In the original Gaelic divisions Mide was in fact a fifth province and, as well as the present Co. Meath, incorporated what is now Westmeath and large parts of Cavan and Longford. It was reduced to its present size by the Normans in the thirteenth century; large parts of the territory had been granted to Hugh de Lacy, who built massive fortifications at Trim and elsewhere to enforce and protect his possession. Despite its proximity to Dublin, only part of the county remained in the Pale as English power waned in the late Middle Ages.
In 1549 Meath was split into Meath and Westmeath by the English.
"Westmeath, a county of Ireland, province of Leinster, bounded N by Cavan, E by Eastmeath, S by King's county, NW by Longford, and W by Roscommon, 33 Irish m. long from E to W and 27 broad, contains 249,943 acres, Irish plantation measure, including bogs, mountain, and waste. It is agreeably interspersed with beautiful lakes. The chief rivers are the Shannon, Inny, and Brosna. It returns 3 members to the Imperial parliament. Pop. 128,042."
[From The New London Gazetteer (1826)]
All - O'Conallain (O'Connellan or O'Kendellan) were princes of Ui Laeghari or "Ive-Leary", an extensive territory in the counties of Meath & Westmeath. The O'Maolconrys (O'Conry) were chiefs of Teffia (or Westmeath) when they crossed the Shannon in the 10th century receiving lands from the O'Connor kings of Connacht. MacConmedha (MacConway) is cited as a principal chief of Teffia, in Muintir Laodagain. Teffia formed a greater portion of the ancient kingdom of Meath. In later times a large part of the county came to be referred as Dillon's country.
Brawny - The O'Breen were lords of Breaghmaine, a former name for Brawny. The O'Malone sept had large territory here, and were known as barons of Clan Malone and barons Sunderlin.
Clonlonan - The Sinnach (later Fox) O'Catharniagh family were chiefs in this territory which also included Rathconlan and the barony of Kilkcourcy in Co. Offaly. They were named for Catharniagh, the head prince of Teffia, and the O'Kearneys were of this clan. Anciently, the Mac Auleys were chiefs of Calraidhean-Chala in the parish of Ballyloughloe. The O Daliagh (O'Daly) sept is cited as chiefs of Teffia with territory here. Septs noted here in the 12th century included Ua Cairbre (O'Carbury) of Tuath Buada and Ua Braoin (O'Breen) of Conmaicne.
Corkaree - O'Hindradhain (O'Hanrahan) are given as chiefs of Corcaraidhe or Corco Roíde, from which the name of the barony derives.
Delvin - In the 8th century this area is cited as Delbna Mór. O'Fionnalain (Fenelon) are cited as lords of Delvin prior to the arrival of the Normans. Sir Gilbert De Nogent became baron here after the Norman Invasion, and the Nugent family were Barons of Delvin.
Farbill - The territory of Fir Bile is noted here in the 8th century. The Ua hAinbheith (O'Hanfey) sept is noted here in the 12th century.
Fartullagh - O'Dubhlaich (O'Dooley), chiefs and lords of Fertullach (Fir Tulach) up to the 12th century, subsequently forced by the O'Melaghlins and the Tyrrells into the barony of Ballybritt in Co. Offaly.
Fore - The Ua Maoil Tuile (MacTullys) are noted here as evidenced by the name of Tullystown, anciently included as part of Uí Maic Uais Mide. Ua Maoil Challan (Mulholland) of Delbna Bec is cited here in the 12th century.
Kilkenny West - The territory of Conmaicne Bec is noted here very early. The O'Tolairg (O'Toler) name is cited as chief of Quirene, a former name of this barony.
Moycashel - The Mag Eochagain (MacGeoghegan) sept were chiefs of Cinel Fiacha or Cenél Fiachach (Kinalea) who were centered here, as well as parts of Rathconrath and Fartullagh. The Cenél nÉnna septs of Ua Braonain (O'Brennan) of Creeve and Mac Ruairc (Mac Rourke) of Teallach-Conmasa were noted here in the 12th century.
Moyashel & Magheradernon - The O'Dalaigh (O'Daly) clan of Corco Adaim was anciently centered in the barony of Magheradernon. Ua Donnchadha (O'Donoghue) of Tellach Modharain is noted here in the 12th century. The Norman family of Tuite is given as barons of Moyashel after the 12th century.
Moygoish - MacEvoy was chief here in a territory called Ui Mac Uas. O'Hennesy, chief of Ui Mac Uas, ruled after the MacEvoys. An O'Curry family is also cited as chiefs here. The O'Harts (Ua hAirt), a sept of Síl nÁedo Sláine, were noted here in the 12th century.
Rathconrath - Mac Aodha (MacGee) of Muintir Tlámáin is noted here and in Moyashel in the 12th century. It was later referred to as Dalton's country, the Norman family of Dalton were Lords of Rathconrath following the 12th century. A Donegan sept is cited here in the 17th century.
Misc - O'Convally are found alongside Quinn, O'Kearney and O'Loughnan as principal chiefs in Teffia. O'Scoladihe (O'Scully) is found anciently centered in Co. Westmeath until the Norman invasion. The O'Shaughlin family is noted here in the parish of Dysart. Mac Carrgamhna (Mac Caron or Gaffney) of Muintir Mailsinna as well as Mac Con Meadha (MacConway) of Muintir Laoghachain are noted in west Co. Westmeath / south Co. Longford in the 12th century.
Oldcastle, Count Meath
Chapel Street Oldcastle
Market Hall Oldcastle
Market Street Oldcastle
Naper Arms Hotel Oldcastle
Naper House in Loughcrew: Owned by the Naper family who were the local Protestant landlords. As was common for the time they were not liked by the local Catholic community. Set under the shadow of Slieve na Callagh, with its prehistoric tumuli, Loughcrew is a superb demesne, incorporating the remains of the 17th century seat of the Napers and the Greek Revival portico of the C. R. Cockerel house of 1823, which was destroyed by fire in 1960. The family continued to occupy the wing and have restored the garden under the EU Great Gardens of Ireland programme. The rustic gate lodge is in separate ownership and has been empty for a number of years. It is a picturesque structure, with the ground floor comprising 3 rusticated piers supporting segmental arches and random coursed stone to the upper floors with central gable. Windows are of latticed design. Deterioration is starting to become obvious on the roof.
The houses creator, the eccentric early 19th century architect, Charles Robert Cockerell, designed the exterior to suit the environment and the interior to suit himself. As a result, upper floor levels have a mezzanine-like appearance, with window sills positioned below floor level rather than above.
When the couple first saw it, it was no more than a shell. Some walls certainly, but no roof, no ceilings, no floors and no window panes in what had once been the elegant conservatory of the 400 year old Naper family mansion. Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, this room was home to dozens of exotic plants, but after a devastating fire in 1964, it was reduced to a state of roofless dereliction, its only tenant a Massey Ferguson tractor. When Emily Naper took on the task of restoring it, the covered the nasty concrete floor with limestone slabs and covered the overhead yawning gap with a glass wood-framed roof. Today, this area combines several functions - family and guest conservatory dining area in summer, table tennis room for the children in winter and alternate entrance hall all year round. The unusual wall texture is accounted for by the traditional 1830s composition of horse hair, cow hair, plaster, ox blood and brick. The walls are adorned by bear and wild boar shot by Charles Naper's grandfather.
Valuation of Tenements:
Parish of Oldcastle