Introducing County Monaghan
Monaghan's quiet, undulating landscape is littered with lakes and tiny rounded hills resembling bubbles in badly pasted wallpaper. Known as drumlins, the bumps are the result of debris left by retreating glaciers during the last ice age. The county's steely grey lakes attract plenty of anglers, but few others make it here, making it a tranquil place to roam.
Unlike much of the province, Monaghan was largely left alone during the Ulster Plantation. After the Cromwellian wars, though, local chieftains were forced to sell their land for a fraction of its true value, or have it seized and redistributed to Cromwell's soldiers.
In the early 19th century, lace making became an important facet of the local economy, providing work and income for women. Clones and Carrickmacross were the two main centres of the industry and you can still see the fine needlework on display in both towns.
More recently, Monaghan has been made famous by poet Patrick Kavanagh (1905–67), who was born in Inniskeen. The village's literary resource centre offers an evocative insight into his life and work.