A planned town, built during the great Georgian era of urban development,
Cootehill derives its name from the marriage of Thomas Coote, a colonel
in the Cromwellian forces, and Frances Hill from Hillsborough, Co.Down.
In 1725 Thomas
Coote's nephew, also named Thomas, obtained a charter
image to enlarge
holding markets and fairs in the town and in the same year work began
on the building of his new mansion, Bellamont House. Designed by Lovett-Pearce,
it was, and still is, regarded to be one of the finest examples of Palladian
architecture in Ireland.
Due to the land in and around the town being very suitable there had
always been a tradition of flax growing in the area. The 18th century
saw the flourishing of a domestic linen industry in Ireland and Cootehill's
landlords had the foresight to take full advantage of this and encourage
After the opening
of the railway linking Cootehill with the important towns and ports
of Dundalk, Greenore and Dublin the fairs and markets had a distinct
advantage over the neighbouring towns of Shercock and Baileborough.
Thus the industry continued to flourish, boosted by the huge demand
for linen during the First World War, and the whole of the town and
surrounding area prospered. A lull followed until the beginning of the
Second World War when another boost occurred. Like all war induced booms,
these periods of prosperity were relatively short-lived.
However, due to
the enterprise of a local businessman, Cootehill captured the cattle
trade of the area at a time when the old pattern of bargaining at fairs
was changing to the modern system of selling at marts. The new mart,
completed in 1965 generated employment and attracted the farming community
to the town. Further confidence in Cootehill was also expressed at the
same time in the building of one of the first three comprehensive schools
in the country. Then, in the 1970'S, several companies opened factories
in the town and the area began to experience a growth in prosperity
it had not seen since the days of the linen industry.
Situated amidst the rolling Drumlin hills of Cavan in an area of outstanding
beauty, Cootehill offers the visitor a variety of outdoor and indoor
activities within easy reach of the town including swimming, tennis,
pitch and putt, golf and gymnastics, as well as the excellent fishing
facilities in the surrounding lakes and rivers. The area offers children
the opportunity of exploring a safe, unspoilt environment and experiencing
the great variety of local wildlife. Many species of birds and animals
inhabit the woods and fields surrounding the town, which are rich in
a variety of plants and wild flowers such as primrose, violets, bluebells
Cycling and walking tours around the town enable you to enjoy the many
places of historical interest including the watermills (with stone-grinding)
at Foy's Bunnoe, Dawson Monument on Rockcorry Road, 7 Churches and 3
Graveyards, Workhouse, Polthy Mass Rock, the Dartry Estate with its
deer herds and a wall constructed during the famine (labourers being
paid 1p per week) and Bellamont Forest Park.
If you fancy a picnic
there are many suitable areas to be found including Haltons, Billy Fox's
Park, Corick Bridge, Dun na Ri, Annamkerrig, Killykeen, and Rossmore,
as well as several lay-bys along the quiet, country roads. A stay in
Cootehill would not be complete without a visit to Cohaw Court Cairn.
Described by experts as the "best example in Ireland", it
dates back to 4,000 B.C and was constructed by Neolithic people who
came to Drumgoon up to the rivers Erne and Annalee. It was a burial
tomb and during excavation in 1949 human bones, both buried and cremated,
The popularity of the car encouraged 'ribbon' development and because
of this the original settlement has undergone little change and has
preserved its original character. The town itself is well served by
a large number of shops and pubs and live music can be enjoyed most
evenings, especially during the summer. So, whether you are a fisherman,
a person looking for a quiet, relaxing break, or a family ready to explore
the wonders of the neighbouring counties as well as Cavan, Cootehill
is the ideal location, being only 1.5 hours from Dublin or Belfast.
For the more
adventurous visitor there is the option of driving tours which will
introduce you to the mystery of Ireland's rich and varied past, and
take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe.