Why life is pretty great when you’re living in Longford
Having lived away for quite some time, and settled in Longford these past eight months (time flies!) I wanted to voice why I love Longford life.
Between Dublin for college, Cork for work, Galway for college and flying to Germany for work and an adventure, most of my adult life has been lived outside of Longford.
Rather than re-hash the usual and unnecessary negativity, it’s time to shout about why we’re great. As someone who has lived elsewhere, and quite a few elsewhere’s, I feel that my point of view is quite distinguished. Knowing what other towns and counties and even countries are like I can justify what I love about living here.
The idea of hating the place you live in is foreign to me. It’s a must in life to go and experience, and learn about other places before making an affirmative decision of where you will ultimately end up. You can’t judge one place, if you’ve never been anywhere else for longer than a few days.
Here’s the reasons why lots of us love Longford life:
- The People: Longford people are the most kind, caring and generous people I’ve ever met. They’re friendly, supportive and always happy to see you do well. There’s “begrudgers” everywhere and in every town, but luckily in my experience there’s little of that here. Everyone wants the best life they can have in this town and are all striving to make it a better place for each other.
- The Charity: This could slot in above but it really needs its own point. Longford folk are the most charitable people in the world. From completely getting behind and fundraising for the Attic House, to constantly plugging the importance of St Christopher’s, Good2Talk, Bethany House and any sick little child or adult who just needs a helping hand; Longford people always dig deep and are not afraid to encourage others to do so. There’s always a willing team of volunteers at every event.
- The Colours: One of the first things I remarked on on moving home from Germany, was how bright and beautiful the town is. It’s a testament to the hard work of the Tidy Towns who also fall into the above status of amazing, giving people. As time has moved on, the colours have become brighter and more so; just look at what the artists at this year’s Cruthú Arts Festival have created around the town. No other small regional town can claim to have beautiful street art like we do.
The Activities: There’s loads to do here and anyone who says otherwise just hasn’t gotten out and about to find it. For example, I travelled to Longford every week from Dublin in November and December to do a film making course in an amazing TV studio..yes..in Longford!! Which cost €50!! You wouldn’t get it anywhere else. Since I’ve moved home I’ve joined The Mall swimming pool, the Backstage Theatre Group and volunteered in The Attic. Took part in The Longford Rose (ok not for everyone but a good way to meet young people), went to various charity gigs in town, organised a charity gig, Longford Summer Festival, Cruthú Arts Festival. To be honest, in the last
few months my social calendar has never been so full.
- The Activities Part Two: While the above are arranged events, clubs, festivals and maybe not what everyone is in to; there’s lots more. From beautiful run ways all along the Royal Canal there’s miles of peaceful areas. Of course fabulous well-kept Mall Park in Longford which has a gym, a swimming pool, an outdoor gym, two playgrounds and the Camlin all within the same grounds. Also, Derrycassin Wood, Newcastle Wood, swimming in Lough Gowna, Tarmonbarry, Lanesboro, Ballymahon and Killashee in the canal (I’ve done this it’s lovely) I could go on. Longford county is so beautiful, all you need to do is jump on your bike and go really experience it for yourself.
- Health and Fitness: Again, floating into activities but there’s so much! Two swimming pools and countless gyms, exercise classes, yoga, two massive triathlon clubs, cycling clubs, running clubs all across the county, a free parkrun every Saturday, it’s a wonderfully fit and positive place to be.
- The Businesses: Longford Town (I’m not too familiar with our smaller towns’ businesses) has some really fabulous shops. I’m not naming any for fear of leaving people out but beautiful clothes shops, fabulous shoe shops, lingerie stores and massive enterprises you would be surprised to find here. It’s a thriving place which is only improving.
The Nightlife: Longford people are great craic and no matter where you go in the county you’ll find the craic. From McGowan’s in Newtown, to MacPartland’s in Clondra to all the hustle and bustle in Longford town; it’s always a good night. I have three
favourite bars in particular – Tally Ho, John Browne’s and Andy Byrne’s but would love for you to share in the comments where your watering hole is. What’s more, on those nights you do end up in the Spiral Tree, you usually end up having a good time but never like to really admit it. Nowadays, I tend to retire to The Longford Arms for a good dance and a few sociables.
The Restaurants: Slots into the above but deserves its own. The food in Longford is fabulous and with lots of varieties of award winnin restaurants
, you’re in for a real treat. New places are beginning to pop-up and we still love our old favourites; there’s something for everyone and it’s all delicious.
- The Determination and Community Spirit: For a town which never really got the full benefit of the Celtic Tiger, and which was badly decimated by the recession, we surely pulled ourselves off the floor. With no TD to stand our ground, we seem to have more community spirit than ever before; knowing that we have to do this ourselves. St Mel’s Cathedral was completely destroyed, yet we did not falter and worked until it stood proud once more. At one time Longford was named the second dirtiest town in Ireland, but eleven years on it was named the cleanest town in Ireland. On April Fools Day 2014, the country laughed as the announcement was made that Center Parcs was coming to Longford. Yet it was true and from 2019 we will have tourists flock to our county and will see what we see; a beautiful place to visit. We were knocked down, but we got back up again and now it’s our time to shine.
When explaining how much I love Longford life and feel so at home here, someone said to me “that’s because nothing ever changes, there’s no nasty surprises”. They were right, but not in a negative way. I love that I can walk up the town at lunch time and chat to people I know who I run into on the street, I love knowing my bar man, I love knowing what crowd will be in each bar depending on the kind of night you’re looking for, I love knowing what restaurants are continuously good, I love the routine, the continued friendliness. I love that Longford never changes, and I hope it never does. Don’t change a thing Longford, you’re spectacular as you are.
There’s always ways we can work to improve, for one if the Royal Canal could be fully reopened. We work the best with what we have and what we have is pretty special; it’s just up to each of us to open our eyes and hearts to appreciate the good stuff.