Longford Castle is said to be one of the oldest castles in the county, and once an important fortress for the O’Madden clan, who ruled over the area of Síl Anmchadha for centuries. Longford Castle is believed to date back to the 13th century, although some sources suggest it could be even older. It was built on an esker, a ridge of gravel and sand left by a glacier, that provided a natural defence and a strategic position to control the nearby ford on the River Shannon. 

The castle was the main residence and stronghold of the O’Maddens, who were the chieftains of Síl Anmchadha, a territory that roughly corresponds to the Barony of Longford today. The O’Maddens were a powerful and influential clan, who had alliances and conflicts with other Irish families and with the Anglo-Normans. They were also patrons of arts and culture, and supported many poets, musicians and scholars.

The castle itself is a rectangular tower house with four storeys and a double barrel vault on the ground floor. It has narrow arrow slits for defence and a well carved piscina, a basin for washing sacred vessels, that suggests it had a private chapel at some point. The castle underwent some alterations over time, as can be seen by the different styles of windows and doors. It also suffered some damage during the Cromwellian invasion in the 17th century, when it was besieged and captured by Sir Charles Coote. The castle was eventually abandoned and fell into ruin, but it still retains much of its original charm and character.

Longford Castle is not open to the public, but it can be seen from the roadside or with the landowner’s permission. It is located about 6 km north of Portumna, near the village of Eyrecourt. It is surrounded by fields and trees, and offers a picturesque view of the countryside.


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Longford Castle



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