Most parishes in Longford have at least one early Christian site. In the parish of Killashee there is an ancient burial ground at Ballinakill, near to which was a monastery, possibly founded in the sixth century. James P. Farrell mentioned that the ruins in Ballinakill cemetery are those of a house of the 'Grey Franciscan Friars', but he did not give a source for that information. The existence of such a Franciscan house is not generally accepted.

In the same parish is the village of Clondra, where in the grounds of the present Catholic church is a ruin, described by Farrell, in keeping with local tradition, as 'Cromwell's Church'. It was a monastery, but few facts are known about it. Bishop MacNamee suggested that it had ceased to exist by 1323.

Longford was previously known as 'Annaly' and was the territory of the O'Farrells. The town of Longford developed around the O'Farrell castle and was named 'Longphort Uí Fhearghail' or the 'stronghold of the O'Farrells'. A Dominican friary was founded beside the castle c. 1400, and the development of the town is normally dated from then. The friary was suppressed during the Reformation, at which time it passed to the newly founded Church of Ireland. Unfortunately, nothing now remains of it. It appears that after the suppression, the Dominicans sought refuge in Kilcommock (Kenagh), where they worked until the early nineteenth century.

The parish of Templemichael, which includes Longford town, was united with the neighbouring parish of Ballymacormack in the late eighteenth century. There is the ruin of a medieval church in Ballymacormack cemetery.

Longford had houses of most of the medieval religious orders. The first of them was the Cistercian monastery at Abbeyshrule, founded c. 1150/52, only about eight years after Mellifont, the first in Ireland. The other Cistercian house was at Abbeylara, also called the monastery of 'St Mary's, Granard'. It was founded by Richard Tuite (who also had the motte of Granard constructed) at the beginning of the 1200s. After a troubled history, Abbeylara was suppressed in 1540.

The Augustinians had a monastery at Abbeyderg, near Moydow, founded c. 1200 by Gormgall O'Quinn, whose family opposed the O'Farrells, mainly in the Moydow area.

Ardagh had been the diocesan seat from the mid-400s until the Reformation 1100 years later. By the time the Catholic Church was re-organised following Emancipation in 1829, Longford town had become the administrative centre of the county. In such circumstances, it was the obvious choice as the location for the new St Mel's Cathedral, the foundation stone for which was laid in 1840. The 'Great Famine' interrupted the work, but it resumed soon afterwards. The main building was dedicated on 24 September 1856, but further work had to be done. The bell-tower was completed later, and in 1889, work on the portico began. The consecration took place on 19 May 1893.

The Normans began constructing stone castles in the middle ages, and the Irish soon copied them. It is recorded that Barry Castle, near Kenagh, was destroyed in 1295.

During the seventeenth century, the 'Protestant Ascendancy' was established throughout the country, mainly through the process of plantation. Amongst the families that arrived in Longford and became land owners at that time were the Newcomens and the Forbes. The Newcomens had lands in various places around the county, and had houses at Mosstown (Kenagh), Drumming (Kilglass or Legan parish) and Carriglas (Killoe). Unfortunately, nothing now remains of Drumming House.

The Forbes family, earls of Granard, still live at Castle Forbes, beside Newtownforbes village. The present house dates from c. 1830, but replaces an earlier one destroyed by fire.

Another notable residence was Bawn House, near Moydow, now derelict. It was the home of the Monfort family for most of the eighteenth century and then passed to Caleb Barnes Harman, a land agent on the estate of the Harman family. He was fatally shot during a robbery at the house in January 1796.

The Harman family intermarried with the Kings of Boyle, Co. Roscommon, and so the family name became 'King-Harman'. Their estate was the largest in Longford at the end of the nineteenth century, comprising almost 30,000 acres. Lawrence Harman King-Harman died in 1875 and, three years later, his tenants in the Kenagh area built a clock tower in his memory. Recently restored, it is a fine example of the stone-cutter's craft.

Over the course of the last century, new churches have been built in some parishes, one of which is St Columbkille's in Mullinalaghta. Built in 1941 it was constructed from the stone of the demolished Derrycasson House, former home of the Dopping Family.

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