Discover Drumshanbo’s remarkable heritage
County Leitrim’s first car, owned by Caleb Laird
Drumshanbo is the third most populous town in County Leitrim. It takes its name from the Irish, Druim-Sean-Bhoth or “Ridge of the old huts”.
The Town originated from the extensive Iron industry around Sliabh an Iarainn from the 17th century. Pig Iron produced at iron smelting works on the east of Sliabh an Iarainn, was brought south across Lough Allen to Drumshanbo Finery Forge where a malleable iron product was produced and transported to Dublin and Limerick by boat. The first ship built by the East India company in Limerick was supposedly finished with product from Drumshanbo Iron works. According to folklore, the “Iron ore was conveyed to the Drumshanbo furnaces by boat on Lough Allen, supplied from Sliabh an Iarainn, Ballinaglera, and the Arigna mountains, all situated around Lough Allen”.
Long ago, Ireland had been covered in Woodland, a claim echoed in a 19th century survey of Leitrim. “A hundred years ago, almost the whole county was one continued, undivided forest, so that from Drumshanbo to Drumkeeran, a distance of nine or ten miles, one could travel the whole way from tree to tree by branches”. These great forests in Leitrim and the west side of Lough Allen were denuded for the making of Charcoal for Iron works around Sliabh an Iarainn. Huge piles of cleared timber existed at Drumshanbo in 1782.
Throughout at least the 19th and 20th centuries, regular Fairs were held at Drumshanbo. In 1925, the Town comprised 77 houses, 17 being licensed to sell alcohol. Some 500 victims of the Great Famine are buried at a famine-period burial ground at Drumshanbo.
Today, you can re-live and rediscover Drumshanbo’s illustrious past by visiting the fascinating and captivating Drumshanbo Glimpses of the Past exhibit located at The Square in the town centre.
Drumshanbo Glimpses of the Past
086 255 9556
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Under the Decades of Centenaries project, this website has been funded by Leitrim County Council and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.