Tourism

Mohill

Mohill is the town of approximately 1000 people. It is largely a market town with an agricultural community base. There are a limited number of jobs in the timber industry with the main employer being ‘Modular’ a company involved in the cold room manufacturer and installation business. There are also a number employed in the engineering and woodworking industries. There is a successful cattle mart which contributes greatly to attracting people into the town. An indication of the economic climate is that the most recent successful business is a community childcare centre providing services for young children. We have recently been fortunate to have a new community college and a new primary school built in the town. On the outskirts of the town we have Lough Rynn estate which incorporates the Lough Rynn Castle hotel. This summer 2014 we have seen the development of a national rowing centre on Loch Rinn which is now completed and up and running. While the town has suffered with the closure of a number of businesses during the downturn we are fortunate in that we are seing a limited number of businesses reopening on the streets of our town. Accommodation in the town consists of a number of B&B; type accommodations but most importantly a large number of houses for weekend rental available in the Lough Rynn complex. The Lough Rynn hotel is a hugely successful location for weddings and boasts of over 60 rooms plus a large number of self-catering houses on the complex. The Lough Rynn complex is two miles from Mohill. In the past anglers particularly from England were the main stay of the B&Bs; in Mohill. This business has declined over the last 15 years and regrettably that source of business has not been replaced for B&B; operators. Angling is still an important leisure activity however it is not attracting British and European anglers as it should be. In recent years a trout fishery has been developed on Loch Rowan outside of Mohill and although very successful with local angers it is not attracting foreign anglers in the way coarse Angling did in the past. We have been fortunate in that while we enjoyed the building of new estates we were not left with a significant number of unoccupied new houses. Mohill has a very good community spirit and that community recognise the impact the rail to trail proposal could have for the economy of our area. The defunct rail line is largely intact in the ownership of the local farmers. The Mohill station house is in public ownership and is in extremely good condition and the one and three-quarter acres of ground around the station house is well maintained. It would appear from public meetings of the landowners involved that there is a positive response to this proposal and a particularly positive response from the Mohill community in general. In the absence of industrial type employment which seems to be particularly hard to attract to a town of Mohill’s size we see projects such as this as the only way forward with regard to development of the Mohill area.

Fenagh

Fenagh (Irish: Fiodhnach) is a village in South County Leitrim It is on the R202, between Ballinamore and Mohill. The name Fenagh means ‘wooded’. Landscape is mainly drumlin belt, low hills separated by lakes.
Fenagh is steeped in history, from two Abbeys to the various and very significant archaeological sites in the surrounding fields. It spans various historical periods through the ages from Neolithic Period (4000-2500bc) to the Medieval Period (1169-1600ad) Fenagh Abbey Fenagh Abbey is one of the oldest monastic sites in Ireland, believed to date back to the earliest period of Celtic monasticism. The founder was St. Caillin, thought to have arrived in Fenagh from Dunmore in County Galway in the 5th century (according to the Book of Fenagh). The Abbey had a monastic school; the Annals of the Four Masters states that the monastery at Fenagh was “celebrated for its divinity school, which was resorted to by students from every part of Europe”. The main ruins of the Gothic church have (among other features) an east window of unusual design and a relief-carved 17th-century penal cross. A number of standing stones in the vicinity represent the petrified bodies of druids who tried to expel St. Caillin from Fenagh. There are a number of other prehistoric remains located in or near the village. A portal tomb at the north of the village is said to be the burial place of King Conall Gulban. 19 Gaelic kings are said to be buried in the graveyard. There was also a divinity school at Fenagh. It is believed that community life continued until 1652, when Cromwellian soldiers sacked it. It was damaged by cannon fire during the Williamite wars in 1690, and the last service was said in 1729. The site is on the northern shore of Fenagh Lough

St Catherines Church (Protestant) Erected between 1792-1802. Dedicated to St Catherine, last Mass early 70s, refurbished 1988.

Fenagh Railway The Fenagh railway station opened on 24 October 1887 and closed on 1 April 1959.It was part of the narrow-gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway.

John McGahern The writer John McGahern lived, wrote and farmed in Fenagh for the last 30 years of his life. Much of his inspiration for Amongst Women, That they May Face the Rising Sun and Memoir comes from the area.

Fenagh artefacts Book of Fenagh: The Book of Fenagh was completed at the monastery in 1516, and a copy is now kept at the Royal Irish Academy. It contains a verse and prose “life” of St Caillin of Fenagh and additional poems from the lost Old Book of St. Caillin which are believed to be relevant to the politics of 11th- to 13th-century Tyrconnell; however, it is thought that they date from an earlier period than the rest of the manuscript..

