Knockmany Walk December 2012

Knockmany Walk December 2012 Photo: © Michael Cullen

Just a quick note to apologise for the lack of daily posts recently. I was without a landline/broadband in Co. Monaghan for a week because a passing truck driver (apparently) brought down two 100m lengths of cable about half a mile away from me. Eircom had to order the replacement cable from the UK and so it was only yesterday that things got back to normal. I got a call from Vodafone on my mobile today to tell me that service had been restored. However I have been trying to shake off a chest infection so was not out and about yesterday.

Knockmany Walk December 2012 Photo: © Michael Cullen

Knockmany Walk December 2012 Photo: © Michael Cullen

This weekend I hope to take part in the annual mulled wine walk with Christmas carols at Knockmany, near Clogher and Augher in County Tyrone. We meet in the lower forest car park at 12:30pm. Clogher Valley walking club and Knockatallon ramblers organise the event.

Christmas carols & mulled wine at Knockmany  Photo: © Gregory Murphy

Christmas carols & mulled wine at Knockmany Photo: © Gregory Murphy

There is a small registration fee: the money is donated to two local charities. To give you an idea what it’s like and the lovely views that can be enjoyed of the surrounding countryside, here is a video made for the William Carleton Society of last year’s event.

Knockmany Walk December 2012 Photo: © Michael Cullen

Knockmany Walk December 2012 Photo: © Michael Cullen


Christy & Martin Mallon, Killeeshil  Photo: © Kevin McSorley

Christy & Martin Mallon, Killeeshil Photo: © Kevin McSorley

A South Tyrone filmmaker has helped to uncover five treasure troves of the area’s hidden history, including the story of how the achievements of two Killeeshil inventors changed the global quarry industry. Over the summer, cameraman Kevin McSorley captured the activities of history buffs from Caledon Regeneration Partnership, Donaghmore Historical Society, Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society, South Lough Neagh Historical Society and the William Carleton Society.

His film was funded by the European Union’s PEACE III programme for PEACE and reconciliation through the ‘Shared History, Shared Future’ project, administered by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council. It reveals the extraordinary story of how two men from Killeeshil, John Finlay and Sylvester Mallon, changed the course of the quarry engineering industry with inventions that are now used around the world. It also features a celebration of the legacy of literary genius William Carleton, born in the Clogher Valley, as well as the history of the Ulster Canal, and South Tyrone’s industrial heritage.

The film shows footage of Finlay and Mallon’s relatives describing the humble origins of both men, and how they were constantly dreaming up new inventions and enterprises on the backs of cigarette packets. The pair, who had great respect for each other, went on to set up factories and companies that employed large numbers of local people, and created the foundations for Tyrone’s world-class engineering industry. Nowadays, approximately 68 percent of the world’s mobile crushing machines is manufactured in the county.

The project was launched at Ranfurly House in February by the Mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone. Dr Brian Lambkin, Director of The Ulster American Folk Park in Omagh, was the guest speaker. In June all five groups were represented at Caledon Courthouse during a visit by the Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to see the work of Caledon Regeneration Partnership. The five historical societies shared with each other an awareness of their own fields of expertise and used it towards a shared understanding of our history and future.

Caledon Regeneration Partnership, formed in 1996, is a not for profit company whose make-up was and continues to be four community representatives, four Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Councillors and three representatives from Caledon Estates Company. In 1997 the Partnership obtained funding from PEACE 1 for the development of a Comprehensive Development Plan for Caledon village. The group has helped to regenerate much of the village including many historically important at-risk buildings, such as Mill Street cottages and the beam engine house at the former mill. Caledon Regeneration Partnership is actively involved in community building initiatives.

Donaghmore Historical Society was formed by a small group of people in 1983 and since then its numbers have swollen. It refurbished what was the National School and is now the Heritage Centre. It built a replica of the Donaghmore High Cross, put Donaghmore Living History on the worldwide web and has, in conjunction with the Heritage Centre, amassed the largest archive of townlands research material in Ireland. Plans are being made to digitize the entire archive and bring townlands research into the 21st century at the touch of a button by providing access to data, using the DHS website.

Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society encourages its membership to take ownership, research, interpret and be informed of the shared history of the area. It is rich in industrial heritage, including the development of machinery for quarry engineering.

South Lough Neagh Historical Society is based on the south shore of Lough Neagh. It is an academically- based society, drawing support from the wider community in their continued search to examine and record the historical and cultural footprint of this diverse area. The project examining the past, present and future of the old Ulster Canal has proved to be both illuminating and beneficial to all the members who participated and their findings are another marker in the history of this old waterway.

