Legan

Legan Village

Location
Legan lies snuggled into the south east of Longford, along the River Inny, with Ballycloghan extending west to the sacred pre-Christian site of Brí Leith on Ardagh Mountain.

Name
The name Legan is derived from the Irish An Liagán, which means ‘the standing stone’. The village is also known as Lenamore.

History & Info
Legan is a place rich in history dating from pre-Christian times through the monastic foundations at Kilglass and Agharra, to the Penal site at Legan Rock. The village has been dominated by the O’Farrell family of Ardandra and the Fox family of Foxhall. It contains rich farmland with wide expanses of bog and the well-stocked river Inny which provides rich and restful recreation for the angler. A large part of the parish of Legan was originally part of the Foxhall estate. Sir Patrick Fox acquired the castle and the lands of Rathreagh but a Royal Commission of Visitation declared his title invalid. He retained possession however and in 1622, under the terms of Surrender and Regrant, the title passed to his son Nathaniel. The Foxes changed the name of the parish from Rathreagh to Foxhall and remained as landlord there until the 19th Century. Cottiers and small farmers worked the Fox estate. Richard Fox (1816-1856) was a member of the British Parliament, and his estate totaled 4,172 acres. He is said to have been a very good employer during the Famine. Foxhall house was a magnificent building with 21 windows in front, an oval dining-room, and ornamental walls and ceilings. A high wall surrounded an impressive orchard there was a lawn in front of the house where picnics and parties were held. While in residence Richard Maxwell Fox MP, ordered the construction of a Ha-Ha. This is a sunken ditch, three feet below ground level, lined on one side with stones. It served to keep cattle from grazing too close to the front door, yet did no block the view of the house. The Land Commission later acquired the Foxhall property, which was then divided among local farmers. Unfortunately the house was demolished in 1946. The Stone Man of Foxhall is an impressive monument which was erected in memory of Nathaniel Fox, who died in 1634. It originally consisted of a full sized figure clad in armour reclining on is right side with an engraving of a coat of arms of the Fox family and a Latin epitaph above the figure. The statue has unfortunately been damaged by vandals over the years but despite this it remains an impressive monument and is well worth a visit.

Things to See & Do
Sliabh Galra and Brí Leith dominate the landscape west of St Anne’s Church, Ballycloghan. There are several  pre-Christian sacred sites in the area. Legan Rock and Lady Well is the site of a mud-walled thatched church used in Penal Times from 1730 to 1843. The inscription at the well tells that the church site was given to the people of Legan forever in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary by John Farrell, Ardandra. When the present church was built in the village of Leanamore, it used its original Legan name, and now the village is generally know as Legan. other items of note or interest in the area include the fact that St. Echea, sister of St Mel, founded a convent in Kilglass in the 5th Century. A mound in the centre of the old cemetery points to the location of the original site. Outside the perimeter wall is a moat, thought to be man-built security forpeople with valuable possessions, and is believed to be linked to the Blackwater River nearby by a subterranean passage. Agharra is a name which derives from the Ath-a-charagh, the Ford of the Weir. The ruins of the church are adjacent to a bridge over the River Inny, which may have been the site of the Weir in question. The ancient parish church, which was built in two stages, dates back to the middle ages. Located on the Rathowen side of Legan is the internationally recognised Shawbrook school of Dance. Shawbrook are the organisers of the annual Dance Fest held in Longford town.

Information on the heritage sites of Legan 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