Launch of Tydavnet Jamboree at Community Centre  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Launch of Tydavnet Jamboree at Community Centre Photo: © Michael Fisher

It will be a busy couple of weeks in Tydavnet, County Monaghan at the start of August. A village jamboree has been organised for the weekend of August 7th-9th. The following weekend the Tydavnet Show takes place at Drumshevra, Scotstown, on Saturday 15th August.

Monaghan Rose Michelle Caulfield from Scotstown launches the Tydavnet Jamboree programme  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Monaghan Rose Michelle Caulfield from Scotstown launches the Tydavnet Jamboree programme Photo: © Michael Fisher

The jamboree programme was launched tonight at the Community Centre by the Monaghan Rose, Michelle Caulfield from Iterera, Scotstown. Michelle won the Monaghan selection in April and was then one of seven Irish roses chosen to represent different counties at a selection night in Portlaoise at the end of May. She is the oldest of four children and is a junior infants teacher at a national school in Palmerstown, County Dublin.

Michelle told me she would be at the jamboree on Saturday 8th August. But the next day she will travel down to County Kerry as the roses have to be in Tralee a week before the festival starts on August 14th.

Monaghan Rose Michelle Caulfield from Scotstown launches the Tydavnet Jamboree programme  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Monaghan Rose Michelle Caulfield from Scotstown launches the Tydavnet Jamboree programme Photo: © Michael Fisher

One the Rose of Tralee website Michelle tells us that she moved home to Monaghan this year so she commutes to Dublin each day, but living with her family again and of course Mammy’s home cooking makes the drive worth every minute! She says she knew from a very young age that she really enjoyed working with children and youth work is a huge part of my life. Her involvement with Rainbows Ireland and Focus Ireland has allowed her to meet the most inspirational children.

The 27 year-old says she absolutely loves to travel and has spent summers in California, Miami and Thailand. She has a great interest in fashion and admits she loves to shop a little too much. Her pride and joy is her small poodle-like dog, Holly, and she loves their walks together in the beautiful local parks in Monaghan.

Michelle says she is honoured and proud to be representing the ‘Farney County’ this year and knows this is going to be an unforgettable year of new experiences, new friendships and making a difference.

Logo for Tydavnet Jamboree by Frances and Maeve Treanor, Drumdart  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Logo for Tydavnet Jamboree by Frances and Maeve Treanor, Drumdart Photo: © Michael Fisher

The jamboree logo was designed by Texaco Children’s Art overall winner Frances Treanor from Drumdart and her sister Maeve, both of them art students in Dublin. It features on the roadside posters for the event and will be used in all publicity.

Pat Deery at the launch of Tydavnet Jamboree   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Pat Deery at the launch of Tydavnet Jamboree Photo: © Michael Fisher

The launch was compered by actor and local resident Pat Deery. It was also attended by Sean McCaffrey of Northern Sound and Peadar McMahon of emyvale.net. Further details will also be found on the tydavnet.com website.

Seamus McCarville outlines the programme for Tydavnet Jamboree  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Seamus McCarville outlines the programme for Tydavnet Jamboree Photo: © Michael Fisher

Secretary of the Tydavnet Jamboree committee Seamus McCarville said they had organised a number of activities to appeal to all ages. He hoped there would be an influx of visitors to Tydavnet for the event, including local people who had emigrated to Australia, the USA and Canada.

On the Friday night 7th August the jamboree will begin with the showing of films of local scenes made in the 1950s by the late Parish Priest of Tydavnet, Canon Terence Kirke, from 9pm until midnight in the community centre, with a dance. Saturday afternoon and evening will include a BBQ with mystery entertainment and dancing. Seamus McElwain could not be persuaded to divulge further information! There will be a treasure hunt at 5pm. The day will also feature celebrations in honour of Killylough Tug o’ War, who enjoyed world and European successes in 1986 and 1987, as well as 1996 and also later on in 2007. After forty years of success it was decided that their achievements should be recognised through this community event.

