Experience the rich and diverse heritage of Carrick-on-Shannon and Co Leitrim
St. George’s Heritage and Visitor Centre combines the stories of three historically important buildings in Carrick-on- Shannon: St. George’s Church, the Famine Workhouse and the Costello Chapel. A visit to these sites begins at the St. George’s Heritage and Visitor centre, where the story of Leitrim, its landscape, history and the hardships faced by its people during the 1800s is introduced in an audio-visual presentation.
St. George’s Church was established in 1827. It has been fully restored and its airy interior is lit by the glowing colours of beautiful stained glass windows. The Visitor Centre houses a small historical exhibition that includes artefacts and interpretive material depicting the ‘Twin Traditions’ that mingle ancient Gaelic roots with Plantation culture.
The banners depicts 400 years of history from the foundation of Carrick-on-Shannon (Carrowdrumruske) in 1613 to the present. This is balanced by a series of elegantly proportioned showcases containing fascinating collections of ecclesiastical silver, the seal of Carrick on Shannon Corporation, the trophies from the Carrick-on-Shannon Rowing Club and the original Chalice for the Costello Chapel dating back to the 1870’s. Quotations from local writers John McGahern, Canon William Slator and Susan Mitchell embrace the space and underscore Leitrim’s Literary Heritage.
Graphic interpretation concentrates on the history of the locality and the St George family. The importance of music is exemplified by the Telford organ donated to the St George family in 1846 and still in use today. The extraordinary saga of Plagemann’s painting ‘Adoration of the Shepherds’ is recounted. These stories are complemented by an exploration of the processes involved in the restoration.
Stylized bronze footprints of a Mother and Child embedded in the pavement outside the gate of St George’s Heritage and Visitor Centre lead the way to the Famine Workhouse. The Workhouse Attic is an extraordinary place and is presented in its original state. It is a representation of hundreds of other such spaces across Ireland in which tens of thousands were forced to live. Displays recall the role of the Workhouse during the famine era.
The adjacent reading room houses reproduced copies of the Carrick Workhouse Board of Guardians Minute Books (1843 – 1850) and other evocative items of interest, including a section on the assisted emigration to Australia in 1849 under “The Earl Grey Girls ” scheme.
The Famine Graveyard in the grounds is a further legacy of this poignant chapter of Irish history.