Jack Johnston, President William Carleton Society, at the Blue Bridge Emyvale  Photo: Michael Fisher

William Carleton’s ‘Blue Bridge’ across the Mountain Water at Inishdevlin outside Emyvale was one of the points of note on a 5m walk this afternoon organised by the Clogher Valley Ramblers. It started and finished in Emyvale village, with cups of tea beforehand and afterwards at John’s Plaice.

William Carleton, a leading Irish writer of the 19thC came originally from the Clogher area. He wrote about life’s experiences and as he used to walk from his relatives’ house at Derrygola to Glennan for his education at the hedge school there (beside Glennan chapel). He always rested at the Blue Bridge. He has written in his Autobiography about its beauty and about the famous Fair of Emyvale.


Mountain Water at Inishdevlin near Emyvale Photo: Michael Fisher

The Emyvale Development Association organised a festival under the Banner of the Fair of Emyvale for a number of years while money was being raised for the Emyvale Leisure Centre.  On Sunday, August 4th 2013 during the annual summer school, all came alive again as Michael Fisher, Director of the William Carleton Society, unveiled a Plaque commemorating William Carleton’s connections with the Blue Bridge.

This event was organised by Emyvale Development Association. In 1997, Monaghan County Council in conjunction with Emyvale Development Association erected a Plaque on the Bridge but weather conditions eventually rotted the  plaque backing and it came away from the wall. A new Plaque was prepared and is now in place.


Clogher Valley Ramblers at the Blue Bridge, Emyvale Photo: Michael Fisher



Kieran McAree  Photo:  PSNI website

Kieran McAree Photo: PSNI website

For nine weeks the search went on at the Round-O in Enniskillen for the body of Kieran McAree from Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. On the 64th day, after a daily vigil by his parents and a well co-ordinated search involving the PSNI and dozens of volunteers from Fermanagh, Monaghan and much further afield, the body was discovered close to the jetty. On Saturday, his family were finally able to lay him to rest following a Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Corracrin.

During the search, Peadar McMahon from Emyvale spent many hours assisting the family and taking part in the search. He was there last Wednesday when a body was spotted in the water. His detailed diary of the search along with photographs can be found on his website.

Rodney Edwards of the Impartial Reporter along with photographer John McVitty brought almost daily coverage of the search in a very sensitive way, managing to convey the feelings of Kieran’s parents at various stages, without being intrusive. This is his report on the funeral:

He was missing for over nine weeks but today Kieran McAree from Emyvale in County Monaghan was at last laid to rest.

There was a large attendance at his funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Corracrin, including representatives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland and volunteer search groups.

The poignant service just days after Kieran’s 24th birthday was conducted by Father Hubert Martin with assistance from Enniskillen church leaders, including Father Brian D’Arcy and the Dean of Clogher, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall.

A family photograph, a football jersey and an ’Aware Defeat Depression’ t-shirt were displayed at the front of the church as Fr. Martin told mourners that Kieran was a young man “who packed a lot into his short life”.

“He is first of all a son, a brother, a grandson to Annie, a cousin, a best mate, a mystery,” he said.

After going missing on December 17, Kieran’s body was discovered near the Round ‘O’ last week in a search that captured the hearts of people in Enniskillen and Emyvale.

Fr. Martin described the “great joy” that was felt along the shoreline on Wednesday afternoon.

“People hugged; there were tears, tears of relief and sadness, mixed emotions… but lovely, warm moments that will be remembered forever,” he said, adding: “Rarely ever does a coffin at a funeral look so special as Kieran’s coffin today.”

“We have been through such a gruelling experience,” said Fr. Martin, reiterating the appreciation of Kieran’s parents Martin and Geraldine for the help and support from the community in Enniskillen.

“Many new friendships between the people of Enniskillen and North Monaghan have been firmly forged. Neighbourliness has been demonstrated and experienced, the gospel has been preached by witness rather than by word.

“Despite the ordeal and trauma of the last nine weeks, Kieran McAree’s family is full of praise for the support they have received from so many people. Time and time again they have complimented the Police Service of Northern Ireland for their professionalism and courtesy, particularly on Wednesday when the body was recovered and sensitivity was required.”

There was a standing ovation and loud applause for the many PSNI officers in attendance, including Inspector Roy Robinson, Inspector Rory Hoy and Constable Gavin Huey.

“Community spirit at its best manifesting all that is good in human relationships,” said Fr. Martin, “People were prepared to walk with each other and with the McAree family through their ordeal. There is something very special about that idea of people walking with each other.”

As Kieran’s coffin was carried to the nearby cemetery, members of the PSNI and search teams and individuals from Fermanagh joined with locals from Emyvale to form a guard of honour in one last show of support.


