16 Jan 2022

My Longford Life: Ann Gerety-Smyth and Annette Corkery

My Longford Life:  Ann Gerety-Smyth and Annette Corkery

Founders of Creative Ardagh, a historical and mythological storytelling experience, Ann and Annette share their favourites aspects of Longford

What's your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend in Longford?

There are so many beautiful walks in the county, such as Cairn Hill, Derycassin Woods, The Bog Walk at Corlea and of course the Brí Leith Walk on Ardagh 'Mountain'. Any perfect weekend involves a visit to Ardagh. We're both fascinated with the heritage and history of the county and often take a wander to examine the monuments that are freely available for people to explore such as the Dolmens in Aughnacliffe, the bog road in Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre , the highest motte and bailey of the country in Granard and the Knights and Conquest Heritage Centre.

Who has made the greatest contribution to Longford in your lifetime - and why?

That's a tough question, there are so many good people on the ground working away to make Longford a better place. If we were pressed to include one particular unsung hero who is an example of giving way and above to make Longford great, we can't think of any better than Pat Kelleher.

What's your first Longford memory?

Ann - While I was born in Kenagh, we left when I was one. I do remember at a young age holding Granny Corkery's hand crossing over from her house in Ardnacassa to visit her friend in a house that you stepped down from the path through the gates into, an older cottage type house.

Annette - When I think of Longford when I was younger, I remember all the little shops that sold different things. Cullen's, Ward's and Kileen's for shoes, Vaughan's, Farrells and QuinnCo for all sorts of treasures.

Do you have a favourite local writer or author (or artist or musician)?

Ann - I have a bit of a grá for John Keegan Casey, a romantic full of ideals and a love of nature, and an inspirational rebel.

Annette - There are so many talented people in Longford that I couldn't pick just one. Engage Longford have been working hard for the last six years to promote contemporary visual art and have showcased many local and international artists.

What about a local walk - or view?

Brí Leith would have to be our favourite, as we've been encouraging people to walk on it since 2012 with Brendan Farrell of Ardagh Eco Gardens on the Annual Bilberry Sunday Walk, the last Sunday of July. We also worked closely with County Longford Tourism to help their effort to make what was once a muddy trek into a walk for all to enjoy. The view of the village and beyond is beautiful.

What do you think gives Longford its unique identity?

The people. They are resilient and welcoming and it is great to see such a diverse society in such a small area of the country all working to make Longford a better place.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Longford today?

Climate Change is the biggest challenge for all the people of the world and also for Longford. It needs to be addressed globally and locally now.

If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Longford, what would it be?

Longford needs better walkways and bicycle paths to all the big towns from the surrounding areas, for example, a cycle path from Ardagh through the bog and up to Farnagh Hill might encourage more cycling to work and the same could happen everywhere in the county. The tracks are there waiting to be developed.

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