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Irish: Carraig Mhachaire Rois
County Monaghan
Carrickmacross, Aeriel View.jpg
Carrickmacross, Aerial View, 12 April 2012
Grid reference: H837039
Location: 53°58’34"N, 6°43’8"W
Population: 5,032  (2016)
Post town: Carrickmacross
Postcode: A81
Local Government
Council: Carrickmacross–Castleblayney MD

Carrickmacross is a town in County Monaghan. The town and environs had a population of 4,925 according to the 2011 census, making it the second largest town in the county. The name is from the Irish Carraig Mhachaire Rois, meaning 'rock of the wooded plain'.

It is a market town which developed around a Castle built by the Earl of Essex in 1630. The Convent of the St Louis Nuns now stands on the original castle site

Carrickmacross is known for the lace bearing its name: Carrickmacross lace is worked in an individual style, devised by Mrs Grey Porter, wife of the rector of Donaghmoyne, who introduced it in 1820. When she left the district the teaching of Carrickmacross lacemaking was continued by Miss Reid of Rahans, but it was only after the 1846 potato famine, when a lace school was set up by the managers of the Bath and Shirley estates at Carrickmacross as a means of helping their starving tenants, that the lace became known and found sales. Subsequently, the lacemaking declined, but in the last decade of the 19th century the Sisters of St Louis founded their own lace school to revive the craft, and this was quite profitable for several years.[1] Although the outbreak of the 1914–18 war marked the virtual end of commercial production of hand-made lace in Europe, the lace school kept the technique alive throughout most of the 20th century. In 1984 the St Louis Sisters assisted in the formation of The Carrickmacross Lace Co-operative, which maintains the tradition to this day. Its lace may be purchased at The Gallery Centre, where demonstrations of lacemaking may also be seen if arranged in advance.[2]

Places of interest

  • One of the largest buildings in the town is the Eoman Catholic church which was completed in 1866. It contains ten stained-glass windows which were designed by the artist Harry Clarke in 1925.
  • Magheross Church, located on the outskirts of the town, is of historical interest:[3]
  • Other buildings include the Courthouse and the restored Poor Law Union Workhouse:[4]
  • Grave of Patrick Byrne (1794–1863) who was the last major exponent of the Gaelic harp and the first Irish traditional musician ever photographed.


Carrickmacross railway station opened on 31 July 1886, closed for passenger traffic on 10 March 1947, and finally closed altogether on 1 January 1960.[5]

The town was formerly situated on the N2 Dublin-Derry National Route. It is now bypassed.

It is situated approximately an hour from both Dublin and Belfast.


St Joseph's RC Church, Carrickmacross
Main Street

Primary schools

There are three primary schools in Carrickmacross.

  • St.Josephs, which is situated near St Macartans Villas is an all-boys school, it was run by the Patrician Brothers but they no longer run the school.
  • Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa which is in Cloughvalley is an all-girls school, was run by the St Louis nuns who came to Carrickmacross in 1888.
  • Scoil Rois is the Gaelscoil in Carrickmacross. It is a mixed school who recently had a new school built situated across from Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa having moved from the Convent Avenue.

Secondary schools

The Patrician High School[6] is one of three secondary schools in Carrickmacross. It was set up by the Patrician Brothers. It was situated next to the Church on O'Neills street, the building is now the Scout Hall.

Inver College[7] is a mixed school situated on the Castleblayney Rd.

The St Louis Convent is an all-girls secondary school set up by the St Louis nuns in the 19th century. The school was set up in honour of Louis IX of France. The motto of the school is Ut Sint Unum which is Latin, meaning 'that they may be one'. These words were supposedly spoken by Jesus Christ, the Christian Messiah, at the Last Supper (John 17:21).

There are five stages of the story of the Sisters of St Louis in Ireland: The Fleur-de-Lys is the emblem of the French Royal House of Bourbon and St Louis, their main Patron belonged to it. The French words Dieu le Veult, means 'God wills it' and was the battle cry of the Crusaders. Louis IX (St Louis) led a crusade to the Holy land in the 13th century. The sword signifies the Crusades, but is positioned to show the cross-like shape of the hilt. The Crown of Thorns was believed to have been found by Louis and brought back to France. The Tower is part of the coat of arms of Monaghan town, where the first Irish St Louis convent was established in 1859. The red hand represents the Red Hand of Ulster, an ancient symbol of the province, in which Monaghan town is situated. It is situated on the Convent Avenue.


  • Barry Conlon, footballer[8]
  • Noel Curran, RTÉ Director General[9]
  • Thomas Hughes, Victoria Cross winner[10]
  • Justice Eileen Kennedy, Ireland's first female judge[11]
  • Gerry Murphy, RTÉ weatherman [12]
  • Ardal O'Hanlon, comedian and actor[13]
  • Rory O'Hanlon, former Ceann Comhairle [14]
  • Sephira, classical crossover group [15]
  • The Flaws, Indie-rock band[16]
  • William "Timber" Woods, RAF pilot, defender of Malta [17][18]
  • Selina Murray former miss Ireland

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Carrickmacross)


  1. Ó Cléirigh, Nellie (1985). Carrickmacross lace : Irish embroidered net lace. Mountrath, Ireland: Dolmen Press. ISBN 0-85105-436-6. 
  2. "Carrickmacross lace gallery". Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 
  5. "Carrickmacross station". Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 15 September 2007. 
  6. Patrician High School website
  7. Inver College website
  8. McDonnell, Dan (22 November 2010). "The match: 'I hate the game. I actually hate the game.'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  9. "New generation takes charge of remote control". Irish Times. 27 Sep 2003. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  10. "VC group awarded to Private Thomas Hughes, 6th Battalion, The Connaught Rangers, for his actions at Guillemont, 3 September 1916.". National Army Museum. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  11. "First woman district justice dies aged 69". The Irish Times: p. 13. 13 October 1983. Retrieved 9 December 2016. 
  12. RTÉ
  13. Dwyer, Ciara (7 May 2012). "Ardal O'Hanlon: Stand up for a life well lived". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  14. "O’Hanlon steps down after 33 years". Northern Standard. 11 Feb 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  15. Smith, Andrea (21 July 2014). "Ruth and Joyce O'Leary: We had a goal and went for it". Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  16. "WATCH: The Flaws make their comeback". Hot Press. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  17. Flight Lieutenant William Joseph 'Timber' Woods DFC, RAF no. 39605
  18. Irish Times article mentioning Woods' Carrickmacross origin