Longford has three Driving Trails, Longford Rebel Trail, Longford Literary Trail and The Mid Shannon Trail. Please see details below.
Longford Rebel Trail - Driving Trail
Distance: 71 kilometres Duration: 70 minutes non-stop
Longford has a wonderful and unique history of involvement in insurrections and rebellions from the Normans up to the War of Independence. The Rebel Longford Trail identifies all the important locations and presents their history in an easy way and enjoyable trail to follow. You can join the trail at any of the important locations such as Edgeworthstown, Granard, Ballinalee, Longford Town and Ballinmuck.
Granard has the extraordinary Gaelic and Norman Motte as well as being an important location in the 1798 rebellion. It was burnt by the Black and Tans during the war of Independence 1919-21. Michael Collins was a frequent visitor to Granard as it was Kitty Kiernan’s home in the Greville Arms Hotel.
Ballinalee was the centre of the very effective North Longford Flying column (1919-21) and you can see McKeons Forge and Rose Cottage which was the centre of operations. Clonfin is the site of the famous battle where General McKeons Flying Column defeated the forces of the British Crown and Empire. The Clonfin Ambush was an ambush carried out by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 2 February 1921, during the Irish War of Independence.
Connolly Barracks Longford Town was the centre of operations for the British Forces since its construction in the 1700’s. Many of the Irish prisoners were held and executed at the Barracks.
Ballinamuck was the site of the defeat of the joint Irish and French forces by the British in 1798. It is an amazing battle field where you can still get a clear sense of history in the landscape. Visit any of the local visitor centres for information and maps of the Rebel Trail, follow the trail of the rebels and enjoy this unique Longford experience.
Useful websites relating to locations on the Longford Rebel Trail: Knights & Conquests - Granard, County Longford Historical Society
Longford Literary Trail - Driving Trail
Distance: 73 kilometres Duration: 80 minutes non-stop
The literary tradition in Longford is very strong and includes connections with Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde. Maria Edgeworth was based in Edgeworthstown and her story is well presented in the Old Rectory. Follow the Edgeworthstown Walking Trail and get a real flavour of the past and history including the grave of Oscar Wildes younger and much loved sister.
Oliver Goldsmith was born in Longford and was educated in Edgeworthstown. You can visit his birth place and many of the locations included in his poems and plays. Ardagh Village is the location of his romantic famous play ‘She Stoops to Conquor’. Carry on into Balymahon where Goldsmith lived for many years and travel back in time to a rural Irish Town that has changed little since the poets early days.
Leo Casey, the Irish Rebel poet and song writer was also closely connected with Ballymahon and Shrule Bridge in particular where the Rebel song “At the Rising of the Moon" is based. Follow Leo’s trail through all the schools and places associated with Casey and back to Longford Town where the famous Irish poet Padraic Colum was born and died.
Carriglass Manor was the ancestral home of Thomas Langlois Lefroy. In 1796, Lefroy began a flirtation with English novelist Jane Austen. Jane Austen wrote two letters to her sister Cassandra mentioning "Tom Lefroy", and some have suggested that it may have been he whom Austen had in mind when she invented the character of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, as the courtship between Tom Lefroy and Jane Austen took place over the year or so that Pride and Prejudice was written. Visit the local visitor centres or shops for maps and more information on the wonderful Longford Literary Trail.
Useful websites relating to places of interest or subjects on the Longford Literary Trail: Edgeworthstown Literary Society, Library Ireland - Oliver Goldsmith
Mid Shannon Trail - Driving Trail
Distance: 98 kilometres Duration: 110 minutes non-stop
The Mid Shannon Trail explores the south of the county, taking in the Royal Canal, the Shannon and beautiful views of Lough Ree from Saints Island and Barley Harbour. Pay a visit to Corlea Trackway or dine at the waters edge in the lovely village of Clondra.
Did you know Newtowncashel is home to the sculptors Michael Casey and his son Kevin? Michael Casey’s sculptures are in public and private collections at home and abroad. Their workshop and studio is situated beside Lough Ree at Barley Harbour in Newtowncashel where Michael has worked for over 40 years. Kevin's commissioned sculptures have been presented to amongst others Mr Albert Reynolds, former Taoiseach of Ireland and former President of Ireland, Ms Mary McAleese. For more information on the Caseys Bog Oak Sculptures please see Caseys Bogwood.
Useful websites relating to locations or places of interest on the Mid Shannon Trail: Waterwaysireland - Royal Canal Greenway and Lough Ree - Longford