23 Dec Collooney and Markree Castle , County Sligo
The sight worth stopping for in the village of Collooney , on any Ireland tours , is the Teeling Monument at the Northern entrance to the village, built to commemorate Bartholomew Teeling , hero of the Battle of Carricknagat.
The battle was fought nearby during the rebellion of 1798 , when a combined Franco-Irish force – on its way from Killala in County Mayo , where the French had landed to Ballinamuck in County Longford – was held up by a single strategically placed English gun. Teeling charged up the hill and shot the gunner dead , turning the tide of the engagement. After their defeat at Ballinamuck the French were treated as prisoners of war , but five hundred Irish troops were massacred. Irish born Teeling , who was an officer in the French army , was later hanged in Dublin. The monument links Teeling and his fallen comrades with subsequent generations of Irish freedom fighters.
Close to Collooney is the battlemented Markree Castle, of seventeenth century origins but with grandiose Victorian extensions, which is still the home of the Coopers, who used to be Sligo’s most powerful Anglo-Irish family. It’s set in impressive parklands and is now open as a hotel.
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