We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Manorhamilton in Co, Leitrim.
Manorhamilton lies in the shadow of Benbo mountain and is identified as a key town in the County Development Plan for Leitrim. It has a population of 1,466 as of the 2016 census showing a population growth of 11% on the previous census.
Before the Plantations of Ireland, the settlement was known as Clooneen. This lay on the west bank of the Owenbeg. Uí Ruairc was the local Gaelic chieftain, based in nearby Dromahair, whose land was seized by the English and then granted to Sir Frederick Hamilton for his services in the European wars of the 17th century. As a result of his actions, Hamilton to this day is considered to have been a tyrant by the local people. He began building a new town on the east bank of the river, in the townland of Clonmullen, which he renamed Manorhamilton.
Manorhamilton offers a great quality of life and has a varied and vibrant employment base with significant entrepreneurial activity also. In addition, Manorhamilton has a strong community spirit and excellent sports infrastructure within the town, while boasting a vibrant arts and cultural sector with various activities ongoing in the town.
The area is renowned for traditional Irish music and regular sessions take place in Biddy’s, Heraghty’s and The Castle.
Significant employers in the area include MCI Mirror Controls International who are in business for over forty years and employ circa 200 people at the plant in the town. Merenda Ltd, which was founded in 1984 by the Haslette family, are in business 100 years this year in Manorhamilton and employ roughly 30 staff. In addition, the HSE employ 450 in the town, as well as having a great micro enterprise and social enterprise sector.
Manorhamilton has a strong network with community organisations delivering significant projects on the ground including bringing Manorhamilton Castle back into use as a tourist offering and cafe, a heritage trail, event lighting and town painting scheme for retail premises.
It has a very dedicated town team in place that meet regularly and are made up of representatives from a range of areas including business, tourism, tidy towns and so on. The team focuses on projects for development and drive forward initiatives for the town of Manorhamilton.
Written by Stephen Larkin
Published: 26 August, 2019