72 Hours in South Leitrim – What to do and see.
If you have 72 hours on your hands, why not spend the time in the southern part of County Leitrim. You will find stunning lakes and woodland walks with lots of things to do and see and great places to stay and eat. Whether you are interested in the great outdoors, history and heritage, or arts and culture, our recommendations will help you plan your next adventure.
With your base in Carrick on Shannon on your first day, take a walk around the town and you will come across many architectural delights and surprises. You will see many, well preserved, old stone buildings, one that once served as the Old Courthouse, but today is home to the Dock Arts Centre which houses three modern galleries, a theatre and the Leitrim Design House. Or the Costello Chapel, which is the smallest chapel in Europe and, like the Taj Mahal, is a testament to a man’s love for his wife.
You can take a walk in the Linear Park and Boardwalk where you can sit and spend some time watching the cruisers and pleasure boats motoring up and down the river. There are lots of coffee shops and cafes where you can grab a coffee after your walk around the town.
From the Quayside you can take a boat trip on Moon River where you will learn about the points of interest and folklore of the area or experience what it is like to be captain of your own boat by hiring from Carrick Day Boats. Here, a half or full day experience gives you the opportunity to take a self-drive boat trip to one of the villages up or downstream from Carrick on Shannon. Maybe take a picnic and enjoy all the peace and quiet the river has to offer.
Start today in Drumshanbo where you can walk on Ireland’s only floating Boardwalk at Acres Lake. While there you can visit The Shed Distillery, the first distillery in Connacht for over 100 years and home to Drumshanbo Single Pot Whiskey, the famous Gunpowder Gin and The Curious Mind of PJ Rigney Experience.
Head out of town towards Ballinamore which is located on the Shannon-Erne Waterway. It is said that there are a total of 41 lakes within a 12 kilometres radius. Why not pay a visit to Garadice Lake where, if you are so inclined, you can stop and do some fishing, perhaps even catch a fish or two. Visit one of Leitrim’s best kept secrets, Pol an Eas Waterfall close to Aughnasheelin near Ballinamore. Or why not take a cycle or walk along the route of the old Cavan/Leitrim Railway. This new Greenway demonstration stretch starts close to the old Railway Station and continues for 2.3 km to Corgar Lake.
In the town you can visit the Solas Art Gallery before making your way south to Glenview Folk Museum where you will find a lovely exhibition of rural Irish heritage from the early part of the 20th century.
From there, make your way to Carrigallen and maybe stop at the birthplace of Margaret of New Orleans, the first woman in the world to have a statue erected in her honour. She was honoured for all the work she did with the poor and the orphans of New Orleans. The town of Carrigallen is said to be located close to where three provinces of Ireland, Ulster, Leinster and Connaught meet.
Your last day sees you travelling to Mohill, once home to Turlough O’Carolan the famous Irish blind harpist. While in the area you can also visit Lough Rynn Walled Gardens. The gardens, built in 1859 by the Clements family. can be found on the shores of Lough Rinn and boast 4 separate gardens which are terraced towards the lake. There is also a romantic turret in the north-western corner of the gardens.
Elsewhere on the estate you will find Farnaught Limekiln, which was originally built in the middle of the 19th Century and was one of the last limekilns to function in Ireland before it was shut down in the 1950s. Lime kilns were structures in which limestone was heated to a high temperature to produce quicklime, a substance which was very important to agricultural communities where its main use was as mortar for buildings. The building was carefully restored by local craftsmen and is one of the finest examples of a lime kiln in Ireland.
Further options, while in this area, are to try a guided kayaking trip with Lough Rynn Kayaking Tours on the shore of Lough Rinn or take a walk in Derrycarne Wood, just off the N4 at Lough Boderg or pay a visit to the Cavan/Leitrim Railway where they have an extensive collection of steam and diesel trains, rolling stock, and vintage buses.
Whichever you choose you have now completed your 72 hours in the southern part of county Leitrim where history and heritage play a really important part in the story of the county.