Cullyfad

The village of Cullyfad lies within the parish of Killoe. Ideally located,  there is easy accessiblity to Longford town, as well as  the nearby villages of Ennybegs and Ballinalee. As such there are several local public houses which provide live music and entertainment at the weekends as well as during festivals and events. Cullyfad gets its name from the Irish ‘Coill Fada’ which means ‘the long wood’. Just below St. Oliver’s Church is a beautiful piece of art designed by the parish priest Fr. Sean Casey. The symbolism of  the tree aligns itself with the meaning of Cullyfad “Coill Fada” .

Like its counterpart Ennybegs, Cullyfad is a rural village built around the Roman Catholic church of St Oliver and the local Community Centre. This building was once Cullyfad school and as such remained in use until the 1970’s. It now provides  a space for the young and old of the area to participate in social, cultural and developmental endeavours. Adjoining the Community Centre is what was originally the old school garden. Recent years have seen it transformed into a beautiful, tranquil and peaceful setting which is frequently used by the locals for wedding photographs in the village. Cullyfad is a lovely area in which to go walking or cycling, exploring the countryside and experiencing the unique way of life in rural Ireland.  On the northern side of the village is a Native Arboretum which has been planted with all native shrubs and trees. Its unique biodiversity make it an interesting place for the children to explore. There is plenty to discover including a frog pond, insect hotels, bat houses, and bird nesting boxes. It has a play area and some small pathways to wander through while enjoying nature and  the tranquillity of rural Longford.

The entire area  of Cullfad was once part of the Bond estate and so is steeped in history as well as folklore. Newtownbond Graveyard is located on the grounds of the old Newtownbond Estate just a few miles from the village. There is a lovely quiet walking route, which takes along tree-lined county roads to the estate where  the ruins of an old church and the old graveyard. It is believed locally that there is also a famine graveyard in this area but it has yet to be confirmed. An old walled garden, which was originally part of the former Bond estate, has now been restored to its former glory and is a beautiful place for a leisurely walk. When visiting the garden you can also avail of the archery facilities. There is both field and target archery available. Cullyfad has a vibrant sporting community who make great use of their sporting grounds. Football matches take place regularly and all are welcome to attend and cheer on the participating teams.

Heritage sites of interest in the area include St Catherine’s Church of Ireland and the Gandon Gates. St Catherines , built 1824 and altered in 1861 is an attractive early nineteenth-century Church of Ireland church. Built in a Gothic Revival style, it retains its early form, character and fabric. Built on the site of a pre-existing Catholic church, the grounds are divided into two sections, an older catholic graveyard and a later protestant graveyard. This cemetery contains grave slabs dating back to the early 1700’s. If researching ancestors is what takes you to Killoe then  a visit to the old church and graveyard of St Catherines makes for an interesting afternoon.

The Gandon Gates and gate lodges are part of the Carriglass Estate, now in need of restoration. They can be seen by travelling  a quiet country road just about a mile from the village.  James Gandon (1742-1823), of Huguenot descent, was one of the most celebrated Georgian architects of his time. Gandon’s well-known masterpieces include the Customs House and Four Courts, both in Dublin. Domestic architecture by Gandon is rare in Ireland, and a fine example is the impressive cut stone arched entrance gates to Carriglass Manor.  A sale catalogue of the estate, dated 1826, describes the “Grand Gate” as a remarkably modern, fine and expensive building”. Carrigglas Manor, former home of the Irish-Huguenot Lefroy family, was built in 1837 by Thomas Lefroy. the former MP and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Thomas Lefroy was once acquainted with the author Jane Austen and it is believed that he inspired the character of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Daniel Robertson designed the Carrigglas manor house, with its imposing façade that also appears to have come from the pages of a period novel. The manor features a unique and famous stable yard, which was also designed in the 1790s by James Gandon. The stable yard was originally attached to a house that stood here before Carrigglas was built, and is valued as the last example of Gandon’s agricultural designs. In recent years, the manor and estate was sold for a major development including hotel, golf course (designed by Retief Goosen) and housing. However, the project fell victim to the Irish property crash and downturn in the Irish economy. It is currently inaccessible to the public.

For more information on the heritage sites around Cullyfad visit the Explore Longford App available to download here:

 

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