Longford, Ireland Tourist Attractions
Longford (Longphort, "Fortress"), county town of Longford county, lies in the center of Ireland, northeast of Lough Ree, at the junction of four roads - the N4, N5, N63 and T15.A prominent landmark in the town is the dome of the neo-Renaissance St Mel's Cathedral (by Joseph Keane, 1840-93).Longford takes its name from of fortress of the O'Farrells, of which no trace remains. The present castle dates from 1627.The town offers a wide range of leisure activities - golf, tennis, fishing, shooting, horse racing and greyhound racing.
The surroundings of Longford have many features of interest.
16mi/26km northeast of Longford, on the R194, lies Granard, a fishing center. Near the town stands a large motte (12th C; National Monument), perhaps the largest of its kind in Ireland. On top of it - although bearing no obvious connection - is a statue of St Patrick, erected in 1932.
Granard Harp Festival
This festival was first formed in 1781, although it did not become an annual event until 1981. The festival attracts over 20,000 visitors to the town very August for concerts featuring this elegant instrument. Both classical and contemporary music is included in the program.
Black Pig's Dyke
2.5mi/4km east of Granard, to the northeast of Longford, beginning at Lough Kinale and extending 6mi/10km northwest to Lough Gowna, is a section of the "Black Pig's Dike," a system of defensive earthworks, dated to between 300 B.C. and A.D. 300, which cuts obliquely across Northern Ireland. Here the dike is up to 20ft/6m high and 30ft/9m thick at the base, with a ditch on either side.
Lough Gowna is noted for its very fine trout. 8mi/13km southwest of Granard (7.5mi/12km southeast of Longford) lies Edgeworthstown. Edgeworthstown House was the birthplace of the celebrated novelist Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849), whose works depict the social conditions of her time in both castle and cottage. Scott and Wordsworth were among the distinguished writers who visited the house.
On the way from Edgeworthstown (to the southeast of Longford) to Ballymahon (the N55, going southwest) a short detour can be made, on a side road on the right, to Ardagh, with St Mel's Church (National Monument), said to have been founded by St Patrick.Ballymahon is picturesquely situated on the River Inny; good fishing.
From Ballymahon, near Ardagh, the R392 runs northwest to Lanesborough, on the Shannon, which here flows into Lough Ree. There is good trout fishing in both the river and the lough; in summer boats can be hired. Lanesborough is a popular stopping place on cruises on the Shannon. Near the town, on the east bank of the river, is a peat-fired power station.
On the island of Inchcleraun in Lough Ree, 6mi/10km south, are the ruins of an early monastery (National Monument), with remains of five churches and other buildings.
Corlea Trackway Visitor Center
The Center tells the story of the local Iron Age bog road that was built in 148 B.C. An 18m stretch of preserved road is displaying in a specially designed hall with humidifiers which prevent the ancient wood from cracking. On the exterior are some artificial lakes and plastic sheeting which prevent the site from drying out.