Places to Visit in Longford
This tranquil slice of Ireland is located in the centre of the Midlands, along a variety of rivers and lakes that offer paradise for anglers of every type. In addition to rural relaxation, County Longford is also host to a number of interesting historic and heritage attractions.
The residents of County Longford earn their living mostly through agriculture, as the low-lying land contains a rich, moist soil conducive to potato and oat crops. Sheep and cattle graze both here and in the hillier landscape to the north, which slopes down into the lake and river areas of the Shannon and Lough Ree.
Corlea Trackway Exhibition Centre displays the ancient oak planking of a primitive road that dates all the way back to 140 BC. The sections of plank, found in a nearby bog, are presented alongside other interesting exhibits of regional history and lifestyle from this bogland area. Other artifacts and more recent County Longford memorabilia are housed at the Longford Museum and Heritage Centre.
The lush County Longford countryside has seen its share of luxurious manor homes, including Edgeworthston House, the former home of an inventor who added all sorts of interesting twists to the design, and Carriglass Manor House, whose noted stable yard, gardens and period furnishings are accessible to the public to examine and enjoy.
Granard Motte and Aughacliffe are prime examples of ancient architecture, the former exists as a primitive fortress and the latter an example of a rare portal tomb having two capstones.
The influence of early Christianity, mostly through the monastic communities, can be seen in the haunting ruins from 540 AD on Inchcleraun Island, as well as at Abbeyshrule, where the Cistercian Order settled upon its arrival in Ireland during the 12th century. Ardagh Village also has a legendary religious history as the centre of the diocese founded by St. Patrick and as a place with close ties to Ireland’s second most popular saint—St. Brigid.
Longford Town, the administrative centre and namesake of County Longford, also has ties to St. Patrick, and serves as the centre for commerce and local entertainment venues. It has an authentic rural atmosphere that has been relatively unspoiled by heavy tourism.
Much of the earlier recorded history of County Longford centers around the arrival of Christianity to the region. Powerful monastic communities flourished at Ardagh, Abbeylara and on the various islands of Lough Ree.
County Longford in its present boundaries was officially established in 1586 and decreed as part of the Leinster province in 1608. Land was distributed during the plantation period to the Scottish and English settlers who arrived during the remainder of the century.
The citizens of County Longford suffered severe retribution for the failed Rebellion of 1798. During the Irish War of Independence, locals also participated, as evidenced by the monument at Clonofin dedicated to the North Longford Flying Column.
Common surnames found in County Longford include: Quinn and O’Farrell.