Fisherman’s Cottage

Our faithful reconstruction of a fisherman’s cottage of the nineteenth century stands as an example of the important role of fishing to rural Westmeath and society in the past. Westmeath is known as the Lake County. With almost 22,000 acres covered by water, it is not surprising that fishing has always played an important part in the life of its people. Whether to supplement their diet or sell at the local market, generations of fishermen have worked the lakes and rivers of Westmeath over the centuries. Methods of fishing have changed over the years, with spears, nets, and rods used over time to catch fish. From the 1600s on the River Shannon, eels were caught at specially constructed weirs. By 1900, there were more than 20 weirs on the river, with much of the catch being exported. The eel catching baskets in this cottage are similar to types crafted by the fishermen from the reeds and rushes that grew at the waters edge. Today, anglers come to the region from all over the world especially for the pike and brown trout fishing, which is regarded as among the best in Europe.

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