Westmeath has received scholarly attention from historians in recent years. Sir Henry Piers Choreographical Description of Westmeath described the county in the 17th century. James Wood’s “Annals of Westmeath” summarised the major source materials available to historians and has remained an important reference for historians in the county since its publication in 1907. Fr Paul Walsh was the dominant figure in the middle of the last century and remains the pre-eminent scholar on a wide range of Westmeath themes. His book, Placenames of Westmeath is essential reading for anyone interested in our counties history and heritage. The south of the county has been well served by notable scholars including Jeremiah Sheehan who completed important research on farming in the county–South Westmeath Farm and Folk remains the standard work on this theme in the county.
Dr Harman Murtagh has published extensively on the history of Athlone particularly during the Jacobite Era. Dr John Burke has published a study of Athlone during the Victorian period and has augmented this work with his recent publication which surveyed Athlone during the Troubles. Dr Tom Hunt is the acknowledged expert on sport in Westmeath and his book remains essential reading for all interested in this subject. Fr Paul Connell has surveyed the history of the Catholic Church in the county and his book on Bishop Cantwell analyses this theme during the 19th century. A number of members of the Society have published books on Westmeath themes. Ruth Illingworth, President of the Society has written a comprehensive “History of Mullingar” and has published a number of articles relating to the towns history and heritage.
Peter Wallace, Vice Chairman of the Society, has written a history of his native parish, Multyfarnham as well as his recent publication-Ballynacarrigy, Sonna and Emper. Committee member, Seamus O Brien has published widely on the effects of Famine in the county; he has also contributed to and edited a history of Mullingar in the 19th century.