Killylough Tug-o'-War committee Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Killylough Tug-o’-War committee Photo: © Michael Fisher

Killylough Cycling Club will organise a 50km and 100km cycle run on Sunday 9th August, beginning at 10am. There will be a tractor run at 2pm and a family fun day in the field opposite the community centre organised by young people from 2pm to 6pm, including the search for Tydavnet’s toughest tribe. This will see McCruddens testing their skills against McCarras, Meehans and Murphys, and possibly several other families. A very promising and lively programme for the jamboree weekend.


Sunset at Cornagilta: Photo © Michael Fisher

Sunset at Cornagilta: Photo © Michael Fisher

The sun was setting around Bragan as a crowd of over fifty people gathered at the former National School at Cornagilta, a few miles from Tydavnet, for an evening devoted to the history of what was once part of the Rose estate. Since 2001 when the late Canon Jackie Gilsenan was Parish Priest of Tydavnet, a group of locals has been working hard to preserve the building, which has some interesting stonework features, particularly at the entrance.

Theo McMahon at entrance to school

Theo McMahon at entrance

The small rural school was one of a number in the parish, which includes Scotstown (Urbleshanny), Knockatallon, Ballinode and Tydavnet, where the old school has already been restored and now serves as a community centre. Among the visitors was the former GAA President and former Principal at Urbleshanny NS, Seán McCague from Scotstown. A former teacher and a number of former Cornagilta pupils gathered to listen to one of their own, Patsy Brady, describe the history of the school.

Seán McCague NT

Seán McCague NT

The records show that the school opened on July 9th 1912 with a total of 68 pupils: 36 boys and 32 girls. It was closed in June 1984, when the roll call had reduced to 28 children. Over a 72 year period, 671 attended classes there, 351 boys and 320 girls. An important contribution to education in North Monaghan. In view of our visit there with the William Carleton Society in August 2011 during the summer school, I was interested to heard Patsy refer to a hedge school being run nearby in the 1820s.

Brian Deery at Cornagilta (August 2012)

Brian Deery at Cornagilta, 2012

Patsy described the different Masters who had run the school. They included Master (Brian) Deery, who was there from 1967 to 1978. The first was Master Luke Owens who later took over as Master at Barritatoppy school, also in the parish. In 1928 he moved into what was the service wing of Mullaghmore House between Tydavnet and Scotstown. I remember visiting Mullaghmore with a group from the Clogher Historical Society that include his son, the late Dr Cahal Owens from Clonskeagh in Dublin. He also came to Cornagilta on the same occasion, where Brian Deery was there to open the school door once again.

Late Dr Cahal Owens at Mullaghmore, 2007

Late Dr Cahal Owens at Mullaghmore, 2007

The original house was demolished after being destroyed in a fire on 24th January 1925. Those at the talk recalled how some local people then children remember seeing the flames in the distance as the large house burned (it was not a “castle”, as some described it). In a useful article about the property, a fellow blogger Timothy Belmont has a description of the fire and more information about the owners of the house, now the property of the Ronaghans.

The fire razed all but the servants’ wing and the stable block behind. The family (Captain S.R. Tufts) were away visiting friends in County Tyrone and there were no servants in  the house at the time. No cause for the fire was discovered. Previously the house was owned by Sir Robert Anderson, a Belfast businessman and founder of the Anderson & McAuley store in 1861, who had acquired Mullaghmore on the death in January 1907 of Gertrude Rose. 

Grace Moloney, CHS & Theo McMahon

Grace Moloney, CHS & Theo McMahon

Gertrude became the landlord after her uncle James Rose died in 1841 and on reaching 21 in 1849 she inherited the holding of 2810 acres, which comprised 21 townlands. Her relative had bought the lands from the Bishop of Clogher for £20,000 in 1821. The list of townlands was discovered by Theo McMahon in a letter to the new owner written around the late 1840s by an agent in the estate. It was part of the records of a “defunct estate” that were about to be disposed of in Monaghan a number of years ago, when Theo stepped in at a fortuitous moment and rescued the documentation.

