ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Longford, Ireland: where three historic provinces meet

Updated on August 3, 2012
Flag of the Republic of Ireland
Flag of the Republic of Ireland | Source
Bilingual signposts near Longford
Bilingual signposts near Longford | Source
Lough Ree, a lake in the Shannon, dividing Counties Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon
Lough Ree, a lake in the Shannon, dividing Counties Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon | Source
19th century view of architecturally distinct St. Mel's Cathedral, Longford Town
19th century view of architecturally distinct St. Mel's Cathedral, Longford Town | Source
Map location of County Longford, Ireland
Map location of County Longford, Ireland | Source

Longford is 'An Longfort' — in Irish, 'as gaeilge'

The name Longford, Ireland, refers to both a county in the Irish Midlands and to a town, which is the administrative capital of the country.

Longford itself is in the historic province of Leinster, while on the northern boundary of the county, the provinces of Connacht, Ulster and Leinster meet.

Longford is the home town of Albert Reynolds, Ireland's first Taoiseach (Prime Minister) to have been born west of the Shannon (in nearby Rooskey, Roscommon), and one who was particularly vibrant in the brand of nationalism which he espoused (1). The Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) to Mr Reynolds was John Wilson, one time sporting legend, of neighbouring County Cavan. Other famous local people associated with Longford include writer Oliver Goldsmith - author of The Deserted Village and The Vicar of Wakefield; there is a statue of Goldsmith in Ballymahon, Longford. A Goldsmith Summer School is regularly operated. The writer Padraic Colum was born in Longford.

Longford Town is compact and ideal for leisurely walking. A local landmark in Longford Town is the tower of St. Mel's Cathedral, which, particularly given the profusion of relatively low buildings in the town, can be seen from a wide distance. The Methodist John Wesley is believed to have preached in the town in the 18th century. I certainly enjoyed strolling through the town and visiting local gift shops.

Ireland's Bed and Breakfast industry is outstanding, and Longford is no exception.

The Shannon, Lough Ree and 'a thousand islands'...

The Shannon at Lanesborough (sometimes written simply Lanesboro ), 16 km west of Longford Town, is certainly worth visiting, with boating opportunities and nearby views of Lough Ree. Separated from Lanesborough by a bridge, Ballyleague is the first town westward in County Roscommon over the Shannon.

New Yorkers and Ontarians, with their own Thousand Islands in the St Lawrence, will appreciate this: an old Irish poet suggested in song that Lough Ree had 'a thousand islands'. Some listeners to the song were known to be skeptical ... but it was certainly a good idea.


(1) See, for example, Dr Martin Mansergh's essay on Albert Reynolds in: Philip Hannon & Jackie Gallagher, Taking the Long View: 70 Years of Fianna Fáil, 1996


How to get there: Aer Lingus flies from New York and Boston to Dublin Airport, from where car rental is available. Bus Éireann operates bus services to Longford Town from Dublin's Busárus (bus station). Irish Rail operates rail services to Longford from Dublin Connolly Station. By road, take M4 and N4 from Dublin. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)