Carrickmacross (Irish: Carraig Mhachaire Rois, meaning "rock of the wooded plain") is a town in County Monaghan, Ireland. The town and environs had a population of 5,032 according to the 2016 census,[1] making it the second-largest town in the county. Carrickmacross is a market town which developed around a castle built by the Earl of Essex in 1630. The Convent of St Louis stands on the original castle site. The town has won the European Entente Florale Silver Medal Award. The local Gaelic football and hurling club is Carrickmacross Emmets. The local soccer team is Carrick Rovers.


Carraig Mhachaire Rois
Aerial view of Carrickmacross, 12 April 2012
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53.976°N 6.719°W / 53.976; -6.719
CountyCounty Monaghan
44 m (144 ft)
Time zoneUTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing key
Telephone area code+353(0)42
Irish Grid ReferenceH837039

The town 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.[3] 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.[4]

Places of interest

One of the largest buildings in the town is the Roman 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 also of historical interest.[5]

The grave of Patrick Byrne (1794–1863), the last major exponent of the Gaelic harp and the first Irish traditional musician ever photographed, is in the area. Other notable buildings include the Courthouse and the restored Poor Law Union Workhouse.[6]


Carrickmacross railway station opened on 31 July 1886, closed for passenger traffic on 10 March 1947, and finally closed altogether on 1 January 1960.[7]


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 previously run by the Patrician Brothers.
  • 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 that, having moved from the Convent Avenue, recently had new premises built situated across from Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa.

Secondary schools

The Patrician High School (PHS for short)[8] is one of three secondary schools in Carrickmacross. It was set up by the Patrician Brothers. It was previously situated next to the Church on O'Neills street; that building is now the Scout Hall. It moved to Rockdaniel Road in 1970, and has more recently has had a €4,000,000 extension. It has consistently produced great football teams through the years. It has approximately 500 pupils in attendance.

Inver College: Inver College[9] called the TEC by students and townspeople due to its being a technological school, is a mixed school situated on the Castleblayney Rd. It has approximately 400 students from all surrounding parishes of the town. It recently opened a new GAA pitch which was officially opened with a Dublin v Monaghan Senior Friendly match. Inver College won the U16 VEC GAA County Championship for the second consecutive year in January 2011.

St. Louis Convent: The St. Louis Convent is an all-girls secondary school set up by the St. Louis nuns in the 19th century. There are approximately 600 pupils in the school. The school was set up in honour of St. Louis (Louis IX of France). The motto of the school is Ut Sint Unum, Latin for '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: Fleur-de-Lys is the emblem of the French Royal House of Bourbon, to which St. Louis, the Sisters' main Patron, belonged. The French words Dieu le Veult mean '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.

International relations

Twin towns – sister cities

The following place is twinned with Carrickmacross:

Carrickmacross attacked by Luftwaffe

Although Ireland was neutral during World War Two, there were some incidents during the period. On 20 December 1940, as well as two bombs falling on Sandycove in Dublin, two more fell on Shantonagh near Carrickmacross, causing minor damage to house property.[11]

Governance and politics

Carrickmacross town council elects 9 members and is responsible for the provision of local services. At the last local elections in 2009 three members were elected from Fine Gael and two each from Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. It forms part of the five-seat Carrickmacross Local Electoral Area for elections for Monaghan County Council.

In February 2010, the town council voted 5:4[12] to remove a page signed by the Israeli ambassador from the town's visitors' book in response to the illegal use of Irish passports by agents of Mossad in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.[13]


See also


  1. "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Carrickmacross". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) and Post-1991 figures include environs of Carrickmacross. For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee "On the accuracy of the pre-famine Irish censuses" in Irish Population, Economy and Society edited by JM Goldstrom and LA Clarkson (1981) p54, and also "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850" by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov. 1984), pp. 473–488.
  3. Ó Cléirigh, Nellie (1985). Carrickmacross lace: Irish embroidered net lace. Mountrath, Ireland: Dolmen Press. ISBN 0-85105-436-6.
  4. "Carrickmacross lace gallery". Archived from the original on 20 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  7. "Carrickmacross station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 15 September 2007.
  8. Patrician High School website
  9. Inver College website
  10. Carrickmacross / Carhaix Town Twinning Archived 24 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  11. The day they bombed Dublin
  12. "Carickmacross town council Minutes" (PDF). Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  13. Sheehan, Maeve (28 February 2010). "Council sparks diplomatic row by snubbing Israeli ambassador". Irish Independent. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  14. McDonnell, Dan (22 November 2010). "The match: 'I hate the game. I actually hate the game.'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  15. "New generation takes charge of remote control". The Irish Times. 27 September 2003. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  16. "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.
  17. "First woman district justice dies aged 69". The Irish Times. 13 October 1983. p. 13. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  18. RTÉ
  19. Dwyer, Ciara (7 May 2012). "Ardal O'Hanlon: Stand up for a life well lived". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  20. "O'Hanlon steps down after 33 years". Northern Standard. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  21. Smith, Andrea (21 July 2014). "Ruth and Joyce O'Leary: We had a goal and went for it". Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  22. "WATCH: The Flaws make their comeback". Hot Press. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  23. Flight Lieutenant William Joseph 'Timber' Woods DFC, RAF no. 39605
  24. "Irish Times article mentioning Woods' Carrickmacross origin". Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 11 May 2014.
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