County Leitrim is renowned for its lack of offensiveness, and the fact that it is a thing that exists… or does it? Conspiracy theorists have today claimed that our favourite easily-forgettable Connacht county may not be the sheep haven that we always knew it to be. Controversial evidence suggests that in the late 1800’s, county Leitrim was actually a scientific metropolis controlled by the freemasons, only for this Victorian-era Babylon to disappear in the 1920’s. Some have pointed to the lack of success that Leitrim GAA has had, with its first success coming in 1927. Leading conspiracy theorists have jumped on these findings, despite reputable historical and scientific communities failing to verify many of the supposed claims laid by online speculators. We at the UCC Express have been hard at work gathering these claims and interviewing many of the individuals to try and put the full story together for the first time in perhaps over 90 years. We at the Express neither support nor deny what is to follow, and would like to warn those who suffer from chronic gullibility.
In the early hours of the morning on Tuesday the 12th of September I received a phone call from a hidden number that would soon launch me head first down a rabbit hole of lies, cover ups, murders and sheep. The message was clear – I had been sent 7 documents which contained different accounts of what may have been, at one time, the single greatest civilisation in the world. Partially disintegrated photos, notes that looked to be over a century old… all of these pieces of evidence that said more by what they did not contain than by what they did. Instantly I was furiously googling to try and find any info. The only things I could ever find were small communities with deleted posts and comments, and references to websites which no longer existed. There was something here.
After searching for about 5 hours, I finally came across a man who goes by the name ‘Joe Shlippy’ who seemed to be on the same mission I was. From him I received what would come to be the basis of this amazing claim. In 1873 County Leitrim was almost completely barren apart from sparse areas of grass that might be home to sheep. However, in October of that year, Englishman and freemason Robert “Dutch Bob” Holland, along with other masons, first arrived with a plan to create their utopia. Over the next 2 decades thousands of masons arrived to help build this small community into a bustling city. Unlike much of Ireland at that time, which was heavily Roman Catholic, and looking towards Irish Republicanism after Charles Stewart Parnell’s rise in the 1890’s. Leitrim remained quiet and very unassuming in the background; Leitrim was its own isolated area, free from the speculative eyes of the rest of the country, and was able to become a centre of scientific experimentation and innovation hidden in the ‘wesht’ of Ireland.
Most small pieces of information that came through from other sources all seemed to corroborate with the story I was told that night. But nothing explained the most pertinent question: what the hell happened, and why is the area east of Sligo an empty and sad wasteland now? This is where things start to get weird: many speculators are torn on how it came to pass that the greatest civilisation on Earth managed to disappear without even a brief mention in the history books. Many claim the masons found a better place to be home to their utopia, and that the Irish War of Independence had caused many masons to fear for the safety of their city, but also that many English members refused to accept that an independent Ireland might be home to some of the most important scientific discoveries in history. Others dispute this, and believe that after the Black and Tans burned Cork City to the ground they learned of the Leitrim Colony. The British Government has never apologised for the actions of the Black and Tans during this period. Speculators posit that the reason for this is that the English would never want to disclose that the Tans destroyed Leitrim. Some even go as far as to say that when De Valera refused to go to London for the treaty negotiations, and chose to send Collins & Griffith instead, he did so as to not have to be humiliated by King George V who had discovered the Leitrim Colony before Dev himself. Some say the reason we did not get 32 counties was that Collins was forced to trade the 6 counties for some of the information that was lost in the destruction of Leitrim. This information is said to be passed around in the inner circles of YFG and Ógra, explaining their cult-like behaviours.
The lack of cohesion of the stories, the lack of visibility of the communities and the lack of people willing to come out and say what they believe to be the truth. On the other hand, the removal of websites and forum posts, the circumstantial evidence… there is just something not right in Leitrim, and I don’t think this is going to go away anytime soon. If even some of this turns out to be true, then this proves a cover-up by multiple governments, uncovers possible war crimes, reveals the denial of ‘Leitrimic’ scientific genius, and provides even further proof that Ógra is a cult. Leitrim has a dire secret and it will not be hidden forever.
Longford’s real though, it’s just really, really boring.