longford tourism booklet

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Explore and Enjoy
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Longford is a county of great charm and natural
beauty which promises the discerning visitor a
true experience of Irish country life and culture.
Situated in the basin of the River Shannon and the upper catchment
area of the River Erne, Longford is ideally located in the heart of the
Lakelands region and is the perfect destination for angling and water
sporting activities. The county is host to several award-winning
villages and has a wealth of historical and cultural tradition. Its
accessibility to many of Irelands main towns and cities makes it a
prime location as a holiday base. The true beauty of County Longford
however, lies in its rural charm, its special brand of hospitality, its
people and the breath-taking views of its quiet countryside of
farmland, lakes, bog lands and the occasional low hill.
Tourist trails which criss-cross the county provide memorable days
of discovery for drivers, walkers, cyclists and those enjoying the
inland waterways of Ireland. The Royal Canal, Lough Ree, Lough
Gowna, the River Shannon and the many smaller lakes and rivers of
the county, offer endless opportunities to take part in water
sporting activities. Water polo, canoeing and kayaking, white water
rafting and water tubing are all enjoyed by visitors to the area. Those
with less energetic activities in mind can while away the hours canal
cruising, golfing, angling, horse riding or perhaps even indulging in a
pleasure flight or lesson.
The unique biodiversity of the county is of particular interest to
those with a love of nature. Excellent forest walks, many of which
have wonderful lake views, offer a unique setting for walking. Large
stretches of bog land also provide fascinating grounds for
exploration, observation and discussion. A distinctive feature of the
Midlands of Ireland, these special places are a valuable
environmental habitat for rare plants and wildlife.
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Longford Town
Longford town is a bright, bustling centre whose skyline is
dominated by the spire of the historic and recently restored St Mels
Cathedral. The town offers great sporting facilities, a beautifully
landscaped town park and leisure centre, a fine selection of
accommodation, restaurants and pubs as well as some excellent
boutiques and shopping outlets. Entertainment venues include the
Backstage Theatre, The Little Blue Room and Longford Cinema. To
the rear of the Market Square lies the area once occupied by the
harbour of the ‘The Royal Canal’ which meanders for over 146km
from Dublin to Clondra in Longford. The Longford to Clondra stretch
of the canal provides direct access to Longford town centre for both
walkers and cyclists.
St Mels Cathedral
The historic Saint Mels Cathedral ‘The Longford Phoenix’ plays a vital
role in the hearts of Longford people and has been the venue for
many important events in County Longford since its original
foundation in the 1800s. Destroyed by fire on Christmas Day 2009,
the multi million restoration project of St Mels Cathedral has been
one of the biggest projects in Europe over the past 5 years. Detailed
information, images and links to social media sites relating to the
restoration project can all be found on the website of the Longford
parish, www.longfordparish.com or on www.longfordtourism.ie.
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The Royal Canal
The Royal Canal Way is a 146 km publicly owned right of way which
crosses through counties Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath
before entering County Longford. The walking route currently
follows grassy towpaths, gravel and sometimes tarmac canal-side
roads from lock 1 in Dublin City all the way to the Shannon via the
beautiful setting of Richmond Harbour in the village of Clondra,
County Longford.
Cruising the canal is a wonderful experience and a perfect
introduction to the laid back way of life that is synonymous with
rural Ireland and its people. Draped in beauty, peace and tranquillity,
the heart of the Irish countryside can be explored at ones leisure. It is
possible at several harbours to dock your boat and enjoy a short
sojourn in the village to stock up on supplies or chat with the locals.
A wide variety of events and festivals take place in the towns and
villages along the banks of the canal throughout the year.
A 16.5km multi activity path along the Longford town to Clondra
stretch of the canal offers a superb off road path for cyclists and
walkers of all ages. Maps and information on The Royal Canal
Greenway is available in the Longford Tourism office or by contacting
Waterways Ireland. www.longfordtourism.ie
The Corlea Trackway
The Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre interprets the significance
of an Iron Age Bog Road dated to the year 148BC, which crosses
the boglands close to the river Shannon.
