I have a good friend with a boat which sometimes functions as his primary residence. The other week he rang me up needing a lift back down to Athlone from a little place called Drumshanbo.
Drumshanbo is mostly known to river and boat folk as it is located where the river Shannon meets Lough Allen, the third largest of the Shannon lakes. Other than that Drumshanbo is a quaint little town with a population under 1,000 people. It’s also freaking gorgeous. Rolling hills, pine and deciduous forest, rivers, lakes and spectacular natural scenery around old iron works and numerous walking trails.
Drumshanbo comes from the Irish Druim Sean Bhoth, meaning “ridge of the old huts.” An local, ancient Tuatha de Danann legend recalls the arrival of magical spirits from the mountains named Ceol, Binn and Téidbhinn – music, melody and harmony. Now that’s some moldy oldey stuff there, folks!
Drumshanbo is also the last town that celebrates the formerly nationwide An Tostal festival in June – a festival founded by Bord Failte in the 1950s to encourage emigrants to re-patriate.
The biggest inflation of the town’s small population happens during the third week of July when Drumshanbo hosts the The Joseph Mooney Summer School for Irish Music.
Drumshanbo also, though tourists would never come across it I suppose, hosts a cloistered order of Franciscan nuns in a local convent who recite the Divine Office in choir and maintain Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The only reason they leave would be due to medical emergency.