town are the Educate Together NS; Gaelscoil an Choilin, at Cullion, and Curraghmore NS, due to move (2015) onto a new building on a greenfield site on the Ardmore Road. Second level schools are Coláiste Mhuire, Mullingar's oldest post-primary school; St Finian's College; Loreto College and Mullingar Community College . Coláiste Mhuire is primarily a boys school, however the successful repeat Leaving Certificate class is co-educational. Just to the north of Mullingar on the old Longford Road is St Finian's College. Until 2003 St Finian's was an all-boys boarding school; however, in 2003 the decision was made to phase out the boarding school by 2007 and to admit girls as well as boys. Loreto College for girls is the largest secondary school in the town, while Mullingar Community College is a co-educational school for boys and girls. The Community College also runs evening courses for adults and awards the FETAC certificates.

Wilson's Hospital School, a co-educational boarding school, operates under the patronage of the Church of Ireland (Anglican Communion). It is located in the nearby village of Multyfarnham. It serves day-students from the Mullingar area.



Mullingar has a rich tradition in athletics with the club Mullingar Harriers producing many international athletes and several Olympians. Bobby Begley was Irish Team Manager when Eamonn Coughlan won the 5,000 meters World Championship in Helsinki.


There are four G.A.A. football clubs in the Mullingar area: Mullingar Shamrocks, St. Loman's Mullingar, and The Downs are the senior teams. Shandonagh fields an intermediate team. St Oliver Plunkett's and Cullion respectively facilitate both senior and intermediate hurling enthusiasts. The Westmeath GAA team plays its home games at Cusack Park. Mullingar also supports women's teams including Mullingar Shamrocks and St Lomans Mullingar


At the moment, Mullingar has three adult football teams: Mullingar Athletic (who play in Gainstown) and Mullingar Town (who have their grounds in D'Alton Park). The third, set up in 2009, are known as Hibernian Celtic AFC, they were originally formed in 1948, but ceased in 1986. They play their home games in the Raithin community pitch in which they share with Grange Utd, an under 18 side formed in 2009. Outside the town you have Rathowen Utd, Raharney FC, Rochfortbridge and Coralstown FC. All teams play in the CCFL league system.


Mullingar rugby football club is located in Cullionbeg, and has had a degree of success in the 1990s with two towns cup final appearances. The club also made it to the 1989 towns cup final. The club has a pick of up to 50 players with three senior teams in very competitive leagues. The 3rd team won the Anderson Cup.

Australian Rules Football

There has been an Australian Rules Football team, the Midland Tigers – based in the town since 2000. Over the years the club have provided numerous International Players for the Irish Warriors, the national team for the sport in Ireland and they compete annually in the Premiership.


Westmeath Snooker Ranking events at Junior,Intermediate and Senior levels are hosted by St Mary's Snooker Club Mullingar and is recognised and a member of the Republic of Ireland Billiards & Snooker Association. The Clubs Handicap cup is the longest running event in snooker in the midlands running from 1963. The four ranking events are the Midland Open,St Marys Open Classic,Westmeath Championships & the Mullingar Open Snooker Championship at all levels. St.Mary's Snooker Club team won the "Peter McNally Memorial Cup 1997" in Edenderry Snooker Club defeating Kildare in the final of the tournament in memory of Peter McNally an Irish International Snooker player that was fatally injured in a car accident.

Tennis and badminton

The Mullingar Tennis and Badminton Club is located in the heart of the town and includes 8 outdoor tennis courts and a hall containing 2 badminton courts The committee consists of 8 members and president John Murphy. The club was founded in 1892 by members of the Uisneach Badminton Club. It now has 8 courts, a practice wall, coaching service, changing room facilitates, kitchen, meeting room, tabletennis table and balcony's.

Greyhound racing

When programmed, greyhound track racing occurs upon the Lynn Greyhound track on Thursday and Saturday evenings, beginning at 20:00. For television broadcasting purposes, races are interlaced with those from Shelbourne Dublin. The Track featured on the BBC Three men go to Ireland show where Dara O'Briain's dog Snip Nua raced


The club was created in 1953, and has now developed to be 6685 yards. Mullingar golf club hosts every August bank holiday weekend a leading amateur golf competition, i.e. The Mullingar Scratch Cup. This competition has been won by the likes of Hughie Myres, Des Smyth, Pádraig Harrington, Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Nick Grant. The 2006 winner was Rory McIlroy. Mullingar player Gerry Purcell is former An Post Golf Society Irish Champion on two occasions.


The Mullingar Monarchs were formed in 2001, training from the CBS gym in the town centre. Recently however the Monarchs have switched training locations to Rochfortbridge. While the club took 2 years to get off the ground they are now one of the most decorated in the Midland League, securing one treble and two double titles. The team have also played in the National League Division 1, one step away from the superleague.

The Mullingar Dragons were formed in 2007 and play in the North Eastern Basketball League. In July 2008 a Women's team was added to the already established Men's team.


The Cricket club is based on the St. Finian's ground in Mullingar.There is nets every Friday at 6:30. The Club fields 3 men's teams in Leinster and Midland Cup and league competitions.First IX – Leinster Division 4 Second IX – Leinster Division 9 Third IX – Leinster Division 14.


Mullingar Hockey Club currently has 4 adult teams and the club play its matches in the Loreto College, on the Longford road, not far from the hospital. The men's side of the club are in its 26th year, and has between 40 and 50 members, with their 1st team currently in Leinster League Division 4, the 2nd team play in Division 7.The Ladies side of the club were re-formed three years ago, after a break of five years and also have two teams. The matches are played every Saturday (an odd Sunday game does occur) and are open to the public (see local press for details). There are 3 fully qualified coaches at the club and several high level umpires. The club are planning more teams and an astro turf pitch in the future.


The Mullingar Jets Swimming Club is based in the town swimming pool located in Mullingar Town Park.


Lakeside Wheelers Mullingar Cycling club caters for leisure and touring cyclists of all ages and abilities. The Club's main touring activities are short, medium and longer distance cycles on Saturday and Sunday morning and in the summer months on Monday and Wednesday evenings.


Mullingar is also the home of one of Ireland's international riding centres. Mullingar Equestrian Centre ( 5 minutes outside the town) regularly hosts competitions. Also they are available for lessons, and on Friday evenings during the year there are competitions for riders to compete in. Other schools in the area include Ladestown House Riding Stables and Catherinestown Riding School. Studs include Tally Ho Stud, Cleaboy Stud, and Charlestown Stud.


Two-time Olympian boxer John Joe Nevin is from Mullingar. He won a silver medal in the bantamweight competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics.






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