Béal Átha Liag
Lough Ree Power Station, Lanesborough
|County||Longford & Roscommon|
|Elevation||43 m (141 ft)|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Lanesborough–Ballyleague (Irish: Béal Átha Liag) (more commonly known simply as Lanesborough or Lanesboro) is a town in the midlands of Ireland. Lanesborough is on the County Longford (east) side and Ballyleague on the County Roscommon (west) side of the River Shannon. They are located at the northern tip of Lough Ree on the N63 national secondary road at its junction with the R371 (at Ballyleague) and R392 (at Lanesborough). The town of Longford is 16 km north-east on the N63, the town of Roscommon is 15 km south-west on the N63, the town of Ballymahon is 20 km south-east on the R392 and the town of Strokestown is 15 km north-west on the R371.
The river Shannon divides the two towns. So the two towns are in two separate provinces (Leinster on the east and Connacht on the west); two separate counties (Longford on the east and Roscommon on the west); two separate Roman Catholic Dioceses (Ardagh and Clonmacnoise on the east and Elphin on the west) ; and two separate Roman Catholic parishes (Rathcline on the east and, Kilgefin which consists of Ballyleague, Ballagh and Curraghroe on the west).
The original name of the town, Athliag, means Ford of Stones derived from the flagstones placed across the river to assist the crossing.
The first real bridge was built around 1000AD by Malachy, High King of Meath, and the King of Connacht – built to link in the middle in their joint effort to defend against the Vikings. The first more permanent bridge was built in 1140 by Turlough O'Connor, High King of Ireland.
A further bridge was built in 1667 and survived till 1690 when it was destroyed by Col O'Reilly to stop the Williamite army under General Kirk.
In 1701 a ferry carrying 46 people to the fair capsized and 35 drowned. Parliament was petitioned for a new bridge, and a stone bridge was erected in 1706, 300' long, 15' wide with 9 arches. It was demolished to provide a new bridge in 1844 which contained a swivel arch to allow large boats to pass through. This was removed in the 1960s and replaced by a concrete span in 1971.
The Lanesborough–Ballyleague area is known for its sports fishing, with many tourists coming to fish for bream, tench, rudd and pike on the Shannon. The Lough Ree Angling hub was set up in 2015 and has hosted the World Predator Boat Fishing championships and several other International angling event since then. The largest recorded pike ever caught in Ireland was caught in Lanesborough weighing in at 62.5 lbs. The annual Regatta and the horse fair are very important for the local economy. Lanesborough–Ballyleague is also a popular stop-over for pleasure boats on the River Shannon navigation system. The island-studded Lough Ree is just to the south and stretches almost 30 km to Athlone: while upstream the Shannon meanders 40 km to Carrick on Shannon and beyond to the Shannon-Erne Waterway.
The two towns have separate Gaelic Athletic Association football teams: Rathcline and St Faithleachs.
Lanesborough also have an Annual Triathlon which consists of a 750 m swim, 22 km cycling and 5 km run. It is organised by Lanesboro Triathlon Club.
It is recorded that a Town Regatta took place in 1927. This regatta provided races for yachts and dinghies including Dublin Bay Water Wags. Trophies won in this regatta still exist.
The annual Regatta was reinstated in the 2000s and racing takes place for the traditional Shannon-One-Design dinghies over a weekend every September. this event is organised by the Murtagh family. This regatta does not include the rowing races which were traditionally a feature of regattas at the towns (such as Athlone or Carrick-on-Shannon) on the River Shannon.
The Electricity Supply Board and Bord na Móna are the largest enterprises and provide substantial employment in the town. In 2016 The Taste of the Lakelands Food Festival brought a crowd of 6000 visitors to the town and kick-started a new focus on food tourism and food production in the area.
The town is served by three Bus Éireann routes. Route 425 (Longford-Galway) provides a daily (except Sunday) service each way to/ from Galway via Roscommon. Route 467 provides two additional journeys each way to/ from Longford on Wednesday whereas route 65 provides a journey each way to/ from Galway and Cavan (change for Belfast) on Fridays and Sundays.
- Lanesborough Public Library
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