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An Longfort
Location of Longford
centerMap highlighting Longford
Irish grid reference
Province: Leinster
County: County Longford
Area: 1,091 km2 (421 sq mi)
Elevation: 72 m (236 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Town:
 - Environs:


Longford (Irish: An Longfort, meaning "The Fortification") is the county town of County Longford in the Midlands of Ireland. According to the 2006 census, the town and its immediate environs has a population of around 13,000. Approximately one third of the county's population resides in the town. Longford town is also the biggest town in the county, Granard is second.

Longford is also located at the axis of convergence of the N4 and the N5 primary routes which means that traffic travelling between Dublin and Counties Mayo and Roscommon passes through the town.



Built on the banks of the River Camlin (derived from the Gaelic "Cam line" - the crooked line)which is a tributary of the River Shannon, the town was originally founded by Viking raiders as Long Phoirt, from the Irish long meaning ship and phoirt meaning port or dock. The Celtic inhabitants of Ireland did not build towns but the town came under the sway of the local clan which controlled the south and central part of the county of Longford (formerly the Kingdom of Anghaile or Annually) and hence, the town is referred to occasionally as Longphort Uí Fhearghail (Fort of O'Farrell), a Dominican priory founded there in 1400.


Longford Railway Station

Longford is about 91 km from Sligo and 122 km from Dublin. It lies on the Dublin-Sligo route of the Irish railway network, and is served by Sligo-Dublin intercity services. Despite its distance from Dublin, the town also has a regular, well-utilised commuter service to Dublin. Journeys to the capital by rail generally take about an hour and three quarters. Longford railway station opened on 8 November 1855.[1]

There are a large number of bus services to Dublin and other towns both outside and inside the county provided by both the state (Bus Éireann) and private bus companies (Kane's, Donnelly's and Farrelly's.) Third level colleges are well served by the private companies during the academic year.

Longford is at the point of divergence of the N5 road to Castlebar/Westport/Knock Airport and the N4 road which continues onwards to Sligo. While motorists on the N5 must pass through the town en-route to their destination, there is little traffic congestion except at peak times and this is mainly due to the traffic system of the town which has a number of one-way streets and traffic signals. The N4 Sligo road has a bypass around the town, which consists of single carriageway with hard shoulders and three roundabouts. It was opened on 2 June 1995 and constitutes part of the planned Longford Ring Road which will encircle the town when completed.

Longford's main air transport centre is located south-east of the town, at Abbeyshrule, the local airport. Abbeyshrule Aerodrome receives a regular influx of small general aviation aircraft, including the Cessna 182 and 150. The airport also boasts two flight training centres; one for general aviation fixed wing aircraft training (Aeroclub 2000) and one for microlight aircraft flight training (Ultraflight). The airport is also the home of the Extra 200 aerobatic aircraft EI-SAM of acclaimed Irish international competition aerobatics pilot David Bruton.

Amenities and commerce

Longford town boasts a state-of-the-art 200-seat theatre, and a four-screen multiplex cinema, with restaurants. The mix and quality of housing is extensive and the Rural Renewal Scheme (1999–2006) has ensured that a steady supply of residential development has come about. Longford town has a decentralised government department which employs approximately 300 people with plans for a further 160 to be employed at the Irish Prison Service's new headquarters in the Lisamuck area of the town. Longford's local army barracks once employed approximately 180 soldiers, many of whom were involved in UN peace-keeping duties. However, the barracks closed at the end of January 2009 as part of government cutbacks in military spending. The personnel have been transferred to Athlone.

Longford Chamber of Commerce building

Longford's main industries are food production, sawmills, steelworking, generator retailing, cable making and the production of medical diagnostics. It is the major services centre for the county as well as the location of the Department of Social Welfare and the Irish Prison Service. The town is also a local commercial centre, with many retail outlets including multiples such as Tesco, Argos and Homebase, German discount retailers, Aldi and Lidl and Irish retail outlets such as Dunnes Stores and Penneys.

