2013 is an important year in Ireland. The Gathering, a government initiative to invite the Irish diaspora back, is a year-long event and showcases Ireland at its very best.
If you do intend to go back for a visit, then I urge you to visit my hometown. A small town about an hours drive outside of Galway city, Portumna, it means port of the oaks.
Portumna, located on Lough Derg, is a town steeped in Irish history, and I am so proud to call it my hometown. So proud in fact that I wrote a book, The Foundling, and it starts at the workhouse but finishes at the castle.
- The first place I would say that you have to visit is The Irish Workhouse Center, a beautiful, albeit sad historical building that reminds you how hard life was during the years after the famine.
- Second on your list of things to do in Portumna is a visit to the beautiful Jacobean castle, Clanrickarde’s Castle as it is locally known, and stroll the kitchen garden in the summer months.
- The castle is located on land which is part of the forest park, 1,500 acres of forested beauty with pedestrian walks throughout. Visitors to the area have called the forest park a “hidden gem.”
- The Portumna Golf Club, located within those 1,500 acres of scenic parkland is also a must do for the visiting golfer. Bring your clubs and enjoy 18 holes of golf and then stay for dinner at the Fairways restaurant.
- The river Shannon and Lough Derg can be explored by boat via The Emerald Star’s Celtic Cruise, and who knows what the avid fisherman might catch?
- If ancient Irish history is your passion take a stroll among the ruins of the 13th century Cistercian Abbey.
- Or simply sit and watch the sunset over the hills of Tipperary from the shores of Lough Derg.
There are lots of things to do in Portumna, County Galway. This is the town where I grew up. I am proud of my hometown, its history, and the friendly people there.
The following videos are my own. The places in the videos, such as the workhouse, have since been refurbished and are ready for visitors. So what are you waiting for? Book your ticket and be part of The Gathering 2013.
This last video is done by Joseph O’Loughlin and he does a nice job taking you for a drive through the town of Portumna.