Killoe is a rural community, situated 6 miles north of Longford town in the Irish midlands. It is one of the largest parishes in Longford, bordered by Newtownforbes, Drumlish, Ballinamuck, Ballinalee, Edgeworthstown and Longford Town. The major attractions to visitors include rural Irish tranquility, proximity to key fishing areas in North Longford and Cavan and the views from the slopes of Corn Hill (the highest point in Longford). There are two village populations at Ennybegs & Cullyfad and the area has a population of approx 1600 people. The Camlin river flows through Killoe on its way to the Shannon.
Killoe offers the following local services and facilities…
- Ennybegs Community Centre
- Cullyfad Community Centre
- St. Teresa’s National School & Autistic unit (Clontumpher)
- Begleys Pub & Shop (Ennybegs)
- The Olde Forge Pub (Kilnatruan)
- Kiernans Shop & Service Station (Kilnatruan)
- Hughes Shop (Ennybegs)
- James Farrell Titanic Monument & Garden (Ennybegs)
- Native Arboretum and Village Garden (Cullyfad)
- Emmet Park GAA Complex (Clonee)
- Basketball & Tennis Facilities (Cullyfad)
- Soccer field & GAA training facility (Cullyfad)
- Corn Hill walking path (Dernacross)
- Bed & Breakfast Facilities (Ennybegs)
The location of Killoe just a few miles north of Longford town provides good access to major fishing centers in the Midlands and very good bed and breakfast accommodation. For your entertainment there is two comfortable public houses – The Olde Forge at Kilnatruan and Begleys in Ennybegs, where live music from local artists often features at weekends. Today Killoe is a thriving rural community, combining a traditional rural spirit with a modern approach to life.
Cullyfad Village – Cullyfad village is situated in the southern part of the parish of Killoe and emerged around the now St Oliver’s RC Church originally constructed in 1825. Cullyfad meaning Coill Fada or Long Wood is a rural village comprising of church, community centre and sports amenities. It has a vibant community and the Village Enhancement Group have developed the village over the past years winning many awards in the Tidy Towns Competitions. The local Community Centre caters for the social and cultural needs of the area with activities such as Bingo, Dancing, Card Playing, Community Alert Group, and Christmas get togethers.
Ennybegs Village – Ennybegs village is situated in the middle of the parish of Killoe and like Cullyfad it emerged around the local RC Church in this case St. Mary’s Church. Ennybegs is a rural village comprising of church, community centre, shops and public house. The Community Centre which opened in 1987 hosts activities such as Bingo, Set Dancing classes, Fitness classes, Childrens Drama classes & Parent & Toddler events. In 2012 the new Titanic Monument and Garden was opened in the village in memory of James Farrell from Clonee whose heroic deeds helped to save the lives of two Killoe women among others.
Titanic Monument – Three natives from Killoe travelled aboard Titanic – Katie Gilnagh and Kate Mullen from Rhyne and James Farrell from Clonee. On the night of the disaster, James accompanied Katie Gilnagh and Katie Mullen as well as sisters Margaret and Kate Murphy from Aghnacliffe towards the upper deck. When prevented from going further he shouted “Great God man, open the gate and let the girls through”. Much to their fellow passengers amazement the sailor complied. After leading the women to the lifeboats, he gave his cap to Katie Gilnagh and shouted “Goodbye forever”. Eight days later, James’ body was recovered still clutching his rosary beads. It was given a brief religious service and buried at sea on 24th April, 1912. James Farrell’s actions that fateful night featured in the book “A Night to Remember” and the subsequent film in 1958 where his character was played by Patrick McAlinney. He was also portrayed in the 1979 TV film “SOS Titanic” by Robert Pugh. James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster “Titanic” featured a character Tommy Ryan that seems to have been based on James Farrell and features a scene where he pleads for the barriers to steerage to be opened. The Titanic Monument and Garden in memory of the bravery of James Farrell was officially unveiled by James Farrells nephew Dr. James Farrell of Miami Florida, in Ennybegs village on April 15th 2012, exactly 100 years after Titanic sank. The unveiling received both local and international visibility with the Miami Herald including a prominent feature on the event.