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Highlighting the importance of the Corlea Bog site in archaeological
terms the visitor centre is a major attraction in the Midlands of
Ireland. Built on the exact axis of the trackway, a boardwalk across the
bogland follows the course of the remaining road buried within the
bog. Inside the centre, an 18 metre stretch of the preserved road is on
permanent display. Exhibits include information on Iron Age
trackways, archaeology and bog culture. An excellent audio visual
presentation relates the fascinating connections of Corlea Trackway
to our ancient myths and Celtic centres of power.
www.heritageireland.ie 00353 (0)43 3322386
Caseys Bogwood Studios
Located near to the beautiful limestone Barley Harbour on
Lough Ree, is the workshop and studios of bog wood sculptor
Michael Casey and his son Kevin Casey.
Michael and Kevin both create works of
art from the ancient pieces of wood,
some over 5000 years old, taken from
the bogs of the Irish Midlands. Many
examples of their work can be seen in
the nearby village of Newtowncashel.
00353 (0)43 3325297.
The Islands of Lough Ree
The beautiful Island- studded Lough Ree is the second largest
lake on the River Shannon after Lough Derg.
Stretching almost 30km from Lanesborough in County Longford to
Athlone in County Westmeath it provides a wealth of opportunity for
water sporting activities. In addition to boating and angling, canoeing,
kayaking and windsurfing are all carried out on its waters. Of special
interest are the Islands of Lough Ree, most especially Saints Island and
Inchclearaun, both picturesque and spiritual places to while away some
time in quiet contemplation of Irelands history as the Island of Saints
and Scholars. www.loughree.ie
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Ardagh Heritage Village
Ardagh is one of County Longfords most picturesque villages
with many architecturally important features. The history of
Ardagh is one of mythology, religion, literature & storytelling.
The village features in Oliver Goldsmiths famous play ‘She Stoops to
Conquer’. Noted for its religious associations to St Patrick, St Bridget
and St Mel, it is however also the site of the ancient legend ‘The
Wooing of Étain’. Ardagh Heritage Centre is the location for ‘Creative
Ardagh’ art school as well as ‘Creative Longford’ arts and craft gallery
which sells gifts made with love in County Longford.
www.creativeardagh.com • [email protected]
00353 (0)86 3027602
Ballinamuck Heritage Centre
The Ballinamuck Visitor Centre, formerly a Royal Irish
Constabulary Barracks, is located in the historic village of
Ballinamuck, along the route of The Rebel Trail in North
The fateful events of the ‘Battle of Ballinamuck’, 8th September 1798,
are vividly presented with eye witness accounts from local people and
officers of the opposing armies. The exhibition details the background
to those events, and the national and international significance of the
collision of forces, which sealed the fate of the Irish rebellion of 1798.
Email: [email protected]
00353 (0)87 9613312 • 087 2055462
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Abbeyshrule is a picturesque and multi award winning village
on the banks of the Royal Canal.
There are several lovely walks in the
area and a beautiful canal harbour
offering a variety of opportunities
to engage in water sporting
activities. Pallas, Abbeyshrule is
noteworthy as the birthplace of
poet, playwright and novelist Oliver
Goldsmith. The village is located
along the Goldsmith Trail and is one
of the venues for the annual ‘Goldsmith International Literary Festival’.
www.goldsmithfestival.ie. Longford Aviation run the local Abbeyshrule
Airfield which offers flying lessons and pleasure flights as well as
hosting the annual air show. www.abbeyshruletidyvillages.ie.
Edgworthstown is named after the Edgeworth family who
first settled there in the 1600s. Richard Lovell Edgeworth was
an ingenious inventor and surveyor.
His daughter Maria Edgeworth was a
famous author, whose novels
immortalise the vicissitudes of life on
small rural Irish estates in the early
19th century. The town has many
literary associations including William
Wordsworth, Oliver Goldsmith, Oscar
Wilde and Sir Walter Scott.