My report from the RDS Arena in Dublin on Sunday. Northern Standard Thursday 5th February 2015.


Knockconan NS, Emyvale   Photo: © Michael Fisher

Knockconan NS, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher

Eight national schools and five young musicians from County Monaghan contributed to a great spectacle of music and song at the Arena of the Royal Dublin Society at the weekend. On Saturday evening,  the Model School from Monaghan town took part in the Peace Proms 2015. On Sunday afternoon, seven Monaghan schools helped to form the large choir of schoolchildren performing at the same event along with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.

St Dympna's NS, Tydavnet  Photo: © Michael Fisher

St Dympna’s NS, Tydavnet Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was a major operation to get a total of 180 schools from different parts of the country distributed over four performances in the course of two days, usually with the same arrangement of songs and music on each occasion. The seven schools I met all had to leave Monaghan early on Sunday morning, in order to arrive at the RDS at 11.30am in time for a rehearsal. The massed choir and musicians practised together for nearly an hour and were then given a break for lunch. But half an hour before the 2pm performance they had to be ready to go back to take their seats on the stage.

St Joseph's Boys NS Carrickmacross with Principal Paul Fitzpatrick   Photo: © Michael Fisher

St Joseph’s Boys NS Carrickmacross with Principal Paul Fitzpatrick Photo: © Michael Fisher

Carrickmacross was represented by Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa,  Cloughvalley, and St Joseph’s Boys’ National School,  Farney Street.  There were pupils and their teachers from Knockconan National School, Emyvale, and St Dympna’s National School, Tydavnet. There were also representatives from St. Louis Girls’ National School,  Park Road in Monaghan town; Scoil Mhuire,  Moys,   Clontibret  and also Scoil Mhuire National School, Latton, Castleblayney.  

The first half of the concert included favourites such as “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Climb Every Mountain”. In the second half the large audience was serenaded with “Ireland’s Call” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and several other popular songs.  

Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa Carrickmacross with Principal Maeve Callan   Photo: © Michael Fisher

Bunscoil Lughaidh Naofa Carrickmacross with Principal Maeve Callan Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Peace Proms is a choral education project for Primary Schools devised and delivered by the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.  Over 15,000 children from 300 schools participate in Peace Proms annually. It is not a “classical orchestra”. Their music  highlights the pop, folk and traditional cultures of the island of Ireland. They use all the instruments of a full symphony orchestra but include traditional instruments.

The five Monaghan members of the orchestra include two sets of siblings. Laura Rahill who plays the cello attends the St Louis Secondary School in Carrickmacross. Her brother Donal, a student at the Patrician High School, plays the violin. Tara Nic Giolla Seanáin from Clontibret is a harpist and attends Coláiste Oiriall in Monaghan, where she is in third year. Her younger sister Rossa is in first year and plays the violin in the orchestra. Their mother Eleanor Gilsenan, a teacher in Threemilehouse, is a member of the CBOI Parents’ Association. The fifth person from the county in the orchestra is another pupil from St Louis Secondary, Carrickmacross. Laura McKenna plays the flute. 

Scoil Naomh Mhuire,  Moys,   Clontibret  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Scoil Naomh Mhuire, Moys, Clontibret Photo: © Michael Fisher

Many of the CBOI’s commissions have been written by Brian Byrne who is recognised as one of Ireland leading contemporary composers and arrangers. The Belfast Peace Proms with schools from Northern Ireland are being held next Sunday 8th February at the Odyssey Arena. A similar event will also be staged in Limerick at the end of the month. 

Scoil Mhuire NS, Latton, Castleblayney  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Scoil Mhuire NS, Latton, Castleblayney Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland which runs the Proms was established in 1995 as a peace initiative and is now composed of 120 young people from all over Ireland – north and south. It encourages diversity through music and community. It is internationally recognised as one of Ireland’s flagship peace initiatives. The Orchestra is led  by some of Ireland’s top professional musicians including: conductor, Gearóid Grant, violinist, Patricia Treacy and tenor, Emmet Cahill.

St Louis Girls' NS, Monaghan  Photo: © Michael Fisher

St Louis Girls’ NS, Monaghan Photo: © Michael Fisher

This poem by 12 year-old Eimear Treanor, a pupil at Knockconan National School, from Faulkland, Glaslough, was awarded first prize in the Peace Proms 2015 poetry competition. Her parents received complimentary tickets for the concert at the R.D.S. Arena, in which Eimear participated.