Bell of Fenagh This ancient bell also called Clog-na-Roigh or the bell of the kings was said to have been given by St Patrick to St. Caillin. It is made of bronze. The traditional explanation of the name Clog-na-Riogh is that the bell was used at the baptism of Nineteen Kings – which seems to mean that it was inverted to hold the baptism water on these occasions. The Bell of Fenagh was probably made between 1050 and 1150. The Bell passed down through the centuries by the O’Rodachain’s Coarbs of St. Caillin and then on to the parish priests of Fenagh.It is presently in St Mel’s cathedral Longford. (the Bell has since been lost due to the fire in St Mels in 2010) Shrine of St Caillin: Gold adorned cover for the Book of Fenagh. The Shrine of St Caillin was badly damaged in the fire at St Mels Cathedral in Longford in 2010. It is currently undergoing conservation work at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin

Ballinamore

Ballinamore(Beal an Atha Moir) means “mouth of the big ford”, and the town is so named because it was the main crossing point of the Yellow River, which flows past the town. This waterway become known as the Ballinamore-Ballyconnell canal, built to link the Rivers Erne and Shannon in the 1840s. It reopened as the Shannon-Erne Waterway in 1994

Cruising & Barge Holidays The rivers Shannon and Erne are the two main river systems in Ireland and are linked locally by the recently restored Shannon Erne Waterway providing 750 km of cruising waterway.

Fishing Ballinamore is widely acknowledged as an anglers paradise surrounded by 28 lakes within a 5 mile radius. Located within the middle reaches of the Shannon-Erne Waterway, a narrow canalised river connecting a series of lakes from Lough Scur to Garadice; there is a great variety of waters to be discovered. The area is a premier location for the coarse and pike angler with some of the cleanest and most lightly fished natural waters in Europe. Access to the waters is well developed with fishing stands, stiles and parking well provided for. Much of the developed angling sections of Garadice Lake offer ‘parking behind your peg’ ideal for those who don’t want to walk far. The Lakelands Coarse Angling Club – Ballinamore hosts a five day angling festival in May each year and Ballinamore has recently featured as the hub for the prestigious World Pairs Angling Championships, the good fishing bringing many high profile anglers to the area.

Cycling Cycling is the ideal way to see a county like Leitrim. The pace of life, the people you meet, and the accessibility of the countryside provide a unique experience. There are trails suitable for seasoned cyclists, beginners, family groups or individual cyclists. Ballinamore has five mapped cycle loops that run through the town.

Festivals Ballinamore is home to many annual festivals such as the Drama Festival, Easter Spraoi, August Family Festival, Free Fringe Fest, Angling Festival and Cowboys and Heroes Music Festival

Golf Ballinamore boasts its own 9 hole golf course and is only a 15 minute drive to the Slieve Russell 18-hole championship golf course… something to suit every level of play and competitiveness.

Heritage & Genealogy Ballinamore in Co Leitrim is an area rich in Heritage. Evidence of traditional buildings can be seen all around the town of Ballinamore, such as the Bridge with its 19th century arches on the main approach road into town. This dates from the original building of the Ballinamore – Ballyconnell canal during famine times in Ireland. The Church of Ireland on Church St and the Courthouse on High St are very attractive heritage buildings. The old Railway Building at the top of the town is in beautiful condition. Fifty years of the closing of the railway was marked recently with the unveiling of a railway gate and signal post. The County Leitrim Genealogy Center is located in Ballinamore

Walking The constantly changing landscape offers endless and spectacular variety to the walker. Walk on country roads, through forestry and on open mountains taking in panoramic views. There are a variety of choices for both the leisurely stroller and most committed hill walker and routes to suit all abilities. Aside from the waymarked trails there are plenty of other walks and trails including waterways and heritage walks and lots of lakeside and forest trails.

Literature
Ballinamore has very strong literary connections and much potential to develop literary based tourism events.

The Leitrim County Library is located in the town and regularly hosts talks and exhibitions themed with a local context such as famous local people, local history or features rooted in the area.

John McGahern ( 1934 -2006) was born outside Ballinamore and spend his most formative years here. In the mid 1970’s he moved to a farm near Fenagh where he continued much of his finest work. He is buried at Aughawillan graveyard.

