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Aran Inspired

Taghmon Church / St. Munna's Church

Located in a village with the charming name of Crookedwood, near Lough Derravaragh in county Westmeath, the Church of Taghmon, this 14th century church is a relatively well-preserved ruin. It is a fortified church, making it appear more of a castle than a building of prayer. The church is also known as St. Munna's Church, and the old Gaelic name for the castle Tigh-Munna means "house of Munna".

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Hill of Uisneach

The Hill of Uisneach (Ish-nock) is one of Ireland's most ancient ceremonial sites, similar in importance to the Hill of Tara, though relatively few Irish people know of it. While it is today just an inconspicuous looking field, Uisneach was long a famous landmark, associated with the ancient May Day festival of Bealtaine (Bahl-tehn-ah), when people throughout Ireland lit bonfires and travelled to this hill. Located in rural County Westmeath, Uisneach was believed to be the centre of the island of Ireland. If you look at the Google map toward the bottom of this page, you can see this (zoom out). Technically, Uisneach is not exactly the geographical centre, but they didn't have GPS or satellites 2,000 years ago!

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Multyfarnham Franciscan Friary

Renovated in 1976, the church at Multyfarnham Franciscan Friary encompasses portions of an original 15th century structure, such as the tower and nave. In 1827, the church was rebuilt around these older portions. This friary represents the only building of the monastery to survive, as the chancel and domestic outbuildings have all disappeared. The Franciscans started their community here in 1236, and the friary became a widely respected learning centre. Persecution made survival difficult, but the Franciscans stayed on and built the church, where they remained until the 1830s. The Friary church today is a special place, situated in the pastoral midlands.

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Inishbofin Early Christian Monastery

This ecclesiastical site near Athlone was founded in the mid-fifth century by St. Rioch. Of all the original buildings, only the ruins of two churches still exist. In the northern church, the nave, transept and sacristy survive. The sacristy was added onto the church, probably during the 15th century, along with the transept and a few sound examples of medieval windows. A primitive and irregular wall surrounds the ruins of this structure. The church located to the south is of nave and chancel design and exhibits round and pointed doors and windows. Inishbofin monastery was attacked repeatedly over the centuries by a variety of enemies, including the Vikings. Evidence of their raids in the 10th century was found here in the form of Viking bronze work from that time period.

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Lough Derravaragh

Lough Derravaragh in county Westmeath, 10 miles / 12 km from Mullingar, is a beautiful, shimmering, freshwater lake. Also known as Donore Lake, it is one of the highest situated large lakes in Ireland, at about 210 feet above sea level -- which gives it a dominating aspect over the neighbouring countryside. Lough Derravaragh is an exceptionally good pike lake and, while fishing from the shore is possible, boats are preferred by local anglers. Roach, bream and trout stocks are also plentiful. Tip: Be familiar with the laws and permits required for coarse fishing in Ireland before setting out, especially if you are angling for pike.

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