Longford, the county town, is on the south bank of the little Camlin River and on the Dublin-Sligo road. It was named after the ancient castle of the princes of Annaly, the O' Farrells, who also founded a Dominican priory in 1400. Neither building has survived, but there are slight remains of the castle erected by the 1st 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' Neil.
Near the centre of the town is St Mel's Cathedral, a nineteenth-century Renaissance-style building of grey limestone. The saint's crosier is preserved in the diocesan museum at the rear of the cathedral. St Mel's College, the diocesan seminary, contains part of the library of Edgeworthstown House. The County museum containing many artefacts and providing a genealogical service is located in the old post office in the main street.
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