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Arigna (where I was raised) is a thriving little village situated in the Arigna mountains  in Co Roscommon,
The village lies close to the shores of the Lough Allen, the first lake on the Shannon. Formerly a  thriving coal  mining village, Arigna  has had a long and proud tradition of mining through the centuries with the industry dating back to the 1600's(over 400 years)arigna coal was mined in what were the first and last coalmines in Ireland, it still bears the remnants of coal mines closed in the 1980's.

Wind turbine propellers revolve lazily on the mountain ridge above the village
of Arigna in north Roscommon.
They are a potent reminder of how times have changed
for what was the main coal mining village of Ireland for generations.
Coal mining sustained the community for some 250 years, including the Famine years.
The sleek, aerodynamic wind turbines  which generate electricity are a stark
contrast to traditional coal generation
The electricity generated by the turbines is fed into the national grid.
Today, although many millions of tons of low-grade, or "crow", coal
remain unexploited in the hills, the only active continuation of the coal tradition
lies in the production locally of high-grade smokeless briquettes by the Arigna Fuels factory.
Ironically, this enterprise imports its raw material, coal,
then much of the output is exported to Wales - a classic double case of "
bringing coals to Newcastle".


Lough Allen
Lough Allen,The first lake on the Shannon,and the third largest,
has an international reputation for coarse fishing and anglers from
Britain and Continental Europe come in great numbers each year
to test their skills and enjoy the peaceful surroundings it lies between the
heather covered Arigna hills and Slieve Anierin.

Lough Key
Castle Island
The beautiful Lough Key is located just 2 miles east of the town of Boyle.
Its location is in the area known as Moylurg and the lands were once the
property of the MacDermotts, princes of this ancient kingdom.

Martin and Margaret Gaffney footing turf on Kilronan Mountain, Arigna, Co Roscommon
Martin spent most of his younger life mining coal under the mountain.
With the closure of the mine he now saves turf on the mountain
while behind him lies the third and alternative source of power,
the wind farm designed to generate electricity and sold into the national grid.

I remember trains in Arigna

The Cavan and Leitrim Railway

The 11.20 to Arigna at Ballinamore

The History Of The Cavan and Leitrim Railway In Brief The Cavan & Leitrim Railway was one of the
most fascinating and at one time busiest of Ireland's narrow-gauge railways.
Originally the Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon Light Railway and Tramway Co. registered on 3/2/1883. First section from Dromod to Belturbet (34 miles) opened on 17/10/1887. The branch from Ballinamore to Arigna was opened on 2/5/1888. Became the Cavan and Leitrim in 1895. 48 1/2 route miles in 1911.The wartime shortage of coal in Ireland forced the Goverment in 1920 to build an extension to the coalmines at Arigna and its 3½ miles were completed in June 1920 at a cost of £60,000.. Closed 31/3/1959,
At the outset, livestock carriage was the backbone of the operation
Later the Arigna coalmines kept the wagons rolling
The narrow gauge of 3 ft connected Dromod to Belturbet in Co Cavan via Ballinamore, Co Leitrim.
A branch ran to Drumshanbo and was later extended to serve the Arigna coalfields.
The Cavan and Leitrim Railway ran on narrow gauge tracks measuring 3ft.
This difference in gauge caused difficulties at Belturbet in facilitating the transfer
     of passengers, goods and livestock, but especially the transhipment of Arigna coal from  the C&L to the GNR.
This arduous and dirty task was performed throughout the entire history of the line by local men using only shovels.
Through the accident of its serving a coal field it remained open many years after most of the other 3 ft gauge lines closed, and in its last days made use of engines and rolling stock sent from these other closed systems.
But though the railway  had a long career, the predominant theme throughout its life was struggle.
In the early years directors faced hostile public opinion and struggle vainly to extend their line to
the Arigna coal fields. When the extension was finally built - at a time when the political
temperature in Ireland was rising, the initiative was taken by the Government. Changes in
the constitution of the Board in 1904 led to friction and some decisions were taken on 'party
lines', not always to the best advantage of the Cavan & Leitrim.

When the ESB built its generating station to burn Arigna coal, the fate of the line was sealed.

 The narrow gauge line's days were deemed to be over, and on 31 March 1959
one long last train panted into Ballinmore station, there to debouch its human load. Soon both tramway and main lines were demolished, and local residents learned to resign themselves to the tender mercies of one-man buses.
Lorries, once despised by Cavan & Leitrim men, assumed the handling of all freight
and one more epoch in Ireland's narrow gauge railway history was over.

Last trip  31-3-1959
 (left to right):- Catherine, Griffith, Donal-Barney O'Reilly of Ballyconnell
P McNamara
; Ballinamore
Driver Paddy Rowley
F McKiernan

Train crossing the road in Kiltubrid, County Leitrim.
 The  station was situated  midway on the Ballinamore to Arigna route.
 One of the last tramways in Ireland,  that was
 worked entirely by steam locomotives until it's closure.
24thFebruary 1959

The station buildings at Arigna,
20th March 1959
The lone carriage of the branch train sits in the platform.


by Elizabeth Gallagher McManus, Arigna, Ireland.

John McKenna
 Master of the Concert Flute

John McKenna was born on January 6th 1880.
His father, Pat, was from Arigna; his mother Cecily Ward, was from
Tents, Tarmon, midway between Drumshanbo and Drumkeeran,
small towns in north County Leitrim, and here, on the shores of Lough Allen,
was where the McKenna family lived and where John was born.
'The last place that God made' is how that scenic and rugged area
is described by the farmers who struggled with its rocky land.
One feature, unusual for rural Ireland, which gave an economic viability
to this locality which nestles among the Arigna Mountains
 it had for centuries been a coal mining area.
It was with the local coal mining company that McKenna found his first job.
     he was weighmaster for Arigna Collieries.
Musical Traditions Article

KILRONAN PARISH Arigna Minersway The Miners Bar    Mining History
    Arigna Poem
Kilronan Wind Farm
Peter Tim Lynch Drumshanbo on Line John Flynn Page
Packie Duignan  Arigna Mining Experience Local Towns

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