Visiting Lough Ramor at Virginia, Republic of Ireland: tranquil scenes and ripples of ancient conflicts
'Civil war' memories from Virginia?
'I thought Virginia was in the United States?'
Some history and features
A small town, on the tranquil shores of Lough Ramor (Irish: Loch Ramhar), Virginia is an ideal spot for a quiet and scenic vacation.
But in its history Lough Ramor, which possesses a number of willow-covered islands, was far from peaceful. Archeologists believe that traces of human settlement in the vicinity of Lough Ramor go back 4000 years. Various, recorded incidents reveal that, in centuries past, this now quiet lake has been the scene of turbulent events.
Back in Medieval times, when Ireland consisted of several kingdoms,Lough Ramor marked a border area between the Kingdom of Meath and territory of a tribe known as the Luigni. This tribe was noted for its good relations with marauding Vikings, who were said to have encouraged the Luigni to plunder the surrounding territories. Finally, in the year 845 (1), the King of Meath had had enough; he took his warriors and destroyed the island base of the Luigni in the Lough. So, in a manner of speaking, 'civil war' memories from Virginia? (Or should we call it, a war between the Irish states?)
Another event, maintained by local tradition, says that Medieval monks inhabited a small island in Lough Ramor, maintaining an Augustinian church, and doing whatever else monks do. But one fine, or ill, day, thieves sailed over Ramor's waters and murdered the poor monks.
Although by the North American Great Lakes' standard, Lough Ramor, at 741 hectares, is not large, yet to the untrained eye (i.e., mine) it merely looks large. The lake is habitat to various species of bird, including cormorants and Whooper swan. Anyway, with a little imagination, one can only imagine the trepidation caused by the looming approach of rival, belligerent Medieval mariners as they set out to destroy each other.
Virginia, Co. Cavan, dates from the 17th century, when the settlement was planted under King James I. Part of the historic province of Ulster (2), the town is close to Ulster's southern limits; indeed, it lies only a few kilometres from the boundary with Co. Meath in the historic province of Leinster. As was the American colony and later state of the same name, Virginia was of course named for Elizabeth I.
So go to Virginia, and relax and even doze by the peaceful lakeshore of Lough Ramor (but don't be surprised if you start to dream of Medieval warriors sailing on the Lough and approaching you with ill intent... .)
(1) The Annals of the Four Masters give the year as 845; the Annals of Ulster give the year as 846.
(2) While Northern Ireland is sometimes known informally as 'Ulster', yet in reality the territory which Northern Ireland covers constitutes only half of the historic province of Ulster. Co. Cavan, along with Co. Monaghan and Co. Donegal, are all Ulster counties, which are located within territory controlled by the Republic of Ireland.
Also worth seeing
Cavan Town (distance: 30 kilometres), is picturesque, with its spired skyline.
Longford Town (distance: 59 kilometres) is dominated by the tower of St Mel's Cathedral. Lanesborough ,16 kilometres further west, on Lough Ree, has boating opportunities.
How to get there: Aer Lingus flies from New York and Boston to Dublin Airport , from where car rental is available. From Dublin to Virginia by car (distance: 84 kilometres), take the N3. A regular bus service to Virginia is maintained from the Busárus, 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.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Cuilcagh, and western Co. Cavan: hillwalking country in Ireland
- Visiting the Rossmore Memorial, Monaghan Town, Republic of Ireland: remembering the transient nature
- Visiting Clones, Ireland: attractive town in County Monaghan
- Visiting Government Buildings, Dublin, Ireland: Edwardian Baroque and neo-Classical headquarters of
- Visiting Church House, Belfast, Northern Ireland: Presbyterian Assembly Hall and Spires Centre