Lorrha/Dorrha is situated in the beautiful Shannon region close to Portumna, Birr and Nenagh. Our parish is full of historical monuments and old buildings waiting to be discovered.
Pick up a copy of the parish tourism leaflet which can be found in tourist offices, restaurants, shops etc.
At the end of a small laneway to the west of the Dominican Friary lies the beautiful and tranquil Friars Lough a small lake of about 12 acres surrounded by trees and inhabited by numerous forms of wildlife which is rich in natural feed and as such it is likely to have a good stock of most coarse fish. The best time to fish this lake is early morning in the summer month’s and as recommended by fisher folk. However, if an angler decided to fish this lake, it is essential to pre-bait and fish it for a few days at a time, patience is of the essence! Permission should be sought locally to fish the lake from the local land owner.
It’s peaceful and hidden location must have made it the perfect place for reflection and prayer for the monks over the centuries. It is suggested the Lough was formed when the monks from the Abbey dammed the Lorrha River to construct a place of refuge on a self made island but the dam burst and flooded the area forming the Lough! Another tradition is that a tunnel runs from Ruadhan’s Abbey all the way to the Lough and that when the Vikings attacked the monks hid their treasures there. The most famous legend associated with the Friars Lough must be that of the serpent who is said to live beneath the dark waters. He is said to have come via the Lorrha River hence its serpentine form and made his home in the lake terrorizing local people and livestock. He is even blamed for eating a man, horse and plough in one attack! One brave local is said to have then shot the beast, the water remained disturbed for a full week following the incident, and the serpent hasn’t been seen since!
PORTUMNA CASTLE & GARDENS
Approximately 6 kilometres west of Lorrha, you will come to the gateway of Lough Derg – Portumna Bridge. Please see timetable below for opening times. If you go a further 2 kilometres through the town of Portumna with its excellent selection of shops, restaurants and public houses, just beyond the public library, is the entrance to Portumna Castle and Gardens.
Portumna Castle is a semi-fortified house which was built before 1618 by Richard Burke (Richard de Burgo), 4th Earl of Clanrickarde and a member of the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family. It was the main seat of the de Burgo family for over 200 years, until it was gutted by fire in 1826 and again in 1922. It is located beside the northern banks of Lough Derg and is adjacent to Portumna Forest Park.
The ground floor of the castle is open to the public daily from April to October and contains an excellent exhibition which tells the story of the de Burgo family and also the restoration work to-date. Restorationto the castle is ongoing.
April to end of September daily Times 09.30 to 18.00
ADMISSION FEES 2009
The castle grounds include a 17th century walled kitchen gardens, containing organically planted fruit trees, herbs and vegetables.
The Priory was built around 1254 by the Cistercians and was taken over by the Dominicans around 1426. The Priory was supressed during the Reformation but was revived again in 1640. It came into the ownershipof the Earl of Clanicarde in 1577. It was abandoned by the Friars in the early 1700’s. Patrick Sarsfield and Honora de Burgo were married at the Priory in January 1689. The Priory was used as a Protestant church around 1760. The Priory contains the tomb of the Earl of Clanicarde and his wife.
PORTUMNA FOREST PARK
Portumna Forest Park provides signed posted trails . The Wildlife sanctuary is home to a variety of species of birds and deers. Portumna Forest Park was acquired in 1948 and covers almost 1500 acres. In addition to woodlands, there are wide open spaces, green fields, marshes, water and off shore islands, giving a wide choice of fauna and flora habitat. Adjacent to the Forest Park is the Marina which gives access to the Shannon waterway system.
The Portumna Bridge timetable for opening to allow boats access to and from Lough Derg is as follows:
|March 14 – April 3.||09.45 11.00 12.30
14.30 16.30 17.30
|April 4 – September 25.||09.45 11.00 12.30
15.00 17.30 19.30
|September 26 – November 1.||09.45 11.00 12.30
15.00 17.00 18.30
| 11.00 12.30
|November 2 – March 13.||09.45 11.00 12.00||11.00 12.00|