Location in Ireland

Coordinates: 54°02′N 7°03′W / 54.04°N 7.05°W / 54.04; -7.05Coordinates: 54°02′N 7°03′W / 54.04°N 7.05°W / 54.04; -7.05
Country Ireland
Province Ulster
County County Cavan
Elevation 100 m (300 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
  Urban 2,123
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
  Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference H617133

Cootehill (/ˈkt.hɪl/; Irish: Muinchille[7]) is a prominent market town and townland in County Cavan, Ireland. It was formerly part of the neighbouring townland of Munnilly, from Irish: Muinchille, meaning "the sleeve".[7] Cootehill lies within the barony of Tullygarvey.


Cootehill was formally established as a market town in 1725 when Thomas Coote obtained a charter to hold markets and fairs; thereafter strong ties to the Irish linen industry were cultivated. Cootehill gets its English name from the 17th century marriage of Thomas Coote, a Cromwellian Colonel, to Frances Hill from Hillsborough. The Coote family of Cootehill have some notable members, including the aforementioned Thomas Coote who was a judge of the Court of King's Bench (Ireland) in the 18th century; other Cootes have served as sheriffs and under-sheriffs in the 19th century. Thomas Coote's grandson Charles was Earl of Bellomont.

A description from 1844 states: "The town is comparatively well-built and respectively inhabited; and is not equaled in appearance by any place between it and Dublin except Navan."[8] The Cootehill of this era has a surprising link to communist and labour history, as well. A branch of the International Workingmen's Association (IWA) was established in Cootehill in 1872, along with branches in Dublin, Cork, and Belfast.[9]

Many prominent people have visited the town over the years: President Mary McAleese visited in 2002, to open Damien House, near Dartrey Forest; Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach, visited the town in 2006 at the height of the property bubble; Arthur Griffith founder of Sinn Féin and later President of Dáil Éireann was elected here in 1918; Rev. John Wesley, a founder of the evangelical and Methodist movement, visited the town in the mid-18th century; Eoghan Ruadh Ó Néill camped and trained the Ulster Army in Munnilly, in the 1640s during the Irish Confederate Wars.

Heritage and culture

Market Street, Cootehill 1905

The dominant architectural style reflects the 18th and 19th centuries, with a number of Georgian buildings in the town centre. The town has several fine architectural buildings: an office with an arched sandstone facade, built for the Provincial Bank (later AIB Bank) in 1858 and designed by architect William G Murray, stands at the far end of Market Street; it is next door to the Church of Ireland church, built 1819. Within 90 metres stands the renovated St. Michaels Roman Catholic Chapel. The Cootehill Court House is another example of notable architecture. It was designed and built in 1832 by William Deane Butler. There are also some interesting examples of Modern and Postmodern architecture, such as the Cootehill Post Office. The Market house was demolished in the 1960s. Cootehill workhouse and infirmary, was built in 1841-2, designed by George Wilkinson to accommodate up to 800 inmates and a fever hospital was added in 1846 during the Great Famine. It was closed in 1917 after serving as an asylum for a few years and demolished in the 1960s.

Live music - irish traditional music, country music, rock music and classical music, - is an important part of the local culture - the Ulster Fleadh Cheoil has been hosted in Cootehill several times.

Industry and tourism

Market Street, Cootehill, 2008

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 infant formulae. Other factories include Eakins and Whelans Shoes, and the Cootehill Enterprise Centre is home to Carleton Bakery. Agriculture and related industry (such as chicken processing and mushroom cultivation), as well as retail, are the main employers.

The surrounding lakes and rivers provide a scenic backdrop which attracts visitors and sports enthusiasts. In the 18th and 19th century Cootehill was a centre for horse-racing "a cup at Cootehill you have twice won with fame, And this day we are challenged, and you must run again"(Jackson and Jane).[10]

There is a megalithic tomb on the townland of Cohaw situated 5 km from Cootehill along the Shercock road.

Bellamont House is widely regarded as one example of Palladian Architecture in Ireland, and remains in a well-preserved condition. The country house was the ancestral seat of the Coote family, Earls of Bellamont. The former Bellamont Estate was a sprawling country estate stretching from the town centre north towards Rockcorry to the right of the Dromore River. The forest was once thickly planted with Norway spruce and other trees, and is now managed by Coillte and was clearcut in the early 1990s.

The estate featured several lakes, gatehouses at the numerous gates, open pasture, forest, drumlins, and a wide range of wildlife including wild deer and corncrakes and is bordered by the Dromore River and Dartrey Forest (once part of the former, Dartrey Estate). Most of Bellamont Forest is now designated as Natural Heritage Area by Ireland's National Parks and Wildlife Service.


At the end of 2006, Bindoo wind farm was completed close to Cootehill supplying the area with 48MW of wind generated electricity.


Cootehill railway station opened on 18 October 1860,[11] closed for goods and passenger traffic on 10 March 1947, finally closing altogether on 20 June 1955.[12] The line closed under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway after it was nationalised by the two governments.

Traditionally served by Bus Éireann. The service now comprises six journeys each way to/from Cavan and four journeys each way to/from Monaghan Mondays to Fridays inclusive. On Saturdays and Sundays there are two journeys in each direction.[13] There is also a three days a week Route 166 linking the town to Carrickmacross and Dundalk:[14] A company called Sillan operates a through coach service between the town and Dublin.[15]


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:[16]St. Aidans Comprehensive School serves the practical and academic needs of the area's population. 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.


See also


  1. Census 2006
  2. Census for post 1821 figures.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-17. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
  5. Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  6. Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.
  7. 1 2 Placenames Database of Ireland. "Cootehill". Retrieved 11 February 2014.
  8. Parliamentary Gazeeter of Ireland available at LDS libraries. Randell, 1844. Online source
  9. The Origins of Modern Irish Socialism, 1881-1896 By Fintan Lane (page 23)
  10. Jackson and Jane: Article by P. B. O Mordha in Clogher Historical Society. Traditional song sung by Paul Brady, "The Liberty Tapes," 2001
  11. Jonathan A. Smyth, 'The Establishment of Cootehill branch railway', Breifne, vol. x, no. 43. (2007)
  12. "Cootehill station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
  16. "St. Aidan's Comprehensive
    School's Website"
    . St. Aidan's Comprehensive
    School's Website
    . Retrieved 2016-12-01.
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