The William Carleton Society was re-formed in 2011 and is a cross-community, cross-border group dedicated to promoting the works of the well-known Irish author from County Tyrone and his life and times. It seeks to use his stories of faction-fighting and sectarianism in 19th century Ireland as the basis for talks and discussions on history and literature and the lessons for modern-day society. Since 1992 it has run an annual summer school in the Clogher area, with leading authors, poets and historians among the contributors.

All five groups have contributed to a 100-page booklet, which was published on November at a reception at Ranfurly House in Dungannon on November 19th. The publication printed by Ecclesville Printing Services in Fintona was also funded through the PEACE III project and copies costing £5 will be available from the individual societies from next week. Arcella Films produced the hour-long DVD. For more information and any permission to publish the video pictures contact Kevin McSorley in Cabragh, Dungannon or email the societies. Copyright 2013.

The above article is based on a news release I wrote for the Shared History, Shared Future project and was published in the Tyrone Times on November 22nd.


Members of the group at Cavan County Museum  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Members of the group at Cavan County Museum Photo: © Michael Fisher

Visit to Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff, by members of the ‘Shared History, Shared Future’ project from South Tyrone. Members of the William Carleton Society joined the other groups on this study trip from Dungannon via Broomfield (coffee break at An Eaglais), the Boyne Valley and Navan to County Cavan. An evening meal was organised at the Lavey Inn.

Coffee Break at An Eaglais, Broomfield Co.Monaghan

Coffee Break at An Eaglais, Broomfield Co.Monaghan


William Carleton

William Carleton

After two years running the annual William Carleton international summer school, I have handed over the reins. Dr Frank Brennan who is based in Dublin is the new Director and I wish him well. Already there are exciting plans being made for the 2014 event which will be held at Corick House Hotel in Clogher, Monday 4th to Thursday 7th August.

Jack Johnston, President William Carleton Society Photo: © Michael Fisher

Jack Johnston, President William Carleton Society Photo: © Michael Fisher

At the Annual General Meeting of the William Carleton Society at Corick House, a new committee was elected for 2013/14. I will henceforth be acting as Membership Secretary and also handling the publicity as PRO.


President: Jack Johnston, Ratory, Clogher

Vice President: Liam Foley, Clogher

Chair: Gordon Brand, Enniskillen

Vice Chair: Pat Boyle, Dungannon

Secretary: Frank McHugh, Enniskillen contactable at

Membership Secretary: Michael Fisher, Belfast contactable at

Treasurer: Tom McKeagney, Belfast

Assistant Treasurer: Isabel Orr, Clogher

PRO: Michael Fisher, Belfast contactable at

Webmaster: Frank McHugh

Summer School Director: Frank Brennan

Honorary Director: Owen Dudley Edwards

Deputy Directors: Paddy Fitzgerald; Aidan Fee

Patrons: Dr Joseph Duffy; Jim Cavanagh; Mary O’Donnell; Sam Craig; Noel Monahan

Executive Committee: Gordon Brand, Pat Boyle, Jim Cavanagh, Frank McHugh, Tom McKeagney, Isabel Orr, Michael Fisher, Peter Cavanagh, Patricia Cavanagh, Jack Johnston, Liam Foley, Frank Brennan, Paddy Fitzgerald, Aidan Fee, Malcolm Duffey, Bill McCrory, Beverley Weir.

Dr Frank Brennan, Summer School Director

Dr Frank Brennan, Summer School Director


Arrival of Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall in Caledon

Arrival of Prince of Wales & Duchess of Cornwall in Caledon

The border village of Caledon in County Tyrone was looking its best as it welcomed a royal visitor, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales who is on a two-day visit to Northern Ireland along with Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall.  It’s a while since any member of the British royal family came here, although the area is the seat of the 7th Earl of Caledon, Lord Lieutenant for County Armagh, which lies on the other side of the River Blackwater and where some of his 5000 acre estate is situated. It adjoins two other estates, Tynan Abbey (Armagh) and Castle Leslie across the border in Glaslough, County Monaghan. Sir Shane Leslie and his parents would have been in contact with their Caledon neighbours, as well as the Stronges. Sir John Leslie arrived to meet the royal visitors and remind them of his family’s connection with Winston Churchill.

Detail on Gate

Detail on Gate

Entrance to Caledon Castle

Entrance to Caledon Castle

Tynan Abbey was destroyed in an IRA gun and bomb attack on January 21st 1981. The elderly Sir Norman Stronge (86), a former Stormont Speaker, Ulster Unionist politician and former British Army officer, was shot dead along with his only son James, a former Grenadier Guards officer and Unionist MP who was also an RUC Reservist.

