One of the main battles which took place in Co. Longford was,‘The Battle of Ballinamuck’ in 1798.The French arrived in Killala under General Humbert and won a great victory at Castlebar. General Humbert and a force of Irish under Blake rested at Cloone in Co.Leitrim. Humbert decided to make a stand at Ballinamuck against Lord Cornwallis who had 14,000 men and General Lake with an army of 15,000 men. The resulting defeat and ensuing slaughter was great. The heroism of Gunner Magee and others is well remembered and commemorated annually in the shadow of the Pikeman monument. The French forces were repatriated and the Irish rebels executed, thus bringing about the ending of the Rebellion of 1798.
General Sean MacEoin
General Sean MacEoin, known locally as, ‘the Blacksmith from Ballinalee’, was a military hero of the Irish war of Independence. He formed the North Longford Flying Column and his most notable action against the British was the ‘Clonfin ambush’. He was prominent in the peace which followed and became a Lieutenant General in the first Free State army. He served in the first Dail, as a minister of Justice and again as Minister of Defence He is buried in his native village of Ballinalee where a statue stands to his memory.
Michael Collins, a member of the Treaty negotiating team, was engaged to Kitty Kiernan from Granard. The Greville Hotel in Granard is her former family home and has a fine collection of photographs and family memorabilia.
Albert Reynolds was a former Taoiseach and Fianna Fail leader.
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