Places of Interest

There are many places you can explore while you are out in your boat from Lakeside Day Boat Hire. The following are some suggestions for you to help with the planning of your trip as well as some general information on the area.

Carberry island

This beautifully wooded island is shrouded in mystery. The name is believed to come from Carbery (or Cairbre) one of the eight sons of Niall of the Nine Hostages, a fourth century High-King of Tara. The surname Carberry is still found in the vicinity of Athlone and perhaps they are descended from this Carbery. At one point in its history, towards the end of the nineteenth century, it was used as a headquarters of Athlone Yacht Club before the club reformed to become Lough Ree Yacht Club.

Coosan point

Was originally served by a ferry to facilitate travel to Athlone from Killinure and beyond. In 1845 eight men were drowned when the ferry carrying them across to Killinure capsized. A monument, unveiled at Coosan Point in 2012, commemorates all those who have lost their lives in Lough Ree. It is home to many notable people including Harry Rice, Founding member of IWAI(Inland Waterways Association of Ireland)

Killinure house

A detached seven-bay, two-storey country house, built c.1790, which retains much of its early character despite being greatly extended and altered in use in recent years. This house was originally constructed by a branch of the Murray Family and was later the home of the Maunsell Family in the mid-to-late nineteenth-century. This fine house, which occupies a very picturesque setting overlooking Killinure Lough/Lough Ree to the south. It remains an important element of the architectural heritage of Westmeath despite the oversized extensions that have consumed the original structure, obscuring much of its original appeal and charm. The present house occupies the site of an earlier castle at Killinure indicated on the Down Survey map of the area, c.1656-8, at it is possible that it contains fabric from this earlier structure.

Killinure point

Killinure Point is situated at the south-eastern end of Lough Ree in County WestmeathIreland, on the River Shannon surrounded on three sides by water. It is in the townland of Glassan (or Glasson) and is the south-western peninsula of the larger area of Killinure. The Point is on the mouth of the Inner Lakes namely Killinure LoughCoosan Lough and Ballykeeran Lough. It is roughly 0.2 km from Coosan Point (by line of sight), which is the opposite side of the narrow waterway forming the mouth of the Inner Lakes. However to circumnavigate the Inner Lakes by roadway is a trip of almost 15 km (approx). The name Killinure derives from the Irish for the ‘Church of the Yew Tree’. The land at Killinure Point was the property of the local Waterston (or Waterstown) House landlord, originally granted in the Cromwellian era eventually changed into private hands in the late 19th century.

St Marks House

The history of St Mark’s is something we are currently “unearthing”. The original house and property is clearly marked on the first Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI) 6 inch map (1837-1842) The property has been in the Hopkins family since 1941. Prior to that was owned by John J. Potts, Esq, and is listed in the 1837 publication “A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland” by Samuel Lewis.

BENOWEN or BUNNOWN

A parish, in the barony of KILKENNY WEST, county of WESTMEATH, and province of LEINSTER, 2 ¾ miles (N. by E.) from Athlone; containing 1418 inhabitants. This parish forms the north-eastern bank of an arm of Lough Ree, called the Inner Lake, and, near the village of Glasson,. touches for a few perches on the road from Athlone to Ballymahon. It was the retreat of Sir James Dillon, when driven from Athlone, which he had taken, in 1641, by one of the boldest military manoeuvres on record. In his retreat from that place Sir James at first took up his quarters at Bally-Kieran, and afterwards retired to the castle of Killinure, in this parish, whence, in about three weeks, he recaptured Athlone, which, after a short occupation, he was again compelled to abandon. The parish comprises 2937 statute acres, as applotted under the tithe act: about 160 acres are underwood and bog, and of the remainder, the principal portion is arable and pasture. Agriculture is in a state of slow but progressive improvement; the only waste lands are the rocky shores of the lake.

http://www.libraryireland.com/topog/B/Benowen-Kilkenny-West-Westmeath.php

John J. Potts of Saint Marks is listed in “A Return of Game Licences” 25 March 1810. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~dutillieul/ZOtherPapers/DJSep291810.html

St Mark’s is mentioned in many publications some of which are available to browse in St Mark’s B&B.

