• Saturday, 21 July 2012 19:37

Dromahair Village is around 15km from Manorhamilton and 6km from Sligo Town.  It is a pretty village with a historical past.  From the Drumkeeran road, you enter the village by the Devorgilla Bridge over the Bonnet River which flows into Lough Gill.  At one stage it was a market town with a fair green, a police barracks and a courthouse which are all gone now.  The village offers a wealth of picturesque scenery, wooded valleys, lakes, rivers and waterfalls.  Dromahair lies in the hilly north west of Leitrim amid some stunning unspoiled natural landscapes.  The "Sleeping Giant" mountain formation (comprising Keelogyboy, Leean and Benbo) is visible on approaches to the village, as is Lough Gill below the Slieve Dae6ne and Killerry mountain.  The village itself is idyllic and much of Dromahair was modeled on a village in Somersetby the Earl of Leitrim, and the central streetscape still follows the pattern set down by him.



It is also a town rich in history. Dromahair was once the capital of Breifne - an ancient Celtic kingdom that stretched from Kells in county Meath across county Cavan and north county Leitrim to county Sligo. It was the seat of the O'Rourkes -the ancient Kings of Breifne. The ruins of the O'Rourke castle (built c. 950 AD) and banqueting hall are present in the village. It is also the place from which Devorgilla (wife of Tiernan O'Rourke) eloped with Dermot McMurrough (the King of Leinster) in 1153 to Fernso an act which brought about a feud and McMurrough's eventual exile fromIreland. Creevelea Abbey, located on the outskirts of the village, is a Franciscan Friary which was founded in 1508 and was in useu ntil the 17th century when the Franciscans were forced to leave by the Cromwellian army. The nave, choir, tower and transept are well preserved and it is now protected as a national monument.

In addition, a castle constructed for Lord Villier (c. 1626) is present in the village. In 1798 General Humbert led Irish and French forces to defeat the British at battles in Castlebar and south Collooney. Humbert's forces were then pursued through Leitrim to Longford. His army is known to have rested in Dromahair and captured British artillery was thrown into the Bonet to allow faster movement of the army. William Butler Yeats used to visit the town regularly to meet the parish priest. He refers to that priest in his poem "The old priest Peter Gilligan" and to Dromahair in "The man who dreamed of Faeryland":

He stood among a crowd at Dromahair, His heart hung all upon a silken dress, And he had known at last some tenderness, Before earth took him to her stony care...

From Dromahair the river Bonet is central to its very name i.e the ridge of the west ford.  This well known salmon fishing river forms the ecclesiastical boundary between the dioceses of Kilmore and the diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise.  Indeed the most northerly parish in Ardagh and Clonmacnoise is the ancient parish of Killenummery and Killery, sometimes known as the “island parish” from the fact that it is cut off from the rest of the diocese.  The “friary of Killanummery” more commonly known as Creevelea Abbey is a very important historical landmark on the southern bank of the Bonet river which flows through Dromahair.

Local Amenities and Attractions:

Dromahair boasts several pubs and restaurants. It also contains a post office, library (open Wednesdays and Fridays 3pm to 8pm), there are a few convenience and general shops, hairdressers, butchers and garage, national school, 2 churches (Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland) as well as a Primary Health Center. Popular attractions include Creveelea Abbey (found a short distance across the foot bridge found behind the now cloased hotel) on the Tour De Humbert Cycling Trail (which passes through the village), Ard Nahoo Health Farm, Parke's Castle situated beside Lough Gill on the Sligo-Dromahair road (R286, 5 km NW of the village) and the Wild Rose Waterbus which offers tours of Lough Gill between Sligo and Parke's Castle.  Gilmors' shop sells fishing licenses for Juniors and Seniors and can advise on access points on the river.

Wild Rose Waterbus - In more recent times Lough Gill has seen the introduction of leisure cruises around the lake organised by George McGoldrick with his Wild Rose Waterbus.  Enjoy a cruise while George provides commentary on the myths, legends and history of Lough Gill and the famous isle of Innisfree.  Further information can be found on the following website www.roseofinnisfree.com

Creevelea Mill - This 19th century mill now houses the craft workshop and stores of the Board of Works. It contains three brass cannon salvaged from the Armada wrecks at Streedagh, (not always accessible to the public) and the Famine Soup Pot from Manorhamilton Workhouse.

Lough Doon is just a few miles from the picturesque village of Dromahair.  It is set in a beautiful landscape among surrounding hills and away from all main roadways.  There is a small roadway leading to the edge of the lake and a car parking area where, close by, two boats for hire are kept.  Lough Doon (also known to some as Therapy Lake) is a small but very rich limestone lake holding a wonderful stock of wild brown trout.  The lake is relatively unknown outside its locality despite the fact that a recent survey of the lake found that Lough Doon held a substantially higher trout stock that Killarney’s Lough Leane which is a famous salmon and trout lake.


Dromahair has both mens and ladies GAA clubs. In 2009 the mens club competed in RTEs Cetebrity Bainisteoir competition under comedian Katherine Lynch while the ladies team was unlucky not to win the Connacht Junior Championship, losing the final in a replay. In 2010 they lost in the Intermediate Championship Semi-Final to a Drumkeeran side.


Regional Roads R286 and R287 link Dromahair with Sligotown, the R290 links it with Collooney and the R280 with Manorhamilton.  Dromahair Railway station opened on I September 1881 as part of the  Sligo Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway connecting Sligoand Enniskillen. It finally closed on the 1st October 1957 with the closure of the line. Bus Eireann routes serving Dromahair include the 462, 469 and 470 which link Dromahair with Sligo, Drumkeeran and Manorhamilton.

Read 6986 times Last modified on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 12:13
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