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Mullingar (An Muileann gCearr in Irish, meaning "the left-handed mill" or "the Wry-Mill") is the administrative centre of County Westmeath and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Meath. Today the town is a thriving commercial centre and is the centre of probably the best cattle raising district in the country. It is encircled by the Royal Canal which with its 46 locks links dublin with the River Shannon.
The town contains some early 19th century style architecture and is dominated by the cathedral, dedicated in 1939, and imposing renaissance-style structure. The two towers of the cathedral are 42.6 m high and surmounted by gilt bronze crosses; over the main door there is some fine carved stonework by the late Albert Power, R.H.A. The great mosaics of St. Patrick and St. Anne, near the high altar, are by Boris Anrep and are in the great tradition of Rome and Ravenna; the cathedral has an interesting ecclesiastical museum. Other buildings of note are All Saints Church, erected in 1816, the recently restored market house which houses the local museum and the town library.
Mullingar is also famous for the neighbouring lakes, Lough Owel and Lough Ennell, which attract many anglers, as well as Lough Derravaragh. Lough Derravaragh is best known for its connection with the Irish legend of the Children of Lir. Having being turned into swans, the four children of King Lir spent three hundred years on Lough Derravaragh before moving to other locations around Ireland.
Lough Lene has a reputation for its gin-clear water, historic ringforts, and wind-surfing. In recent times one of Mullingar's major exports has become the items of fine pewterware produced by the firm of Mullingar Pewter located near the town. Genisis fine art is also produced locally and has worldwide appeal with one of its sculpures of the "Pilgrims" dominating the dispensary house at Austin Friars St where once there was an Augustinian Friary.
Nearby Belvedere House and Gardens is a lovely place to spend a few hours. A testing game of golf is available in Mullingar Golf Club. It is also a great area for cycling.