When travelling from Longford Town in a southerly direction to a place called Barley Harbour on the River Shannon, you pass through the vast areas of peat peat bog. At Corlea an ancient bogroad was discovered in very good condition and it has been preserved and is on view in a specially designed exhibition centre. It is a very popular attraction with visitors to this area of county Longford. However, it is not the only place worth visiting. If we travel another bit south, we climb out of the bog onto the fertile ground along the river and soon arrive in the little village of Newtowncashel.
Newtowncashel together with Ardah and Kenagh have been flying the flag for County Longford in the national Tidy Towns competition. Newtowncashel won the overall title in 1980 and has come close on several occasions since. In 1998 they won the overall landscape award. While Ardagh won the overall title. Newtowncashel has an abundance of lovely features, most notable must be the well maintained stone walls. In many places, they are adorned by bog oak sculptures. These are the work of the very well known, local artist Michael Casey.
Piece the resistance must be the "monument" that stands in the centre of the village near the church and the crossroads. It is a big piece of rock on which is one of the sculptures which includes a water feature. The rock was locally quarried in a quarry at the edge of the village.
This quarry is the subject of plans by the local committee. They hope to develop this area into a people's garden for the locals and visitors alike to relax in and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the surrounding countryside. The first steps in this development have already taken place and it is hoped that the remainder will not take too long.
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The people of Newtowncashel thought of a very novel way to celebrate the new millennium. They photographed every person in the village and collated the resulting pictures into a large album. There are several copies made. One is available in the County Library in Longford, while the other will be available in the village itself in due course. For people who want an interesting look at a small Longford village, a trip to Longford Library is a must.
The local poet John Hanaghan ha produced his own tribute to the village. He has videoed many of the landmarks of the village and surrounding area as a backdrop for his poems. The videos are for sale locally. Another unusual way of bringing poetry to the people.
Barley Harbour: The place where locals come to play, fish and engage in watersports. Sometimes pleasure trips are being organised (see local papers for details).
Saints Island:A lovely place for fishing and walking, where you will find the sixth century ruins of St Kieran's Augustinian Abbey (St. Kieran was the first bishop of Clonmacnoise).