The Royal Canal at Abbeyshrule, County Longford.

Abbeyshrule is a picturesque village located along the banks of the Royal Canal in South County Longford. It is the current gold medal winner of the National Tidy Towns Award for 2012, having previously won medals in 2009 and 2010. It is also a gold medal winner of the European Entente Floral Competition for 2012. Abbeyshrule has been twinned with the city of Villingen-Schwenningen in Germany since august 1997. Regular exchanges take place between groups from Abbeyshrule and the city of Villingen-Schwenningen which is located in the Black Forest Region of the state of Baden-Wurttemberg in Southern Germany.

The village and barony, known also in early Christian times as Shrule or Shrowle takes its name from the Irish word stream or river as it is sited on a major ford or crossing on the Inny River.

History& Info
Historically the village area was once a stronghold of the O Farrell Buighe Sept. In later centuries a major medieval fair was held here on the feast of Corpus Christi. The village and parish were also at one point a part of the King Harman Landlordship. In 1817, the Royal Canal was opened up to Abbeyshrule and the economic life of the area was transformed. A thriving water milling industry also existed on the River Inny during this era. The Inny is a main tributary of the Shannon, named after the mythological Princess Eithne who drowned and was cremated downstream at the rapids at Tenelick. As road and railway transportation developed, the use of canals and mills declined and so the area around Abbeyshrule became somewhat forgotten if not neglected. It is a testament to the pride, progressive nature and hard work of the people of Abbeyshrule that the village has in recent years been put back on the map in such a fabulous manner.

September 2010 saw the official re-opening of the Royal Canal from Spencer Dock in Dublin to Richmond Harbour in Clondra, Co Longford. En route it passes through Abbeyshrule which has it’s own slipway and amenity area. The Royal Canal and the river Inny both provide invaluable places for fishing, boating, walking and cycling both for visitors and locals around Abbeyshrule. The canal crosses the River Inny by the imposing Whitworth Aquaduct, half a kilometre north of the village. Built during the early 1800s’ the aquaduct was named after Lord Charles Whitworth (1752 – 1825), 1st Baron Whitworth, who was lord lieutenant of Ireland from 1813 to 1817.

Abbeyshrule is home to  a Cistercian Abbey, founded from Mellifont in 1150 AD by the Cistercians who came to Abbeyshrule at the request of  the O’ Farrells, Princes of Annally. Like its sister church at Abbeylara, it was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Abbey was built on the site of an earlier Christian settlement whose ninth century abbots are recorded in the Annals. Suppressed during the reign of Elizabeth I, the abbey was eventually granted to Sir Robert Dillon. The ruins indicate several different phases of change to the site dating between the time of building and the 18th century. The actual site stretched to a much larger area before boundary walls were built around it. The tower house was a medieval watchtower used by the ruling O’Farrell Clan. The graveyard has several interesting grave slabs and stones.

Abbeyshrule is also the location of Clonbrin Bog, just outside of the village, which is the site where the Clonbrin Shield and other prehistoric items, now housed in the National Museum, were discovered in 1908. The Clonbrin leather shield is the only surviving leather shield from the Bronze Age’ possibly dating from as early as the 13th century BC. Due to its burial in peat its preservation is near perfect.

One of the villages most famous natives is Oliver Goldsmith, famous poet, playwright and novelist who was born at Pallas, Abbeyshrule on November 10th 1728. Pallas is situated 5km from Abbeyshrule off the Ballymahon road. A statue of Goldsmith at Pallas marks the location of the original Goldsmith homestead. Goldsmith was the son of a clergyman and at the age of 16 went to study at Trinity College, Dublin. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1749. Following years of misadventure and misfortune Goldsmith began a career in writing. In 1770 he published his greatest poem “The Deserted Village “, a portrait of life in his native countryside, once a thriving rural community now left empty, because of the effects of the industrial revolution. “Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey, where wealth accumulates and men decay “. The Oliver Goldsmith Summer School takes place annually in Abbeyshrule, Ballymahon and the Three Jolly Pigeons during the months of June/July.

Things to See & Do
Abbeyshrule Airfield, the only airport in the midlands, provides opportunities for both pleasure flights and flying lessons as well as hosting the annual Air Show. The show is an exciting and spectacular occasion regularly featuring Aircraft from the Irish Air Corps, US Air Force and some of the best civilian acts in Ireland and the UK. The annual fly-in held in conjunction with the Air Show  attracts visitors from the UK and from Europe.There has been a long tradition of flying in Abbeyshrule dating back to the 1950s. The present airfield was established in 1977 and a new tarmac runway as laid in 1977. The  Airfield is a popular location for light aircraft enthusiasts in the Midlands and throughout Ireland with several flying schools operating from the site. The Royal Canal at Abbeyshrule provides every increasing opportunity to enjoy the inland waterways and is used throughout the year for sporting and leisure activities. There are also many small festivals and events held along its banks during the summer months. The Rustic Inn is the local pub which serves lunch and dinner as well as hosting weekly trad music sessions and live entertainment at the weekends.

Information on Abbeyshrule Village is available on

Information on the heritage sites of Abbeyshrule can be found on the ‘Explore Longford’ App available to download for both Apple iOS and Android Devices: Android Store:   Apple Store:



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