County Longford

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County Longford

Contae an Longfoirt
Longford Coat of Arms.png
Coat of arms
Daingean agus Dílis  (Irish)
"Strong and Loyal"
Island of Ireland location map Longford.svg
Country Ireland
Province Leinster
Dáil Éireann Longford–Westmeath
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
Established1570 [1]
County town Longford
  Type County Council
  Total1,091 km2 (421 sq mi)
Area rank 29th
Highest elevation278 m (912 ft)
 (2016) [2]
  Rank 31st
  Density37/km2 (97/sq mi)
Time zone UTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
N39 (primarily)
Telephone area codes 043 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code

County Longford (Irish : Contae an Longfoirt) is a county in the north-west of Ireland. It is in the province of Leinster. It is named after the town of Longford. Longford County Council is the local authority for the county. The population of the county was 40,873 at the 2016 census. [2] The county is based on the historic Gaelic territory of Annaly (Anghaile), formerly known as Teffia (Teathbha). [3]


Geography and political subdivisions

With an area of 1,091 km2 (421 sq mi) and a population of 40,873, [2] Longford is the fourth smallest of the 32 counties in area and second smallest in terms of population. [4] It is also the fourth smallest of Leinster's 12 counties by size and smallest by population. It borders counties Cavan to the northeast, Westmeath to the southeast, Roscommon to the southwest and Leitrim to the northwest.

Towns and villages

Physical geography

Royal Canal at Keenagh Royal Canal Longford long.JPG
Royal Canal at Keenagh

Most of Longford lies in the basin of the River Shannon with Lough Ree forming much of the county's western boundary. The north-eastern part of the county, however, drains towards the River Erne and Lough Gowna. Lakeland, bogland, pastureland, and wetland typify Longford's generally low-lying landscapes: the highest point of the county is in the north-west - Carn Clonhugh (also known as Cairn Hill) near Drumlish at 279 m (916 feet). Cairn Hill is the site of a television transmitter broadcasting to much of the Irish midlands.

In the list of Irish counties by highest point, Longford ranks third lowest. Only Meath and Westmeath have lower maxima. In general, the northern third of the county is hilly, forming part of the drumlin belt and Esker Riada stretching across the northern midlands of Ireland. The southern parts of the county are low-lying, with extensive areas of raised bogland and the land being of better quality for grazing and tillage. The River Shannon marks the county's border with Roscommon while the Rivers Inny and Tang form much of the boundary with Westmeath.

The Royal Canal flows through the south of the county terminating at Cloondara at the Shannon. The canal was refurbished and reopened in 2010. Notable lakes include Kinale Lough and Lough Gowna on the Cavan border, Lough Forbes on the Roscommon border and of course Lough Ree in the south where Longford, Westmeath and Roscommon meet. With a population of 10,310, Longford Town is the largest town in the county followed by Ballymahon (2,674), Edgeworthstown (2,335), Lanesborough (1,443) and Granard (1,397). The county is one half of the Dáil constituency of Longford–Westmeath.


Corlea Trackway Corlea Bog Trackway.jpg
Corlea Trackway

The territory corresponding to County Longford was presumably a frontier colony of the Kingdom of Meath in the first millennium. Between the fifth and twelfth centuries the territory was called the kingdom of Tethbae ruled by various tuath such as the Cairpre Gabra in the north. Tethbae (Latin : Teffia) originally referred to an area north of the River Inny approximating to present day County Longford. [11]

In the year AD 1070, Tethbae was conquered by the Ó Cuinns, Ó Fearghails, and other Conmhaícne tribes, henceforth being known as Muintir Annaly , so named after "Anghaile" the great-grandfather of Fearghail O'Farrell. Furthermore County Longford was often called Upper Conmaicne, to distinguish it from south Leitrim, then called Lower Conmaicne, because both districts were ruled by the descendants of Conmac, son of Fergus and Queen Meadbh of Connacht. [12] [13]

