Carrickmacross is a town in County Monaghan. With a population of 5032 in 2016, it's the county's second-largest town and is best-known for its lace-making. The name is from Irish Carraig Mhachaire Rois, "rock of the wooded plain".
Carrickmacross is on the main N2 route from Dublin to Monaghan, Omagh and Derry. It was a traffic bottleneck until bypassed in 2005.
Expressway Bus 32 runs from Dublin Busáras and Airport via Ardee, taking 90 min to Carrickmacross, and continuing north to Castleblayney, Monaghan, Omagh, Strabane, Lifford and Letterkenny. They're every two hours daily.
Collins Coach 980 runs every hour or two from Dublin Abbey St via Drumcondra, Glasnevin, Ashbourne, Collon and Ardee to Carrickmacross. It doesn't call at Busáras or the Airport.
Bus 182 runs from Drogheda via Collon and Ardee to Carrickmacross, continuing to Castleblayney and Monaghan. There are 7 M-F and 4 Sa Su. Don't take the 182A which only runs from Drogheda as far as Ardee.
Bus 166 runs from Dundalk (the nearest railway station) via Inniskeen to Carrickmacross (30 min) M-F every two hours but with only four on Saturdays. M-F one bus extends to Cavan Town, some days via Cootehill and others via Kingscourt and Bailieborough.
The town's main 1 bus stop is at the junction of Main St and O'Neill St.
It's a sparse bus service so you need wheels to reach Iniskeen; a bike would do.
- Town centre has St Joseph's church (RC) of 1866, with ten stained glass windows by Harry Clarke, St Finbarr's church (C of I) of 1770 but re-modelled in 1845, and Magheross (parts from 1550) the former C of I church next to the workhouse and cemetery. The castle has been obliterated beneath St Louis Convent, where the nuns made lace; it's now a school.
- The Lace Gallery is primarily a shop but demonstrates the distinct style of Carrickmacross lace. It's on Market Square, open M-Sa 09:30-17:30.
- Bully's Acre 200 m east on Donaghmore Rd was the pauper's graveyard. The same name is given to similar graveyards elsewhere in Ireland, eg in Dublin and Longford. Perhaps it refers to bailliffs, who'd have paupers interred after searching the threadbare jackets for any last ha'pence to defray the public expense.
- 1 Iniskeen is a small village 10 km east near the boundary with County Louth. The Round Tower is a stump, the Norman motte-and-bailey is just a mound, and the abbey is a scrap of wall; sic transit. The main attraction is the Patrick Kavanagh Centre, celebrating the life and works of yer man (1904-1967): he's best known for The Great Hunger and On Raglan Road. The Centre is open M-F 10:00-16:30, Sa 11:00-16:30, adult €10. They put on literary events here, notably the Oct / Nov weekend.
- See Dundalk for Castle Roche and other antiquities further east.
- 2 Dún na Rí Forest Park is 10 km southwest on R179, see Kingscourt.
- Nuremore Golf Club is a parkland course within the hotel, see Sleep. Blue tees are 5870 yards, par 71.
- Fishing: lots of small lakes for coarse angling.
- Carrickmacross Arts Festival was mid August. It hasn't been held since 2018 and it's not known if it will return in 2022.
- Patrick Kavanagh Weekend is next held in Iniskeen 1-7 Oct 2021, tbc, see Centre for details.
- Main St has a small shopping centre and a collection of East European stores. There are ATMs outside AIB and Bank of Ireland.
- The main stores and filling stations are 1 km south on R179 Ardee Rd. Aldi is open M-F 09:00-22:00, Sa Su 09:00-21:00, and Lidl is open M-Sa 08:00-22:00, Su 09:00-21:00.
- Courthouse Restaurant, 1 Monaghan Place, Carrickmacross (opposite Shirley Arms), ☏ . F Sa 17:00-20:00, Su 14:00-19:00. Good dining on trad and continental fare.
- Cavallino's, 20 Farney St, Carrickmacross A81 HK16, ☏ . W-Su 17:00-21:30. Friendly place for Italian cuisine.
- Red Door Cafe at 2 Cross St is open W-F 08:30-16:00, Sa Su 09:30-16:00. It no longer offers B&B.
- Markey's on Main St is open M-Sa 12:30-15:00.
- Fiddler's Elbow on Main St is open Su-Th 09:00-23:00, F Sa 09:00-01:00.
- Main St pubs are JJ Cunningham, The Dugout, Deery's, Nallo's, McArdle's, Shevlin's, Dusty O'Neill's, Boylan's and Hughes, with Callan's south edge of town.
- Old Carrick Mill at Derrylavan distils whiskey (not yet on the market) and gin; no tours. The sober folk of Carrickmacross can't be drinking enough (Kavanagh having set the bar so high), because in 2021 production was switched to making hand sanitiser against Covid. The béal bocht dossers on the edge-of-town gap site report that the primary alcohol tang of the sanitiser is finely set off by the suavity of its viscosity enhancers, emollients and buffers, with a zesty botanical note from the colourants.
- Shirley Arms Hotel, Main St, Carrickmacross A81 NF24, ☏ . Grand Georgian building at the head of Main St, gets good reviews for service and food. B&B double €140.
- 1 Brookville Manor, Lisanisk, Carrickmacross A81 NF24 (off R179, no direct access from N2), ☏ . Smart friendly B&B east side of town. B&B double €90.
- 2 Nuremore Hotel & Country Club, Nure More, Carrickmacross A81 V521 (1 km south by Lough Na Glack), ☏ . Good spa and country club hotel, walking distance to town. B&B double €140.
- Lisanisk House by the lake in 2021 is only offering self-catering.
- 3 The Riverbank, Killany, Carrickmacross A81 XR88, ☏ . Country pub and restaurant with rooms, just across the boundary into County Louth. Food served W-Sa 17:00-21:30, Su 12:30-21:00. B&B double €90.
As of May 2021, Carrickmacross and its approach roads have 5G from Eir, and 4G from Three and Vodafone.
- Monaghan has the county museum.
- Head through Clones on the border to Lisnaskea and Enniskillen on the scenic Erne lakes.
- Dundalk is industrial but has beaches to the south. Northeast is Colley Peninsula and routes to the Mourne Mountains.
- Kells has remains of the abbey that for centuries housed the Book of Kells, now on display in TCD Library in Dublin.