Entrance to Tynan Abbey estate

Entrance to Tynan Abbey estate

There are other reminders that this was one of the areas targeted by the IRA during the “troubles”. In the cemetery beside St John’s parish church, I came across the grave of an RUC Reservist Joshua Willis. The 35 year-old was killed when an IRA landmine containing at least 1000 lbs of explosives was detonated as his armoured patrol car passed along the Killylea Road outside Armagh. Two of his colleagues also died in the attack in July 1990. There was a fourth victim who was passing with a companion in another car, a Catholic nun, Sr Catherine Dunne of the St Louis sisters. She was based at Middletown. The IRA said the nun was the victim of ”unforeseen and fluke circumstances”. One of the nuns from Middletown was at a reception involving community groups who met the VIPs.

Grave of Reserve Constable Joshua Willis

Grave of Reserve Constable Joshua Willis

Not far away on the road towards Aughnacloy there is a memorial erected by local people in memory of the three policemen who were killed. It is close to the site of the former RUC/PSNI barracks, which has now been demolished. The site has now been sold for redevelopment.

Site of former Police Station

Site of former Police Station

Memorial to RUC Reservists

Memorial to RUC Reservists

Prince Charles however was probably concentrating on other parts of this former mill village, where an extensive regeneration project has been carried out over the past few years, led by an enthusiastic committee. I wrote about the work of Caledon Regeneration project last April.

Caledon Regeneration Partnership was formed in 1994 to take forward a planned social, economic and environmental regeneration strategy for the County Armagh village. It is made up of representatives from the local community, local authority and Caledon Estates Company, which has an office in the main street.

Caledon Post Office, Main Street

Caledon Post Office, Main Street

One of the projects being undertaken is the restoration of a beam engine and engine house. Last year a total of £220,000 in funding was secured to finance the first phase.  It is hoped that the engine will eventually be restored to a fully operational state, and become a tourist attraction for the area. The unique piece of equipment dates back to the early 1830s and is one of the earliest surviving steam engines in Ireland. It was once used to power the Caledon Flour Mill and then Caledon Woollen Mills.

Beam Engine, Caledon

Beam Engine, Caledon

In 1984 the village was designated as a Conservation Area and six years later, this was reviewed and the boundary extended. DoE (NI) Planning Service produced a Conservation Area Guide to accompany the original designation, which included design guidance intended to help protect the historic fabric of the village. In November 2001 a unique restoration scheme was officially opened by then Social Development Minister Nigel Dodds of the DUP.

Mill Terrace, Caledon

Mill Terrace, Caledon

The £500,000 project involved the sympathetic restoration of a historic terrace of former mill houses and the implementation of an environmental improvement scheme in the Mill Street area of Caledon. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Dodds said:-

Caledon has a host of unique and beautiful buildings which represent an important part of our architectural heritage. The restoration work and the environmental improvements have made a very significant impact on the appearance and life of the village. The regeneration of towns and villages across Northern Ireland is an important priority for the Department for Social Development. The Mill Street project is an example of what can be achieved through partnerships between local communities, statutory agencies and funding bodies.”

William Carleton Society display

William Carleton Society display

Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society Display

Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society Display

Caledon Regeneration Partnership

Caledon Regeneration Partnership

William Carleton Society & Donaghmore Historical Society

William Carleton Society & Donaghmore Historical Society

Caledon Regeneration is one of five groups taking part in the “Shared History, Shared Future” project under the Peace III programme run by Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council. They had a display at the Courthouse along with the William Carleton Society, Killeeshil and Clonaneese Historical Society, Donaghmore Historical Society and South Lough Neagh Historical Society, which is working on a project about the Ulster Canal. The historian Jack Johnston President of the William Carleton Society represented the group at the Caledon event along with Patron Sam Craig and Summer School Director Michael Fisher.

William Carleton Society Patron Sam Craig & Duchess of Cornwall

William Carleton Society Patron Sam Craig & Duchess of Cornwall

The Northern Ireland Office news release:-

On the second day of engagements (in Northern Ireland), TRH The Prince of Wales & The Duchess of Cornwall this morning visited the historical village of Caledon.  They were accompanied by Lord Caledon and his wife, Lady Caledon.

