Leisure & Tourism

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Leisure in Abbeyshrule can take you to the skies in a Tigermoth aircraft, learn how to fly at Abbeyshrule Airfield, watch an aerobatics display or even join the aerobatics pilot in the cockpit for the ultimate adrenaline rush. After your time in the skies over Abbeyshrule you can then hop on a barge or boat on the Royal Canal and float downstream to Abbeyshrule Village. Here you can explore one of the many walking routes or go canoeing on the River Inny. For the more relaxing leisurely option one can sit on the canal banks or River Inny banks and relax as you cast your fishing line for a tasty catch. For wildlife enthusiasts there are three bird sanctuaries to investigate and the rich bog lands which support many varied habitats.

Abbeyshrule is a hive of activity throughout the year with a festival calendar which steps up to national level. The calendar of annual festivals includes the Spring Angling Festival, the Royal Canal Boat Rally, the National Ballooning Championships, the Irish-Argentinian Association Asado, Annual International Air Show, the Goldsmith Literary Summer School, the Christmas Craft and Design Fair.

Prehistoric Leather Shield

The Clonbrin Leather Shield is the only surviving leather shield from the Bronze Age (possibly dating from as early as the 13th century BC). It was discovered by Alexander Fry in 1908 while cutting peat near Clonbrin, Co. Longford and is now on display in the National Museum of Dublin. The leather shield was revealed while cutting turf 9 feet below the level of the bog. Due to its burial in peat its preservation is near perfect. It was originally formed from one piece of vegetable tanned leather, probably ox-hide. It also bears some marks of combat. For reinforcement, a second boss cap was sewn on for added hand protection. Due to the organic nature no other leather shields have survived. Design parallels from the Bronze Age exist on wooden shield formers. Images of shields and surviving bronze shields with similar designs are as far afield as Spain and Southern Scandinavia.

Abbeyshrule Airfield

Abbeyshrule Airfield is located outside the village of Abbeyshrule. There has been a long tradition of flying in Abbeyshrule dating back to the 1950s. The present airfield was established in 1977 and a new tarmac runway as laid in 1977. Abbeyfield Airfield is a popular location for light aircraft enthusiasts in the Midlands and throughout Ireland. There are two flying clubs based at the airfield offering flying tuition, the Inny Aero Club and Aero Club 2000. The Abbeyshrule Air Show which is Ireland’s longest running airshow is held annually at the airfield, on the second Sunday of August. The Airshow is an exciting and spectacular occasion and regularly features Aircraft from the Irish Air Corps, US Air Force and some of the best civilian acts in Ireland and the UK. The Abbeyshrule Annual Fly-In held in conjunction with the Air Show regularly attracts visitors from the UK and from Europe, in particular Germany.

Oliver Goldsmith – Poet and Playwright

Notable Works

The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village, The Good-Natur‘d Man, She Stoops to Conquer

This famous poet, playwright and novelist was born at Pallas, Abbeyshrule on November 10th 1728. Pallas is situated 5km from Abbeyshrule off the Ballymahon road. There is a statue of Goldsmith at Pallas marking the location of the original Goldsmith homestead. Goldsmith was the son of a clergyman and at the age of 14 went to study at Trinity College, Dublin. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1749. Following years of misadventure and misfortune Goldsmith began a career in writing. In 1770 he published his greatest poem “The Deserted Village”; a portrait of life in his native countryside, once a thriving rural community now left empty, because of the effects of the industrial revolution.

“Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey, where wealth accumulates and men decay”

The Oliver Goldsmith Summer School takes place annually in Abbeyshrule, Ballymahon and the Three Jolly Pigeons during the month of June.

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