Carrick logo

Our trail begins outside the Tourist Information Office on the Quay...

Until the early 19th Century, the head of the Shannon Navigation was Drumsna, where the famous English novelist, Trollope, was Postmaster. In the 1840's the improvement of the navigation entailed extensive dredging of the river, the cutting of Jamestown Canal, the construction of locks at Drumsna and Knockvicar, and the building of a new bridge and Quays at Carrick-on-Shannon. The new bridge, built in 1846, took the place of a nine arch stone bridge, which in turn replaced a wooden structure.

Carrick bridge
For over a century, until the closing of the Grand Canal Company in 1960, Carrick was a major depot for river trade; timber, cemnt, hardware, and especially Guinness stout (see the Old Barrell Store, right) were all transported here from Dublin, Athlone and Limerick.

Nearby is the clubhouse of Carrick-on-Shannon Rowing Club, which has been one of the foremost in the country since its establishment in 1827. Its traditions are very much alive and visitors may observe club members in practice on the river.

The annual regatta at the August Holiday was a famed highlight of the festive season in the whole North West. M.J. McManus recalls that he watched...

"In August sunshine, the eights and the fours and the pleasure boats and the turf-cots competing on Carrick's day of days."

Old Barrell Store sketch (Jeanette Dunne)

Remains of Carrick Castle

Remains of Carrick Castle
When we walk downstream of the Bridge we see at the edge of the new by-pass road a small piece of masonry (left). This is all that remains of "the Castle of Carrickdrumruske." This ruin had been hidden in the yard of the Garda Station for over a century, but with the demolition of that building in 1983 it was revealed to the public and preserved as a small memorial of the past.
Carrick on Shannon Corporation Seal Still in existence is the Seal of Carrick-on-Shannon Corporation (1613-1826)(below left), showing a representation of the castle in its original condition.

Following the defeat of the native chieftain Brian Oge O'Rourke in 1603, it was imperative for the English to secure the major Shannon crossings, and so this castle was built at this spot. It was granted to Sir Maurice Griffith in 1611.

Although the castle and a wooden bridge were still there in 1623 the English grip on matters must have slipped because Carrick is described as "a highway for all stealths from County Roscommon into O'Rourke's country and from Breny (Breffne) into Roscommon".

It was not considered adequate to protect the new English settlers, and a new town called Jamestown was established 4 mile downstream in 1621. Unlike Carrick, Jamestown was a walled town and for some time it outrivalled Carrick. By the Rising of 1641 the castle fortification must have been in good order, as it remained in English hands despite the efforts of Sir Owen O'Rourke and the native Irish to capture it. In 1648 it was captured for Owen Roe O'Neill by his nephew, Roger Maguire, but it was surrendered to the Cromwellians in 1652.


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Bridge and Quay/ Carrick castle | Town hall | Costello Memorial Chapel | Town clock/ Market yard
St. Georges Terrace/ Hatley Manor/ old Courthouse and Gaol | St.Mary's/ St.George's churches
Presentation house | Former district hospital/ St. Patrick's hospital