New trail is a stroll down memory lane

Paddy Tuohy, Castleconnell Tidy Towns and Henry Nash, chairman of Castleconnell Historical Society at the launch of the Castleconnell Heritage Trail pamphlet outside Belmont House, Castleconnell    [Picture: Dave Gaynor]
LIKE many ideas the seed for the new heritage trail in Castleconnell was sown in a pub.

LIKE many ideas the seed for the new heritage trail in Castleconnell was sown in a pub.

Over 50 attended the launch which celebrates the remarkable history of the village. Local historian Paddy Tuohy was his usual witty self when he spoke and his knowledge flowed.

The project is a joint initiative between Castleconnell Tidy Towns and Historical Society.

Vincent Warfield said when he joined the Tidy Towns four years ago they enjoyed a pint after meetings in the Shannon Inn.

“I listened to Paddy Tuohy and Sean Hartigan talking about the houses and history of the place I had been living in for 15 years and I never realised it,” said Mr Warfield, current chairman.

He thought up the idea of a heritage trail linking all the sites of interest and got full backing from his Tidy Towns committee and historical society.

“I was thinking of visitors coming to Castleconnell and the Castle Oaks. They would be strolling around the village and they would have absolutely no inkling of the history. We decided we would put this together. The historical society chaired by Henry Nash were very enthusiastic - they did all the research and wrote pieces on the different buildings,” said Vincent, who took the photos and his UL colleague David Lilburn put the brochure together. It is available in the Castle Oaks, local businesses and tourists offices in Killaloe and Arthur’s Quay.

The trail starts in St Flannan’s Terrace, into the village, around the triangle and heads out to World’s End.

The walk, of about a mile, includes Belmont House, the Castle Oaks, All Saints Church, Irish Harp Centre, Mick Mackey statue, Stradbally Hall, St Joseph’s Church, Shannon Inn, Enright’s fishing loft, The Tontines, The Spa and wildlife signs that have a lot of information.

Only last June, John Hardiman, of the Tidy Towns, launched a tree trail. Walking holidays are a growing tourism market in Ireland and these trails certainly point them in the direction of splendid Castleconnell.