Information on Edgeworthstown
Literary & Heritage Trail as well as the Maria Edgeworth Literary
Festival can be found at www.mostrim.org
The Aughnacliffe Portal Tombs
Portal Tombs are considered to be one of the earliest forms
of megalithic construction, dating from over 5800 years ago.
The Aughnacliffe Dolmen, as it is known
locally, is one of four such tombs in
County Longford. Along with the other
major dolmen at nearby Cleenrath, the
monument has a traditional connection
with the ancient legend of Diarmuid and
Grainne. It is believed to have been one
of their resting places on their flight from
the legendary Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
www.longfordtourism.ie • 00353 (0)43 3342577
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Granard Motte and Bailey
The Motte and Bailey was built by Norman Knight Richard de
Tuite, around AD1199, as part of an initiative to extend
Norman control over the country.
It was erected upon and within a preexisting ring fort or rath, which may have
belonged to a local branch of the Farrell
Clan. Standing 534ft above sea level, it is
reputed to be the highest motte in Ireland.
In 1932 a statue of St Patrick was erected on
top of the Motte to commemorate the
coming of the Saint to Ireland in AD432.
www.longfordtourism.ie • 00353 (0)043 3342577
The Titanic Monument and Garden
The James Farrell Titanic Monument and Garden, located in
the village of Ennybegs, Killoe commemorates the heroic
deeds of local man, James Farrell, who lost his life at sea while
ensuring the safety of his fellow passengers.
The Titanic Monument and Garden stands as a tribute to James’ courage
and valiant actions in the face of tragedy. The anchor for the monument
was donated by Belfast Harbour Commissioners and the engraved stone
taken from the Farrell family homestead in Clonee, Killoe.
The Blacksmith’s Forge
The Blacksmith’s Forge of General Sean Mac Eoin (also known
as ‘The Blacksmith of Ballinalee’), is situated outside the
historic village of Ballinalee.
MacEoin is one of the most celebrated military heroes of the Irish War
of Independence, having been the leader of the infamous North
Longford Flying Column. His heroism and compassion make his life
story the stuff of legends. Mac Eoin died on 7th July 1973 and is buried
together with his wife Alice in St. Emer’s Cemetery in Ballinalee.
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Angling in County Longford
At the heart of the Lakelands and Inland waterways of Ireland,
Longford is host to some of the best angling available in the country.
Boasting many excellent lakes, rivers and canals, including the longest
county shoreline of the mighty River Shannon, Longford is indeed an
anglers paradise with quality year-round fishing. Information on
licences, permits, boat hire and guided angling trips is available by
contacting the Tourism Office. www.longfordtourism.ie
00353 (0)43 3342577 • 085 8888876
Outdoor Sporting Activities
The Outdoor Discovery Adventure Company in Ballymahon is the
place where Ireland comes to play. The adventurous in spirit can enjoy
water sporting activities such as canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting
and river tubing, white water body boarding, zorbing and aqua spheres.
The expert staff also conduct events/classes in archery, orienteering,
treasure hunting and much more. Booking for all activities is required.
www.outdoordiscovery.ie • 00353 (0)90 6400111
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Longford Trails and Woodland Walks
County Longford is graced with some of Irelands most remote, bio
diverse and unspoilt landscape. This excellent low-lying countryside
is perfect for the walker, cyclist and nature lover looking for a new
adventure. Wonderful trails and walkways include forest walks at
Newcastle Woods, Derrycassan Woods and Lanesborough North
Commons. Edenmore Bog Walk is recognised by botanists and bio
diversity experts as one of Irelands finest examples of bogland
landscape. It is noted on the IPCC website www.ipcc.ie as having a
Peatland Passport. Cairn Hill, Brí Leith, the woods at Cashel, and the
climb to the summit of Granard Motte and Bailey all offer alternative
sites to explore and all form part of the Longford trails network.
