While touring the coasts and traveling the outline of the country is a great way to see much of Erin; journey inland and you’ll find some of the lesser-known towns and attractions the Emerald Isle keeps tucked inside.
One of my favorite places in the world is Boyle in County Roscommon. My family is from the nearby village of Croghan so I’ve visited Boyle on many occasions and each time I’ve been warmly welcomed home.
This charming Irish town of approximately 3000 is situated at the foot of the Curlew Mountains not far from Lough Key in what Boylers affectionately call “The Heart of Ireland.”
The town attracts visitors from all over but is predominantly known as a holiday spot for anglers who take advantage of its many lakes. In addition to Lough Key located off the N-4 there are several other fishing spots including Lough Arrow and Lough Gara.
The Connacht town also boasts a wealth of history. Landmarks include the King House built in the early 1700’s for Sir Henry King, The Boyle Abbey from the 12th century and the 5-arch bridge over the Boyle river which is thought to be the oldest surviving stone bridge in Ireland.
However, over and above fishing and history – Boyle celebrates the Irish artist. This town which gave us famous actress Maureen O’Sullivan (Jane from the Tarzan movies and Mom to Mia Farrow) as well as current celeb actor Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd, Bridesmaids and Friends with Kids) embraces its rich heritage and support of the arts. Indeed, Boyle is a cultural capital of Ireland.
Each summer the town hosts the famed Boyle Arts Festival. The 2012 festival kicks off in a couple of weeks. From July 26th through August 4th Boyle comes alive as it lauds the artistic spirit and history of the Irish people.
The festival highlights drama, literature, spoken word, music as well as workshops and traditional Irish and family events.
Boyle takes pride in this annual event celebrating the creative spirit and character of the nation. If you travel to Ireland to find your roots, by all means visit the Boyle Arts Festival.
Yeates, Joyce, Oscar Wilde – the arts are deeply rooted in the Irish story and there’s a Celtic bard in each Irish person.
Submitted by: Anna Marie Jehorek