Postcards from Shanagolden,County Limerick.

Shanagolden! Such a beautiful place-name. I recall when I first heard it some four decades ago and I still think it is one of Ireland’s most beautiful place names. It is an anglicization of the Irish name Seanghualainn, with the much less romantic translation of ‘Old Shoulder’, I presume referring from the hills behind the village which act as a broad shelter.
The sun came out today, so I took a 10 minute trip down the road to have a stroll there, as it is just off  the Newcastle West to Foynes road. The most striking thing  about Shanagolden is the very wide street, with former shops set well back.


The village is set in beautiful pastureland


Hay being saved outside the village

The Roman Catholic Church of St Sennans is on high ground on the edge of the village.


Around the church

The Church interior has lovely plain leaded windows and a beautiful old floor.

The most surprising thing about the church is the cross –  normally catholic churches are dominated by a crucified Christ or an empty traditional shaped Cross. This church however has a most beautiful Celtic Cross as its focal point, high above the altar. If anyone knows more about it,I would love to know who the artist is.


On the way back to the main street of the village there are several interesting features.

Shanagolden is very proud of Tim Madigan who lost his life as a result of having been shot by the Black and Tans “As Timothy Madigan continued to run, we called on him to halt once again and as he paid no attention one more shot was fired at a distance of about 400 yards which caused him to fall”

The local Gaelic Ground is named after him.


From the car park at the Gaelic grounds there is a wonderful view of the old church tower which is I believe early 19th century, when it was part of the Church of Ireland, although I am not certain about this. image image image image

Shanagolden Creamery was once the nerve centre of this community. Every day local farmers would bring fresh milk from their cows to the Cooperative Society in the village where it would be turned into butter – not just any butter, but award-winning butter than was sought after even in  London’s most prestigious stores. In later years milk collected here was transported to the famous Cleeves Toffee factory in Limerick city.

The old creamery with its brick chimney stack stands testament to more prosperous times in Shanagolden.


Across the road is a very nice old stone building which was once a forge, in the wall of which is an inscribed stone commemorating James Clarence Mangan (1803 – 1849). He was a poet, who penned ‘My Dark Rosaleen’, (Rosaleen being a poetic symbol of an oppressed Ireland ) familiar to thousands of Irish schoolchildren. His  family apparently came from Shanagolden.

Nearby in total contrast is a very beautiful drinking  fountain erected and installed to the memory of the eldest son of the local landlord, Lord Monteagle,who lived at Mount Trenchard in Foynes.


Press report of the funeral can be seen here 

Shanagolden is a gem set in the Limerick countryside, well worth a visit if you are passing by!




Filed under Ireland, Irish Countryside, Living in Ireland

20 responses to “Postcards from Shanagolden,County Limerick.

  1. Crissouli

    I’ve long been fascinated by the name Shanagolden also… glad to learn more about the name and he place, from your wonderful photos. It is so good to see so much of historical interest preserved and appreciated… wish our authorities would follow the same line.

    • Thanks Chris, as ever, for your support which is much appreciated! The sun shone yesterday so had to get out under the sky and away from packing boxes! This is the next village to my own, so a trip was well overdue.

  2. Such lovely photos Angela. That Celtic cross is just gorgeous and far more appealing than the many others we see. There’s so much history at every corner too. thanks for sharing.

  3. So fascinating – very well captured… 🙂

  4. Great post, Angela. These villages deserve our detailed attention.
    I have a thing about bypasses!

    • They do indeed deserve our attention! Such treasures lurk there! I have mixed feelings about bypasses..they often free up beautiful places to be admired! Shanagolden is biseccted by the road rather than being bypassed, but what a little treasure it is! Thanks so much for dropping by!

  5. Beautiful! All of it! And I’m always so interested in the connections to rebellion and British/Irish strife that crop up, all over the country.

    • Thank you ! The fascinating thing about this is that the memorials to the landlords son and the IRA man are within a few metres of one another, yet each is valued as part of the local heritage. Thanks for calling!

  6. Beautiful, there is nothing wrong with an old shoulder.

  7. Lovely postcards! The Celtic cross was really beautiful. And I liked the memorial water fountain. Well worth the trip on a sunny day!

  8. What a beautiful and interesting town SV! Your images do it justice. I’m wondering about the wide main street, very atypical of your average Irish country town where the main street is narrow and flanked by the original dwellings. This looks more planned.

  9. Pingback: Postcards from.. | A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

  10. Philip Summers

    My great grandparents are from Shanagolden and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1860’s. I visited in 2012 and your pix capture the town so well. St. Senan’s is beautiful (my great grandparents were married there) but is seems to be a very quiet town today.

    • It is a lovely little village and one of the reasons I love it is because it is so quiet! A shop and a few pubs are the only commercial outlets now as the famous Creamery has long since closed down. I am glad you enjoyed the photos. Thank you so much for dropping by!

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