|Elevation||100 m (300 ft)|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||IST (WEST) (UTC-1)|
|Irish Grid Reference||H617133|
Cootehill (/ˈkuːt.hɪl/; Irish: Muinchille) 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". 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." 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.
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 Fein 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
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.
Cootehill is home to a large number of notable ecclesiastical buildings, these include:
- St. Michael's Roman Catholic Chapel.
- A Presbyterian Church.
- All Saints Church of Ireland.
- A Seeders Meeting House. Used briefly as a cinema, now derelict.
- A Moravian church, now a private dwelling.
- A Quacker Meeting House, demolished in the 20th century.
Industry and tourism
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).
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.
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. There is also a three days a week Route 166 linking the town to Carrickmacross and Dundalk: A company called Sillan operates a through coach service between the town and Dublin.
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: 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.
- Mary Anne Madden Sadlier, author, was born here in 1820, emigrating to America in 1844 after the death of her father, Francis Madden, a merchant in Cootehill. She published roughly sixty novels, short stories, plays, poems, children's texts and translations of French romances and religious works.
- John Charles McQuaid, D.D., C.S.Sp., Lord Primate of Ireland and Lord Archbishop of Dublin, was born in Cootehill in 1895. He presided over the See of Dublin from 1940 until 1972. His religious titles were "His Grace The Most Rev. and Dr.".
- Eric Dorman-Smith (later Dorman-O'Gowan), born in 1895, became a noted Major-General in the British Army officer, served in World War II, and was the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway's "Colonel Cantwell". Archbishop McQuaid and Dorman-Smith were boyhood friends, despite the apparent disparity of background and later career.
- Reginald Dorman-Smith, a brother of Eric, was a Colonel and G.B.E. in the British army and served during the First World War. A soldier and politician, he was to serve as the Governor of Burma, 1941-1942, and during most of 1946.
- Paddy Smith, Fianna Fáil T.D. who became the longest-serving member of Dáil Éireann, was born there in 1901.
- Hugh O'Reilly - played football for many years for the local GAA team, Cootehill Celtic. Hughie is the only man to be involved in all of Cavan's Senior All-Ireland Championship victories. He played in the 1933 and 1935 finals and was manager/trainer for the successes in 1947, 1948 and 1952. Cootehill Celtic GAA's pitch in the town is named after him.
- Charlie Gallagher former Gaelic football player for Cavan in the 1960s.
- Ruairí McKiernan, social campaigner and member of the Council of State, grew up here and went to St. Michael's National School and St. Aidan's Comprehensive.
- Census 2006
- Census for post 1821 figures.
- 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.
- 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.
- Placenames Database of Ireland. "Cootehill". Retrieved 11 February 2014.
- Parliamentary Gazeeter of Ireland available at LDS libraries. Randell, 1844. Online source 
- The Origins of Modern Irish Socialism, 1881-1896 By Fintan Lane (page 23)
- Jackson and Jane: Article by P. B. O Mordha in Clogher Historical Society. Traditional song sung by Paul Brady, "The Liberty Tapes," 2001 
- Jonathan A. Smyth, 'The Establishment of Cootehill branch railway', Breifne, vol. x, no. 43. (2007)
- "Cootehill station" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
- Cavan County Council: Cootehill area Plan 2007, Development Plan (2014-2020), Dev. Map 2014, Local Councillors.
- Heritage: Natural Heritage, Country Plan, NHA Maps Cavan & Monaghan, Architecture 1 & 2, Estate Lands, Irish, Music & Arts, Landscape, Heritage Officers.
- Cootehill History: 1835, 1844, Tenant Rights 1850, First International branch, Linen Industry, National & Cootehill Workhouse, Town Directory 1910,Trades 1931.
- Historical Videos: Arthur Griffith election victory in June 1918, Sean Milroy addresses Free State Meeting in front of Market House (Town Hall) in 1922. Speech context.
- Cootehill in Song: Sweet Cootehill Town Tab, The Town of Cootehill notes & mp3, Sam Hall, Nell Flaherty's Drake!
- Sightseeing: Town Heritage Trail, Dartrey Forest Walks, Annalee Canoe Trip, Heritage Tours, Station Rd to Cavan Rd (car view), Dromore River fishing (video).
- Civic Information: Tourism, Fishing, Useful Contact Info., Library, Chamber of Commerce, Cootehill Area Dev. Ltd., Coillte (Forestry).
- Schools: St. Aidens Comprehensive, St.Micheals N.S., Darley N.S., Holy Family School, Drumlin House.
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