25 Apr Castleblayney , County Monaghan
On the Western shores of Mucko Lake is the market town that takes its name from Sir Edward Blayney , who received a grant of land from James I in 1611 and started to build the town. Almost two centuries later , the 11th Lord Blayney , who was responsible for much of the town’s development , raised a regiment in the Napoleonic Wars , which was known as ‘Blayney’s Bloodhounds’.
He had the 1622 Church of Ireland church rebuilt in 1808 and had a Catholic church erected. South of the town are five red-brick almshouses built for the poor under the will of his son , the last Lord Blayney , who died in 1874.
An imposing 1856 courthouse stands in the centre of the triangular marketplace , built on top of the lower storey of the old market house. Off the marketplace , two gatehouses indicate the entrance to Hope Castle , a 17th century mansion close to where Castle Blayney once stood. The castle itself cannot be visited , but from it there are panoramic views of the lough.
The nearby Lough Muckno Park , on the 900 acres of island dotted Muckno Lake , provides for water sports such as boating , water-skiing, fishing and swimming. There are forest walks and nature trails at Black Island , which can by crossing a timber footbridge.
Castleblayney is a picturesque town this is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.