Longford, the administrative centre of the country, is situated on the banks of the small Camlin River and on the Dublin-Sligo road.
It was named after the castle of the princes of Annaly, the O' Farrells, who also founded a Dominican priory in 1400. Neither of the buildings has remained intact, but there are slight ruins left of the castle built by the Earl of Longford in 1627 incorporated in the old military barracks. During the Confederate Wars of 1641 the castle was captured by the English, and later it withstood a siege of several weeks by Owen Roe O' Neill.
For the avid Jane Austen fan, it might be worth a visit to Longford. She had a romance with Thomas Lefroy and it is widely believed that the character of Mr. D'Arcy is based on Mr. Lefroy. His descendants still live in a mid-19th century mansion designed by James Gandon, architect of the Customs House and the Four Courts. The mansion is open to the public and the magnificent stables, which accompany the mansion, also house a small costume museum.
It is generally believed that Longford is ideal in its location as midpoint between Dublin and Sligo and yet does not really offer a wealth of new experiences. There are the usual expected amenities in a county town, for example a range of eateries and shopping opportunities. However the town is best used as a base from which you can travel out to other areas of more interest.