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Monaghan is derived from the Irish name meaning 'Land of the little hills', referring to the large density of drumlins hills throughout the county.
Monaghan is a predominantly rural county of rolling green hills, peaceful country lanes, scattered farms and little market towns. Along with Donegal and Cavan, Monaghan is one of three Ulster counties outside of Northern Ireland and is bordered by Tyrone to the north, Armagh to the east, Louth to the south east, Meath to the south, Cavan to the south west and Fermanagh to the west.
The county's principle town is Monaghan situated in the centre of the county. There are a number of Bronze Age forts and remains dotted around the county and bones of prehistoric creatures such as the woolly mammoth and arctic fox have been unearthed.
Monaghan was little affected during the plantation of Ulster, though following Cromwell's invasion, much of the good land in the county was dispatched to English and Scottish protestant settlers, who introduced arable farming.
Monaghan's most celebrated son is Patrick Kavanagh a prominent poet and writer of 20th Century Ireland. Kavanagh was born in the village of Innishkeen and much of his writings focus on life in a poor rural community. In Monaghan town there is the Patrick Kavanagh Literary Resource Centre and the poet is remembered throughout Ireland on 17th July.
Other famous names from Monaghan include former World Featherweight Champion Barry McGuigan, novelist Patrick McCabe who wrote The Butcher Boy and playwright Eugene McCabe all from Clones.