Ballinamore is a very popular stopping point on the banks of the canal. It is a friendly town with plenty of attractions and activities to take full advantage of, including horse riding, golf, and hill walking. The town has lively a nightlife with some fine traditional pubs and restaurants where the craic is generally described as “mighty”!
Ballinamore lies in the ancient place known as the Valley of the Black Pig, 20 km from the border with Northern Ireland. It is an old market town which was founded in the 17thcentury. Its population grew during the 18th century when a number of settlers travelled here from County Down, having been forced off their own land. The skills of these people, blacksmiths and ironworkers, allowed the town to flourish into an important hub of trade and craft.
Glenview Folk Museum is located only 500 yards from Lock 4 and is one of the hidden gems along the canal. The Kennedy family, who run the museum, are happy to provide all visitors with a tour of this magical museum and a visit is highly recommended. Through their diligent efforts they have managed to recreate and preserve the very apparatus of life in Leitrim during the 19th and 20th centuries and the collection now stands at over 7000 objects. This is an interactive experience and the family actively encourage visitors to touch, feel and inspect these precious items from a way of life long gone.
Solas Art Gallery, located on the main street offers a tranquil and alluring experience. The gallery is a locally-run community initiative which hosts various quality exhibitions throughout the year. Celebrating its fifth year in operation this July it has become a very popular centre of art and culture attracting people from near and far.
The famous Irish novelist John McGahern lived in Knockanroe, which is a kilometre from the town. Before McGahern’s death in 2006 he was described as “the greatest living Irish novelist” by The Observer. His most popular novels include That They May Face the Rising Sun and Amongst Women. Why not join the local library and check one of these out for your trip? It is located in the centre of the town and has a large DVD collection, Wi-Fi and computer kiosks.
Fenagh Abbey is located 3 km from Ballinamore and was once the site of Europe’s most famous Divinity school. The abbey, which was founded in the 5thcentury by Saint Callin, is now occupied by the ruins of a medieval church. There is a visitors centre close to the grounds which provide tours of the abbey and a nearby dolmen. The centre contains a café, entertainment for children and information on the history of the abbey and the surrounding areas.
Ballinamore is a town full of activities and heritage, from hill walking through the lands of O’Rourke to angling and golf. There are plenty of pubs and restaurants to enjoy within the town where Irish and European food are popular and trad music is most commonly heard in the evenings. Phillip, who runs the local Locaboat Company near the bridge, will be happy to provide you with any more information you require on the surrounding tourist attractions.