Longford also forms part of The Táin Trail, The Goldsmith Trail and The
Humbert Trail, all hugely important routes in Irish history and
mythology. The Rebel Trail, The
Literary Trail, The Mid Shannon
Trail and The Blueway Trail are
new driving, cycling and water
based routes currently under
Taking any or all of the
Longford trails offers the
opportunity to stop off in the
villages and towns of County
Longford, chat with the locals,
and enjoy some good food and
drink while taking in the
wonderful Lakeland scenery.
Maps as well as information on
bicycle hire is available at
00353 (0)43 3342577
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Childrens playgrounds
Longford has an impressive range of playgrounds with fun and
challenging equipment that children will love including zip wires,
climbing frames, rope ladders, and sand pits as well as slides and swings
for younger children. Playgrounds are free to use with facilities at most
towns and villages around the county. Picnic areas and parks are also
dotted around the county, many with lakeside settings. Full details are
available at www.longfordtourism.ie • 00353 (0)43 3342577
Indoor Bowling
Longford Megabowl is an excellent leisure complex located a short
distance outside Longford town. With facilities for all the family
incorporating a ten pin bowling alley, pool tables, an indoor soccer
arena, video gaming and childrens play area, it’s a great place to spend
a few hours having some fun, especially if the weather outside is not
the best. www.longfordtourism.ie • 00353 (0)43 3347643
Octopus Kidz
The Octopus Kidz centre encourages busy little hands and creative
little minds to explore themes of play through imagination and
exploration of the senses. At Octopus Kidz children and adults can
come together in a fun and relaxed environment and enjoy ten action
packed fun-filled play areas.
www.octopuskidz.ie • 00353 (0)43 3336082
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Glen Lough Nature Reserve
Glen Lough is a bio diverse habitat with many rare and interesting
native plants and animals. The site has a fine bird hide, and a number
of lovely walks and pools for exploring. It’s a perfect setting for those
with a love of nature and the outdoors.
www.npws.ie • www.longfordtourism.ie • 00353 (0)43 3342577
Golfing/Pitch & Putt
County Longford Golf Club is an 18 hole parkland course
overlooking Longford town. Players can enjoy panoramic views of
the surrounding countryside, a great clubhouse, bar and restaurant
as well as an onsite PD golf store. The PD School of Golf offers golf
tuition at the six bay driving range. Longford is the ideal location for
golfing enthusiasts due to its accessibility to the rest of the country.
www.countylongfordgolfclub.com 00353 (0)43 3346310.
Two championship pitch and putt courses are also located in the
villages of Ballinalee and Granard. Information on both these sites is
available at www.longfordtourism.ie • 00353 (0)43 3342577
Equestrian Activities
Quiet country roads, rolling countryside and picturesque landscape
provides the setting for equestrian activities in County Longford. There
are four equestrian centres in the Longford area each with their own
excellent facilities offering trekking, cross country and riding lessons.
Interesting treks will lead riders along seldom explored routes where
they can enjoy the wilderness of the Irish countryside.
www.mosstownstables.ie • www.roscommonequestrian.ie
www.haydenequestrian.com • www.longfordtourism.ie
00353 (0)43 3342577
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Action Sports
The Midland Karting/Paintballing site has 1100 metres of the highest
quality asphalt track with 20 acres of floodlit grounds and wooded
area in which to enjoy these exhilarating action sports. Virtual racing
and driver training simulators as well as flight simulators add extra
enjoyment for users of the facility. The track is regarded as one of the
finest the country has to offer welcoming individuals and groups
throughout the year. www.midlandkarting.net • 00353 (0)43 6671308
Pleasure Flights & Flying Lessons
Abbeyshrule Airfield is located outside the award winning village of
Abbeyshrule, situated along The Royal Canal. The airfield is a popular
location for light aircraft enthusiasts in the Midlands of Ireland and
even further afield. There are currently several microlite flying schools
based at the airfield offering flying tuition and pleasure flights.
