Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Drumsna, Co Leitrim

When I started travelling from Meath to Sligo or vice versa Drumsna was a landmark on the journey; a neat little village with a narrow old bridge over the Shannon. I think the first time I ever drove that route myself the bridge was damaged and a very narrow wooden structure took its place.

Now new roads have bypassed Drumsna and the village seems to have thrived on its seclusion. I diverted there on my last journey west and spent a little time there. As well as being very picturesque it has lots of historical interest. It has a very well maintained and interesting website.

The writer Anthony Trollope (24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882), lived in the village for a period during the 1840s, where he wrote his novel The Macdermots of Ballycloran partly based on the local ruins of a country house. The first International Anthony Trollope Summer School takes place in Drumsna this week-end, Friday August 27th until Monday August 30th. It commences with registration and reception in the Community Centre, Quay Street on the Friday evening. I notice Dr Jennifer Kelly, Maynooth University, a Leitrim native who is Director of the Seán MacDermott Summer School, is speaking at this one.

Probably the most famous person born in Drumsna is the explorer Thomas Heazle Parke. He spent a lot of his youth in Drumsna prior to qualifying as a surgeon. He joined the British Army and took part in Stanley's expedition crossing the continent of Africa. He is buried in the little graveyard in the village (picture above). A bronze statue of Parke stands outside the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street in Dublin.

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