Buildings and Monuments
The Military Barracks
Land was purchased by the Commissioners of Barracks from the then Lord Longford on the 7 July 1774. The compound comprised the Castle, Market House and a plot of land. It was known as the Cavalry or Lower British Barrack.
In February 1922, General Sean McEoin’s, First Midland Division, marched to the Lower Barracks where, after a brief hand-over ceremony, the Irish flag was raised and the Barracks was handed over to the Irish Free State army. Its name was changed to Sean Connolly Barracks. Since 1972, the Barracks had been occupied by the 4th Motor Squadron, whose members served on the Border during the troubles. At the end of January 2009, the military barracks were closed. It was purchased by Longford Town Council.
The Courthouse, constructed in 1793, is one of the oldest buildings in Longford town.
St. John’s Church of Ireland
St. John’s Church of Ireland Church was originally built in 1710 on the site of a medieval Dominican Priory which was established c.1400 by the O’Farrells. The present church is a substantial structure of mid- Georgian classical character reconstructed in 1812.
It is surrounded by a graveyard with tombs and headstones dating from the early eighteenth century. Joseph Ward, one of the first recipients of the Victoria Cross is buried there.
St. Mel’s Cathedral
St. Mel’s Cathedral originally built in 1856 to the design of John Benjamin Keane, is an imposing building at the entrance to the town with its impressive architecture and two hundred foot high tower. This landmark building in the Renaissance style is built of grey limestone while the main body of the cathedral is Romanesque. The roof was supported by 24 limestone columns. A devastating fire broke out on Christmas morning 2009 .Fortunately, the architectural features of its exterior were saved and restoration of some items has been possible. The completion of the restoration work is projected for Christmas 2014.
Other heritage buildings and structures of Longford town include: the Camlin Bridge, first erected in 1718: the Longford Arms Hotel, 1807: the National Bank, 1834 and the old Garda Station, circa 1842.
St. Christopher’s Centre was once the site of Longford Jail.
The pretty stone cut houses on St. Mel’s Road resemble a quaint Victorian street.
Castleforbes in Newtownforbes is the only remaining castle in the county. Lady Jane Forbes structured the original castle in 1624. The present owner, Lady Georgina Forbes, is a direct descendent of Sir Arthur Forbes who was granted land by James 1 in 1622.
She runs a major thoroughbred horse breeding operation and over the past couple of years has been building one of Ireland’s foremost equestrian training facilities at Castleforbes. She is acclaimed the Number One owner of show jumping horses in the world.
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