Ballinamore meaning the “Mouth of the Big Ford” was so named because it was the main crossing point on the Yellow River which later became the Ballinamore/Ballyconnell Canal, and is more recently referred to as the ‘Shannon-Erne Waterway’. Ballinamore is built in what was known as the Valley of the Black Pig, the name given on the ancient frontier of Ulster in the fourth century. The town has a population of over eight hundred people. Ballinamore is a thriving rural centre for the surrounding parishes of Aughnasheelin, Aughawillan, Corraleehan, Drumreilly and Fenagh.
Carrick On Shannon
Carrick on Shannon is the second largest town on the Shannon and is situated on a lovely stretch of waterway. It’s waterfront is usually bustling with all types of boats and watercraft. The town has a variety of shops, supermarkets, restaurants and pubs.
Carrigallen is part of the drumlin belt and lies in the corner between counties Cavan and Longford. In fact it is at a point in Carrigallen parish, in its southern extremity, that the three provinces Ulster, Leinster and Connacht meet. There are fourteen first-class fishing waters within a radius of 5 km of the town and these are well-stocked with all the well-known specimens. Archaeological remains are plentiful in the district e.g. Errew Graveyard, Kilahurk ring fort and Clooncorrick dolmen, called the King’s Grave.
Dromahair is a quiet village on the River Bonet near the south-east shore of Lough Gill. It is surrounded by a picturesque and historic region which was once the territory of the warlike O’ Rourkes. There is a signposted tourist trail of the village.
Dromod, a Tidy Towns winner and another village built around the marvellous Shannon River.
Drumkeeran is an average sized village, situated in a district of new forest plantations undertaken by the Department of Forestry. A fine view of the northern end of Lough Allen can enjoyed from the top of the village where the road bends towards Drumshanbo.
Situated on the southernmost shore of Lough Allen, Drumshanbo is a picturesque town with a population of 700. Like most Irish towns Drumshanbo takes its name from the Gaelic version, Druim-Sean-Both (the ridge of the old hut). A feature of the town is its unique High Street fronted by a magnificent cut stone wall, with stone steps leading to reputedly Ireland’s shortest Main Street.
The small village of Drumsna, situated on a hill overlooking the Shannon, has many historical associations. In a small cemetery close by is the burial place of Surgeon Thomas Heazle Parke 1857-1893 who accompanied Henry Morton Stanley on his exploration expedition in the African Congo. Within a short distance stands the ivy-covered ruins of a lordly mansion of the Jones landlord family where the novelist Athony Trollope wrote his interesting novel, the McDermotts of Ballycloran.
The little village of Fenagh is a short distance from Ballinamore. As well as being noteworthy because of its historical associations, it has grouped around it a multitude of small lakes.
The village of Jamestown owes it’s origin to the plantation of Leitrim in 1622. Part of the original wall can still be seen, and until a few years ago the main road went under one of the surviving arches. There is a small graveyard on the Carrick On Shannon side of the arch, where there was once a Franciscan monastery. An important synod of bishops was held here in 1650, during the Cromwellian conquest.
The village of Kiltyclogher lies very close to the border with Co. Fermanagh. Its chief claim to recognition is that it is the birthplace of Sean MacDiarmada, the great Irish Patriot and 1916 leader.
The pretty village of Kinlough, is on the northern shore of Lough Melvin. Celebrated for its salmon and trout fishing, Lough Melvin has several small islands, on one of which are the ruins of Rossclogher Castle. On the mainland near by is the ruined Rossclogher Abbey. A captain in the Spanish Armada named De Cuellar is said to have taken refuge in the castle after being wrecked on the Sligo coast.
Sharing its name with the County, this little village is located on a lovely section of the River Shannon, just South of Drumshanbo.
Manorhamilton is one the many towns which owes it’s existence to the plantation of Leitrim. In this case, the planter was Scottish man Sir Frederick Hamilton. His ivy covered castle is built on a height which overlooks the town, and is on a site where five meadows converge called An Cluainin – The Little Meadow. The castle was once an O Rourke stronghold.
Turlough O’ Carolan, (1670-1738) the famous 17th century blind Irish harper lived in Mohill for a while and a bronze statue commemorating this inspired composer and musican can be seen in the town. The fact that over a dozen angling waters lie within a 10 minute drive makes Mohill a popular angling centre. Rev. Arthur Hyde, grandfather of Ireland’s first President, Douglas Hyde, was rector here in the 19th century.
At the southern end of Lough Melvin lie the ruins of a church founded by St. Mogue, or in Irish Mo Aodh Og. Though originally founded in the 6th century the architectural style of the east window denotes a 13th century building. Inside the gate of the cemetery there is an interesting stone, now marking a grave, which has survived from pre-Norman times.
Tullaghan lies along the coast road overlooking the broad Atlantic. The road connects Co Sligo with Donegal. The pleasant holiday resorts of Bundoran, Mullaghamore and Rosses Point lie wihtin easy reach of Leitrim’s most northerly tip at Tulllaghan.