Route1 – 66km
Ballaghaderreen – Portahard – Frenchpark – Rathcroghan – Tulsk – Castlerea – Loughglynn – Ballaghaderreen
Portahard Churchyard is on the N6 and contains the Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre which is located in the former Church of Ireland telling the life story of the first president of Ireland, Dr. Douglas Hyde (1860 – 1949). Dr. Hyde’s contribution to modern Ireland is highlighted in the exhibition by the use of informative charts, maps and photographs.
You will then pass through Frenchpark on the N6, this is the ancestral home of the French family who were 19th century political activists, one of whom was the founder of the Irish Women’s Franchise League.
Continue on the N6 and you will arrive in Rathcroghan, the legendary home of Queen Medhb of Connacht and one of the royal sites of Ireland. Continue on the N6 to Tulsk and visit Cruachán Aí visitor centre with over 5,000 years of legendary stories.
Follow the directions for Castlerea and while there visit Clonalis House built in 1878 and home of the O Connor family, direct descendants of the last high kings of Ireland.
On the way back to Ballaghaderreen visit Loughglynn Demesne which is famed in song and story. There is a beautiful view of Loughglynn House which was the seat of 19th century absentee landlord Viscount Dillon. Visit the memorial to Bergin and McDermott who were shot dead in a fierce gun battle during the War of Independence.
Route 2 – 70km
Ballaghaderreen – Gorthaganny – Ballyhaunis – Knock – Charlestown – Ballaghaderreen
From Ballaghaderreen take the R293 to Gorthaganny and Errit Lake with its kayaking centre and fishing facilities. Drive on to Ballyhaunis and visit the former Augustian Abbey founded in 1348. Take a leisurely stroll on the river walks on the grounds of the abbey.
Take the R323 towards Knock and view the many megalithic tombs that are visible from the roadside.Knock Shrine, the story of Knock Shrine began on Thursday evening 21st August 1879 when Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared at the gable of the church. Over two millon pilgrims visit Knock Shrine every year. Take the N17 towards Charlestown and visit Ireland West Airport on the way.
Charlestown, the town was the subject of a serialised commentary in the Irish Times by John Healy later published as ‘‘Death of an Irish Town’’ and republished as ‘‘No one shouted stop’’ in 1967. Return to Ballaghaderreen.
Route 3 – 96km
Ballaghaderreen – Frenchpark – Carrick- on- Shannon – LoughKey Forest Park – Boyle – Gurteen – Ballaghaderreen
From Ballaghaderreen take the N6. Postahard Churchyard is on the N6 and contains the Douglas Hyde Interpretative Centre which is located in the former Church of Ireland telling the life story of the first president of Ireland, Dr. Douglas Hyde (1860 – 1949). Dr. Hyde’s contribution to modern Ireland is highlighted in the exhibition by the use of informative charts, maps and photographs.
Frenchpark, also on the N6 is the ancestral home of the French family, 19th century political activists, one of whom was the founder of the Irish Women’s Franchise League.
From Frenchpark take the R370 to Carrick- on – Shannon. This county Leitrim town is a fording point on the river Shannon, home of the ancient stronghold of the O’ Rourkes of Brefni. The river is the gateway for cruisers to the Shannon to Erne Waterway.
Loughkey Forest Park is a well known visitor and activity centre. It is only 10km from Carrick – on-Shannon on the N4.
Boyle is a short distance from Loughkey Forest Park. It is located at the foot of the Curlew Mountains. It is close to the popular fishing lake of Lough Arrow. King House is the local visitor centre. Boyle is also the home of Boyle Abbey, a Cistercian abbey built in the 12th century. On the R294 is the small town of Gurteen. Gurteen contains the Coleman Traditional Music Centre which is a celebration of Irish music built in memory of Michael Coleman (1891-1945) who was famed as a traditional musician.
Return to Ballaghaderreen on the R293. On route visit Lough Gara and view the ancient crannógs, further along the route take a look at The Four Altars monument which is visible from the roadside.