ByRoute 17.2 Co. Longford // Co. Sligo

These pages (currently UNDER CONSTRUCTION) will link Kilcogy (Co. Cavan) and Tobercurry (Co. Sligo).

Lough Aghanoran (from  Achadh an Fhuaráin or Achadh an Uar in – “field of the spring”) near Kilcolgy is a large lake tributary of the River Erne. Good shoals of bream, roach, perch, tench and pike can be found here, attracting coarse fishing enthusiasts from all over the British Isles and further afield.

Mullinalaghta / Dring (Co. Longford – Northeast)

Mullinalaghta / Mullanalaghta / Mullinloughto (Mullach na Leachta – “Hill of the standing stones / gravestones”, referring to the original site of the local church) (pop. 470) is a scenic rural district partially surrounded by the cluster of lakes collectively known as Lough Gowna at the head of the River Erne, famed for coarse fishing, and by the Clooneen River, separating it from the rest of County Longford. While tourism is important (the area was once optimistically labelled “the new West Cork“), the local economy is primarily agricultural, with cattle and sheep farming predominating.

Mullinalaghta formed part of the medieval territory of Annaly, largely corresponding to today’s County Longford. It was under the control of the Mac Gearadháin / Gaynor family, and was referred to in C16th documents as Muintir Gearadháin / Muntergerran. Long part of the Anglican / Civil parish of Columbkille, Mullinalaghta was included in the equivalent Roman Catholic parish until 1839, when it was joined with the Cavan parish of Scrabby to its north. The district has been hard hit by poverty and emigration, with the population declining from an 1841 peak of over 3,200 before the Great Famine to its present numbers.

Cloonagh (Cluain Each) and Larkfield (Cluain Fhuiseog) are adjacent townlands containing the principal amenities in the district, including two good pubs.

St Columbkille’s church (RC), designed in 1939 by Ralph Henry Byrne (1877 – 1946), noted for his rather eclectic academic approach, was  built in a vaguely Hiberno-Romanesque style, reminiscent of some Tower Houses. The fabric incorporates stones  from the former landlords’ mansion, Derrycassan House. The present edifice replaced a nearby chapel dating from  1832 that has been demolished; the old graveyard is still in use.

St Patricks Well, a spring situated in the townland of Leitrim & Kilmore, probably used in pre-Christian times in pagan worship, and reputedly a place where Saint Patrick once preached the faith, has for generations been the venue for Mass on St Patrick’s Day,  when it is still visited by thousands. A sunken depression is believed to be the  print that St Patrick left by the saint when kneeling to pray at the well. A stunted tree called The Rag Cure Bush is believed locally to provide a cure for warts.

Lough Gowna (Loch Gamhna – “calf lake”) is a large (1,178 hectares) fresh water lake with a complex indented shape featuring numerous bays and inlets, some connected by narrow channels. An important site for wintering wildfowl, and very popular for coarse fishing, the lake contains one large island, Inchmore,  the site of a monastery founded in the C6th AD by Saint Colmcille. (Photo by laura ammons)

Gowna Forest

 

Gowna Forest comprises a number of small Coillte-run forestry plantations based on old estates around Lough Gowna.

 

Erne Head Forest,  all that remains of an estate formerly held by a branch of the Dopping family, is the smallest at 35 acres, half of which contains old Sessile Oak trees planted in 1830s.

 

Woodville Woods is an ideal place for secluded lakeside walksThe remnants of a ráth can be seen amongst the trees.

 

Woodville House, aka Larkfield, was home at various times to the Graham family,  R Lambert Esq, the Duff family (friends of Roger Casement, a regular visitor) and a Col. O’Malley; many local people were employed over the years as farm workers and domestic servants. The house was sold to the Land Commission and demolished in 1935.

