Woodford, County Galway
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|Elevation||73 m (240 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (WET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-1 (IST (WEST))|
|Irish Grid Reference|
Woodford (Irish: An Ghráig, meaning "the village") is a village in the south-east of County Galway, Ireland. The village's industrial history is indicated by its Irish Name, 'Gráig na Muilte Iarainn' means 'The Village of the Iron Mills.' Woodford is situated between the Shannon River and the Slieve Aughty mountains. It is probable that the village started as a place to house and provide services for the iron workers on the 17th century. The surrounding hills have iron ore deposits; the abundant oak woods were used as a fuel for smelting. These had a lasing effect on the landscape; as the furnaces needed up to one hectare of mature woodland per day.
The village also had a water-mill in the valley, and in order for this to operate the river was dammed. This is what now appears as a small lake below the village.
The Woodford River is a tributary of the Shannon River. The river is dammed and broadens out into a small artificial lake called Woodford Bay. This reservoir was in the 17th century to power the blast furnace. Later, it was used as a source power for the corn mill and electric light energy for the town. The Bay is no longer used for these reasons, but within recent years extensive repairs have been done to restore its aesthetic rather than commercial value.
Woodford is a rural community with multiple amenities, including an excellent playground and high quality accommodation. There is a lively restaurant, numerous pubs and grocery and hardware shops. with three nature reserves suitable for walking and biking, Pollnaknockaun, Derrycrag and Rosturra, all located within 5 km of the village. Two of these are in Special Areas of Conservation. To add to this Derrygill Millennium Oaks Forest is within walking distance of the village and is one of only fourteen Millennium Oak Forests established in the Republic of Ireland in the year 2000 when the government gifted an oak tree to every family in Ireland at the turn of the millennium. Cycle routes in the surrounding hinterland offer a unique manner to view Lough Derg and the River Shannon. Within 10 miles of Woodford there is a golf course in Portumna. There is also fishing and boating on the Shannon. The town also includes the ruins of a ring-fort over a thousand years old.
Every year, in late August, a Furnace Festival is held in Woodford to celebrate its ironworking history. Irish iron is made from only local materials and made into objects.