Concept

Mountmellick

Summary
Mountmellick or Mountmellic () is a town in the north of County Laois, Ireland. It lies on the N80 national secondary road and the R422 and R423 regional roads. Mountmellick, sometimes spelt Montmellick or Montmellic, is an anglicisation of the Irish name Móinteach Mílic, which means "(the) bog of/by (the) land bordering a river". Older anglicisations include Mointaghmeelick, Montaghmelick, Montiaghmeelick and Monteaghmilick. The motto translates as "friendship through partnership." The fretted design represents Mountmellick Work, an embroidery craft unique to the town. The diagonally-running wave represents the Owenass river, which embraces much of the town. The crosses reflect the foundation of the town by the Society of Friends or Quakers. These heraldic elements are 'crosses moline', and derive from the mill-rind, the iron centre of a millstone. They reflect an important Mountmellick industry. The sprigs of andromeda portifolia, or bog rosemary, remind us of the name place, Mointech Milic. Mointeach means "mooreland," reclaimed bogland, and Milic means wetland. The chief herald of Ireland assigned a coat of arms to Mountmellick Town Commission on 16 December 1998. Mountmellick was a 15th-century settlement on the narrow Owenass River ('River of the Falls' in Irish) with an encampment on its banks at Irishtown. Overlooking this valley with its trees and wildlife was a small church called Kilmongan (Ivy Chapel) which was closed by the Penal Laws in 1640. English Quakers settled in the area from about 1657, led by William Edmundson. They saw a future for this settlement and built it into a town, which was to grow to 8,000 people, with 27 industries which included breweries, a distillery, woollen mills, cotton, tanneries and glass. It was a boomtown in the late 19th century. One of its earliest Quaker settlers (circa 1680) was Richard Jackson, who, with his brother Anthony, had been converted to Quakerism in Eccleston, by the missionaries George Fox and Edmundson.
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