Irish Heritage Hall of Fame Collection of Towns & Villages of Ireland
LEITRIM: The Smallest Coastline of Ireland’s 32 Counties and a Must Visit Lovely Leitrim
Co. Leitrim at No.26 in the pecking order of Ireland’s 32 counties in size, Leitrim is renowned worldwide as “Lovely Leitrim” and these sentimental words were lovingly presented in song and verse by famous Co. Longford showband singer, the late Larry Cunningham. (read our Hall of Fame Tribute to Larry Cunningham)
The largest populated towns are ranked as Carrick On Shannon 4,062; Manorhamilton 1,466; Kinlough 1,032; Ballinamore 914; Drumshanbo 902; Mohill 855; Dromahair 808; Leitrim 594; Roosky 564 (it’s a part of Longford also) and Dromod 555.
- The other towns and villages that all combine to constitute Co. Leitrim include Allentown, Askill; Ballinaglera; Buckode; Cloonsheerevagh; Dremkeeran; Dowra; Fivemilebourne; Friarstown; Glenfarne; Glenade; Killyclogher; Kinlough; Killarga; Largydonnell; Lurganboy; Rossinver; Tulaghan; Aghamore; Carrigallen; Cloone; Drumcong; Dromod; Drumsna; Fenagh; Eslinbridge; Jamestown; Kesgcarrigan and Newtowngore.
People of Distinction with roots to Co. Leitrim include Margaret Haughery – Philanthropist 1813 – 1882; Kathleen Lynch – Comedian; John Willoughby Crawford – 1817 – 1875; John McDonald – Poet 1846 – 1911; Gordon Wilson – Peace Campaigner 1927 – 1995; Raymond O’Rourke – Entrepreneur – 1947 - ; Thomas Heazle Park – Explorer & Surgeon 1857 – 1893; Seán McDermott – Easter Rising Patriot 1883 – 1916 (See our Seán McDermott Hall of Fame Tribute); Pat Quinn – Entrepreneur – 1935 – 2009; John McGahern – Poet – 1934 – 2006. Several more well known personalities were linked to Lovely Leitrim through b irthright and residency in the county.
Many people associate Co. Leitrim by the size of the county they imagine it to be, but the reality is Leitrim is rated as Ireland’s No.26 in size. The imagery is due mainly to the rating, as the county with Ireland’s lowest population figure. Despite the minute population (approximately 26,000 last census) the county punches above its weight in commerce and industry and tourism is a key ingredient.
Invasions by foreign armies hundreds of years ago, similar to all Irish counties, changed the original landscape and in ancient centuries, Leitrim former the western sector of Breifne territory. Dromahair and Manorhamilton feature largely in Leitrim history of times past and the Breifne Kingdom was divided into two regions in the 13th century.
Eastern Breifne was retitled Co. Cavan and Western Breifne became Co. Letirim and Cavan people have long been regarded as Breifne natives, whilst Leitrim people seem to accept, that Cavan belongs to the Breifne clan. Along came the Normans in the 13th century, but lurking in dark shadows was the year 1620, when the English rulers confiscated lands from rightful Leitrim owners and spread it out amongst their own invaders.
Leitrim’s soil was a rich source of iron ire, discovered in the 15th century and worked until the 18th century, whilst coal mining was another mainline occupation in the 19th century. Prior to the gruesome Great Famine in the mid 19th century, the population of Co. Leitrim numbered 115,000 inhabitants and the slide downwards leveled off at approximately 29,000 in mid 1980’s.
The 21st century has provided a much welcomed new zest for an increase in population and in 2019 a figure of 32,000 people has been achieved. Life is for living in Lovely Leitrim and the pace of everyday life seems to be charming and peaceful and for people searching for a new beginning, the contentment of living in towns and villages of moderate size, is always welcome.