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With its narrow, winding streets that rise and fall with the lie of the land, grey limestone malthouses, and jagged castle ruins overlooking a 14th century bridge, the centre of the little town of Leighlin straddling the river Barrow and 1Km off the N-9 opens a vista of an earlier Ireland to the visitor.
The focal point of the town is its valerian bearded bridge, built in 1320 by Maurice Jakis, said to be one of the oldest functioning bridges in Europe. Below the castle lies little of the ruins of Ireland's first Carmelite monastery, built in 1272. Further south is Dinn Righ, the Palace Ground of the southeast, depicted by the sculptered thrones sited on a lanscaped mound at the northern entrance to the town. All that remains of this 'fort of the kings' is a mound enveloped by trees.
The Leighlin district has produced more than its share of famous people. The daring Captain Myles Keogh, aid to General Custer, who died at the Battle of Little Big Horn, in 1876; Cardinal Patrick Moran (1830-1911), Archbishop of Sydney and Australia's first Cardinal; Jonn Tyndall (1820-1893), educationalist, scientist, mountaineer and successor to Michael Faraday as Superintendent of the Royal Institution of London. Leighlin is the birth place of the ancestors of Canada's former Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and the forebearers of Walt Disney farmed nearby and are buried at Clonmelsh.
From the same soil came Wm. J Delaney S.J, twice president of University College, Dublin; Robert Donovan, professor of English literature at U.C.D and Michael Maher S.J, author of "Psychology Empirical and Rational". In 1929 John D. Walsh S.J. produced two volumes of poetry "The Vision Beatific" and" Lanterns of the Blue" which gained him International recognition.
Ireland's first cardinal, Paul Cullen had his roots on the outskirts of the village.