County Longford has the second largest lake on the River Shannon, Lough Ree. There is much bogland in Longford and rivers provide good fishing. Longford Attractions
The county town of the same name sits on the Camlin river. Longford has a 19th century grey limestone cathedral, Saint Mel’s, designed in the Italian renaissance style. In the cathedral is the Diocesan Museum. The cathedral was gutted by fire and is still in the restoration stages in 2012. A heritage museum is in an old post office building. The Market Houses dates from 1619.
A famous battle, the last of the 1798 rebellion took place in the county at the historic town of Ballinamuck. A visitor centre in the Old Garda barracks gives all the details. Carrigglas Manor and Gardens, on the T15/R194 Ballinalee/Granard road, is a Victorian Gothic revival house with a Palladian stable yard, a costume and lace museum, a gallery, a shop, and a tea-room.
Kenagh’s pubs are known for their traditional music, which is celebrated with a festival in August. North-east are the ruins of a 13th century friary, Abbeyderg.
Near Kenagh is the Corlea Iron Age Trackway Visitor Centre in Keenagh interprets an Iron Age bog road, which was built in the year 148 BC across the bog lands close to the River Shannon. The oak road is the largest of its kind to have been uncovered in Europe.
Newtowncashel, on the river Shannon near Lough Ree, is a farming area. A traditional 1930s Irish farmhouse with a parlour, kitchen, and bedroom, complete with furniture and tools of the day, forms a heritage centre. Ninety acres of ancient oak woodland are situated near the town.
In the east of the county is the Royal canal. Opened in 1826, it ran from Dublin to Cloondara, an attractive village at the canal terminus. Next to the village church are a 12th century abbey and 5th century gravestones. The late 18th century corn mill in the village became a tannery. The canal crosses the river Inny (a tributary of the Shannon) at the village of Abbeyshrule, where the ruins of an 1150 Cistercian abbey can be seen.
Beside the village of Abbeylara and near Lough Kinale are the remains of a 13th century Cistercian abbey. Remnants of two stone circles, Cartronbore and Cloughernal, are nearby. Winner of a tidy town award, Ardagh is an attractive Victorian estate village with an old schoolhouse that houses an exhibition on its history. A village green and clock tower enhance the view. A parish church dates from the middle ages. Outside the village is Bri Leith, a hill that was a centre of pre-Christian worship.
From Aughnacliffe, in the north of the county, there are views of Lough Gowna. Megalithic tombs and celtic forts inhabit the surrounding area. A nearby dolmen is considered one of the finest of its type. The village has an ancient bronze bell in the Catholic church.
In Drumlish, a bog area, is an old corn mill that also milled oats up to the 1950s. Lough Salach, a favourite fishing area, is three miles away.
Granard was a popular area for neolithic man as it provided good areas for cultivation of crops. Their history can been seen in the two stone circles and 90 ringforts in the area. Granard motte is an earthen mound that provided strong fortification. Today, the town, northeast of Longford, is the second largest in the county. The Market House offered a place for farmers to bring crops and has served many purposes through the years. St Mary’s church spire, built in 1897, dominates the skyline. Granard holds an annual harp festival in April.
Abbeyderg Augustinian Friary
Abbeyderg, in cemetery
Tel. 0 43 46566
Abbeylara, near Granard
One mile east of Lough Gowna
Ardagh Heritage Centre
Ardagh, in old schoolhouse
Tel. 0 86 302 7602
Aughnacliffe prehistoric area
Near Aughnacliffe village
Ballinamuck Visitor Centre
Ballinamuck village, in old Garda barracks
Tel. 0 43 334 2577
Bri Leith Hill
Outside Ardagh village
Cartronbore stone circle
Cloughernal stone circle
Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre
Kenagh, on Ballymahon road (R397)
Tel. 0 43 332 2386
For further details and photos see our article Corlea Iron Age Trackway
On shoreline of Lough Gowna
Granard Motte and Bailey
In countryside near town of Granard
Inch Mor Monastery
On Lough Gowna shores
On River Shannon on the county border
Near town of Drumlish
Newtowncashel Heritage Centre
Tel. 0 43 25336
Saint Mels Cathedral and Diocesan Museum
Tel. 0 43 46465
Lakeshore near Gowna
Tourist Information Centre
Market Square, Longford Town
Tel. 0 43 334 2577
Open: Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5.30pm
Website: Longford Tourism
Email: Longford Tourism
Photos of peat, Corlea bog centre and walkway, old wood at Corlea, peat bog © by Barbara Ballard
Other photos courtesy Geograph Britain and Ireland as follows:
Longford Market Square, Longford St Mel's cathedral, Granard from St Mary's church by Eric Jones; Ballinamuck visitor centre and memorial hall, Lough Gowna by Oliver Dixon; Longford Carrigglas Manor House by Joseph Mischyshyn; Kenagh Main St, Abbeyshrule by Sarah777; Lough Ree by Juergen Meuer; Royal canal at Cloondara by JP; Abbeylara Cistercian abbey ruins by Jonathan Billinger; Granard St Mary's church by Dylan Moore
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