Irish: Droim Sean Bhoth
Drumshanbo is a small town at the heart of County Leitrim. Drumshanbo is surrounded by a scenic area of soft rolling hills, woodlands, lakes and the Sliabh an Iarainn and Arigna Mountains. It is a beautifully preserved traditional town with traditional pubs, shops and restaurants.
The town takes its name from the Irish, Druim-Sean-Bhoth or "Ridge of the old huts".
Drumshanbo standa at the lower tip of Lough Allen the third biggest lake on the River Shannon. It is overlooked by Sliabh an Iarainn, the iron mountain, which is 1,919 feet high, with a history of iron being mined there for over three hundred years.
Local industries include: metalwork fabrication, sign-makers, plant hire and refuse disposal, tele-sales, joinery works and many small craft businesses. Laird House was developed recently and it includes offices and a crèche facility. Currently the site of the old factory premises is being redeveloped by the Community Council to house a large food production facility. Anchor tenants are already secured and it is anticipated to generate up to 100 jobs in the industry.
Drumshanbo provides fine and ample housing. Much of it is unoccupied, after the collapse of the housing market in 2007.
Drumshanbo once had a railway station, opened on 2 May 1888. It closed on 1 April 1959. It was part of the narrow gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway.
In the centre of the town there is the Sliabh an Iarann visitors' centre, where an audio-visual display takes visitors through local scenery and highlights the history of coal and iron mining in the area.
A wide variety of walks, including hill-walking, can be explored within a 5-km radius of Drumshanbo. Many walking routes around the lake have been signed posted by the Council. Also, for the more adventurous, Slí Liatroma is a 48-km walk between Drumshanbo, Dowra, and Manorhamilton.
Less than a mile outside the town is the heated outdoor swimming pool at Acres Lake Amenity. Also there are tennis courts, a playground, and a jetty for cruisers which have travelled from Carrick on Shannon via Leitrim Village. The Teach Ceoil or Music House is also situated here. It is used as a venue for music sessions etc.
At the Mayflower Community Centre, bingo is run every Monday night. Handball and badminton facilities are also available as well as other events such as Discos, Concerts, plays and the mobile cinema. Aras Padraig is another community premises which is used for various local groups to meet. Some classes are organised there by the local women’s group.
For the angler, Lough Allen is the largest lake in the vicinity and has a reputation for coarse angling. The lake has a plentiful supply of trout, pike, perch, rudd and roach. However, there is also an abundance of good fishing at small locations all around the surrounding area. It is possible to rent cruisers to navigate the waterways and enjoy the natural unspoilt countryside of the area. Lough Allen also is ideal for wind surfing, canoeing and other water sports.
Moorlands Equestrian Centre has been established over ten years ago and it provides a comprehensive range of activities, which include all aspects of equestrian sport. It is an outstanding facility for the novice to the advanced rider. For the visitor there is pony trekking, mountain trails, lakeside rides or cross-country treks.
Drumshanbo also is an ideal base for the golfing enthusiast. There are four courses in the area. These include Carrick on Shannon (18 holes), Blacklion (9 holes), Slieve Russell (18 holes), and Ballinamore (9 holes).
Drumshanbo has a growing population of over 1,000 However this peaks the third week of July when the town hosts the Joe Mooney Summer School for Irish Music. This festival is now in its sixteenth year and attracts Irish music enthusiasts from all over the world. As the name suggests it is a memorial and tribute to the late Joseph Mooney, County Councillor and townsman who did so much to promote the cause of Leitrim and his beloved town.
The An Tostal festival in June also has an emphasis on Irish music and culture. This was established nationwide in the 1950s by Bord Failte as a tourist promotion to encourage emigrants home. Drumshanbo is the only location in Ireland where it has survived into the 21st century.
Drumshanbo has three churches and a convent.
- Church of Ireland: St John’s, which was built in to 1829. It is a gothic style structure ornamented with a tower and pinnacles.
- Methodist: Drumshanbo Methodist Church was built in 1850, though there had been an earlier chapel dating back to 1760s.
- Roman Catholic: St Patrick, built in 1845, it commemorates Saint Patrick’s first crossing of the Shannon nearby. The old church stood on a site in the famine graveyard in 1744 further out of town.
The Poor Clare Convent was built in 1860. The Sisters are Franciscian Poor Clares and as such observe strict enclosure, recite the Divine Office in choir and maintain Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The nuns pray around the clock and as it is an enclosed order they never leave the convent except in the event of a medical emergency.
Historic sites and attractions
- Famine Graveyard: Some 500 victims of the Great Famine (1845/47) are thought to have been buried here.
- Sliabh an Iarainn Visitor Centre
- Crannogs in Lough Allen
Near Blackrock, which facilitates boat access from the canal to Lough Allen, Crannongs (lake dwellings) can be seen when the lake levels are low. These consist of stones arranged in an oval shape and circularly in a raised formation off the shoreline.
- RTÉ Radio’s "Saturdayview": Saturdayview
- "Drumshanbo station". Railscot - Irish Railways. http://www.railscot.co.uk/Ireland/Irish_railways.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
- An Tostal Festival