Portlick Castle

A late medieval tower house castle near the village of GlassonCounty WestmeathIreland,of some 6 miles from Athlone on the shores of Lough Ree. It comprises a square late medieval 4-storey stone tower with an attached 2-storey Georgian wing and Victorian tower. Sir Henry de Leon, accompanied Prince John (later King John) of England to Ireland, after the initial invasion by the Earl of Pembroke (Strongbow) back in 1169, and was granted large areas of land in the Westmeath area. The Dillon family blazon has a red lion in the centre surrounded by three red shields. The surname eventually evolved from De-lee-on to Di-lee-on to Dillon. The Gaelic version of this surname is “Diolun”. A branch of the Dillons were granted the lands of Portlick and probably constructed the medieval motte located nearby. This would have been their primary fortification and probable residence until the castle was constructed in the late medieval period. From then on they resided at the castle until 1696 when Garrett Dillon was attainted under the Articles of Limerick. It was then granted to Thomas Keightly, a member of King William’s privy council, who in turn sold it to William Palmer of Dublin.

Subsequently the grant was repudiated and the property repossessed by the crown. It was sold to the Reverend Robert Smyth (Smith) in 1703. A member of the Smyth family lived in Portlick Castle until 1955. The Smyths built the Georgian residential wing and in 1860 Robert Ralph Smyth built a castellated 3-storey tower block at the front of the Georgian addition to give the building its current twin tower appearance.

The 2012 owner is an out-of-country businessman who lives in Portlick Castle for six weeks per year during the winter. The entire castle can be rented during the other forty-six weeks of the year for 1,000 euros per night. It was recently for sale, with 19 acres of land, for 2.29 million euros

Portlick Castle has been widely reputed to be haunted by a ghost known as the “Blue Lady.” Many guests who have stayed at Portlick Castle claim to have seen the Blue Lady during their visits, as well as the owner who reportedly claims to have seen her gliding down the staircase. The blue lady has also been said to haunt Kilkenny Castle, Monkstown Castle (Cork,) the Sharon Rectory, and the Workhouse Museum in Derry. It is also said that Portlick Castle is haunted by the phantom of a prisoner in its dungeon.

Rathcline Castle (53º39.098’N 8º0.010’W)

Rathcline Castle is an impressive ruin south of the town of Lanesborough. The castle comprises fortified buildings from a number of different eras; a legacy of the rich and complex history of the area. These include a tower house and enclosed bawn or bailey, and a 17th century fortified manor house, which was later remodelled. The site is traditionally held to be the residence of the O’Quinn family, who in the early medieval period were known as the ‘Lords of Rathcline’. They likely built the tower house in the 14th or 15th century, of which only a portion of the southern and eastern walls survive, along with some decorated stonework, a double-garderobe which hint at the stateliness of the medieval castle. By the 16th century the castle was in the hands of the O’Farrell clan; however in 1627 it was granted to Sir Thomas Dutton who built a fortified manor against its northern wall. During subsequent remodelling by Sir George Lane sometime around 1667, the tower house and manor house were unified.

Rathcline house (53º38.925’N 7º59.897’W)

Possibly originally built as a hunting/fishing lodge. Later in use as a convent (Sisters of Mercy), c. 1956 to c. 1970, and now in use as a private house.. Rathcline House was in the ownership of Luke White in 1824 and in 1837 (Pigot’s Directory). The Whites were an important family and a number of members served as M. P.s, Lord Lieutenants and High Sheriffs of County Longford (and as M. Ps and Lord Lieutenants for County Dublin) during the first half of the nineteenth century. They were later granted the title Baron Annaly in 1863. The White family also owned Luttrellstown Castle, near Clonsilla (County Dublin), which Luke White bought from the Luttrell family c. 1800. This suggests that Rathcline House may have been built as a hunting lodge. It was later the home of a St. George Johnston (rented from White family), who rented 1,139 acres in Longford during the 1870s. It was described as both the home of St. George Johnston and as a vacant property in the ownership of Lord Annaly in 1894 (Slater’s Directory). Rathcline House was later used to accommodate Sister of Mercy nuns (1956 to c. 1970) who ran a school at nearby Lanesborough. The flat-roofed extension to the rear has a stained glass window of ecclesiastically character to one of the openings, perhaps indicating that it was built c. 1956 for use as a chapel by the nuns then resident there.

