SHANAGOLDEN, COUNTY LIMERICK, IRELAND
The name Shanagolden comes from the Irish Sean Ghualainn meaning "Old shoulder". The old shoulder that gave the place its name was probably a hill or bridge shaped like a human shoulder. The town is situated on the road from Ardagh to Foynes.
On Shanid hill stands the ruins of Shanid Castle, the first of the Desmond Castles to be built in west Limerick. This was the strongest of all the Desmond fortresses. An ancient ring fort had once occupied the top of the hill.
The land of Shanid was granted to Thomas Fitzmaurice, son of Maurice, the first Fitzgerald to set foot in Ireland.
The remains of the Augustinian convent of old Abbey are located near Old Abbey House. Founded in the 13th century, it is described in early documents as "St. Catherine's in Ui Conaill".
The Catholic Church, built in 1814, had been rebuilt several times but never been relocated. It is dedicated to St. Senan. There is a tall Celtic cross in the centre of the village. In 1831 there were many crops grown the land was very fertile. Bakers, butchers and nailors had over one hundred houses in the area at that time.
Sean McCarthy from Ardfert, Co. Kerry wrote the song "Shanagolden".
St Senan's Holy Well in Shanagolden Demesne was known as a holy well in the early 19th century.
It was later closed up when gravel and other rubbish was thrown into it.
St Bridget's Well in the townland of Tubbrid. Has no devotion now but its Pattern day was 1 February.
Legend: The well moved when profaned.
Our Naish/ Nash family line has connections to Shanagolden. They had a fishing weir there. Michael Nash worked for Lord Monteagle in Shanagolden. Lawrence Naish and Hanora O'Connor were married in Shanagolden RC Church. The Barrett's lived in Glenbane not far from Shanagolden. And finally, the Nash's of Ireland named their lumber town in Wisconsin after where they were from.
Shanagolden, called the prettiest lumber town in northern Wisconsin - in fact, wrote one, "as pretty as its name." Founded by the Nash Lumber Co. and named for a fishing village in County Limerick, Ireland, Shanagolden emerged in the early 1900s and for several years saw only growth and good times.
It was described in 1904 as "a thriving young town with a brilliant future," and for a time it was true. As the city grew up, its services expanded - a school, church services, baseball teams, a July 4th celebration to rank with any town's, platted streets, comfortable houses and, by 1905, a population of 500. As in most company towns, there were no taverns to tempt the men, but Shanagolden was reported to have a "blind pig" where liquor could be found. But then fire claimed the mill, decline set in and eventually hope burned away as well.
At least many of its buildings were saved from mass deterioration. They were picked up, put on rails and taken to new towns with a future, not just a past. But a few of its buildings remain today, along with the remains of others that make Shanagolden worth a visit for those interested in Nash lumber history.
The cold winds from the mountains are calling soft to me,
The smell of scented heather brings bitter memories:
A wild and lonely eagle up in the summer sky,
Flies high o'er Shanagolden, where my love Willie lies.
I met him in the winter time when snow was on the ground
The Irish hills were peaceful and love was all around.
Scarcely twenty years old, a young man in his prime.
We were married, darling Willie by the eve of Christmas time.
Do you remember Willie, we walked the moonlit road
I held you in my arms, love, I would never let you go.
Our hands they were entwined, my love, all in the pale moonlight,
By the fields of Shanagolden on a lonely winter's night.
Then came the call to arms, love, the heather was aflame.
Down from the silent mountains, the Saxon strangers came.
I held you in my arms then, my young heart wild with fear,
In the fields by Shanagolden, in the springtime of the year.
You fought them, darling Willie, all through the summer days.
I heard the rifles firing in the mountains far away
I held you in my arms then, your blood ran free and bright,
And you died in Shanagolden, on a lonely summer's night.
But that was long ago, love, now our son grows fine and tall;
The hills they are at peace again: the Saxon strangers gone.
There's roses growing on your grave, there's an eagle in the sky ,
Flying high o'er Shanagolden, where my love Willie lies.