PEACE  by Eimear Treanor:

Knockconan N.S., Emyvale, Co. Monaghan

For there to be peace in the world

There must be peace in the continents

For there to be peace in the continents

There must be peace in the country

For there to be peace in the country

There must be peace in the province

For there to be peace in the province

There must be peace in the county

For there to be peace in the county

There must be peace in the town

For there to be peace in the town

There must be peace in the village

For there to be peace in the village

There must be peace in the home

For there to be peace in the home

There must be peace in the heart. wpid-dsc_10202.jpg.jpeg

All but three are my photos. The one on the top right of the Model School Monaghan is copyright Rory Geary/Northern Standard. The top one is copyright Anamaria Meiu/Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland. Knockconan NS supplied the picture of Eimear Treanor.


Kieran McAree  Photo:  PSNI website

Kieran McAree Photo: PSNI website

Since before Christmas, the thoughts and prayers of many people in North Monaghan and beyond have been focused on the family of Kieran McAree from Emyvale. With police in the North believing the 23 year-old is dead, after claims he entered the river near Enniskillen Castle, the focus now is on retrieving his body.

The PSNI and other agencies continue to conduct a search operation in the Round ‘O’ area, which began following the report on Wednesday, December 17th, that he was missing. Kieran is described as 5’7” tall, with short curly brown hair, and wore glasses. He may have been driving a Volkswagen Golf car prior to going missing.

PSNI Chief Inspector Brian Foster said, “Significant water-based and land-based searches are continuing.  Police have appealed for anyone who can help with their enquiries to contact them. We are also appealing for anyone in the vicinity to check outbuildings and land.”

Police divers searched the lake bed near to the Lough Gates at Lough Erne, eliminating areas of interest located by specialised sonar equipment. A police helicopter and victim recovery dog have also been used to check the surrounding area. Kieran McAree’s family and friends searched the river banks and kayakers along with private boats checked the Lough.

Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery divers stayed overnight and were out on the lough at first light. Many dives where carried out in the fast river current making this a very difficult and dangerous task. Other dive teams attended for the family and worked till dark. Three police boats assisted in the tasks and will be back on the water in the morning.

PSNI launch  Photo:  PSNI Fermanagh facebook

PSNI launch Photo: PSNI Fermanagh facebook

Thomas Daly, a volunteer with the Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue and Recovery Service, has said his team which has included up to 37 people will not leave Lough Erne “until we have found Kieran”.

“We have spent the last two weeks searching from where the car was last seen, where the shoes were found. We have been studying the river and there was a fair flow on the river the morning he entered it. We are searching along the spots where we believe he could be”.

“We will not be leaving yet, no, not until we have found Kieran. We are thinking about the family and are here to help put an end to this, to help them move on,” he said.

Scores of people joined the search on Christmas Day and St Stephen’s Day following appeals by family members on Facebook and Twitter.

“This is the biggest search I have ever witnessed on Lough Erne. The community in Fermanagh is really pulling together to help Kieran’s family,” Constable Gavin Huey told The Impartial Reporter.

“We have been using a helicopter, boats and sonar. The divers have been searching in very cold, fast flowing water. The speed of the river and poor visibility has made it difficult but we are determined to keep going for as long as we can. I have never seen a search of this nature last as long,” he said.

Rodney Edwards in his excellent reports from the scene says it is believed that Kieran entered the water after abandoning his Volkswagen Golf near Henry Street in the early hours of December 17. Some of his belongings, including his shoes, have been recovered close to the scene. For his father Martin, mother Geraldine, brother Damien and sister Aisling from Emyvale the wait is an agonising one and there has been a sombre mood at the Round ‘O’ where they have been standing every day since he disappeared. They wait and hope. There are tears, prayers and emotional scenes. Yet among all the sadness, there is a strong sense of community.

“The level of support from across the county and across Ireland has been quite extraordinary. From taking part in the search to making food. The Anchorage Coffee Shop at the Round ‘O’ have been making tea and sandwiches and other food for free. Everybody has been out in force; all types of groups, organisations and people – all eager to help,” explained Constable Huey.

psnifermanagh“All our thoughts and prayers must continue to be with Kieran’s family. I know so many people are thinking about them and want to help and you can see that through this search and the reaction on Facebook. Many people have been getting emotional during all of this. We would just love to get a resolution so we can bring the family some closure. They really do appreciate all the help and support of the people in Fermanagh,” he said.


