County Westmeath (/wɛstˈmiːð/; Irish: Contae na hIarmhí) is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Midlands Region and is also located in the province of Leinster. It is named after the ancient Kingdom of Meath (Old Irish: Mide). The population of the county is 86,164 according to the 2011 Census.
The History of Westmeath
There were two distinct periods of Viking activity in Westmeath, In the ninth century the Vikings had a fleet on Lough Ree and one of the most notorious Vikings of this period was the dreaded Turgesius who was on Lough Ree in 834. The following year he was captured by Maelsechlainn and drowned by him in Lough Owel outside Mullingar. Following the Norman invasion of Ireland the territory of the Kingdom of Meath was subsumed into the Lordship of Meath and granted by King Henry II of England, in his capacity as Lord of Ireland to Hugh de Lacy in 1172. Following the failure of male heirs, the Lordship was split between de Lacy's great-granddaughters. After the Great Famine the growth of Westmeath was higher than average and stabilized in the 19th century.
Westmeath has a strong agricultural economy. Initially, development occurred around the major market centres of Mullingar, Moate, and Kinnegad. Athlone developed due to its military significance and its strategic location on the main Dublin–Galway route across the River Shannon. Tourism in Westmeath is generally based on its many water amenities. The Grand Canal and The Royal flow through Westmeath and the River Shannon also an inland harbour in Athlone.
The development of industry in Westmeath was mainly based on food processing and consumer products. Whiskey is distilled in Kilbeggan and tobacco is processed in Mullingar. There are many historical sites such as Athlone Castle, dating back to 1210, Taughmon stone church dating back to 14th century. The Viking Ship is a very popular it leaves from the Quay at Athlone Castle daily.
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To assist you researching your family tree and where your ancestors came from please click on the History page tab above. This History page provides vital links that will be useful in sourcing where your ancestors came from, such as the 1901 Irish Census, Griffiths Valuation, and the Tithe Applotments.
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County Council Website
County Library Sites
Family History/ Genealogy Websites
www.goireland.com › Genealogy
County Newspaper Website