Longford (Irish:an Longfort) is the county town of Co. Longford. It is built on the banks of the River Camlin (cam líne – crooked line) a tributary of the River Shannon. According to the 2011 census, Longford town has a population of 9,601. It is the largest town with about one third of the county’s population. The local authority of the town is Longford Town Council while Longford County Council administers the county’s affairs.
The present Great Water Street was once the main centre of commerce and industry. From the early 1800’s it was a bustling market place with a Fowl Market; Butter Market; Gas Works; a Bonded Warehouse; a Pottery and Lime kiln; Corn Mill; Timber Mill; Distillery; Flax Mill; Tannery; Abattoir and a Coach Builder. There was also a brickyard in Abbeycartron to supply the town with building materials. In 1627, the Aungiers later Earl’s of Longford, were granted land in Longford. The first Earl built a castle along the Camlin River. It was demolished in the late 20th century.
Today, there are many modern shopping malls, as well as the traditional family stores of Main Street in the town. On the outskirts are manufacturing industries including Abbott Diagnostics, Kiernan Steel, Cameron Willis and Glennon Timber.
Longford has had many winners in the Tidy Towns competition. Newtowncashel was first town to win the overall competition in 1980. Ardagh won the overall tidiest town in 1989, 1996 and 1998 and a prize in the Entante Floral.
Lovely Abbeyshrule, where the Inny crosses the Royal Canal, were the overall Tidy Town winners in 2012. They also took the gold medal in the European Entante Floral in 2012. In 2013, they won ‘Communities in Bloom- International Challenge’ in their category.
Lanesborough is situated on the banks of the Shannon and beside Lough Ree. On approach to the town, the modern ESB power station overlooks the surrounding boglands. Picturesque Lough Ree with its islands and monastic relics from a bygone era is frequented by visitors and locals on pleasure cruisers while the more remote sections attract anglers and wildlife enthusiasts all year round.
Edgeworthstown ia another main town in Co. Longford. The C and D pet food factory and Paul and Vincent mills are major employers in the area.
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