TRHs visited Mill Street Cottage and they met with the owners of one of the refurbished cottages, Denver and Michelle Irvine.  This is one of the first projects to be completed by the regeneration scheme which had lain idle since the early 1970s.  The terraced two-story stone cottage, which was constructed around 1850 to house mill workers and their families, received Grade B1 listing in 1983 and are now the pride of this lovely village.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall then moved to the Beam Engine and Engine House which dates from the early 1830s and once powered a flour mill and subsequently a woollen mill.  They are now all that remain of what was once a massive mill complex.  TRHs were then presented to members of the Caledon Regeneration Partnership by the founding member, William Beattie.  Following a short overview of the Beam Engine Conservation project, TRHs had the opportunity to view the Beam Engine.  This engine is one of only eight beam engines to survive in Ireland, a rare example of 19th century steam engine technology

Prior to departing the Beam House, William Beattie  invited HRH The Prince of Wales to unveil a plaque to officially open the complex.

TRHs then made the short journey to the centrepiece of the village – the Court House and Clock Tower.  On arrival at the Courthouse they had the opportunity to meet with children and teachers from St Joseph’s and Churchill Primary Schools, as well as representatives of the Blackwater Regional Partnership, South Tyrone Historical Group, local church leaders and members of the Women’s Institute.

Prior to farewells, TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were presented with a Food Hamper by two local school children.


William Carleton Society committee members at Irish Writers' Centre, Dublin

William Carleton Society committee members at Irish Writers’ Centre, Dublin

Launch of the William Carleton summer school programme 2013

The William Carleton Society made another trip to Dublin this evening for the launch of the programme for the 22nd William Carleton international summer school. The line-up this year is broader than before, with a number of events in Monaghan and Emyvale before the start of the school itself on Monday 5th August at Corick House in Clogher.

Maurice Harmon and summer school director Michael Fisher

Maurice Harmon and summer school director Michael Fisher

Our patron Maurice Harmon read four of his poems and the President of the William Carleton Society, Jack Johnston from Clogher, revealed details of his recent research on Carleton’s addresses in Dublin, where the famous 19thC author spent most of his life, although he was born near Clogher in 1794 and was a Tyrone man!

William Carleton Society President Jack Johnston talking about Carleton

William Carleton Society President Jack Johnston talking about Carleton

Committee member Patricia Cavanagh from Tydavnet gave more details of her late father Terence O’Gorman’s book, which she has compiles from his poems and stories, “Memories Amidst the Drumlins: Cavan and Monaghan”. The book will be launched at the Four Seasons Hotel at 6pm on Friday 2nd August.

Patricia Cavanagh, Tydavnet, at William Carleton summer school launch

Patricia Cavanagh, Tydavnet, at William Carleton summer school launch


Friday 2nd August    

Four Seasons Hotel, Coolshannagh, MONAGHAN    CONFERENCE:        CARLETON, KAVANAGH & GAVAN DUFFY

10:30am registration FREE ADMISSION            Tea/coffee

11am  Professor Thomas O’Grady (Boston/Prince Edward Island) on his poetry and Patrick Kavanagh

12 noon  Art Agnew (Inniskeen) on Patrick Kavanagh

Lunch Break

2:30pm Charles Gavan Duffy: Journalist and Patriot:  Brendan O Cathaoir (ex Irish Times) and Aidan Walsh (former curator, Monaghan County Museum)

3:30pm  Break

3:40pm  Mary O’Donnell (Monaghan poet and author)

4:45pm  Shemus cartoons in The Freeman’s Journal: Felix M. Larkin

6:00pm Reception and Book Launch:

Memories Amidst the Drumlins: Cavan & Monaghan: Terence O’Gorman poems and stories

 Saturday 3rd August

11am meeting at Monaghan museum, Hill Street.

Walking tour of Monaghan town with Grace Moloney, Clogher Historical Society, & Theresa Loftus, Monaghan Museum. FREE.

Lunch afterwards at pub with traditional music.

 Sunday 4th August  

4:00pm Assemble at Emyvale Leisure Centre (refreshments) or Edenmore school.

4:30pm walk to Blue Bridge, Emyvale

5:00pm to 6:00pm

Carleton commemoration at the Blue Bridge Emyvale and new plaque unveiled

6:30 Gather at Emyvale Leisure Centre

7:00pm Fair of Emyvale reading at Emyvale Leisure Centre. FREE. All Welcome.

8:00pm Refreshments.