Portrunny (53º59.155’N 8º06.398’W)

Portrun (IrishPort Reanna, meaning “Bank of the Point”) is a lakeside hamlet, located on the bank of Lough Ree on the River Shannon in County Roscommon. It has mooring facilities for boats, a children’s playground and picnic tables; and is a popular resort in the summer months for walkers and tourists alike. St. Diarmuid’s holy well is located here, and it is said that he often stopped in Portrun here on the way to the sanctuary of Inchcleraun (Quaker Island), where the ruins of seven churches can still be seen today

Galey (53º34.668’N 8º03.950’W)

The ruins of Galey castle can be found here. It was once the stronghold of the O’Kelly clan and was instrumental in the naming of the nearby village of Knockcroghery. The name change of the village occurred in Cromwellian times (17th century) when Sir Charles Coote laid siege to Galey Castle. The garrison resisted and for their defiance were taken to Creggan (The old name for Knockcroghery) and hanged on the hill just north of the village, now commonly known as Hangman’s Hill. To mark this, the name of the village was changed to “Cnoc na Crocaire,” the Hill of the Hangings, or in english – “Knockcroghery”.

Lecarrow (53º32.799’N 8º3.250’W)

The little village of Lecarrow to the northwest of Lough Ree has recently undergone an extensive renovation of its marina and is easily accessed through the pristine Lecarrow Canal.  A short walk from the marina you will find Coffey’s bar and shop and the wonderful Yew Tree restaurant, which make up the nucleus of the town. The marina is fully equipped with modern facilities.

Nearby at Rinn Duin peninsula is one of Ireland’s best kept secrets. This is the Rinn Duin Castle estate, one of the most well-preserved deserted Norman towns in Ireland. Its grounds contain nine heritage sites including the castle, gatehouse, windmill, church, a perimeter wall with three towers, a hospital and a bee pole. There is a looped 4 km sign posted walking trail which will guide you through all the sites and begins at St John’s House, which is a about a 1.5 mile walk from the marina. It is certainly a must-see attraction. You can also pull up at the peninsula and row in, however, anchoring in the Viking harbour is forbidden.

The Yew Tree restaurant is very popular in these parts and provides for a wonderfully wholesome experience. It is just a short walk from the marina and offers a warm welcome for all those cruising the Shannon. Close to the restaurant is Coffey’s pub which hosts live music on Wednesday nights and is generally a hive of activity during the summer months.

Mount Plunkett (53º33.077’N 8º2.617’W)

Located in the town-land of Mount Plunkett in Lecarrow, County Roscommon. The Nature reserve provides a perfect habitat to numerous species of animals such as barn owls, kestrel, lapwing, kingfisher, pheasants, ducks, frogs, badgers and many more! It is breathtaking

St Johns Wood (53º33.506’N 8º0.392’W)

St John’s Wood is one of the best and most important woodlands in Ireland. It was ranked 5th out of 1312 sites by the Native Woodland Survey report. Covering over 300 acres, this ancient woodland offers a rare view of how woodland is managed for biodiversity

Rindoon (53º32.138’N 7º59.264’W)

On the western shores of Lough Ree you’ll discover an unexpected historical gem. On St. John’s Point peninsula lies the abandoned medieval town of Rindoon. With its town wall, castle, medieval hospital, church and mill there is nothing that compares to it anywhere in Ireland or the UK. Built in the first half of the 13th century and abandoned a few hundred years later, the site has remained largely untouched.

Hodson Bay   (53º28.032’N 7º59.234’W)

This broad inlet is greatly dominated by the modern Hodson Bay Hotel which is surrounded by the links of Athlone Golf club, The 5 southernmost bays of the hotel actually comprised the original 3 storey house. The area was originally known as the Great Berries, a corruption of Barrymore, the local townland name. The Hodson family, descendants of a 17th century bishop of Elphin, who resided there from 1758, were believed to be the probable builders. Patrick (PJ) Lenihan purchased the property in 1947 and opened the house as the hotel, become for a time the home of two leading modern politicians; his children, Brian Lenihan senior and Mary O’Rourke, each of whom held a number of senior cabinet appointments.