There is no intention to provide more than random notes on the history of Co. Longford on this site. However, certain points need to be made for the period before 1854:
- Records before the early 1600s are largely concerned with the power struggles both internally in central Ireland, and with the ever-expanding sphere of English influence.
- The Plantation projects of James 1 of England had a profound impact on the future history of Co. Longford. Arthur Forbes and his brothers received lands in the northwest part of Co. Longford, the principal area of interest in this site. Then in 1640 the Irish rose up against the colonists, and Co. Longford was entirely free of the English and Scottish settlers. But by 1655, in the era after Cromwell's crushing of the Irish, Arthur Forbes Jr. and the other colonists were back, in even greater numbers. READ MORE ABOUT THE FORBES FAMILY
- With the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 the power of the English and Scottish colonists was solidified, and even more settlers came.
- Religiously, the Presbyterian Church was rather unsuccessful in establishing itself in Co. Longford in the late 1600s and early 1700s, so that most of the Scottish settlers were absorbed into the Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian). While discriminated against, the Catholic Church continued to have the support of the Irish heritage population.
- Through the 1700s the Protestant farming families prospered, and for whatever reason, most of their leases were registered in the Land Registry Office in Dublin. However Catholic families continued to be discriminated against, and relatively few records exist for any leases.
- FLAX became a vital cash crop in the 1700s in Co. Longford, and in many areas there are still places known where the flax was soaked, and bleached. By late in the 1700s the flax for linen industry was beginning to falter, and the 1796 plan to reward those growing at least a quarter acre of flax gave us a unique list of farmers.
- The frictions between the Irish and English/Scottish populace continued all through this period of the 1700s and into the 1800s, with occasional outbursts of violence.
- The end of the Napoleonic Wars brought a drastic cut in the prices of agricultural commodities. By 1817 returning soldiers, and some families that had some funds, were leaving and emigrating to England, Canada, and the US. By the 1830s the numbers of emigrants became a flood, with destinations expanded to include not just North America, but Australia and New Zealand, and elsewhere. A high percentage of Protestant families left at this time.
- The potato famine was devastating to Co. Longford, and now the flood included everyone, just as this happened almost everywhere else in Ireland. In the wake of the famine, the Griffiths Valuation of about 1854 gives an overview of who remained.