"From the Irish an Iar Mhí - Iar meaning west and Mí,
the central place."
Location: An inland county at the heart of Ireland
County size: 22nd largest in Ireland
Land area: 710 sq. miles
Highest point: Mullaghmeen (260 m)
Main geographical features:
Westmeath's northern regions are dotted with drumlins - small steep-sided
hills that were formed by the melting glaciers of the Ice Age during
the Drumlin Phase of the Ice Age (34,000 - 26,000 years ago), when glaciers
deposited unsorted debris which was subsequently moulded into ovoid
masses - drumlins - in the direction of the ice flow. The central and
southern regions of Westmeath are flatter, with bogs and lakes. The
southern part contains a long line of low hills, or eskers, yet another
feature dating from the Ice Age, formed during a cold stage (80,000
- 65,000 years ago). Huge ice domes were forced to turn to the north
and south by advancing Scottish ice. The inland ice was forced through
the midlands, and with its retreat, it left till, moraines, sheets of
sand and eskers behind.
Main rivers/canals: Tang; Royal Canal; Deel; Black; Inny; Riffey; Yellow, Gaine.
Main lakes: Lough Ree; Lough Iron; Lough Owel; Lough Ennell; Brittas
Lough; Lough Bane; Lough Derravaragh; Lough Lene.
Areas of geographical interest: The Royal Canal Bank Walk, the many
bogs which are subject to increasing scientific interest
Belvedere House and Gardens - on the shores of Lough Ennell.
The house is considered one of the most distinguished houses in Ireland,
set on the north-eastern shore of Lough Ennell with terraces dropping
in three stages to the lake waters. It was built around 1970 for Robert
Rochford, first earl of Belvedere whose accusation of an illicit liaison
between his wife, Mary and his own younger brother, Arthur, provide
the house with a fascinating historical backdrop.
Add to this the
tale of the Jealous Wall, Irelands largest man-made folly, built in
the grounds of the estate as the ruin of the abbey. The wall was a result
of a quarrel between the first Earl and his brother, George, owner of
nearby Roquefort House (Tudenham House) to exclude from the first Earl's
view the sight of his brother's residence of which he was jealous .
Other follies include the Gothic Arch and Octagonal Gazebo.
The grounds are
noted for there ornamental gardens, stately trees and variety of shrubs.
There is a walled garden and an arboretum surrounding the house. There
are also lakeshore and woodland walks . Lough Ennell itself is studded
with islands."Cro-Inis" (Cormorant Island) was selected in
ancient times by the Kings of Royal Meath as one of their abodes while
Malachy, King of All Ireland, who succeeded Brian Boro, A.D. 1014, had
a castle there and died on the island in 1022.
The house is presently
closed to the public with a major project underway to restore it to
it's original grandeur and to cultivate additional gardens. Visitors
can however enjoy the gardens and the fine vistas they offer of Lough
Ennell, largest of the lakes surrounding Mullingar.
A booklet on the
estate is available upon entry to same and from local tourist information
the estate itself, it's history the house and gardens as well as the
Jealous Wall and other follies.
& JONATHAN SWIFT HOUSE Also situated on the shores of Lough
Ennell across the lake from Belvedere. Liliput Park was once owned by
Boyd Rochfort, friend of Johnatan Swift, author of "Gulliver's
Travels ". Swift was a regular visitor to Lilliput and it was while
looking across from Belvedere at the people on the other side that he
was reportedly inspired to write his famous work. To-day at Lilliput
there is an amenity park including children's play area, 18 hole par
3 golf course, and a beautifully restored Georgian House accommodating
a coffee shop in the summer months. Lilliput also holds one of Ireland's
3 inland Blue Flags for water Quality & cleanliness and with
safety equipment at hand is an ideal place for bathing.
Locke's distillery museum is believed to be the oldest pot still distillery
in the world . Guided tours explain why the famous Locke's whiskey was
distilled. Craft shop and Coffee shop also open. AIB Better Ireland
Award Winner 1997.
Kilbeggan is also
home to the only turf club approved race course in Westmeath and hosts
evening meetings throughout the summer months.
Tyrellspass Castle commands the arrival as you approach from Galway
and enter the village which is situated on the main Galway / Dublin
road, 8 miles from Mullingar. The castle has been restored to it's former
glory and features a licensed restaurant, a coffee shop, antique shop
and tower museum .The Castle's Medieval Banquets are a feature! Also
of note in this pretty village, (a previous winner of a national tidy
town's award )is the central green, a square surrounded by impressive
houses built in the 1800s.
This is the final
stop on the tour so relax a bit in the Village Inn hotel, also sited
in this square, before returning to your base - or maybe you'll like
tyrellspass so much you'll decide to stay . Proprietors Gerry Cleary
and Sandra Dunne will be delighted to welcome you to their cosy hotel
Ennell Caravan and Camping Park
Republic of Ireland.
Tel: +353 (0) 44 9348101
Fax : +353 (0) 44 93 42676
OPEN: 1 April - 30 September
No. of pitches: 49
Area: 18 acres