Happy St. Patrick’s Day
Monuments and Monasteries Mini Break in Viewmount House Longford
This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Thursday so this might be a good excuse to make what the French
call ‘the bridge’ joining a week day with a weekend. Take the Friday off as well and it makes for a lovely mini break. In keeping with a Monuments and Monasteries heritage theme the ideal place for this break is Viewmount House, Longford town. Here are some heritage things to do whilst there: Visit Ardagh heritage village (10 km from Longford town). Patrick himself founded a Monastery here and later appointed his nephew St. Mel as Bishop of Ardagh. The ruins of the monastery are still visible. Take a walk along the extraordinary Corlea Bog Trackway near Keenagh, which dates back to 148 BC. Slightly further away along the lakeshore of Lough Ree is the appropriately named Saints Island located near Newtowncashel. There is a causeway link to the island. Here St. Ciaran reputedly founded a Monastery around 542AD. The ruins of a later Augustinian Monastery are still there and the spirituality of this holy place is tangible. By the 17th of March the curlew, lapwing and wild duck should all be taking to the air in thrilling aerial displays. One of the larger islands on Lough Ree is Inchcheraun known locally as ‘Quaker Island’. Here there are the remains of seven churches including monastic settlements and it was an important place of pilgrimage and religious learning. It is a perfect example of how Ireland became known as the ‘island of saints and scholars’.
Longford Town has its own parade and this year it takes place from 1 to 3pm. There is nothing more local than a ‘local parade’ when everybody gets involved. This is a really good alternative to going to the bigger city parades and instantly you become part of a community.
After all that exercise and fresh air enjoy a fabulous dinner cooked by one of Ireland’s finest chefs, Gary O’Hanlon in the VM Restaurant in Viewmount House.