County Longford (from the Irish, Contae an Longfoirt) has a typical – and honourable – Irish history. For centuries the county has been handed back and forth at the will of the English, and it has fought valiantly in its defence, twice siding with Irish attempts to overthrow English control; once during the 1798 Rebellion in the town of Ballinamuck, which proved unsuccessful, and later during the Irish War of Independence, which proved very successful indeed.
Originally known as Annaly during the Middle Ages, it constituted the territorial base of the O’Farrell clan. After the invasion of the Normansduring the 12th century, it was attached to County Meath and settled by the English (the scattered remains of these settlements can be found in Longford’s small, historical towns, most prominently in Ardagh and Granard. The Aughnacliffe and Cleenrath Dolmens can be found in the towns of Aughnacliffe and Cleenrath, respectively). The O’Farrell family reclaimed the settlement in the 14th century and Longford was shired in 1586 by Queen Elizabeth I.
The county town of Longford, which houses a third of the county’s entire population, has benefitted in the past years from the Rural Renewal Scheme. The mysterious Iron Age trackway at Corlea (its original purpose is unknown) has on the other hand been generating interest in the town since 148 B.C. The visitor centre preserves a portion of the track, but visitors are equally welcome to tread the sunken modern walkway in the surrounding bogland.
Unmissable Attractions County Longford
1. Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre (Opening Times: Monday to Sunday from 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. in summer)
2. Ardagh Heritage Centre (Ardagh Heritage Centre is open all year round. Call this number for further information on opening times: +353 43 42577)