The town serves as the cathedral town of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. St Mel's Cathedral,[7] dedicated to Saint Mel, the founder of the diocese of Ardagh, was designed by architect John Benjamin Keane, who also designed St. Francis Xavier's Church on Gardiner Street in Dublin. On Christmas morning of 2009, the cathedral was severely damaged as the result of a fire.[8]

Up until 2007, construction was a major local employer, mainly due to government tax breaks for property development provided under the Rural Renewal scheme. However the downturn in the construction industry, the withdrawal of Rural Renewal, and extensive local oversupply of property has caused large job losses in the construction industry and a significant increase in unemployment in the region.


The town has a wide range of sports clubs and facilities including the Gaelic Athletic Association, rugby and tennis clubs, a League Of Ireland soccer club, two indoor swimming pools, an extensive gym and an 18-hole golf course. A new swimming pool was opened in Longford in 2007.

The sport with most support in County Longford is Gaelic football. The headquarters of the Longford Gaelic Athletic Association is located in Pearse Park in Longford Town, with a ground capacity of around 11,000. The Longford Gaelic football team has been relatively unsuccessful at national level, in large part reflecting the county's small population size - although it succeeded in winning a Leinster title at Senior level in 1968 and a National League title in 1966. The minor (under-18) Longford county team won the Leinster title in 2002 and their teams at under-21 level have reached several Leinster finals over the last few years (including 2006). The major boys' secondary school in Longford town, St. Mel's College, also has a long tradition in secondary schools' football (known as Colleges A), winning 29 Leinster and 4 All-Ireland titles (in the Hogan Cup). At one stage, St. Mel's College had won more Leinster titles than all of the other Leinster colleges put together. The main local GAA Club in Longford is Longford Slashers, based in Longford town, who have won more Senior County Championships than any other team in the county with 20 (Fr. Manning Gaels are second with 15). The club's performance has dipped in recent years, with Fr. Manning Gael's, Abbeylara, Clonguish and Dromard all winning multiple championships since Slasher's last victory in 1994, despite the club's several strong showings in recent championships.

Longford County boasted arguably the best Gaelic football team which did not win the Sam Maguire Cup in 1968. The team was narrowly beaten by Kerry in the all-Ireland Semi final. The recently-deceased T.D. John Wilson and G.A.A. all-Ireland medalist (with County Cavan) starred with St. Mel's College Gaelic football team. St. Mel's also boasted a cricket team which wore all black rig. St. Mel's holds the peculiar distinction: in the 1966/67 season it held two teams scoreless in Gaelic football. This feat has never been equalled by any other Gaelic football team in history.

Longford Hurling team has struggled over the years as they only have 3 Hurling teams in the county, Slashers, Wolfe Tones and Clonguish. The counties last succes came in 7 years ago when they won the Division 3 title. In 2009 the side were relegated to division 4.

Longford town itself has a strong tradition in soccer, the game being introduced in the late 19th century. The town was a military base garrison during British rule. Longford Town football club was founded in 1924 and was elected to the League of Ireland in 1984. The first Longford town football club team to play in the League of Ireland featured Jimmy Savage, Zac Hackett and Liam Madden. In the 1950s and 60s, Longford boasted such players as Willie Browne (UCD and Bohemian FC) who won 3 full international Republic of Ireland caps and captained Bohemian FC for 3 consecutive seasons,he made 177 appearances for Bohs in all competitions scoring 20 goals, Lal Donlon (Longford town and Arsenal), Mel 'Garrincha' Mulligan, John 'Hooky' O'Connor and the legendary Jimmy Clarke. Jimmy Clarke is arguably Longford's most famous football player to date. The Longford Town football club ground is at Flancare Park, in the townland of Mullolagher, to the west of the town, on the Strokestown Road. Previously, the club was based in the north of Abbeycarton town. The Longford Town football club has had notable success in recent years, twice winning the FAI Cup, in 2003 and 2004, and competing in the UEFA Cup as a result against Bulgarian, Liechtenstein and Welsh opposition, though without success.

Longford Cathedral.

For golfers, Longford has an extensive parkland course. Also within a 50 km (30 mi) radius of the county, one can play quality championship courses such as the Nick Faldo-designed Lough Rynn, Glasson and the Slieve Russell.

