Cavan Tourist Information Office Farnham Street Cavan Cavan Republic of Ireland
About this listing
Cootehill is a picture perfect, 18th Century planter’s town. It dates from the early 1700s when, in the wake of the Cromwellian wars, the Coote family acquired a large estate, stoked the local linen trade and in turn attracted a colourful diversity of settlers to the town. Neatly laid out, peppered with Georgian buildings and boasting a surprisingly diverse spread of religious sites, it’s a little bit of midlands magic.
Cootehill’s heritage trail, lasting a leisurely 90 minutes, starts at the Gothic style Church of Ireland on Station Road. Nearby, the arched sandstone façade housing Allied Irish Bank was designed by William Hague. It stands on the site of a house originally occupied by the Coote family and later by Catholic bishops. Across the street is the courthouse, which dates from 1832.
Cootehill was founded in 1700 and named for Thomas Coote and Frances Hill. Continuing along the heritage trail, you’ll encounter the site of St. Michael’s Chapel (demolished in 1929, though the original perimeter walls and pedestrian gateway remain) and carry on to the Sabbath, a site containing the town’s Presbyterian and Methodist churches, both dating from the 1870s. The latter, currently serving as Cootehill’s Freemasons’ Hall, replaced an earlier meeting house.
It doesn’t take long to register Cootehill’s extraordinary diversity of religious faiths (other points of interest include a convent site and the Quaker graveyard). But there are secular attractions too. Meetinghouse Square is where pigs were sold in 19th Century market and the heritage trail ends at Bellamont Lodge, a palladian villa built by the Cootes.
The 19th Century American writer, Mary Anne Sadlier, was also a native of Cootehill, the heritage trail passes her birthplace on Church Street. Sadlier emigrated to New York after the death of her father during the famin and went on to publish some 60 works in the US. The local library contains some of her novels and it’s no coincidence that Cootehill today hosts a thriving October arts festival.