'Canbo' meaning ceann or head and bua orwin is just south of Ballinvilla and is the only place of this name in Ireland.
Long ago, Lisdaly, Canbo, and Ballinvilla loughs were much larger bodies of water, protecting “Cenn Bughbha” aka “Cenbuigh” from all sides. An access route to Canbo hill by way of Ballinvilla’s southern ridge would have become apparent as waters receded. The Annals of Boyle tell us Canbo was the ancient seat of the O’Farrells. Canbo was a McDermot stronghold for centuries. The Normans left the McDermotts to their own devices and Canbo was not affected (until the 1540 Tudor Conquest, when it then passed into English hands).
Canbo Castle (aka “Kenvoe”) was reputedly built around 1600 by an Elizabethan adventurer named Crofton (who loaned money to the English crown on the promise of lands following the war). In 1618 the “castle and lands of Canbo” were granted by King James to William O’Mulloy, knight of the shire for Co. Roscommon.
Josias Lambert (son of John Lambert and Margaret Carr) who lived at Canbo Castle, probably came into the property by way of his marriage in 1604 to Anne Crofton (daughter of John Crofton and Jane Duke). Anne and Josias had one son, John Lambert (1610-1683). Josias Lambert died in or about 1626. This Tudor castle is clearly marked on Petty’s Map of 1670 (as are the sizeable lakes, still surrounding the stronghold). This castle had an interesting twin stringcourse of brick in its walls, which was unusual for a castle of its period. Sadly, the castle fell into ruins in the 19th century, and many of its stones were extracted by locals to build farmhouses in the area. All that remains, today, is the crumbling gable end of what was, once, a large rectangular structure.
Written at Cambo Castle by poet Patrick J Neary and addressrd to To C J Mulvey, President Croghan Division A.O.H
Leitrim Observer Saturday, January 17, 1914
And in its ruins lonely lie
Yon Castle’s fame and glory,
No tow'ring spires point to the sky,
Its looks are dark and hoary.
Its ancient fame is now unknown
And gone its ancient splendour,
Where welcome was to stranger shown And love benign and tender.
Bright gardens once are weed strew
Their beauty long is faded—
Unguarded now each winding brow
For thus neglect has made it.
Alas that time such pow'r can claim
To Work his wond'rous magic,
He blots our ev' ry joy, save fume , Nor weeps the changes tragic
Yon Castle’s fate is mankind's to ,
Wheo once we have departed ;
Fogotten soon by men ‘tis true
Tho' we were once brave hearted.
And as the Castle gardens grow
The weeds which prove unsightly,
Thus graves present the self same view
O'er hearts which once beat lightly
A marble tomb may mark a grave
Yet time to dust such dashes ,
The mem'ry's courted by the brave
To guard their sacred ashes.
May Cambo man her castle yet
Who will for homeland rally,
When England base shall dare to set
A foot on Canbo’s Valley