Travel back in time to an old world village in the midlands of Ireland. Ardagh is a hidden gem in Ireland, as we reckon, not many of the estimated 60,000 motorists who pass everyday within a few kilometres of Ardagh have been here or are aware of how different and unique this Irish village is.
Ardagh in County Longford, Ireland, is a village which can trace it’s roots back to the 5th century, when Saint Patrick founded a monastery here. Today, it is known as a heritage village, it looks and feels like a village from the pages of a Jane Austin novel. I’ve always thought, it would make an ideal location for a movie like Pride and Prejudice, perhaps one day it can be used for a Oliver Goldsmith film. It has the look of a quaint 19th century English village. It is an Estate Village designed and built in the 19th century, by the local landlords, the Fetherston Baronets.
The village buildings have been preserved and have protected structure status. The village has many fine examples of mid 19th century Victorian architecture, from the village square, church and a bell tower. The former Fetherston estate worker’s picturesque cottages are dotted around the village. There were also later additions with the late nineteenth century public house building, called Lyons and the schoolhouse.
The 18th century writer, poet and gambler, Oliver Goldsmith, based his play “She stoops to conquer” in Ardagh. Ardagh and the townlands nearby are known as Goldsmith country.
Image Credit: Oliver Goldsmith by Sir Joshua Reynolds by Joshua Reynolds – National Portrait Gallery: NPG 828 via Wikimedia
Oliver Goldsmith had originally planned to become a member of the clergy and studied theology and law at Trinity College but never really took to studying and was even expelled at one stage for rioting. He eventually finished his studies but didn’t obtain the appropriate grade to become a clergyman. He went onto Edinburgh and studied medicine but again failed to study and changed careers. During his lifetime, Oliver studied, travelled around Europe, wrote plays and poems and gambled a fair bit as well!
So it is quite ironic, that a man who never really took to formal education, should now have a prominent statue erected in front of Trinity College or perhaps it is quite apt, considering the dropout rates in colleges, as young people try to figure out what they want to do with their lives.
Ardagh is located in County Longford, about 8 kilometres from Edgeworthstown, Longford, off the N4 National road and between Ballymahon and Edgeworthstown, off the N55 Secondary road.
See directions on how to get to Ardagh.
We love old buildings and travelling to old historic sites, Ardagh really ticks a lot of boxes, as Oliver said..
I love every thing that is old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines.
Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer
Photos from Ardagh Village
The Ardagh Heritage centre which is housed in the old village schoolhouse, has an exhibition about the history of Ardagh, which is well worth a visit, they also host different Art and Craft events regularly.
For more on Ardagh, check out the Longford tourism site.
Special mention goes out to the Goldsmith Inn, a pub in nearby Edgeworthstown, where we first heard of the writer, they have a nice little history of Oliver Goldsmith, hanging along the walls of the pub.