County Longford

View across the countryside from Corn Hill (Cairn Hill)

Longphort Ui Fheargail
Once part of the ancient lands of Teffia and later Annaly – ancestral home of the Farrell Clan – Longford is a tranquil and mainly low-lying county. Cairn Hill, referred to affectionately by locals as Corn Hill, is the highest point of the county, standing at  916 feet. 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. Its accessibility to many of Irelands main towns and cities make it a prime location as a holiday base. Within easy reach of many stunning and historic national tourist attractions, Longford is also rightly proud of its own; Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre, Ardagh Heritage Village and Ballinamuck Visitor Centre to name but a few. It also boasts a wealth of artistic, dramatic,  literary and musical tradition to entertain visitors to the area. The true beauty of County Longford lies in its rural charm, the hospitality of its people and the breath-taking views of its quiet countryside of farmland, lakes, bogs and the occasional low hill.

Derrycassin Woods, Granard

Accessibility & Activities 
Reachable by road, rail and water, Co Longford is also accessible to those with a love of flying small aircraft. The award winning village of Abbeyshrule in South Longford is home to Abbeyshrule Airfield, the only airfield in the midlands of Ireland and the base for a number of flying schools including Abbeyshrule Microlite Flying School. This airfield  is also the host of the longest running air show in Ireland, attracting large crowds from home and abroad on an annual basis. Those who wish to keep their feet firmly on the ground play on Longfords 18 hole championship golf course which overlooks the county town.   The course attracts regular players and visiting clubs and is considered an ideal base for those with a love of golfing to explore the many  top Irish golf courses of the Lakelands region, all within easy driving distance. Longford also has excellent facilities for  activities such as pitch and putt, archery, go-karting, paintballing, tennis, equestrian trails, and orienteering, as well as indoor pursuits such as swimming and  ten pin bowling.

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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, as well as the many smaller lakes and rivers of the county, offer endless opportunity 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 a less energetic holiday in mind can while away the hours canal cruising, boating, coarse and game angling. An eclectic mix of travellers from all walks of life arrive into Longford  and the unique biodiversity of  the county is of particular interest to those with a love of nature. Excellent forest walks and large stretches of bogland, some in relatively pristine condition and distinct to the midlands of Ireland, provide fascinating grounds for exploration, observation and discussion. In addition, Glen Lough bird sanctuary, Fortwilliam Turlough, Lough Kinale, Derragh Lough and Lough Forbes Complex are all  listed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service  as natural heritage areas or special areas of conservation and protection.

View of Lough Ree from Saints Island, Newtowncashel

Ancient Mythology
Longford has several impressive archaeological sites to visit; Corlea Trackway, Portal Dolmens in Aughnacliff and Cleenrath, standing stones near Granard and the highest Norman Motte and Bailey in the country. The county has strong associations with the legendary Queen Maeve who, according to the epic Irish tale, An Táin Bo Cuailgne, overnighted  with her armies in Granard while en route to steal the coveted ‘Brown Bull of Cooley’. It was also in County Longford  that Queen Maeve met her death while bathing on the island of Inis Clothran on Lough Ree. Her nephew, and slayer, Furbaide Ferbend is reputedly buried on Cairn Hill, Longfords highest point. Much more ancient than this tale is the legend of Midhir and Étain, set at the hill of Brí Leith in Ardagh.

This story, ‘The Wooing of Étain’ which spans over a thousand years, is a tale of the lives and loves of the beautiful Étain. Recounted in the Yellow Book of Lecan, one of the earliest surviving Irish manuscripts, it predates all the Irish stories of renown.  It is a tale of the ‘Tuatha De Dannan’, the fairy people of Ireland, who resided in the sídhe; portals to the underground world of the fairy people.   It is a tale of transformation, the overcoming of obstacles, rebirth, regeneration and the endless cycle of life and death. It is a tale of love, of magic, myth and mystery which keeps locals and visitors pondering its meanings and searching for signs of the now elusive entrance to the world of the forever young, Tír na Nóg.

Perhaps you’ll be the one to find it !

Further information on County Longford can be found on the ‘Explore Longford’ App available to download for both Android and Apple Devices:
Android Storehttp://bit.ly/1gMKZYY   Apple Store: http://bit.ly/1n104Kk

County Longford Tourism Office Market Square, Longford, Ireland    Phone: +353 (0)43 33 42577 +353 (0)85 8888876    Email: info@longfordtourism.ie