The name “Port Omna” means the “port of the oak”. The town, with a population of about 2,000, is situated on the northern tip of Lough Derg on Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon. It was one of about 50 towns founded by the Normans who came to Ireland in 1169 and is one of the few points where the Shannon can be crossed. It is known that a ferry crossing the river had been in operation as early as 1333. The earliest evidence of settlement in the area dates from the Neolithic Age. A skeleton from this period was found in Stoneyisland Bog in 1931.
Photograph courtesy of www.portumna.net
The fabric and social history of Portumna as a town derives from its late medieval castle and its economic growth during the eighteenth-century. A great number of its street buildings are eighteenth century in origin. The town is noted for Portumna Castle. The Forest Park, located adjacent to the Castle , covers some 1,500 acres. Agriculure and tourism are important to the area. The town offers good shopping opportunities and has a range of restaurants and coffee shops.
Main employers in the area include Green Isle Frozen Foods and Portumna Retirement Village. Many people however must commute outside of the area for employment. Community employment programmes also provide much needed employment and an opportunity for the area’s many voluntary organisations to get work done.
The town has a large number of sporting clubs. Portumna hurlers have done the town proud in recent years, with splendid skilful displays and victories, at county and at national level. In terms of education, the town has a community crèche, a co-ed national school and a co-ed community school.