Agustine Martin ( 1935 -1995) a native of Ballinamore was a well known academic, writer,
broadcaster and senator. He wrote many English textbooks for the national curriculum and was Professor of Anglo Irish literature at UCD. He also served as a Chariman of the Board of the Abbey Theatre and was a chairman of the Yeats International Summer School.
Watch out for the annual family festival in August each year. At that time, the library usually hosts events which are always a popular attraction.

Templeport and Bawnboy

In the Bawnboy-Templeport area, along with the workhouse, another important site is St Mogues Island on Templeport Lake. This is an ancient burial place, little more than half an Irish acre where funerals have taken place since the 12th century. Recently a book has been published which details the fascinating history of this island and details stories about how the island over the centuries has been the scheme of not only thousands of funerals but also miracle, a murder, a plane crash, a film and an intervention by the famous balladeer and painter Percy French. Percy French was employed as ‘Inspector of Drains’ with the Board of Works in Cavan in the 1880’s and some of his drawings are still retained by the County Council. A recently published book ‘St Mogues Island’ Templeport is available locally in shops and in the Crannog bookshop, Cavan or can be purchased from Templeport Development Association, price approx €12.

Bawnboy Festival takes place every year usually on the August bank holiday weekend but updated information and schedules would be posted on the Bawnboy Festival website. This family festival provides an opportunity for emigrants and all other visitors to come and enjoy a series of mostly outdoor events designed for every age group.

Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark

This UNESCO accredited geopark is home to a series of outstanding rugged landscapes representing a complex earth history dating back over 895 million years. Its activities include many cycling routes along with an extensive network of high quality walking trails and a large number of natural and heritage visitor attractions.

Ballyconnell

Ballyconnell is a small town nestling at the foot of Slieve Rushen Mountain in County Cavan. It has a heritage of which we should be justly proud. As the main border crossing point between Connacht and Ulster at one time many battles have been fought there between warring chieftains -O’Rourkes of Leitrim, O’Reillys of Cavan and Maguires of Fermanagh. It was at the ford there on the River Grainne – now the Shannon/Erne Waterway that Conall Cearnach -one of the Red Branch Knights of Ulster – was slain by Queen Maeve’s army from Connacht. The name Ballyconnell translates from the Irish ‘Beal Atha Conaill’ – Town of Conall’s Ford.

At the end of the 19th century many small towns in Leitrim and Cavan were becoming isolated because of the lack of mechanical transport. A company was formed in 1883 under the Tramways and Public Companies (Ireland) Act. It became known as the Cavan and Leitrim Railway Company. The line was to run from Belturbet to Dromod -a narrow-gauge line which would link with the wide-gauge railway in both those towns. A large number of workers were employed preparing the site, laying the line and building station houses and gate-houses. Business was good on this line , especially on market and fair days for many years, but over the years business declined and the railway line closed in 1958.

Ballyconnell is a progressive small town through which the Shannon/ Erne Waterway runs, bringing large numbers of cruisers and barges there every year. The Slieve Russell Hotel and the fine restaurants , log cabins, guesthouses and shops in the town attract large numbers of visitors every year. The Annual Festival in August is a major attraction each year -last year incorporating The Gathering and this year The Old Fair Day Celebration which took place in August and is to be held every year at that time

The heritage of the area is well documented and displayed in the town and is arousing interest in all age groups. A Time Capsule will be opened in 2050 containing the history of the area. With the Market House as a centrepiece in the town it is hoped to have a Visitor’s Centre and other facilities there after renovation in the near future. Ballyconnell offers a warm welcome to all who visit there.

Belturbet

Belturbet is well known internationally for its fishing and boat cruising activities and hosts the Belturbet International Fishing competition each year in July. There are also canoeing and kayak facilities nearby where training courses are also provided. Belturbet is located in the Marble Arch Caves Geopark and shares in many quality outdoor features and activities unique to the Geopark. In addition to the network of structured walks within the Geopark, there are nature trails developed around the town and guided tours are available in places like Turbet Island and around the Heritage sites and buildings in the town.

Each year in July the town hosts the Festival of the Erne, a 10 day family festival involving daily indoor and outdoor recreational events including the ‘Lady of the Erne’ competition.

There is a thriving Arts & Crafts movement in Belturbet. Located at the old Railway Station, in recent years this has been a showcase for quality locally produced food and baking as well as the crafts of knitting, lace, wood turning, french polishing, photography, jewellery and plaques.

Belturbet  Railway station