Longford Aviation - Teddy Mc Goey 00353 (0)44 9357742
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Many of the visitors who come to County Longford from abroad are in
search of information on their ancestors and are usually, but not always,
of Farrell descent. Other family names associated with the area include
Sheridan, Murphy, Rhatigan, O’Neill and Kane. Their ancestors would
usually have left Ireland during the famine years but also right up to
and during the early 1900s. The Longford diaspora has a wide reach,
with communities in Britain, USA, Canada, Argentina, Mexico and even
further afield in some cases. To assist those researching their ancestry
in the county there is a dedicated genealogy centre in Longford Town.
Alternatively visitors can access certain records themselves, free of
charge, in the headquarters of the county library where library staff will
Further information on genealogy research in Longford can be found
at www.longfordtourism.ie
Arts, Culture & Entertainment
Longford has a vibrant musical, arts and culture scene with a large
community of artists and writers, and a full calendar of arts events,
festivals and activities throughout the year. The county also has a
proud sporting reputation with a busy sporting calendar which
includes an International marathon, a blueways festival, a number of
triathlons, football and cycling events as well as karting championships
and water based activities such as the canoe polo championships.
The Backstage Theatre is a purpose-built state-of-the-art theatre and
arts centre with a dynamic programme of events which mixes theatre,
dance and music to suit all tastes and ages.
www.backstage.ie • 00353 (0)43 3347888
ENGAGE is an artists led not-for-profit initiative that provides a
platform to promote Longford as a hub for contemporary visual art.
The organisers of Engage host regular art exhibitions and shows in the
dedicated ‘Engage’ exhibition space in Longford town centre.
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The Little Blue Room is a volunteerrun project which is dedicated to
providing a platform for live music
and the performing arts in Longford.
It’s an intimate venue in Longford
town centre with new shows
announced frequently via their
social media sites.
00353 (0)86 1097388
(0)87 4144802
Longford Omniplex, located at
Bridge Street, Longford town is a
four screen cinema, open all year
round, showing all the newest
releases for movies lovers.
00353 (0)43 3345177
Shawbrook Dance Centre, is a
nationally recognised dance
resource organisation in the heart
of the countryside in Legan,
County Longford. The centre
attracts dance students and
enthusiasts from across the
country as well as hosting dance
master classes and summer
programmes with internationally
renowned choreographers.
00353 (0)44 9357570
The Bog Lane Theatre
in Ballymahon hosts a programme
of theatre of music events
throughout the year including the
Goldsmith Summer School.
00353 (0)86 8199666
The Haggard in Ballyduffy, Moyne
is an arts, culture and heritage
centre in the three province, and
three county area of Longford,
Leitrim and Cavan. The venue
hosts a variety of shows including
storytelling and small festivals.
00353 (0)87 1835064
County Longford has a wealth of
literary talent and associations with
a continuous stream of new writers,
poets and playwrights emerging
every year. Information on writers
groups and events within the
county can be found at
County Longfords rich community
of visual artists are supported by a
dedicated visual art website.
Established by Longford County
Council Arts Office the site
provides an opportunity for the
serious visual artists in Longford to
display their talents and to
promote their work.
Creative Longford, the arts and
craft network for the county, also
have a dedicated website and social
media presence. The members sell
their work in the Craft Gallery at
Ardagh Heritage and Creativity
Centre, Ardagh village.
A full listing of all events and
festivals taking place in County
www.longfordtourism.ie and on the
‘Explore Longford’ app available to
download for Apple iOS and
android devices.
Information on all these events is
listed in the festival and events
section of Longford Tourism
website, www.longfordtourism.ie
as well as on our Facebook
and Twitter pages.
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Longford Tourism Office
Market Square, Longford.
Tel: 00353 (0)43 3342577
or 00353 (0)85 8888876
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.longfordtourism.ie
Cover Image: www.rustylemon.com
Design & Print: www.rapidprint.ie