Literary Longford

Ballymahon Community Library, meeting space for some of Longfords writing groups.

Modern Literary Talent
County Longford has a wealth of literary talent and associations with a continuous stream of new writers, poets and playwrights emerging every year, many of them coming from the five flourishing writers groups currently in existence. This could be deemed quite extraordinary for such a small county were it not for the impressive literary heritage that Longford can already lay claim to.

Historical Literary Talent
Most well known is the countys connection to the famous author and poet Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774) who was born at Pallas, near Abbeyshrule. Goldsmith is famous as a writer in many genres, including drama and poetry and is lauded around the world as a writer whos penned contributions made a significant mark on the literary landscape. An International Literary Festival is held in Longford every year to honour his written achievements.

Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849), was born in England but  spent most of her life on her family’s estate at Edgeworthstown, County Longford. She was an accomplished novelist and feminist with wide interests including the education of women and was held in high regard by the people of Co Longford for her efforts to assist during the famine years. She had many accomplished literary friends and admirers including Walter Scott and Jane Austin.

John Keegan Casey (1846-1870), known by his pen-name ‘Leo’, was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood or Fenians, and was a noted poet whose most famous work, the ballad ‘The Rising of the Moon’ is still sang at gatherings and traditional music sessions around the country. He taught at schools in the Ballymahon, Cashel and Kenagh areas.

Padraic Colum (1881-1972), is most recently in peoples minds due to the fact that a first edition of his works on Hawaiian Myths and Legends for children was gifted to  President Obama by Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny. This presentation took place on 23rd may 2011 to commemorate President Obamas visit to Dublin. Born in Longford workhouse, where his father was master, Colum was a writer, poet, playwright, biographer and folklorist as well as a lecturer in US colleges including Colombia University. His contributions to the literary world are vast and varied, an incredible accomplishment for a man who came from such humble beginnings.

Further information on writers groups within the county is available at a Longford based initiative with an aim of supporting the existing community of writers as well as emerging talent.

Further information on Longfords Literary Heritage can be found on the Explore Longford App available for download for both Apple iOS and Android Devices:
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