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Ardagh Clock Tower

The Limestone Ardagh Clock Tower is one of Ardagh’s most distinctive features standing on the village green. Bearing the date 1863, it commemorates Sir George Ralph Fetherston (d. 1853), the landlord whose idea it was to develop a new village.

It has been suggested that he was inspired by a village he saw in Switzerland. However, Sir George died before work began and it was his widow, Frances Elizabeth, and his nephew Sir Thomas John who oversaw the project, which was completed by the mid-1860s.

The village is Neo-Gothic in style and the architect responsible was James Rawson Carroll (1830-1911), who is mentioned in the inscription on the tower. The focal point is the green and there are impressive stone houses on the three approach roads leading to it.

As you face the clock tower, the building to your right is the former police station. Across the green, beside Lyons’ shop, is the former courthouse where cases concerning minor crimes were heard.

Opposite the clock tower is the ‘traveller’s rest’, a stone seat set into the wall. Going northwards, in the direction of Longford town, you pass some two-storied houses on your left, one of which was the home of the estate agent and bears the crest of the Fetherston family.

The inscription on the clock tower reads as follows:

1863 ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build’

In remembrance of
Sir George Ralph Fetherston Baronet
and of his long devotion to the moral
and social improvement of his tenantry
this clock tower and the surrounding
buildings were erected and the site
wheron they stand purchased by
Frances Elizabeth his widow.

O God our Father accept and bless the work.
Bless those for whose benefit it was undertaken.
Bless those in whose labour all was designed and executed.
J. Rawson Carroll Architect. Thos Henry Carroll Builder.

For more information on the history of the village, please visit the Ardagh Heritage & Creativity Centre or Longford Tourism Office.

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