Following the Norman invasion of the 12th century, Annaly was granted to Hugh de Lacy as part of the Liberty of Meath. An English settlement was established at Granard, with Norman Cistercian monasteries being established at Abbeylara and Abbeyshrule, and Augustinian monasteries being established at Abbeyderg and at Saints' Island on the shore of Lough Ree. Monastic remains at Ardagh, Abbeylara, Abbeyderg, Abbeyshrule, Inchcleraun Island in Lough Ree, and Inchmore Island in Lough Gowna are reminders of the county's long Christian history. However, by the 14th century, English influence in Ireland was on the wane. The town of Granard was sacked by Edward Bruce's army in 1315, and the O'Farrells soon recovered complete control over the territory. Annaly later became Longphoirt, now Longford, after O'Farrell's fortress of this name. [14]

The county was officially shired in 1586 in the reign of Elizabeth I from the northern portion of Westmeath, [15] but English control was not fully established until the aftermath of the Nine Years' War. County Longford was added to Leinster by James I in 1608 (it had previously been considered part of Connacht), with the county being divided into six baronies and its boundaries being officially defined. The county was planted by English and Scottish landowners in 1620, with much of the O'Farrell lands being confiscated and granted to new owners. The change in control was completed during the Cromwellian plantations of the 1650s. On these lands in County Longford, are the historic ruins of the Coolamber Hall House, which was besieged by one of the Cromwells.

The county was a centre of the 1798 rebellion, when the French expeditionary force led by Humbert which had landed at Killala were defeated outside the village of Ballinamuck on 8 September by a British army led by Cornwallis. Considerable reprisals were inflicted by the British on the civilian inhabitants of the county in the aftermath of the battle.

A revolutionary spirit was again woken in the county during the Irish War of Independence when the North Longford flying column, led by Seán Mac Eoin, became one of the most active units on the Irish side during that war.


There are many national and secondary schools located in the county such as Moyne Community School, St. Mels and the Convent (Longford, Granard, Ballymahon, Lanesborough).


Longford’s population growth during the period 2002-2006 (10.6%) has been stronger than the National average (8.2%). [16]

Agriculture is an important facet in the way of life and for the economy in County Longford. There are 73,764 hectares of area (67.6% of the county's total area) farmed in the county. There are approximately 126,904 cattle in the county too. [17]


See also

References and notes


    Primary references

    1. "'Geographical loyalty'? Counties, palatinates, boroughs and ridings". 6 March 2013.
    2. 1 2 3 4 "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Longford". Central Statistics Office (Ireland) . Retrieved 12 January 2019.
    3. Dr. Kieran O’Conor and Dr. Paul Naessens. "Non-invasive investigation of Anglo-Norman castle sites in County Longford". Galway University, 2012. pp.6-7
    4. Corry, Eoghan (2005). The GAA Book of Lists. Hodder Headline Ireland. pp. 186–191.
    5. For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865.
    6. "Server Error 404 - CSO - Central Statistics Office".
    7. Archived 7 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
    8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 2010-07-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    9. Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. (eds.). Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
    10. Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x.[ dead link ]
    11. MacCotter 2008, p. 200.
    12. MacGivney 1908, pp. 55.
    13. Ó Duígeannáin 1935, p. 132.
    14. MacGivney 1908, p. 56.
    15. "Westmeath - Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)".
    16. "Demographic context" (PDF). Offaly County Council Development Plan 2009 - 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
    17. "Server Error 404 - CSO - Central Statistics Office".

    Secondary references

    Medieval history

    • MacGivney, Joseph (1908). Place-names of County Longford : collected from various sources. Dublin : J. Duffy.
    • Ó Duígeannáin, Mícheál (1934). "Notes on the History of the Kingdom of Bréifne". The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Volumes 64-65 (Digitized 2008 from original at the University of California ed.). Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland: 113–140. JSTOR   25513764.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
    • Dobbs, Margaret E. (1938). "The Territory and People of Tethba". The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Seventh Series, Vol. 8, No. 2: 241–259. JSTOR   25510138.
    • MacCotter, Paul (2008). Medieval Ireland: territorial, political and economic divisions (illustrated ed.). Four Courts Press.

    Coordinates: 53°40′N7°45′W / 53.667°N 7.750°W / 53.667; -7.750

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