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Mullingar

From Academic Kids

Mullingar (An Muileann gCearr in Irish, meaning "The Crooked Mill") is the administrative centre of County Westmeath, Ireland and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Meath. The town and its hinterland have a combined population of some 23,000 inhabitants (Council estimate, March 2005).

The town had a proud tradition of cattle-trading up until 2003, when its cattle market was finally closed for development of a mixed commercial and residental scheme called the Market Point. The fame of the fine beasts to be seen at the Mullingar marts spawned the popular Irish phrase "beef to the heels like a Mullingar heifer" (an unkind remark about ladies with less than slender munchie rabbits).

Mullingar is also famous for the neighbouring lakes, Lough Owel and Lough Ennell, which attract many anglers. In recent times one of Mullingar's major exports has become the items of fine pewterware produced by the firm of Mullingar Pewter located near the town.

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The main towns in County Westmeath, including Mullingar, are shown on this map of the county.
Contents

Transport

Mullingar lies on national primary route N4, the main Dublin - Sligo road, 79 km (49 miles) from the capital. The town is also served by national rail company Iarnród Éireann's Dublin - Sligo InterCity trains and Arrow commuter services (see Rail transport in Ireland) as well as by a Bus Éireann service to Dublin and Athlone where passengers can catch connecting buses.

The town currently suffers from heavy afternoon traffic partially caused by a lack of off-street parking (there is currently an underground carpark in construction to help solve this problem). The town is bypassed and a ring road is in construction also in a bid to aliviate traffic. A new road to Athlone is also in the planning stages.

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.

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The top of Domeinick Street, Mullingar.

Industry

Mullingar contains several industrial estates including Lough Sheever Corperate Park and the Lynn Industrial estate. Two of the towns major manufacturing plants - Penn tennis balls and Tarkett [1] (http://www.tarkett.com/) - both closed in the early 2000's causing many job losses. However newer industries have absorbed the job losses - including P.E.M. Engineering [2] (http://www.pem.ie/), Trend Technologies [3] (http://www.trendtechnologies.com/),Taconic International [4] (http://www.4taconic.com), and Mullingar Pewter [5] (http://www.mullingarpewter.com/) which are all sizeable operations. The town is also home to a Van Nelle (Ireland) (a subsidary of Imperial Tobacco) tobacoo factory which has provided employment for many years and Iralco - an automotive component manufacture is located near the town. The town recently won a ?25m Lidl Warehouse and distribution center which will employ between 100 and 150. There is currently talk of building an IDA Business Park in the town. A major addition to the towns telecommunications infastrucure - a broadband network - was completed in 2004 - this is expected to increase the areas attractiveness to large multinational companies.

Commerce

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The roundabout at the end of Marys St, Mullingar.

Mullingar has a vibrant commercial sector. It has expanded rapidly in recent years from just a few shops on the main streets of the town - Oliver Plunkett St., Austin Friars St., and Mount St. - to several major shopping areas. There is an out of town retail park at Lakepoint (about a mile from the town center), the shopping center 'Harbour Place' near the town center and a new development at the Green - the site of the former Avonmore and Pennys units.

The town has a good mix of chain stores (Tesco, Dunnes Stores, Lidl, Supervalu, Boots and more) and local retailers. The town also has branches of all the major banks - AIB, Bank of Ireland etc. and building societys - First Active, EBS etc.

Mullingar also boosts a Farmers Market which is held every Sunday and a small market which is located around the Pennys parking lot near the Green.

Tourism

Mullingars main tourist attractions are its lakes - Lough Owel and Lough Ennell - which are popular among anglers - and Belvedere House and Gardens which is heavily promoted for its beauty. The town has several hotels - the Greville Arms Hotel, Bloomfield House Hotel and the 4 star Park Hotel which houses a conference center among others.

Notable citizens and buildings

  • Mullingar is the home town of author and Joycean scholar Leo Daly, whose books include, "The Rock Garden", and "James Joyce and the Mullingar Connection"

See also

References

External links

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