County Monaghan is one of the three counties of Ireland that forms the province of Ulster, which extends into Northern Ireland. The majority of Monaghan’s northern areas are characteristic of cultivated lowlands. Over the course of the year, temperatures in Monaghan range from 35 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit, with cloud coverage being a relatively common occurrence year-round. Reportedly, the tourism score indicates that the best time of year to visit County Monaghan for warm-weather activities is from late June to late August. Many of the attractions that draw tourists to the area are historical sites and museums. One such attraction is the Monaghan County Museum, which has received a number of awards in the past for various aspects of the museum. Many people know County Monaghan by the legacy that was left by Patrick Kavanagh, an Irish poet who was born in Iniskeen, Monaghan. Patrick Kavanagh’s impact on the town was a result of his poetry and writing, a fair amount of which was based on his life in Monaghan. Other historical figures, including Sir Shane Leslie, an Irish writer, have left a mark on Monaghan evidently through historical sites that still stand today. The Castle Leslie Estate was an edifice that had formerly been owned by Sir Shane Leslie himself.
County Monaghan, located in the northern regions of Ireland, covers an expanse of 1,295 kilometers squared (500 square miles). The county can be found in the province of Ulster, and its name derives from the town Monaghan in the county's central area. As of the 2016 census, a total of 61,386 residents were accounted for to constitute County Monaghan’s population. The economy’s primary source of income comes from agriculture, as about 12% of the population was employed in this industry in the year 2011. County Monaghan is also said to be the main supplier of eggs within the Republic of Ireland as a whole.
One cultural aspect of County Monaghan, which the county is relatively known for, is the historical figure and Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh. The county was Patrick’s birthplace, more particularly the town of Iniskeen. He had lived on a small farm in Iniskeen for about 35 years after his birth in 1904. During his time at the farm, among his eight siblings, Patrick Kavanagh took an interest in writing. At the time of the publication of his first volume, Ploughman and Other Poems, in 1936, he had still been working as a farmer. A considerable amount of Patrick’s poetry is said to emulate a tone of confession, as he “often felt isolated, on the margins of society.” Much of his work is based on his life in County Monaghan. Today, tourists can visit an attraction in Iniskeen known as the Patrick Kavanagh Center, which is the place where Patrick was baptized. There, visitors can learn more about Kavanagh’s life experiences on a guided or self-guided tour that showcases collections of artifacts, texts, and films about Patrick Kavanagh.
Monaghan County Museum, located in the town of Monaghan, draws several tourists annually. In 1974, the museum was opened to the public as the first “full-time professionally staffed local authority” museum in Ireland. The museum features collections that can teach visitors about the county’s history dating back to over 10,000 years ago, from the end of the last Ice Age to County Monaghan’s current circumstances. Monaghan County Museum has won a number of awards, the first being the Council of Europe Prize in 1980, which was awarded to the museum for its community involvement. In 1993 and 2004, the museum won an award called the Best Collections Care due to the quality of the museum’s staff. Aside from these awards, it should be noted that the museum hosts a fair amount of events and exhibitions, especially during the summer. A few hands-on activities and interactive displays are also available to those who visit the museum.
County Monaghan is one of the three counties of Ireland that constitutes the province of Ulster, which extends into Northern Ireland. Ulster, as a whole, is comprised of nine counties, the majority of which are in Northern Ireland. The predominant topographical form that characterizes County Monaghan in the north is cultivated lowlands, with the exception of Slieve Beagh. The plateau of Slieve Beagh is an upland area that rises about 1,221 feet. Farmlands also make up a portion of the county, though they are relatively small in size. County Monaghan is a flax-growing county by tradition; however, the growth of flax has significantly decreased since World War II. Currently, some of the more fundamental products that are sources of income include hay, oats, potatoes, cattle raising, and dairy products.
Summers in County Monaghan tend to have cooler temperatures, while winters are generally longer, colder, wetter, and windier. Temperatures typically vary from roughly 35 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of the year, rarely dropping below 26 degrees or reaching above 74 degrees. Year-round, cloud coverage is a fairly common occurrence in County Monaghan. From June to September, it is considered to be the warm season, with an average daily high above 62 degrees Fahrenheit. July is usually the hottest month of the year, reaching a high of 66 degrees on average. As for the cool season, which is from November to March, the average daily high temperature drops below 48 degrees. January, reportedly the coldest month of the year, has an average low of 35 degrees and an average high of 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the subjective tourism score from previous visitors, the best time of year to visit County Monaghan is from late June to late August, especially for those who are interested in engaging in warm-weather activities.
For those hoping to learn more about the wildlife that can be found in the county, the Monaghan Wildlife Educational Centre encompasses such subjects. Approximately 200 species of Irish fauna that are native to five separate habitats (Coastal, Moorland, Woodland, Farmland, and Garden) are displayed. This attraction showcases “one of the largest, privately owned collections of mounted birds and mammals” in Ireland.
In 1585, it was decided by the Elizabethans to divide Ulster into ‘shire land.’ This ultimately caused a new establishment of Ireland’s boundaries, which are fairly similar to the boundaries of today. It wasn’t until the 17th century that County Monaghan was formed, named, and established officially. The namesake of the county derives from the Irish word “Muineacháin,” which translates to “little hills.”
Some of County Monaghan’s historical architecture of the Georgian and Victorian periods can be found in places such as Church Square and The Diamond in Monaghan Town, both of which are open to the public. Other places include Lough Fea, Hilton Park, and Carrickmacross, the latter being one of Monaghan’s largest towns. Church Square, in particular, was developed in the 1830s from land that was occupied by the back gardens of Mill Street as well as an expanse that was in front of a jail. One of the most dominating features of Church Square is St. Patrick’s Parish Church (Church of Ireland), which was built in 1836, and the courthouse, built in 1829.
County Monaghan was home to an Irish writer known as Sir Shane Leslie, who resided at Castle Leslie. Sir Shane Leslie was Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, the first cousin of Sir Winston Churchill, a Catholic convert, and an Irish nationalist during his lifetime. Throughout the early 1900s, he became an honored literary figure in Ireland. Shane Leslie was also close friends with F. Scott Fitzgerald, an American novelist that dedicated his second novel, The Beautiful and Damned, to Leslie. After a number of extensive renovations, the Castle Leslie Estate now serves as a place of lodging and a wedding venue. The property expands across 1,000 acres of countryside land and offers several on-site recreational activities. Some of the provided activities include horse-drawn carriage rides, fishing, and archery, among others.
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