Longford is represented in basketball by two clubs. the first club TORPEDOS ( were formed in the early 1970s and have competed in the Meath, Cavan, Mid-lands and National leagues. The club have been very successful over the years and recently represented Longford in the Flanders Basketball Tournament in Ghent, Belgium. They now play in the North East Basketball League with senior Ladies and Mens teams their home court in Kenagh. The second club which was a break away unit of the Torpedoes are Longford Falcons. The club has had numerous Leinster and national titles won at the junior level. The club is based at the Mall Sports Complex, in the east of the town.

Longford town also hosts a rugby club, Longford RFC, whose grounds are located at Demesne, in the north of the town, and who participate in Leinster junior leagues, as well as a 25-metre swimming pool located at the local mall and another swimming pool located in the LIFE Health And Fitness gym on Richmond Street.

Longford has an extensive mall sports complex. The complex contains a swimming pool, gym, both indoor and outdoor football and basketball grounds and major developments are currently underway at the complex. The Mall itself is a popular walking spot in the town, a lap of which is approximately 2 km.


Longford town has a number of primary schools (for ages 4–12) and three secondary schools (for ages 12–19): two single-sex schools, St. Mel's College, (a Catholic boys' school) and Scoil Mhuire (a Catholic girls' school run by the Sisters of Mercy), as well as a mixed school, (Templemichael College, formerly known as Longford Vocational School). Primary schools in Longford include a Gaelscoil. An extensive adult education centre exists in Longford.

St. Mel's College [1] is the oldest and best-known of these schools, being founded approximately 150 years ago by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois as a diocesan seminary to train students for the priesthood. While the school only briefly functioned as a seminary, it served for many years as a boarding school, while also admitting day students. The boarding school was discontinued after 2000 and the school is now only a day school, with the largest student enrollment in county Longford. The College, known locally as Mel's, is best-known for its strict rules of conduct and its success on a national level with Gaelic football, athletics, soccer, basketball and Rugby.


Abbeyshrule airport

The Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre is located near to Longford, in Kenagh. The Centre houses an Iron Age bog road which was built in the year 148 BC across the boglands in proximity to the River Shannon. The oak road is the largest of its kind to have been uncovered in Europe and was excavated over the years by Professor Barry Raftery of University College Dublin. Inside the building, an 18 metre stretch of preserved road is on permanent display in a specially designed hall with humidifiers to prevent the ancient wood from cracking in the heat. Bord na Mona and the Heritage Service have carried out conservation work on the surrounding bog to ensure that it remains wet and that the buried road is preserved. There are other historical artifacts and some exhibits at the centre.

St. Mel's Cathedral in the town features several stained glass windows by Harry Clarke studios. These include one of his earliest works The consecration of St. Mel as Bishop of Longford which was exhibited at the RDS Annual Art Industries Exhibition in 1910, where it received second prize. It was also exhibited at The Arts and Crafts Society of Ireland fourth exhibition in the same year. The Cathedral was extensively damaged in a fire on Christmas Day 2009. The two most intricated stained-glass windows in the transepts of the Cathedral it seems will be able to be restored - these depict St Anne and the Resurrection.

There are a number of portal dolmens located around Longford.


  • The mother of actor Mel Gibson, Anne Reilly Gibson, was born in Colmcille Parish, County Longford, Ireland. Gibson's first name comes from the 5th-century Irish saint, Mel, founder of the diocese of Ardagh (which contains most of his mother's native county), while his second name, Colmcille, also linked to an Irish saint, is the name of the parish in County Longford where Anne Reilly was born and raised.
  • Michael Gomez, champion professional boxer was born in an Irish Traveller family in Longford.

See also




  1. ^ "Longford station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  2. ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". in Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  6. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November), "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850", The Economic History Review Volume 37 (Issue 4): 473–488, doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x, 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "RTÉ News: Longford Cathedral gutted in fire". Retrieved 2009-12-25. 

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

There is more than one meaning of Longford discussed in the 1911 Encyclopedia. We are planning to let all links go to the correct meaning directly, but for now you will have to search it out from the list below by yourself. If you want to change the link that led you here yourself, it would be appreciated.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A county in the Republic of Ireland
  2. A town in County Longford, Ireland



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