While nowhere in Longford made it onto this week’s reader-generated list for the ‘Irish Times’ Best Place to Live Awards, there were four impassioned pitches for Longford areas to be included.
500-word essays on Killashee Bog, Aughnacliffe and two separate entries for Abbeyshrule were submitted to the ‘Irish Times’ in recent weeks in their hunt for the best place to live award, which was narrowed down to a shortlist of five this week.
The organisers encouraged residents from every different nook and cranny to come forward and sell what is special about their area. Entry requirements were very broad as towns, suburbs, tiny villages, remote rural spots, tiny communities halfway up a mountain, streets, roads and housing estates were all invited to participate.
One man who took the challenge was Cathal McWeeny who made a passionate plea for Killashee bog. Killashee bog, he wrote, “symbolises a return to an inter-uterine state in which we all strive to return to masquerade our blind entanglement in Samsara.” He calls on people to appreciate the beautiful, peaceful surrounds of the bog and its freedom from “the annoyance of light pollution or noise pollution.”
Finishing with aplomb, he paraphrases Oscar Wilde: “some of us may be lying in the bog but still staring at the stars.”
Frank Columb made a similar pitch in his submission for Aughnacliffe entitled, “A crowded isolation.” Making reference to the village’s “three dolmens and two forts”, its lakelands and its wildlife, Frank sells the area as a quiet, calming location to live. He also singles out the people of the area for their “wry sense of humour that is coupled with a facetious attitude to life,” adding “humour is the glue that helps bond the society together.”
Working on the old adage that home is where the heart is, Frank claims that former inhabitants “repeatedly return in thought to their home...their minds will revert to Aughnacliffe and yearn for the peacefulness that it provides.”
Abbeyshrule received two pitches, from authors Anne Skelly and Séamus Mac Aogáin. Mr Mac Aogáin, who published a series of short stories on the village entitled ‘The Road to Abbeyshrule’ wrote that the area is “under populated in the best possible sense” providing rural tourism in many different forms, such as fishing and hunting.
For Anne Skelly, “Abbeyshrule represents a sanctuary where I can live my life in green open spaces characterised by birdsong, starlight, and vast tracts of bogland where the only sound to be heard is the haunting cry of the curlew.” On a personal note, she says the village holds a special place in her heart as it was where she met and later married the love of her life.
n If you missed out on a chance to sell your own area, don’t worry as the Longford Leader will be inviting submissions for the ‘Best Place to Live in Longford’ in future editions.