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10 great things to do on your visit to Longford
Relax by peaceful waterways in Longford.
Discover ancient oak carvings, trace the footsteps of the legends of Irish literature and make a splash at Center Parcs. Right in the heartlands of Ireland, Longford has so much natural beauty to enjoy and interesting stop offs to make in every town.

Here are 10 of the best things to do when you visit Longford.

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1Access for All Boat Trips

Slow down and take in the scenery of Longford and Roscommon on a Lough Ree Access for All Boat Trip. Departing from Ballyleague three times daily, these 90-minute boat trips meander though Lough Ree and the River Shannon and are designed to accommodate people of all abilities, including wheelchair users. 

Couple laughing on a boat on Lough Ree.
See Longford from the water on a boat trip.
2Casey’s Bogwood Sculptures

Father and son team, Michael and Kevin Casey skilfully create sculptures from the rich bogwood, found preserved for 5,000 years in Irish boglands. Masters of the art for the last 60 years, their world famous craft is displayed at Casey’s Bogwood Sculptures, a studio and gift shop in Newtowncashel, just a few minutes from Ballymahon.

Man creating a piece of art at Bog Oak Sculpture, Longford
Watch as pieces of bog oak are turned into great works of art.
3Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre

An old schoolhouse in the pretty village of Ardagh is home to Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre. Drop-in for an exhibition about the history of the village, from its roots in Irish mythology to its development as an important early church site. Over the years, Ardagh has hosted writers and musicians such as Oliver Goldsmith, Sir Walter Scott, Turlough O'Carolan and Maria Edgeworth. 

The village itself has two beautiful churches, an impressive clock tower and the ruins of the original St. Mel's Cathedral. Family events, creativity mornings, group classes, and drop-in art days are hosted at the centre.

4Corlea Trackway

At Corlea Bog near Keenagh, discover the uncovered Iron Age Corlea Trackway. Mossy, waterlogged land made movement from place to place difficult for people living in areas rich in bog land in days gone by, so wooden toghers, or causeways, were laid as early as 148 B.C. 

Eventually engulfed by the growing bog, the trackway at Corlea has now been uncovered. Composed of ancient oak planks, it’s the largest trackway of its kind ever excavated in Europe, and you can see an eighteen metre stretch of it preserved in a specially designed hall at the onsite visitor centre.

A group of people looking at a display of Corlea Trackway, Longford
See the ancient Corlea Trackway in Longford.
5Edgeworth Literary Trail

Discover the charm of 18th and 19th century literary Ireland on the Edgeworth Literary Trail, where you’ll follow in the footsteps of famous figures like Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, Oliver Goldsmith and Oscar Wilde. Edgeworthstown House is the ancestral home of novelist Maria Edgeworth and her famous father Richard Lovell. 

Begin by touring the grounds and restored walled gardens before a local guide takes you on a walking tour of stops like St John's Rectory, where Goldsmith received his early education, St John's Church and graveyard with its ancient gravestones, where Oscar Wilde paid many visits to spend time at the grave of his beloved sister Isola. 

Group learning about history at a famous grave site.
Follow in the footsteps of famous writers on the Edgeworth Literary Trail.
6St Mel’s Cathedral

Just 15 minutes from Edgeworthstown, St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford town is a spectacle of architecture with its towering limestone columns, intricate plasterwork, impressive pipe organ, and liturgical art from a number of contemporary Irish and international artists. The cathedral has been tastefully restored to its original beauty after it suffered a catastrophic accidental fire and is well worth a visit.

St Mel's Cathedral in Longford town.
Pay a visit to St Mel's Cathedral.
7Granard Motte and Bailey

Standing 534ft above sea level, Granard Motte and Bailey is said to be the highest motte in Ireland. Built around 1199, it was erected within a pre-existing ring fort. The motte is a great, flat-topped, circular earthen mound, on top of which would have historically been a timber tower, guarded by a deep trench on the summit, from which defenders fired arms and hurled stone missiles at the approaching enemy. 

In 1932, a statue of St Patrick was erected on top of the motte to mark the coming of the saint to Ireland. From the top on a clear day you’ll see five lakes, parts of nine counties, and even a faint outline of the Sliabh Bloom Mountains. 

Granard Motte and Bailey.
Visit the highest motte in Ireland.
8Center Parcs

Set in the mature woodlands of County Longford near Ballymahon, Center Parcs holiday village is a great place to escape to any time of year. There’s a full line-up of outdoor and indoor activities for all ages and the popular dome-covered swimming pool is heated to a balmy 27 degrees. 

There’s also a relaxing spa with a full range of holistic treatments. Stay in one of the 400 lodges that range from one-bedroom apartments to eight-bedroom lodges with saunas, steam baths and hot tubs.

Indoor pool at Centre Parcs.
Unwind at the swimming pool at Center Parcs.
9Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre

While you’re in Granard, be sure to visit Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre - an immersive visitor experience that brings you on a journey through the town’s Anglo-Norman history. During the self-guided tour, you’ll come face to face with Henry II and King Rory O’Connor, visit a recreated Norman home and dig for artefacts in the Norman CSI room.

Kids dress up in Norman clothes, receive their Norman name and a list of duties for their visit, including completing an interactive quiz - that should keep them entertained for the hour-long tour.

Dedicated to Granard’s most-famous resident, your journey ends at Kitty Kiernan’s Drawing Room where you’ll find out about Kitty’s place in the War of Independence and her fiancé Michael Collins.

Man wearing chain mail with family at the Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre.
Have some historical fun with the family at Knights and Conquests Heritage Centre.
10 Derrycassin Wood

North of Granard and hugging the shoreline of Lough Gowna, picturesque Derrycassin Wood is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll. There are three popular waymarked walks to choose from; the Nature Trail (1.2km), Walled Garden Walk (2.3km) and the Main Avenue Walk (3.2km), each bringing you along spruce-scented river paths and past scenic viewing points on the lake shore. In late April or early May, the Nature Trail is particularly beautiful with a carpet of bluebells dancing in the spring breeze.

Keep watch on the long walks for the fascinating foundations of an old mansion and walled gardens demolished in 1939 and the remains of a historic ringfort in the woods, formerly the dwelling place of the earliest inhabitants of the area. You can finish your walk with a picnic under a canopy of trees by the riverside. 

With so much history, gastronomic delights, and natural beauty to discover in County Longford, read our Longford destination page to get the most out of your trip.

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