19 Jun 2017
On Christmas Day 2009, disaster struck in Longford when the long-standing St Mel’s Cathedral was destroyed by a fire.
An appeal went out to movie star Mel Gibson whose mother Anne Reilly came from the Colmcille parish, to donate towards its restoration*. It's unclear whether the star - named after St Mel - coughed up, but the cathedral was restored after a €30m project in 2015.
The rebuilding of St Mel's gives an insight into Longford's community spirit, according to Martina Quinn, manager at EBS Longford. "The motto for Longford is 'Daingean agus Dilis' or 'Strong and Loyal'," she says.
It seems apt, of course, to frame an article about Longford around a story, as the town has a literary flair with Oliver Goldsmith and Maria Edgeworth* among those with past associations with the county. But away from celebrity appeals and a strong literary and musical flair, what does Longford have to offer?
The key to buying in Longford is to decide the type of living experience you’d like – urban, rural, village or waterside, Martina says.
"Ballymahon has national and second level schools, so for any young couple thinking of starting a family it would be a great place also to look at," Martina says.
Ballymahon has been in the news because of the controversy over the granting of planning permission for a €233m Center Parcs holiday village development, under appeal to An Bord Pleanala, at the time of writing**. Flagged to create 750 jobs during planning stage and 1000 permanent jobs when up and running, it's earmarked for a 395-acre site at Newcastle Wood.
An alternative for country living is Lanesboro, "a lovely town on the Shannon," with schools and good restaurants, Martina says. Those who hanker after the tranquillity of waterside living will be drawn to Tarmonbarry on the Shannon.
A bustling town centre, the skyline of which is dominated by the cathedral spire, Longford has many other buildings of architectural interest, with desirable property locations – including Battery Road.
Local employers include Abbott Ireland Diagnostic Division, Finesse Medical, C & D Foods, Pat the Baker, Glennons' Sawmills, and Kepak, Ballymahon.
Recreational facilities are a key consideration too, and this is helped by the River Camlin which flows through Longford, with a walkway along the river leading to the Mall Park amenity area and sports complex.
At the opposite end of the town, walkers and cyclists enjoy making their way along the pathway of the Royal Canal which leads to the village of Clondra. The Royal Canal is fully navigable, from Dublin's Spencer Dock to Richmond Harbour
Longford boasts good boutiques and a busy social scene, with the 17th century manor, Viewmount House, among its highlights. Other venues include the Backstage Theatre, Engage Visual Arts Exhibition Centre, The Little Blue Room theatre and music performance space, a cineplex and a social dancing ballroom in the Longford Arms Hotel.
Longford Town F.C. is in the League of Ireland premier division – a home match is great craic for fans even on soggy evenings. Other local clubs include GAA, rugby, golf, tennis, squash, angling and karate.
For village people, Martina says the heritage village of Ardagh - designed and built by the famous Victorian architect, John Rawson Carroll - appeals. Featuring in Oliver Goldsmith's 'She Stoops to Conquer', the award-winning historic village is about 10km from Longford town.
For anyone starting out, there's a good mix of reasonably priced properties, with some unfinished estates being completed.
"Auburn Village, Ballymahon, at present has four three-bed properties for sale through Sherry Fitzgerald McGill, from €72,000 to €75,000, including terrace, mid-terrace and end-of-terrace."
The first train for Dublin departs at 5.40am and the last return train is 7.05pm. The weekly seven day return ticket is €139. There's also a regular bus service. Prospect Woods and College Park are among the convenient spots for commuters.
Longford is a great place to bring up children with everything from pools to parkland, says Martina. "There is a great supply of family homes with prices that are unbelievable compared to Dublin with four bed properties ranging in price from €75,000 to €260,000 in both new and established estates. There's also a big choice of one-off houses.”
In-demand areas include the Radharc na Coille houses in Cullyfad just outside Longford town, where currently five houses are for sale through Sherry Fitzgerald McGill with four bed houses at €170,000. Clonbalt Woods is popular too and we have numerous one-off houses in and around Longford also for sale."
If you'd like to talk through your mortgage options, book a 30 Minute Mortgage Meeting with Martina or one of the team in EBS Longford. You can also use our mortgage calculator to find out how much you may be able to borrow.
Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for the latest home inspiration, news and great competitions.
Betty Martin Financial Services Ltd, trading as EBS Longford, is a tied mortgage agent acting solely on behalf of EBS d.a.c. EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.
*If we mention celebrities, we're not saying they love us. They secretly might, but it doesn't mean they endorse us.
EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.
**Information correct as of February 2016.
House Prices taken from Sherry Fitzgerald McGill and Daft.ie accessed May 2016.