***All Monaghan events are part funded by the EU’s ERDF through the Peace III programme financed through Monaghan Peace III Partnership***

Monday 5th August

Corick House Hotel,  Corick, CLOGHER, Co. Tyrone  BT76 0BZ

10am Registration, tea and coffee

11am Photocall

11:30am   Opening by Mayor of Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council

11:40am   Summer School Honorary Director:

Prof. Owen Dudley Edwards on “Carleton, Otway and Irish Literature”

1pm Lunch

2:30pm Keynote address Professor Thomas O’Grady, Boston

The Geography of the Imagination: Carleton’s “The Donagh”

3:30pm Tea/coffee break & bookstall

3:45pm Author Gerry McCullough (“Belfast Girls”) & Raymond McCullough

(singer & songwriter)

4:45pm  Broadcaster & commentator Tom McGurk in conversation with Aidan Fee:  “Northern Ireland: past and present”

6pm Close of session

 Tuesday 6th August                                           

09:30am registration  Tea/coffee

10:15am Language in the Clogher Valley of 19th Century. Irish: Dr Ciaran Mac Murchaidh, St Patrick’s Drumcondra.  Ulster Scots: Dr Ian Adamson

11:50am break

12:00 noon  President of the William Carleton Society, Jack Johnston:

“Augher: from landlord, Sir Thomas Ridgeway to George Duffy, the Miller”

12:45pm lunch

2:15pm  Josephine Treanor tells the story of her relative, mentioned by Carleton:

“Anne Duffy, the Miller’s daughter from Augher”

3:00pm  Break

3:15pm Focus on modern Irish writing: Ciaran Collins (“The Gamal”) + Patricia Craig (“Twisted Root”) + Anthony Quinn (“Disappeared”) + Tony Bailie (“A Verse to Murder”)

4:15pm Tea/coffee break

4:30pm Seminar continues & discussion to close of session 6:00pm.

Wednesday 7th August     

09:30am registration tea/coffee

10:00am Dealing with the past: Professor Jon Tonge (Liverpool)

Discussion: Alex Kane and Dr Margaret O’Callaghan (QUB), chair John Gray

11:45am Break

12:00pm  Former politician and commentator Mary O’Rourke on how differences can be accommodated

1:00pm  Lunch

2:30pm Poet Siobhan Campbell MA on writing about the past

3:30pm  Tea/coffee Break

3:45pm Patrick Scully extracts from one man show on Edward Carson

4:30pm Writer & author Mary Kenny (Edward Carson: Dubliner, Unionist, Irishman)

6:00pm Close of summer school

Thursday 8th August

Coach tour in Co.Fermanagh by Frank McHugh & Gordon Brand with particular reference to Shan Bullock: “The Loughsiders”, based around Crom estate. Booking required: for more details contact Frank McHugh e:

Cost: £30 including meals

Evening Events: (supported by Shared History, Shared Future Project funded by South West Peace III partnership )

Monday 5th August

Traditional Music session with female Irish traditional group Síoda &

singer Seosaimhin Ni Bheaglaoich,   Rathmore Bar, Main St Clogher 8pm

Tuesday 6th August

Walk on the Carleton Trail with the Clogher Valley Ramblers.  7:00pm

Bagpipers & traditional Music with the McKenna family (Clogher) at Somers Cafe, Fardross (off A4 road)  8:30pm   Free admission

Wednesday 7th August

Concert at Fivemiletown Wesleyan Hall 8pm

Murley Silver Band and Monaghan Gospel Choir: Special Guest Gloria  Admission Free.

More information at:


Daily: £40/€47 including lunch and tea/coffee break;
concession £33/€35 (saving of €3)
Morning:  £13/€15 or one session £7/€8   including tea/coffee;
concession £10/€12  or one session  £4/€5
Afternoon: £16/€20 or one session £8/€10 including tea/coffee;
concession £12/€14  or one session  £4/€5
Lunch £11/€13  

Tour Thursday including meal: £30/€35
Season ticket 4 days £150/€175 or concession £130/€140 (saving of €10)


Dinner, B&B Packages at Corick House Hotel, Clogher:

3B&B plus 2 Evening Meals@ £170pps (double/twin occupancy)

3B&B plus 2 Evening Meals @ £220 (single occupancy)

2B&B plus 2 Evening Meals @ £140pps (double occupancy)

2B&B plus 2 Evening Meals @ £180 (single occupancy)

Double Room Rates B& B only

1 night £55pps

2 nights £50pps

3 nights or more £45pps

Single Rate B&B only

1 night B&B £70

2 nights or more B&B £65 per night

Accommodation also available at Glenvar guest house, 111 Tullyvar Road, Aughnacloy BT69 6BL