The same letter gives Gertrude, who was then quite young, some advice on how to proceed. Better to get people to work, the writer advised, at a time when tenants had great difficulty paying rents, arising from the famine. Gertrude Rose ensured that a school was built at Cornagilta in 1859, using the locally quarried limestone and sandstone. In the early 1900s the building was closed and for a time was used for storing grain. Gertrude was a progressive and forward thinking landlord. For more details see Theo McMahon’s article on the Rose estate in the Clogher Record Vol. 18, No. 2  (2004), pp. 218-256. Theo’s talk was introduced by Grace Moloney of the Clogher Historical Society.

Talk by Patsy Brady at Cornagilta

Talk at refurbished Cornagilta School

The Cornagilta heritage committee will be holding another open day at the school on Sunday May 12th. They have done a lot in recent years to tidy up the building, make repairs and restore lighting. Their hope is that once more the school can become a centre for learning and other cultural activities.


Erecting first pole at Kilsallaghan, Co. Dublin 1946 Picture: ESB Archive

Erecting first pole at Kilsallaghan, Co. Dublin 1946       Picture: ESB Archive

Watching a film on television (RTE1) brought a glimpse of what it was like when the ESB rural electrification scheme began in Ireland over 66 years ago. The first pole was erected at Kilsallaghan in North County Dublin (now comes under Fingal County Council) on the road between St Margaret’s and The Naul in November 1946. Planning for the project had begun a few years earlier during the Second World War, or Emergency as it was known.

More details of the scheme that helped to transform Ireland can be found on a website about Tinryland in County Carlow and the important role played by one of its inhabitants, Paddy Dowling. It was among the first parishes to receive a connection to the national grid.

The film that prompted me to put down these thoughts is “Stella Days“, directed by Thaddeus O’Sullivan. Martin Sheen plays the scholar-priest and forward-thinking Father Barry, whose hopes of reappointment to Rome are dashed by the tenacious Bishop Hegarty (played by Tom Hickey), whose sole objective is to control the ‘hearts and minds’ of the dwindling population by building modernist churches designed to dominate horizons around the country.

The film is apparently based on a memoir about the establishment of a cinema by a Canon in a small Tipperary town in 1957, although I notice at the end the statement that all characters are fictitious. This experience portrayed of the local priest at the forefront of a community enterprise was not unique. At the start of the film, Fr Barry is shown with a cine camera in his hands, capturing the work of the ESB crews when they arrived in his parish. The sequence is then shown as a black and white clip from the film he had taken, with a sequence very similar to the picture above, which is from the ESB archive.

It reminded me immediately of the work done by a Clogher priest, the late Canon Benny Maguire, who was 96 when he died. In the homily at his funeral in Urbleshanny, Scotstown, four years ago on April 4th 2009, the then Bishop of Clogher Dr Joseph Duffy recalled how Fr Maguire brought Muintir na Tíre to Monaghan and following a very successful Rural Week, the group’s annual national assembly was held in St Macartan’s College in the summer of 1947.  As a result the parish of Tydavnet had the first rural electrification scheme in the county and his enthusiasm helped to establish the Tydavnet Show which has been such a success annually since then.  The development of the Our Lady of Fatima Hall at Knockatallon in November 1952 was another by-product, now the site of another community-run facility, the Sliabh Beagh Hotel. A predecessor of Canon Maguire as parish priest, Canon Kirk, also used a cine camera to record some of the activities in this rural area.


Kevin McCarron
Ready for the vintage run

Monaghan vintage tractor and car run on Sunday. The procession of vehicles left Kevin McCarron’s field in Tydavnet going through the village into Monaghan and then Threemilehouse where refreshments were provided before returning to Tydvanet via Scotstown. The event was organised in aid of Monaghan branch MS and Drumkill day centre Threemilehouse (Alzheimer Society). Thanks to all who participated or gave donations. It’s understood a sum of over €6000 has already been collected.

Tydavnet tractor run


Tydavnet tractor run
One of the local machines taking part in the “tractorcade” and vintage car run that began in Tydavnet. It was driven by Willie Harry.
Tydavnet tractor run