Places of Interest
LOUGH DERG is the largest of the
Shannon lakes and is noted for its coarse fishing, particularly pike.
Tench are also plentiful; and occasionally pollan, a species of white
fish found only in the Shannon lakes, are caught here. The lake, covering
an area of more than fifty square miles, is famous for its trout,
rudd, rudd-bream and pike. Twenty-five miles long by nine miles wide
at its widest point, it can be a deceptively dangerous inland waterway
where strong winds can build up waves of an exceptional height. There
are two folk tales to explain the origin of the name Lough Derg. The
first describes how MacCreiche of Liscannor drove the fairy badger,
a monster that was half animal and half fish, into the deepest part
of Lough Derg, where it stayed until slain by Murchadh, son of Brian
Boru. His blood was so red, so "dearg", that it coloured
the lake. The second story tells how Deirc, a young local chieftain,
fell in love with a girl who had not the slightest interest in him.
"I'd give my right arm or my right eye for her." "Do
just that," said his druid adviser, "and she is yours."
The lovesick youth believed him and tore out his eye and ripped off
his right arm with an axe. He washed his wounds at the lake shore
and his blood coloured the water. Hence the name of the lake, loch
Deirg Dheirc - the red lake of Deirc. His love refused to have anything
to do with him, saying she wouldn't marry a one-eyed monster who couldn't
even embrace her properly!
MOUNTSHANNON PIERS, one close to
the village and the other at Knockafort near Holy Island, allowed
vessels of up to twenty tons burden to load or unload. The pier at
Mountshannon dated from the end of the eighteenth century but was
not shown in an 1838 map which depicted Knockafort Quay. In 1850 the
Shannon Navigation Board erected the larger pier, allowing Mountshannon
to play a wider role in the trade and passenger service on the Shannon.
WOODPARK WOOD is situated about a
mile from Mountshannon village. A forest walk has been developed here.
Woodpark was acquired for state forestry in 1928 and the Community
Council assisted the development.
Woodpark House has been demolished
but two gate lodges remain. The house was built in the nineteenth
century. The Reade family resided here, as did the Hibbert family.
The house was burned to the ground during the War of Independence
in the 1920's.
MOUNTSHANNON HOUSE is a nineteenth
century residence. It was associated with various landlord families,
including the Tandy family. Napper Tandy, the well known United Irishman,
is said to have built the gates here. In 1956 Joyce, Lady Talbot de
Malahide, then proprietor, transferred Mountshannon House to An Oige
for use as a Youth Hostel.
ST. CAIMIN'S CHURCH OF
IRELAND was built on the Tandy Estate in 1789. The mason was John
Boyle. The Board of First Fruits gave a grant of £390. Repairs were
carried out in 1831 and it was at this time that the square tower
was added on. It was built by John Boyle Junior. The bell cost £8
and was cast by the Dublin Company, Sheridan Bros. The inscription
on the bell was "Eireann go brath."
St. Caimin's is a simple gothic structure. Various monuments have
been erected in and around the church. The Reade family vault is
in the churchyard. A wall-tablet in the church is a reminder of
the drowning of the two Coghlan brothers. Sons of Rev. Augustus
Coghlan, they drowned in Lough Derg in 1876.
ST. CAIMIN'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
was built in 1836 on the site of an existing thatched church. It
is a simple gothic style building.
THE CHIEFTAIN'S ROCK is situated in the townland
of Sallernane. It may have been used as a marker for a boundary
between territories. It may mark the burial place of an important
person of long ago, now referred to as the "Chieftain."
It may mark the site of a notable event, perhaps a battle site where
a chieftain was killed. For now, it is a standing stone of uncertain
date or purpose.
GRAINNE'S ROCK is a wedge tomb in the townland
of Bohatch. It is a megalithic tomb which may have been used as
a burial chamber. These tombs date from the Early Bronze Age.
RINGFORT in the townland of Bohatch. It is located
in an area of blanket bog. It is not noted in the Ordnance Survey
maps but has been mentioned in the Folklore Commission Project as
a fort called "Lios na Grei."
CIST GRAVE in the townland of Bohatch lies below