Longwood, County Meath
|Elevation||70 m (230 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-1 (IST (WEST))|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Longwood, historically called Moydervy (Irish: Maigh Dearmhaí), is a village in southwest County Meath, Ireland. It is located about 15 km south of the town of Trim on the R160 regional road. It is about 50 km from Dublin, off the N4 road. In the early years of the 21st century the population of Longwood increased dramatically, and around the village are many new housing estates.
Longwood has a two primary schools (an old and a new one) and second level school, and an old fair green which is located beside its old primary school. The village has 3 grocery stores, a post office and 4 public houses. These are Johnny Dargans, Stoneys, PJ Dargans (known as 'Mickies') and a bar in the GAA club which is only opened for designated occasions. In the past a national newspaper, the Sunday World in its 'Pub Spy' section ran a story which criticised the lack of modernisation of PJ Dargans, but regular customers quite like the atmosphere in the place and in the past three years has built some new toilet facilities for its customers.
In recent years the GAA Club has upgraded their facilities, which now include the bar, function room and a floodlit pitch. Also in Longwood there is an antique store, chipper, hair salon, news agents, Spar, Chinese take away, funeral directors, hardware store part of Johnny Daragans Public House and a motor bike spare parts shop. There is also a Scout Group in Longwood, the 17th Meath Longwood Scout Group which operates out of the parish hall and caters for children aged from 6 to 15 years of age. There is also a youth club which is located in the local GAA club on Friday nights that caters for children that are in the first year to sixth years of secondary school.
Longwood is also home to one of the richest men in Ireland, Chris "Combine" Cusack. Chris made his money in the early 90's buying and selling combine harvesters. Not content with being the richest man in Ireland, Chris also holds the world record for the longest time spent sitting in a wheelie bin.
One of its main characteristics is a wide main street. In July 2008 Meath County Council placed road markings in Longwood which included designated car parking spots. This has radically changed the character of the main street from haphazard style parking to more urban street style parking. In close proximity to the village is the River Blackwater and a little further away is the River Boyne and the Royal Canal.
History of Longwood Village
The Boyne aqueduct, built in the 19th century where the canal crosses over the River Boyne is located about 3 km from the village.
Medieval and early modern history
Longwood is recorded as a possession of the Hospital of Crutched Friars of St. John the Baptist, at Newtown Trim, at the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. The jurors recorded that at Longwood alias Modarvy there was a castle, six houses, 40 acres arable, 60 acres pasture, moor and underwood, valued at 40 shillings sterling. In 1611-1612 James I granted to Christopher Plunkett, knight, a castle, six houses, 40 acres arable land, 60 acres pasture, bog and underwood in Longwood, otherwise called Mordervie or Moydervy. This grant is remarkably consistent with the description of Longwood some seventy years earlier. As important for the development of Longwood is the fact that James 1st also granted a fair by patent in 1611. Only the fairs at Athboy, Duleek, Ballyboggan, Kells, Navan, Trim and Ratoath are older, some eighteen in Meath are later in date of grant. The Down Survey barony map of Moyfenrath outlines the townland of Longwood but does not depict any buildings or features. The Civil Survey, however, mentions a castle, a mill and a weir, and that Longwood is in the possession of Nicholas Plunkett, a Catholic, and presumably a descendant of Christopher Plunkett mentioned above.
Edward Tyrrell of Lynn Co. Westmeath, was created a Baronet in 1680. Edward married Eleanor Loftus, the granddaughter of Sir James Ware, auditor-general of Ireland and famous historian. Their only child Catherine married Robert Edgeworth of Longwood. Robert Edgeworth was in possession of Longwood from the 1680s if not before. The estates of Edward Tyrrell who was attained in 1688 were later restored to Robert Edgeworth of Longwood. Edgeworthstown Co. Longford is also associated with this family and perhaps received more attention and patronage than did Longwood. The location of a fair at Longwood is immediately apparent from its depiction in Larkin’s map of 1812. It depicts housing around each side of a triangular green and a wide road leading off the green to the east. The fair green function is confirmed by Carlisle writing in 1810: "The fairs are held 1 July, Whit-Tuesday, 12 July and 11 December". The population of Longwood was 398 in 1813, dropping to 300 in 1821. This suggests a large population of agricultural labourers in Longwood in the early nineteenth century, a demand for their skills dropped sharply following the end of hostilities between England and France; however, by 1837 the population, according to Lewis, had risen again to 425 souls, occupying 83 houses.
The OS 1st edition map, 1837, depicts a large number of houses around the triangular green, the majority on the west and south sides without garden plots to the rear. This suggests a large number of cabins, a fact confirmed by the large amount of 4th class housing recorded at Longwood in 1843. Sixty-nine percent of the housing at Longwood consisted of conglomerations of mud cabins inhabited by agricultural and rural labourers. Places like Stamullen (73%) and Bohermeen (67%), by comparison, fared no better.There was more substantial housing along the south side of the street leading to the green – formal plots behind these houses indicates this. In 1837 the Police Station was located at the east end of the village, at the junction of the Trim to Enfield road with the village. Hidden away on the opposite corner was the Catholic church, well back from the street, and an unusual L-shaped plan. Lewis described this church as "a large plain edifice". In 1824 there were two schools in Longwood (one is indicated on the OS 1ed map, north of the police station). Those in Longwood were held in mud-walled thatched houses and were attended by 79 Catholics and 10 Protestants in 1824.
The present Catholic church was built in 1841 and has been renovated several times since. Unlike the previous building it faces onto the road behind railings and gates in a north-east south-west orientation. Built in a late-Gothic style, the western bellcote is treated as a buttress – like many medieval churches of the pale – but with the addition of a porch and has fenestration at ground and clerestory level. Battlements adorn the gables, these are an interesting use of late medieval motifs, built before Puginian righteousness.
The former parochial house dates to or was remodelled in 1845, when the property was leased from the Edgeworths by the parish priest. It has three bays and two storeys with an advanced central two-bay porch. It is rendered with raised quoins and window surrounds. Raised quoins either in limestone or painted stucco are a feature of several other substantial two-storey hipped-roofed houses in the village.
- Eamonn Duggan, one of the Irish delegation who signed the Anglo-Irish Treaty in 1921 and Minister for Home Affairs in the Provisional government formed after the Treaty
- Thomas Allen, a member of the Irish Volunteers who fought and died in the 1916 Easter Rising
- long time Meath TD Captain Pat Giles
- Rev. John Kyne, former Bishop of Meath.
- The Edgeworth family were landlords in Longwood prior to moving to a village in County Longford. Subsequently this village has become known as Edgeworthstown.
- Members of the well known Swift family are buried in nearby Castlerickard graveyard.
- The O'Rourkes of Longwood, well known in Longwood history. There is a bridge named after them on the outskirts near Donore Castle.
- Noel Dempsey, T.D. and government minister [F.F.] Lionsden, Longwood.
- Placenames Database of Ireland (see archival records)
Longwood had many interesting people who live in the inferians, Dinnie O'Rourke who shot the landlords agent in Castlerickard. Then sailed on a boat to the USA. Some say his brother went with him and he married a black woman. In later years it was confirmed her surname was 'Black' and not her skin colour. O'Rourkes shot and killed many British that occupied their country.
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