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County Monaghan

Pastoral in its landscape, County Monaghan represents the agricultural best of Ireland. Located in the northern Ulster province, Monaghan lies just south of the border with Northern Ireland. See: What is the difference between Ireland and Northern Ireland? Monaghan's citizens claim strong ties through emigration to various places in Canada, including Prince Edward Island. County Monaghan is replete with

  • Mountains
  • Hills
  • Plains
  • Lakes
  • Rivers and forests

These are well suited to enjoyable outdoor pursuits such as

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Cycling
  • Hillwalking

The county also has its share of historical sites and religious monuments.

Monaghan Town is the county town, and the region’s famous citizenry includes author Patrick Kavanagh and boxer Barry McGuigan. 

County Monaghan Highlights

The natural beauty of Ireland can be experienced at Monaghan’s Dun na Ri Forest Park. Filled with captivating sights, including unique rock formations, Dun na Ri also features a wide variety of native plants and animals. Endowed with lakes and wooded areas, and crossed with walkways, this rugged government-protected reserve is a place where small animals, fish and insects survive and thrive.

Though County Monaghan is famous for its agricultural pursuits, its residents over the centuries have also been known for their creativity and crafsmanship. These are on display for visitors to enjoy at Carrickmoss Lace Gallery, a celebration of an embroidery style that has been passed down through the generations since 1820, along with an interesting history that includes several world famous patrons.

Famous worldwide collections of artistic, local historical and religious treasures can be examined at Monaghan County Museum. The St. Louis Convent Heritage Centre displays art and craftwork and memorabilia collected by the sisters of this religious order during the course of their work at a variety of locations around the world.

Rural Ireland as seen through the poetic eyes of Patrick Kavanagh, one of County Monaghan’s famous citizens, can be explored at the Literary Resource Centre created in his honour. Those familiar with Kavanagh’s works will enjoy a tour through the surrounding area through many of the locations featured in his writings.

Historical events, both religious and secular, are memorialised in County Monaghan at the monastic ruins and high cross of Clones and Corracrin Church, as well as at Drumbanagher Hill, where battles have been waged from the Viking Era onward. 

County Monaghan History

Dating back to the Gaelic traditions, the ruling family of County Monaghan was named Mc Mahon, in close association with the O’Connolly and McKenna clans. The boundaries of the area of land that makes up today’s County Monaghan were set in the late 16th century.

Unlike the neighbouring counties, Monaghan escaped plantation in the early 1600s. Its rich lands remained under the control of its native people until shortly after an ill-fated rebellion in 1641, but Monahan was never extensively planted as other counties.

The Great Famine of the 1840s affected the agriculturally oriented citizens of County Monaghan, especially the potato farming class. Linen and lace production minimized the severity somewhat, especially in comparison to the western counties. 

Popular Monaghan Surnames

Common surnames in County Monaghan include:

  • Brady
  • Boyle
  • Connolly
  • Duffy
  • Finnegan
  • Hanratty
  • Hamilton
  • Hughes
  • Keenan
  • McDonnell
  • McMahon
  • McKenna
  • McNally
  • Murray
  • Smith
  • Traynor
  • Ward
  • Woods


Pub in Castleblaney, County Monaghan by Daniel McAdam


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