 

Derrycassin Wood is a popular lakeside amenity for walkers and cyclists. Plants include a mix of coniferous and deciduous  trees, wild flowers and fungi, providing habitats for a range of wildlife. Waymarked routes include the former Main Avenue, a Walled Garden path and a Nature Trail. The remains of a ráth / Ringfort dating from between 500-1500 AD are still visible.

 

Derrycassin  / Derrycassan House, a splendid mansion built in 1760 on the shore of Lough Gowna, reputedly with stones from the medieval abbey on Inchmore, was long the Longford residence of the Co. Wicklow-based Dopping Heppenstall family (famed amongst C19th Irish lawyers for their legal squabbles as father disinherited son, spinster injuncted married sister etc.), who sold the property to a timber merchant in 1929. The house was razed in the 1930s to provide the stones used in the construction of the local church.

Aghnacliff (Co. Longford / North)

Aghnacliff / Aughnacliffe, a little village west of Lough Gowna, has two decent pubs.

St Thomas’ church (CoI), erected in 1829 on a height above the village and overlooking Lough Gowna, is a handsome edifice serving the parish of Columbkille.

The Aghnacliff cromlech / dolmen, one of several local portal tombs, stands in a meadow some 300m north of the church. Widely regarded as the oddest-shaped megalith in Ireland, it has two huge capstones, one balancing on the other above the single remaining 2m portal stone, looking from some angles like a giant poodle or a toy dinosaur. (Photo – www.hgstump.de. More images here and here)

North Angling Club, based in Aghnacliff, has two lakes which are annually stocked with rainbow trout. Lough Nabeen-40 acres and Lough Leebeen-16 acres. The latter lake also contains course fish with a good population of roach. Day and weekend permits available. The club also organises 8 yearly pike competitions on Lough Gowna and other surrounding lakes with very attractive prize money.

Aghnacliff is

Dromard (Co. Longford / North)

Dromard is a scenic district extending northwards to the meeting point of Counties Longford, Cavan and Leitrim in the provinces of Leinster, Ulster and Connacht respectively.

The tiny crossroads communities of Moyne and Legga (historically Leggah) acquired village status in 1997. There are no pubs, and Dromard GAA Club is the focal point for most local activities.

Partially bordered by Lough Gowna, the area features classic drumlin topography of rolling hills interspersed with boglands and myriad streams and small fishing lakes, notably Annagh Lake,  Corglass Lough and Lough Naback.

Gortermone Lough has a good example of a Crannog. (See Photo)

Dromard Hill was the location of a Mass house built-in the mid-C18th Penal Law times, from which the parish derived its name.

Moyne church (RC) was built in 1818 to replace the thatched church on Dromard Hill,and was the parish church until 1865.

Moyne is

St Mary’s church (RC) in Legga, founded in 1865, was built with stone from Annagh quarry, and has been renovated over the years.

Cornacullew is the location of Tubberpatrick Cemetery and Tober Patrick, a well-maintained stone Holy Well, c.2m in diameter, adjacent to a hawthorn “wishing tree” decked with rags, socks, handkerchiefs and scraps of plastic tied to its branches. This and a newly laid path suggests that traditions associated with the well are still going strong. A learned local bishop once pointer to the well as evidence that Saint Patrick may have visited the area.

Edenmore Bog, a rare Raised Bog, supports a range of mosses and other plants only found in such places, some traditionally used in folk remedies. The edges of the bog feature woodland, grass and wetland habitats. Birds likely to be spotted include kestrel, red grouse and snipe. Peat provides an important source of fuel for local families, many of whom have turbary (turf-cutting) rights for small sections, some dating back centuries. . A 4.5km looped trail has been laid around the bog.

Dromard is

Lough Salagh, the largest of a string of small lakes set in the remote  unspoiled landscape along the Longford / Leitrim border, teems with pike, perch, bream and roach. (Photo by Simon Ting)

Fardromin Lake contains the remains of a Crannog.

Drumbad townland is the location of a Ráth / Ringfort.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *