Leitrim on the Web
The internet and the world-wide-web is a great leveller. Access to information, people, even places is no longer dependent on money, position, geographic location or academic qualification. I can promote myself, my business or even my beliefs to a global audience without getting up from my chair: I can be in Ballinamore and look up libraries in Boston; I can sell books from a shop in Carrick-on-Shannon to a person in Canberra; and I can read how Melvin Gaels is doing as easily in Kathmandu as in Kinlough. This article barely touches the tip of the 3 million pages that feature the word Leitrim but hopefully gives a flavour of the county and the enthusiastic people who take the time to bring Leitrim to a global audience.
Leitrim history and genealogy
For many outside Ireland, an internet search for Leitrim is driven by a desire to find old relatives and friends. If you want to discover a long-lost second cousin once removed (or you think you are that long lost cousin) go to http://genforum.genealogy.com/ireland/leitrim where lots of people are discussing their Leitrim roots and looking for information about ancestors. The Leitrim Genealogy Centre can point you to other resources at http://homepage.eircom.net/~leitrimgenealogy/ . My favourite site for Leitrim genealogy has to be www.leitrim-roscommon.com run by Ed Finn and Laurie McDonough in New Jersey. Here, you can learn the names of the 1533 townlands in Leitrim, or find out who lived where, in 1901: the entire 1901 census is on-line and searchable.
If you want to know the history of the place rather than the family tree, www.loughrynn.net is a well-researched site that covers the Lough Rynn estate, Lord Leitrim and Mohill during the 19th century. And if you want to go farther back in time to our mythical and spiritual origins, try out the Tuile Teanga Project (www.iol.ie/~sinann/ttp/home.html) at Teach Shinanna, Keshcarrigan: it seeks to ‘promote an understanding of the living power of the old Celtic stories and an awareness of their creative inspiration.’ For women, www.wisewomanireland.com promotes workshops on spirituality and natural healing based on ancient wisdom. (The wonderful centre at www.ardnahoo.com invites you to be pampered in a more modern way with massages, organic food and idyllic surroundings.)
Leitrim Arts and Tourism
Leitrim is of course a thriving centre for the arts and the key centers and festivals all have informative and active websites: see www.thedock.ie for an up-to-date listing of performances and exhibitions in Carrick-on-Shannon’s energetic new arts centre – from where you can also link to www.leitrimdesignhouse.com for a comprehensive selection of the best of Leitrim crafts and design. If you are visiting or based in Leitrim, there are lots of festivals and excellent trips to do around the county: the new www.carrickwatermusic.com festival presents jazz and opera, or for the more traditional, the www.joemooneysummerschool.com presents the best of Irish traditional music, song and dance; www.mohillstorytelling.com is fast becoming an annual fixture in the diaries of those interested in the traditional and modern art of storytelling. (This site will also take you to www.ironmountainmovies.com where you can view and buy Ronan Gallagher’s movies.) For ongoing events, www.theglenscentre.com has a fantastic schedule of music, theatre and arts programmes throughout the year.
The best Leitrim sites for tourists are www.leitrimtourism.com and www.countyleitrim.com. Both offer good links to the usual tourist activities, heritage sites, outdoor pursuits and of course accommodation. Eco-tourism is promoted at www.greenbox.ie which has excellent links to environmentally conscious attractions and Leitrim-based events. Most of the hotels in the county have their own dedicated websites, as indeed do many restaurants and all of the companies renting cruisers. Day trips I can personally recommend are Swan Island Farm at homepage.eircom.net/~swanislandfarm/ and the old Arigna Mines at www.arignaminerswayandhistoricaltrail.com. And for anglers, www.lakelandfishery.com seems to provide all you will need for a good day on the river and you can relax later on at Leitrim’s mobile movies (www.leitrimcinema.ie).
Leitrim sport (GAA)
There are a number of web-sites run by dedicated people which keep Leitrim exiles in touch with GAA results and goings-on in their home clubs. Perhaps, more than any other sites, these give an indication of the level of enthusiasm and dedication to broadcasting local news world-wide. The county web site is at www.leitrimgaa.ie which has links to sites dedicated to the exploits and shenanigans at Aughavas, Bornacoola, Carrigallen, Cloone, Eslin, Fenagh-St. Caillins, Glenfarne, Melvin Gaels, Gortletteragh and Kiltubrid. (Come on Mohill!). All Leitrim GAA results are available on www.hoganstand.com/Leitrim.
Keeping in touch
Lots of towns have dedicated web sites, some created in a fit of enthusiasm and abandoned, others tended lovingly by their creators and driven by a passion to inform and communicate. Amongst the best are www.ballinamore.ie, www.fenagh.com, www.mohill.com (looked after by this author); www.mohillparish.ie run by Fr. Ber Hogan deserves special mention as an excellent site where you can keep in touch with church notices and even count the weekly dues. For regular, up-to-date information and news of Leitrim and your home town go to www.leitrimobserver.ie and click on your town; or listen to local radio live at any time of the day on www.shannonside.ie.
The Leitrim businesses that appear to be embracing the web with the most zeal are the auctioneers. Almost all are represented on the net (and are listed on www.mohill.com ). The same is true for Hotels and Bed & Breakfast establishments. A favourite bookshop, Trinity Rare Books is at www.iol.ie/~nickk/ where Nick can help you to find a rare (or even not so rare) book. For the more active, www.powersourcesurfboards.com in Kinlough will make you a hand-crafted custom surfboard to ride the waves off Leitrim’s three miles of coastline. And if you want, you can even buy a Cavalier King Charles or Bichon Frise at www.irishtoydogs.com. Making an impact far outside its local area is www.theorganiccentre.ie in Rossinver which provides training, information and demonstrations of organic gardening, growing and farming and has an on-line seed catalogue; similarly www.livingarchitecturecentre.com is an internet-based school of sustainable building design and construction. ‘Official’ Leitrim is represented by www.leitrimcoco.ie and www.leitrim.ie, both run by the County Council; Leitrim Enterprise Board has an informative site at www.leitrimenterprise.ie and both have lots more room for local businesses to post links.
Finally, if you were ever embarrassed by not knowing all the words of Lovely Leitrim (or indeed because you know them), you will find them at www.irishsongs.com/lyrics.php (scroll down to the song).
Again, the sites listed here are a very small sample of what is on offer in virtual Leitrim and I apologise for the many worthy sites that have been omitted (none intentionally). All the sites are posted on http://www.mohill.com/leitrimlinks and all were live as at 1st November 2006; again, apologies for omissions or any unworkable links. And finally, please feel free to send new links for posting on www.mohill.com.
An earlier version of this article from 2003 can be found here.
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