Edgeworthstown

The Gate Lodge at Edgeworthstown House Entrance

Location
Edgeworthstown is a small but keen spirited community town conveniently located on the N4 and therefore within easy reach of many of the larger towns and countys.

Name
Edgeworthstown  gets its name from its long association with the celebrated family of Edgeworths, who first settled here in 1583. The town is also known as Mostrim which is derived from the Irish name ‘Meathas Troim’ meaning fertile ridge.

History & Info
The town is most famous for its association to the celebrated author Maria Edgeworth and her family. Amongst the eminent members of the Edgeworth family who first made their home here in 1583, was Richard Lovell Edgeworth, ingenious inventor and surveyor and father of 22 children, one of whom was Maria. A member of the Irish Committee on Education, he also involved himself in local and national politics, transport engineering, agriculture and architecture. It was from her father that Maria inherited an absorbing interest in the lrish and their way of life, and her novels immortalise the vicissitudes of life on such small rural Irish estates in the early 19century. The Abbe Edgeworth who attended Louis XVI on the scaffold during the French revolution and later escaped to Russia to tell the tale was also a member of this family.  Best known for her work ‘Castle Rackrent’ Maria Edgeworth was an incredibly talented author who held the respect and admiration of such writers as Sir Walter Scott and Jane Austin.

Edgeworthstown House once formed the centre of the cultivated Edgeworth circle which included the Pakenhams, Earls of Longford and the Lefroys, Chief Justices of Ireland. It is now run as a private nursing home. The Gate Lodge otherwise known as The Manor is situated at the entrance drive of Edgeworthtown House and has been preserved in its near-original state dating back to the 1720’s. The Edgeworth family vault, in which Richard Lovell and Maria are interred is in the Churchyard of Saint John’s, a church founded by the Edgeworths themselves . Inside the church are memorial tablets to many of the Edgeworth family. There is also a table presented to Maria Edgeworth by Sir Walter Scott, the famous novelist. The adjoining cemetery also contains some other  interesting graves including the 18th century tombstones of the Camlish branch of the O’Farrells of Annally and that of Isola Wilde, sister of Oscar Wilde, who was visiting her aunt at the time of her death. The markethouse, at  the South end of the town was designed in 1829 by James Bell, a local builder and architect much patronised by the Edgeworths, who later became County Surveyor for Longford. Simple and modest in scale, the two-storey building, bears the Edgeworth crest.

Heritage sites of interest include the old schoolhouse and the Porterhouse. The schoolhouse, located on the N55, is one of the oldest school buildings in the country, having been built in 1840. It served as a national (primary) school until the early 1950s and in recent years was acquired by the Development Association from the Edgeworth family. The school and the adjoining fair green have being developed into a visitors centre and a place of culture and recreation for the community. The school building retains many of its original features such as stone exterior, staircase, and the narrow entrance gate and it houses an Edgeworth Portrait Gallery and other memorabilia. The Porter House is a fine building located at the end of Main Street and was once part of the Edgeworth Estate. Coach houses were originally located each side of the centre arch which also displays the Edgeworth Crest. Maria Edgeworth taught school in the upstairs room of the Porter House.

Things to See & Do
The most important touristic elements of Edgeworthstown relate to the Edgeworth family after whom the town is named, most particularly the renowned author Maria Edgeworth. The towns rich historical  associations with some of the greatest writers and thinkers of the 19th and early -20th centuries is celebrated by a dedicated walking tour of the town which visits the sites related to the Edgeworth family. The annual Maria Edgeworth Literary festival is also an interesting time to visit providing an opportunity to mingle with literary figures from all around the world. The dedicated website www.mostrim.org provides full details on the tour, the festival and the town itself.

Other things to do and see  in the area include Midland Karting and Paintballing centre, located on the N55 just outside Edgeworthstown itself. This fantastic facility offers the thrill seekers an excellent day or evenings  adventure and fun on the course. For those with a love of nature Glen Lough Nature Reserve on the Longford/Westmeath border, near Edgeworthstown offers a unique and very enjoyable experience. Glen Lough is a National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Reserve and is a designated Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive. Its importance is, in the main, as a wintering wildfowl habitat but is a very pleasant place to while away an hour or two in any weather. The town is served by several fine public houses and a hotel which provide weekly live music and entertainment. There are also local shops, cafes and every convenience you would expect in a modern town.

Information on the heritage sites of Edgeworthstown can be found on  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