Longford is mostly either gently undulating farming country, or bogland. The higher ground in the north of the county up towards the intricate Lough Gowna rises to no more than 276m in an eminence which romantics might call Carn Clonhugh, but usually it's prosaically known as Corn Hill. The more entertainingly named Molly Hill to the east provides the best views of the lake in an area which arouses passionate patriotism. A few miles to the north is Ballinamuck, scene of the last battle in the Rising of 1798 in a part of Longford renowned for its rebellions against foreign rule.
To the southeast, there is even less pulling of the punches in the name of the little market town in its midst, for Granard - which sounds rather elegant - may be translated as "Ugly Height". Yet this suggests a pleasure in words for their own sake, which is appropriate, for Longford produced the novelist Maria Edgeworth from Edgeworthstown, a.k.a Mostrim, while along towards that fine place Ballymahon and the south of its territory on the Westmeath border, Longford takes in part of the Goldsmith country.
Goldsmith himself would be charmed to know that, six kilometres south of the road between Longford and Edgeworthstown, there's the tiny village of Ardagh, a place of just 75 citizens which is so immaculately maintained that it has been the winner of the Tidiest Village in the Tidy Towns awards. Another award-winner is Newtowncashel in the southwest of the county, atop a hill immediately eastward of Elfeet Bay on northern Lough Ree, where the scenery becomes more varied as County Longford has a lengthy shoreline along the Shannon's middle lake.
West of Longford town at Clondra, the attractive Richmond Harbour is where the Royal Canal - gradually being restored along its scenic route from Dublin - finally reconnnects with the Shannon during 2009, having been closed since 1954. And as for Longford town itself, they're working on it, with an urban regeneration landmark in the restoration of a watermill on the Camlin River, providing the power for the ornamental lamps along the riverside walkway.
Local Attractions and Information
Ardagh Heritage Centre
+353 (0)43 75277
Ballinamuck 1798 Memorial & Visitor Centre
+353 (0)43 24848
Ballymahon Bog Lane Theatre
+353 (0)902 32252
Kenagh Corlea Trackway (Bog Road) Visitor Centre
+353 (0)43 22386
Longford Backstage Theatre & Arts Centre
+353 (0)43 47885
Longford Carrigglas Manor
(Gandon stableyard, lace museum) +353 (0)43 41026
Longford Tourism Information
+353 (0)43 46566
Newtowncashel Heritage Centre
+353 (0)43 25021