Education & Culture – St Theresa’s National School (Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Treasa) was founded as a central school in the early 1970s. The original school was replaced by the impressive modern school facility in the early 2000s and includes one of the counties largest autistic care units. Killoe has a vibrant Gaelic Games scene, alongside other cultural organisations such as the local Community Centers at Ennybegs and Cullyfad, which offer bingo nights, concert events and support a thriving amateur drama group known as ‘Cill Eo Yew Tree Players’.
Historic Sites – There are a number of ring forts and Mass rocks in the parish, as well as St Patrick’s Holy Well in Cartron and St. Catherine’s Church of Ireland in Killoe Glebe. Killoe is also home to Gandon Gates and Lodgesmay located on the road leading to Farragh Cross Roads. James Gandon (1743-1823) was one of the most celebrated Georgian architects of his time. Gandon’s well-known masterpieces are the Customs House and Four Courts in Dublin. Domestic architecture by Gandon is rare in Ireland and the architect prepared drawings for Sir William Newcomen, Bart., of a residence, stable yard, etc., for Carriglass Manor, c. 1794-96. The impressive cut stone entrance gates at Farragh are among the finest in Longford, unique examples of Palladian/Georgian architecture.
Historic References – The earliest mention of Killoe in history was when St Patrick passed through on his way from Granard to Magh Sleacht. Queen Maeve is also supposed to have visited the area. The next time Killoe is mentioned is after the Irish plantations, when in 1612 in a survey carried out in the area of Clan Hugh corresponded to the area of Old Killoe. Many of the old names still appear on today’s maps, although some have disappeared. In those days Killoe consisted of nearly 40,000 acres and divided between 16 larger estates and many smaller ones.
Carrigglas Manor – Much of the estate of Carrigglas Manor lies within the parish of Killoe. Carrigglas Manor, former home of the Irish-Huguenot Lefroy family, was built in 1837 by Thomas Lefroy. the former MP and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. Thomas Lefroy was once acquainted with the author Jane Austen and it is believed that he inspired the character of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. Daniel Robertson designed the Carrigglas manor house, with its imposing façade that also appears to have come from the pages of a period novel. The manor features a unique and famous stable yard, designed in the 1790s by James Gandon, the architect who designed the Customs House and the Four Courts in Dublin. The stable yard was originally attached to a house that stood here before Carrigglas was built, and is valued as the last example of Gandon’s agricultural designs. During the Celtic Tiger years, the manor and estate was sold for a major development that would have included a hotel, golf course (designed by Retief Goosen) and housing. However, the project fell victim to the economic downturn and was later purchased by Glennon Brothers in 2014. It will also be home to the Longford GAA academy.
Corn Hill & St. Patrick – Corn Hill or Cairn Hill stands on the northern side of the parish and lovely views can be enjoyed from its slopes. From the summit lakes and rivers stretching over many neighbouring counties can be seen. Though many speak of this hill as Cairn Hill, no one who ever grew up near it ever refers to it other than Corn Hill. St. Patrick traversed this area, and many traditions are associated with him. The story goes that he visited Bawn and was served with a dog, which when blessed came alive with the result that the saint cursed Sliabh Cairbre from the fort of Bawn. This curse is regarded by some as an explanation for the infertility of the slopes of the hill.
Corn Hill History – There are several written accounts of cairns, dolmens and passage graves on the hill, but the exact positions are not known. These structures date back to 2500 BC. This would indicate that this area was inhabited at the time of the building of the pyramids in Egypt. It is the custom in the parish to climb Corn hill on the first Sunday of June and stand on the mescon – which is at 916 feet – is the highest point in County Longford. On June 1st 2000, a special walk was organised with a stone from each townland in the parish left beside the mescon during a special ceremony. Today the hill is home to the new RTE midlands transmitter mast, which replaced the old familiar red & white transmitter, first erected in 1977. Also in recent years, the planting of conifers on the hillside has ruined for many the once spectacular view from certain vantage points on the top of the hill. Despite this, the hill offers the best view in the county.