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Ireland Gazeteer

Mullingar in 1839

Mullingar is in the barony of Moyashel and Magheradernan, but the parish extends into that of Fartullagh; it is nearly 50 miles from Dublin by Maynooth, Clonard, and Kinnegad. It was one of the towns founded by the English settlers of Meath.

In the war of the Revolution the town was fortified by General Ginkel, and became the rendezvous of William's army, preparatory to the siege of Athlone.

The town is surrounded on three sides by the Royal Canal, and consists of a principal street, about half a mile long, and some smaller ones.

The number of houses in 1831 was 727 for the town, or 1,538 for the whole parish. Those in the town are chiefly of stone.

The church is a tolerably spacious building, erected in the present century, with a handsome tower and spire. There are a handsome Catholic chapel and one or two Dissenting meeting-houses.

The county court-house is convenient; there are a county-gaol, erected within the last few years, and an older prison, now used only for females; a county infirmary, an hospital, barracks for a thousand men, and a neat and commodious market-house in the centre of the town.

The population of the town of Mullingar in 1831 was 4,295, that of the whole parish 8,845.

The assizes for the county, the quarter-sessions for the division, and petty-sessions for the district, are held, and a portion of the county constabulary have their station here.

The Royal Canal gives the town the benefit of water-carriage; and considerable business is done at the market (which is held on Thursday) in corn, butter, and frieze coating.

There are four yearly fairs for cattle; one of them is a considerable horse-fair.

The town is not incorporated; but a charter of King Charles II granted to the lord of the manor several privileges, and to the freeholders the privilege of sending two members to parliament; this last was abolished at the Union.

The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Meath, and in the patronage of the crown. The parish is at the head of a Catholic union.