Multyfarnham Friary and Church
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The Irish Franciscan friars (O.F.M.) still maintain a presence in the ancient monastery here which was founded in 1268. During the English conquest of Ireland it was raided six times and twice burnt out by the Crown forces battling the forces of the 'Irish of Meath'. During the wars of the 1640s it became an organisational centre for the enormously powerful and influential Franciscans in Ireland, who met there in their provincial assembly at the outbreak of the 1641 rebellion. In 1646, there were 30 friars in residence here. By the middle of era of the Penal Laws there were as few as seven friars, five of whom were of advanced age. The church was unroofed from 1651 and remained so until to 1827. In 1839 a new friary was rebuilt in the grounds. The Franciscan College, Multyfarnham was opened in 1899. There were four pupils enrolled for the first year. This school later became a recognised Agricultural College in 1956, and continued to teach until 2003.
Around the picturesque monastery grounds, among the lawns, around the church and the college buildings, there are 14 elaborate life size Stations of the Cross. This is a focal point for special devotions. It is regarded as one of the finest outdoor shrines in Ireland, and draws many tourists. The college is now used as an educational and seminar centre. It also hosts an arts centre.
A nursing home called the Portiuncula Nursing Home now shares the site, as does Larcc Cancer Support Center and Irish Autism Action.
Multyfarnham was a winner of the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1977.
Multyfarnham Gaelic Athletic Association Gaelic football club is situated in the village also. They play in the Westmeath Junior Football Championship and the All County League Division 3. Captain of the 2012 season is Henry Reilly. Manager is John Gordon. The town has easy access to the shores of Lough Derravaragh, and the associated resources, such as, hill walking, boating, and fishing, with authorised permits. Horse-riding facilities are also available nearby.
The nearest bus stop is located at Ballinalack some 7 kilometres distant and is served by Bus Éireann Expressway routes 022 and 023 several times daily. Until the evening of 24 August 2013 Bus Éireann route 115 (Longford-Mullingar-Maynooth-Dublin) served Multyfarnham once a day in each direction Mondays to Saturdays inclusive.
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