Video of Portumna, County Galway, Republic of Ireland
Portumna (Irish: Port Omna - meaning 'the landing place of the oak') is a market
town in the south-east of County Galway, Ireland, on the border with County Tipperary.
The town is located to the west of the point where the River Shannon enters Lough
Derg. This historic crossing point over the River Shannon between counties Tipperary
and Galway has a long history of bridges and ferry crossings. On the west side of
the town is Portumna Castle and its forest park.
Portumna is served with a five-span road bridge over the Shannon. This was designed
by C. E. Stanier of London, and completed in 1911, with a central section resting
on Hayes's Island which divides the river into two channels. The steel structure
of the main bridge and pivotting swing bridge over the navigation channel are of
technical and engineering interest, and it is the largest early-twentieth century
swivel bridge in Europe. The opening section was replaced in October 2008.
The town is noted for Portumna Castle and for the lords that lived there. The castle
is actually a semi-fortified house and was built before 1618 by Richard Burke or
de Burgo, the 4th Earl of Clanricarde. It was the main seat of the de Burgo family
for over 200 years, until it was gutted by fire in 1826. The castle is located about
200 metres North of Portumna (or 'New') Harbour on Lough Derg, with Portumna Forest
Park to the West and the town of Portumna about 300 metres to the North and East.
Following conservation and restoration work, the ground floor of the castle is now
open to the public. The conservation works on other parts of the castle are ongoing.
To the north of the castle are formal, geometrically laid out gardens. The castle
also includes the restored 17th century walled kitchen garden.
Portumna forest park is located on the southwestern edge of the town, on the northern
shore of Lough Derg. The park spans almost 600 hectares (1,500 acres) and formed
part of the lands of the Earl of Clanricarde, who was seated at Portumna Castle.
It was purchased by the Irish government in 1948. Within the park there are forest
and lakeside walks, car parking and toilet facilities and observation points. Also
within the site are the remains of a Cistercian abbey, dating from the 15th Century
and adjacent to the Park is a marina giving access to the Shannon waterway system..
Portumna is a tourist destination for boaters, golfers and anglers. The town is at
the junction of the River Shannon and Lough Derg, and there are a number of harbours
- two of which are on the Portumna side of the river. These are Connacht Harbour,
accessed via the river, which is beside Bridge Road, on the eastern side of the town,
and Portumna (or 'New') Harbour which is on the northern shore of Lough Derg beside
Castle Avenue, adjacent to the castle and the forest park on the southern edge of