Visiting County Leitrim? This part of the Irish Province of Connacht has a number of attractions you will not want to miss. Plus some interesting sights that are slightly off the beaten path. So why not take your time and spend a day or two in Leitrim when visiting Ireland? Here are some ideas to make it worth your while ...
Lake and Isle (and Castle)
Another attraction that is shared by Sligo and Leitrim is Lough Gill, also famed for its Yeats connections and home to the "Isle of Inisfree". Just the east end of the lake is within Leitrim's borders, but the advantage certainly lies in the less famous country: Parke's Castle, quite an impressive fortress and home on the north shore, is just within Leitrim. And also the best point to start a boat tour on the lake.
Though often claimed by neighbouring Sligo, Glencar Waterfall (with its Yeats connections) actually is in County Leitrim. Here a small stream cascades and plunges from the Dartry Mountains into Glencar Lough. A small car park west of the actual village of Glencar is the best place to stop,then cross the road and head into the lightly wooded area north of the lake shore. Niagara it isn't, but certainly a romantic and evocative place. Unless you arrive on a sunny summer weekend, in which case it will more than likely be crowded. As to the Sligo claim ... part of Glencar Lough is in Sligo, but the Glencar Waterfall and the stream that feeds it are not.
Drop in on the Franciscans
The (ruined) Franciscan Friary of Creevelea, near the village of Dromahair, may be the finest ancient monument in County Leitrim, yet it is rarely visited. Maybe the slightly complicated way to it is the main reason - either by unmarked tracks through the back of beyond or on foot from the village, along the stream and up the hill. The interesting remains are certainly worth the trouble, but they play hard to get with the occasional visitor.
Dip Your Rod
Just south of Ballinamore, dozens of lakes invite the keen angler to try his luck. This is great fishing country and if you are looking to get away from the hectic life ... well, here you can. Many of the lakes are part of the old canal system between Ballinamore and Ballyconnell, today the Shannon-Erne-Waterway, connecting those two hotbeds of boating.
Spend a Day in Carrick-on-Shannon
At first glance, the tiny county town has not a lot to recommend it ... except large marinas and adjoining hotels. But if you walk up the busy main street, you will find the curious Costello Chapel (maybe the smallest church in Ireland and more of a crypt than anything else) plus dozens of small, often quaint, old-fashioned shops. Here you can also cruise the Shannon without having to watch out - afternoon and evening cruises start from the moorings on a regular basis.
By the way - if you are looking for provisions, Carrick-on-Shannon is your best bet in County Leitrim. Many major supermarkets are located on the N4 just north and south of the town.
Cruising on Lough Allen
Lough Allen (of which most belongs to County Leitrim, though the south-western corner is Roscommon territory) is maybe one of the most underrated attractions for those cruising on Shannon and Erne. Accessible through the narrow upper part of the Shannon north of Carrick-on-Shannon (the more travelled Shannon-Erne-Waterway branches off at Leitrim Town), this large lake, accessible only with smaller boats, offers peaceful and unspoilt corners. Being quite large, it also offers a challenge in windy conditions! Take note, however, that Lough Allen is low on amenities - with just two harbours, Cleghran More and Spencer Harbour.
Traditional Music in County Leitrim
If you'd like some traditional entertainment in the evening, you can't go much wrong with heading to a pub and listening to a session. Anderson's Thatch Pub in Carrick holds them on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, Paddy Mac's in Drumshanbo on Friday.
Carry On ... Across Leitrim's Borders
Had enough of County Leitrim? Then hop over to the neighbouring counties: