The Emerald Isle

splendors of nearby Tullynally Castle, home to ten generations of the Pakenham family, earls of Longford, which attract visitors to the area. County Longford, bordered in the west by the Shannon, also has numerous loughs which, though they may be of little interest to the average tourist, attract many anglers and watersports enthusiasts, as do rivers like the Inny, well known for its coarse fishing and its trout. One of the largest loughs of the Midlands is Lough Ree, where the borders of Longford, Westmeath, and Offaly meet. The river Inny, flowing into Lough Ree southwest of Ballymahon, a town with many associations with Oliver Goldsmith, is just one of many attractive waterways in the region. Also notable in and on the shores of Lough Ree is Inchcleraun, an island whose six churches are the remains of a large monastery founded in the sixth century by St. Diarmuid, and Saint’s Island (now a peninsula), on which stand the ruins of a 14th-century Augustinian monastery. At lovely and peaceful Barley Harbour, tucked away at the end of a pensinsula on the lough’s eastern shore, is a haven popular with people cruising the lough and the Shannon; here the workshop of a sculptor, Michael Casey, can also be found, whose fine carvings in ancient, semi-petrified bog wood have earned him an international reputation. 166 The Midlands