After finishing some work on the programme for the 2013 William Carleton summer school next month, I travelled back through Carleton country to North Monaghan. I went past Kilrudden, home of the late Mary McKenna, a former President of the William Carleton Society. I had earlier visited her grave at St Macartan’s (the Forth) chapel, where I also tidied up the grave of my McCann relatives, two of whom had made the journey from this beautiful Tyrone countryside to work as doctors in Shipley in England. I will tell you more about them later and how I found myself following their footsteps to Yorkshire last month.
The old road from Augher towards Monaghan takes you past Kilrudden and up Dunroe hill. Heading towards the border along a road that has now been re-connected with County Monaghan, you pass the townland of Cloonycoppoge where the McCanns came from before they moved to Aughnacloy, and then you come to Cullamore. I remember talking to Mary about them as she brought us on a Carleton tour one year.
Although it was 10pm it was still bright and I met a couple who were out walking. I stopped to look across at Lough More, a lake that marks the boundary between the UK and Republic of Ireland. The lake covers approximately 30 hectares and contains a good stock of wild brown trout including the Ferox trout. The Lough More Anglers Association controls fishing on this water and day permits are available.
Carleton tells us in the Preface to The Black Baronet (1858) that “the titles of Cullamore and Dunroe are taken from two hills, one greater than the other, and not far asunder, in my native parish; and I have heard it said, by the people of that neighbourhood, that Sir William Richardson (of Augher), father to the late amiable Sir James Richardson Bunbury, when expecting at the period of the Union to receive a coronet instead of a baronetcy, had made his mind up to select either one or the other of them as the designation of his rank“.