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Medieval Communication Routes through Longford and Roscommon and Their Associated Settlements

Linda Doran
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature
Vol. 104C, No. 3 (2004), pp. 57-80
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25506210
Page Count: 24
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Medieval Communication Routes through Longford and Roscommon and Their Associated Settlements
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Abstract

This paper explores the direction and context of medieval communication channels in the territory covered by the modern counties of Longford and Roscommon. The network consisted of roadways-both local and interregional-and water-based arteries. The landscape of the area dictated how people moved across the terrain. Large tracts of bog generated a need for trackways to provide access to good land trapped in the peat. The extensive water system centred on the Shannon facilitated travel to otherwise isolated places. The numerous islands contain the remains of secular and religious settlements. The roads identified as belonging to the regional network are plotted on a map of the area. This mapping shows that the main factors shaping the road network were the location of the ritual centre at Cruachain and the siting of religious establishments. Two major roads-the Slighe Assail and the Slighe Mhór-linked an otherwise isolated area to the east-coast ports and to English and continental markets. The relationship of the roads in particular to medieval settlement patterns is examined.

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