Longford was once part of the kingdom of Conmaicne. In 85AD, the High King formed the province of Meath, which included the present counties of Longford, Meath, Westmeath and Dublin.
Longford and a small portion of Westmeath and Leitrim were later known as Teabhtha or Teffia. In the ninth century, a prince, ‘ Annaly, ruled over Teffia and named the territory, Annaly after himself.
At the Battle of Clontarf, a brave warrior of Annaly earned for himself the title ‘Fearghal’ meaning ‘valiant’. He travelled westward in search of new territory until he came to the River Camlin. There he erected a fort, known as Longfort Ui Ferghail, on the original site of the town of Longford, where the O’Farrells, established their stronghold until the mid- seventeenth century.
Longford Ui Fearghail became a frontier town in an important strategic and commercial location linking the province of Meath with Connaught. It was attacked by the Danes and the Norman invaders but they failed to establish a strong wide-spread settlement in the area. The O’Farrell’s power and influence continued in the region.
In 1569, it was made,‘shire ground’ (a county) by Sir Henry Sidney under the name Longford, from its chief town. Some of its former territory to the south became part of Westmeath while areas to the North were added to Leitrim. The O’Farrells were granted the title ‘Lords of Annaly’ and continued to rule until Faghan O’Farrell made a formal surrender to Queen Elizabeth in 1587 and a year later obtained a regrant.
Cromwell’s forces entirely reversed the fate of the county and the O’Farrell’s lost their power influence.Their lands were confiscated and new Scottish and English landlords were granted their lands. Among the new Longford landlords were, Lanes, Newcommen, Edgeworths, Tuits, Forbes, Bonds.
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