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Ireland Gazeteer

Westmeath in 1839

MEATH, WEST, or as it is sometimes written in one word, WESTMEATH, is an inland county of the province of Leinster in Ireland, bounded on the north by the county of Cavan in Ulster, from which it is separated by Lough Sheelin or Shillin; on the north-east, east, and south-east by the county of Meath; on the south by King's County; on the west by the county of Roscommon in Connaught, from which it is separated by Lough Ree and the river Shannon; and on the north-west by the county of Longford.

The greatest length is, from east-north-east to west-south-west, from the county of Meath near Clonmellon, to the bank of the Shannon opposite Athlone, 45 miles: the greatest breadth, at right angles to the length, is from the neighbourhood of Kinnegad to that of Rathowen, both on the mail-road from Dublin to Sligo, 25 miles.

The area is estimated in the Population Returns for 1831 at 370,053 English statute acres, or 578 square miles.

The population in 1831 was 136,872, giving nearly 237 inhabitants to a square mile.

In area it can scarcely be compared with any English county; it is larger than Monmouthshire, and less than Hertfordshire; in amount of population it is rather below Hertfordshire, but in density rather exceeds it.