Edelle McMahon at the Blue Bridge, Emyvale, August 2013  Photo: Michael Fisher

Edelle McMahon at the Blue Bridge, Emyvale, August 2013 Photo: Michael Fisher

Edelle McMahon is a Belfast-based singer/songwriter, who hails from Emyvale in County Monaghan. In August 2013 she performed at the Blue Bridge outside Emyvale during the unveiling of a plaque as part of the William Carleton International Summer School. The following month I saw her performing in Crumlin Road Gaol during Culture Night Belfast 2013. Now her début solo single has been reviewed very favourably by “Joe” from the music review website, Bearded Radio. I have reproduced it in full with links where possible:- 

 “The musical voyage of Edelle McMahon first began in County Monaghan, in the Republic of Ireland. Starting young, it was through the hugely popular Sean Nós channel that Edelle entered into the world of child stardom, continuing on and reaching great success in Irish folk and traditional music, a current which has continued to the present day. For the past several years, Edelle has been a performing member of Belfast’s country rockers ‘Jackson Cage’ and more recently joined forces with studio-only based ‘The Badhearts’ who are due to release their first single together in early 2015. Along with being a familiar face on the gigging circuit, Edelle is one of the organisers of popular Belfast acoustic showcase, ‘The Lagan Sessions’.

Recently released and aptly named “Belle Curve” is her cleverly worded début solo single. Its origins stem from a retaliation to a good friend, who themselves had composed a comedic and banter filled song referring to the singer songwriters relationship status. What began as a witty and humorous idea, had now started to venture and take itself into darker waters. In the lyrics Edelle found herself reflecting on the lonelier side of being single. Originally intended as a guitar and vocal number, for the singles production, Mark Donaldson had the creative idea for the song to open up with piano and include string arrangements, thankfully this was hugely to Edelle’s liking and approval. Providing the perfect backdrop for “Belle Curve” is a stunning and picturesque video which was filmed on Canada’s Prince Edward Island by Richard Brennan.

It was back in May of this year when I first became aware of Edelle McMahon. Along with a feast of other respected Belfast-based musicians, Edelle’s jaw-dropping performance of “Demeanour” (co-written with Jim Johnston), was a part of a hugely successful project called “Eastside Sessions”, I fortunately have the DVD (you can watch it from youtube link below). Edelle McMahon has a pretty interesting and bulging itinerary ahead, now treading new waters and in the process of recording her début solo album, also due for release in 2015.  It is with great exclusiveness and much excitement I can reveal “Demeanour” will be featured on this. I have also included the links for Facebook, twitter and her SoundCloud where you can listen to more from her unreleased songbook, “Pilgrimsville” and “Ships Will Sail” are particular favourites of mine. Joe”.


Emy Lough, Emyvale Photo:  © Michael Fisher 2014

Emy Lough, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher 2014

My walk around Emy Lough, Emyvale, last weekend provided a great opportunity to take some new pictures of this wonderful natural asset in North Monaghan. I have put them together in a short video using the Sony Xperia programme. I hope you like the views, showing the lake on a bright, sunny afternoon. I also hope that the table quiz in the Red Boys pub was successful in raising funds for the upkeep and maintenance of the walkway by the Donagh Development Association.


Emy Lough, Emyvale (view from car park) Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Emy Lough, Emyvale (view from car park) Photo: © Michael Fisher

It’s one of the most beautiful parts of North Monaghan: Emy Lough. In recent years a hard-working committee from Donagh Development Association has developed a walkway around two-thirds of the lake.

Enjoying the view of Emy Lough Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Enjoying the view of Emy Lough Photo: © Michael Fisher

Using the nearby public roads a loop walk has been created, which is proving very popular as a place for exercise and relaxation. A number of seats have been provided along the way where you can stop for a breather and admire the view across the lake. Part of the lake is used by the local angling club and permits must be obtained from them for fishing.

It is a very peaceful spot and the 4km looped walk can be completed at a leisurely pace within 45 minutes or less. Keep an eye out for ducks and swans on the lake. Please remember to keep the path and the lake area free from litter: take your rubbish home with you.

When you come to the end of the trail (or entrance if you prefer to start your ramble on the walkway rather than the public road) you will find a red box for donations. This is cleared regularly and has been provided by Oliver McCarron Engineering from Knockronaghan.

Emy Lough Walkway, Emyvale Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Emy Lough Walkway, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher

Donation box made by McCarron Engineering at Emy Lough Walkway, Emyvale  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Donation box made by McCarron Engineering at Emy Lough Walkway, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher

Ad for Table Quiz in aid of Emy Lough Walkway  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Ad for Table Quiz in aid of Emy Lough Walkway Photo: © Michael Fisher

Tonight (Friday 28th November) a Table Quiz will be held at the Red Boys pub, Main Street, Emyvale in order to raise funds for the maintenance and upgrading of the walkway. Prizes to be won and a good night’s entertainment. More details can be found at

Emy Lough, Emyvale (view from car park) Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Emy Lough, Emyvale (view from car park) Photo: © Michael Fisher

Emy Lough, Emyvale Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Emy Lough, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher


Emy Lough, Emyvale Photo: © Michael Fisher