The Franciscan friary, Multyfarnham
Renovated in 1976, the church at Multyfarnham Franciscan Friary encompasses portions of an original 15th century structure, such as the tower and nave. In 1827, the church was rebuilt around these older portions. This friary represents the only building of the monastery to survive, as the chancel and domestic outbuildings have all disappeared. The Franciscans started their community here in 1236, and the friary became a widely respected learning centre. Persecution made survival difficult, but the Franciscans stayed on and built the church, where they remained until the 1830s.
The Friary church today is a special place, situated in the pastoral midlands. It has a beautiful garden with outdoor statues of the Stations of the Cross. Stained glass art created by Richard King commemorates the legendary Children of Lir, portrayed by four swans wearing necklaces. They are said to have spent 300 years as swans on nearby Lough Derravaragh. When they were finally made human again by St. Mochaomhog, they showed their age and did not survive for very long. They did, however, have enough time for the saint to baptize them into the Christian faith.
Belvedere House Gardens & Park
There is an oasis of beauty in the midland to be enjoyed. Opened in 2000 following a multy Million Euro restoration Belvedere House Gardens & Park can be discovered on the shores of Lough Ennell, 4 miles from Mullingar in Co. Westmeath and just an hours drive from Dublin. Belvedere opened to the public in early 2000 following a multi-million pound restoration project involving ERDF funding, the Irish Tourist Board and Westmeath County Council.
Belvedere House & Gardens The Belvedere story is one which is steeped in scandal and provides rich opportunities to capture the visitors imagination. The Estate comprises of 160 acres of parkland with 6kms of magnificent woodland and lakeshore walks. Several follies adorn the landscape including Ireland’s largest folly – The Jealous Wall. The restored Belvedere House is an 18th century hunting/fishing lodge designed by the renowned German architect Richard Castle for Robert Rochfort, later the 1st Earl of Belvedere. A fascinating Walled Garden, designed by Ninian Nevin in 1857, contains one of Ireland’s finest collections of rare and special plants. The Stable Block is home to a modern Visitor Centre with multi-media show, exhibitions and Cafe. Adjacent to the Visitor Centre is the Animal Sanctuary and Children’s Play Area. There is also a delightful tram which provides guided tours around a section of the parkland on selected days throughout the year.
Lough Derravaragh, Co.Westmeath
Lough Derravaragh is located about 14 kms north west of Mullingar. Multyfarnham village is in close proximity off its southern shore and Castlepollard lies to the North East. . This is a long narrow Lough nearly 5 miles (8 kms) in length and an area of over 2700 acres (1080 hectares).
The Northern part of the lake is wide and shallow with depths graduating from 1.5 meters at the margins to about 6 meters at the centre of the lake. The southern half of the lake narrows into a long deep neck with depths up to 20 meters at its southern most end.
A test netting survey was carried out by the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board in conjunction with the Central fisheries Board on Lough Derravaragh in March 2005. The results showed that Bream numbers have shown signs of recovery and Pike numbers remain stable. The trout numbers were also stable in the 2005 survey. The water quality on the lake has also improved.
In recent years the fishery has produced specimen Roach/Bream hybrids. In 2005 ands 2006 many specimen Roach/Bream hybrids were verified by the Irish Specimen Fish Committee. It is regarded as a mixed fishery as it also supports brown trout population but is better known for its very good pike fishing with numerous specimen size fish recorded year in year out. The southern part of the lake is best for pike particularly around Clinton’s and Donore. While a boat offers a distinct advantage the southern neck of the lake at Crookedwood allows for excellent shore fishing subject to permission by local landowner