Brief History of Longford
Longford is a focal point of the northern midlands where the provinces of Leinster, Ulster and Connaught all converge. Longford, where history and literature, tradegy and triumph are all woven together, takes its name from the ancient stronghold of the O'Farrell family (Long Fort - Fort of the O'Farrells) who ruled from the 11th Century. Bordered to the west by the majestic River Shannon, Longford is a county of rolling plains and picturesque stretches of water. The highest point of the county, Cairn Hill, is only 270m high, but from the summit glorious views are afforded in all directions.
Longford's past reaches into pre-history marked by connections to the great mythological Tuatha Dé Danann sagas such as The Wooing of Étáin and the Route of the Táin and by the remains of many ancient sites. Early Irish Christianity left its mark on Longford with monastic remains such as St Mel's Cathedral ruin at Ardagh, the Cisterian ruin at Abbeylara and placenames such as Tubberpatrick. The last battle of the 1798 rebellion took place in Longford when the 'Year of the French' came to a bloody end at Ballinamuck. Longford's motto emblazoned across its county creed declares it to be 'Daingean agus Dilis' - 'Strong and Loyal'; without doubt it has lived up to its self-set standards and has proudly influenced the Ireland of today.
Co. Longford is the birthplace of illustrious writers such as Oliver Goldsmith, Maria Edgeworth and Padraic Colum. The county has much to offer with magnificent angling, equestrian, golfing, boating and swimming on the many lakes, white water canoeing on the River Inny, lovely walks, historic sites and peatland areas to visit. Longford also boasts a vibrant nightlife, many modern theatres and a variety of festivals throughout the county.
Brief History of the Area
Kenagh is an estate village with many unique features of historical and cultural value. There is a good blend of the old village and two new housing estates along with at least twenty new privately owned buildings, all very complimentary to one another
The entire village is very well maintained and tastefully decorated, having come in third in the 1988 Tidy Towns Competition in Co Longford. The population is approximately 250. The village is 10 miles from Longford, 6 miles from Ballymahon, 20 miles from Athlone and 16 miles from Roscommon.
1 Clock Tower
The clock tower is a unique feature of the village, built in 1878. The monument is stone built, standing 60ft high. It was erected to commemorate the local landlord of the time, King Harman. It is one of our major attractions and it draws attention from tourists and passers by.
2 Corlea Interpretation Centre
Erected by the Office of Public Works and opened to the public in 1994, the building houses the remains of an ancient bog road, exhibition centre, audio visual room and coffee shop. The trackway was excavated by archaeologists during the 1980's which dates back to 148 BC. The centre is open during the summer months and there are guided tours by Duchas personnel every two hours. The building is surrounded by 30 acres of raised bog, which provides a nature reserve and is also open to the public.
Peat has played a very important role in shaping the history, culture and economy of Co. Longford. Along with being a source of fuel and power, they are also a great outdoor laboratory for studying plants and animals in their natural environment. In addition they are places of great beauty and have a wilderness aspect about them which we now value very highly. South Longford has a rich heritage of boglands and recent excavations west of Kenagh village have proved a valuable source of information about our own distant past. We, here in Kenagh are proud of our great tradition in bog lore. A short drive or walk from the village will take the visitor through an area of great beauty and wild landscape which should include a isit to the Heritage Centre at Corlea.
4 The Royal Canal
The Royal Canal was opened through Kenagh in 1817. The waterway was closed to boat traffice in 1962. Unfortunately some of the bridges wee lowered throughout Co. Longford. Restoration work began in 1990 and will continue until it is navigable again. The canal towpaths are a great amenity for walking and in some places for cycling. There is also plenty of evidence of aquatic life at various points along the canal. Its banks and environs are also a great source for the propagation of flora and fauna, which are plentiful in the locale.
5 White Gates
The White Gates are the old entrance gates into Mosstown Estate. An eagle is perched on each pillar. It opens on to the main Athlone-Longford road. The remains of the old Weslian Church alongside is an added attraction.
Pigeon House. Another unique feature of the locality, the Pigeon House is one of only six remaining intact in Ireland. It was built in 1808 and was once part of the old Mosstown Estate, which was used to supply eggs and pigeon meat to the 'Big House'. It is privately owned but its locatioin leaves it visible to the main road. It was re-roofed about 1990.
There are also a number of fine old churches in the area:
St George's Church - This church is a beautiful cut stone building erected in 1832. Its four-spire tower is a unique feature. It is open every Sunday for religious service.
Abbeyderg Monastery - built by the Augustinian order in 1206 AD, two miles north-east of Kenagh village.
Kilcommock Church Ruins - situated 2 miles south west of Kenagh, built in 1630AD it had a very long and troubled history.