|St. Nathys Casthedral|
|The Ballaghadereen and Districts Heritage Audit|
|St. Nathys Casthedral:
The building was constructed on the old fair green ground. This was started in 1855 and completed in 1860. The Spire and Tower were completed in 1909. Noted for its beautiful and rare stain glass windows.
Burial place of 4 Bishops of Achonry.
The Old Military Barracks:
Located at the rear of the college, the barracks was built to monitor the crossing of the Lung River. Once was home to 92 Soldiers and 5 Officers. The barracks was built in 1798 by Lord De Freyne and Viscount Dillon after the 1798 Rebellion, and it remains much as it was. It has its own Ghost, a British Soldier Pentorn, who hung himself here, is reputed to walk the corridors of the old building on the 3rd. November each year.
(c) The Convent Chapel and Grounds:
Built in Gothic style by the Sisters of Charity in 1879. It is surrounded by nice gardens and walks. The convent school was the seat of learning for many local girls. Once there was an industrial school to accommodate 75 girls.
(d) Dillon House:
On the square, headquarters of the W.D.C. It was the home of John Blake Dillon, founder of the Nation paper and Young Irelanders, John Dillon of the old Nationalist Party and James Dillon, Leader of Final Gael 1951 1963. It was a meeting place for Michael Davitt, Charles Stewart Parnell and Frank McDermott in later years.
(e) St. Johns School (now part of St. Attractas N.S.):
Founded and opened by De La Salle Brothers in 1890. Many famous people passed through the doors.
Ned Duffy: Feniar. Born in Barrack St., Ballaghaderreen, 22/8/1840. Organiser of the Fenian Movement in Connacht. A man of delicate health but very dedicated to his beliefs. Arrested in Boyle, he died in Millbank Prison on 17/1/1868.
William P. Partridge: Born in Sligo. Lived in the Tower House, Ballaghaderreen. Elected to Dublin Corporation 1903. Took a prominent part in the Strike of 1913. Fought in the 1916 Rising. Jailed and died as a result of a hunger strike 1917. Buried in Kilcolman Cemetery.
John Shouldice: Born in Barrack St. Played Gaelic football for Mayo. Jack and his brother Frank fought under E. Daly in Mount Street 1916, where they had to surrender in Clanwilliam House. They were responsible for the highest number of casualties of the 1916 Rising. 215 dead, 1100 wounded.
John Dillon: Nationalist Party. M.P. for East Mayo. Friend of Parnell and Davitt. Joined the platform with De Valera in an anti-conscription meeting on the Square in 1917.
James Dillon: Former leader of Fine Gael 1951 - 1963. T.D. for West Donegal and Monaghan.
Sean Flanagan: Solicitor. Home in Pound Street. Noted Mayo Footballer. Fianna Fail T.D. and M.E.P.
Matt Molloy: Born in Ballaghaderreen 1946. Noted Flute Player with the Chieftain's Group.
The river shares its name with this townland. In pre-historic times it formed an important boundary. To the east lay the territory of Airteach and to the West, Sliabh Lugha. The river has been important to the economy of the area in the past. A corn mill was operated on it in the early part of the nineteenth century. At the beginning of this century, it was redirected and shortened to relieve flooding. In 1906, a dam was built on the cut to generate an electricity supply for the town of Ballaghaderreen, evidence of which is the powerhouse which is now a small Museum.
(a) A Norman settlement was established here around the middle of the thirteenth century. The D'Angelos (Costellos) built a castle in Banada, possibly at a place known locally as Banadamore. The purpose of this castle may well have been to command the river near the point where it entered Lough Gara. It is referred to in sixteenth century documents as "De Castre et Villa de Bynfadda" (Inq. temp. Jac. 1) and the "Castle, town and the lands of Brenffada" (Stafford Inq. of Mayo). The site could possibly reveal an interesting Medieval village.
(b) Two ring forts:
(a) Legend of Tecet:
We have inherited much from the Celtic iron age in terms of placenames, language and lore. It was a heroic society whose stories centered on great warriors. Feasting was a heroic pass-time. Magh na Luinge was known as the "plain of feasting". Legend says that Tecet feasted there and became so drunk that he plunged into the waters of the lake and so gave it its previous name - Loch Tecet (Lough Gara).
(b) Earth works and a ring fort:
Bocagh Hill and Massrock
The Bocagh Bill Massrock, situated at Attaintaggart serviced the entire area during the Penal Times. It was chosen for its strategic location giving a panoramic view (on a clear day) of Counties Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon and part of Longford.
The introduction of the iron plough and a growing population led to greater exploitation of the land and further forest clearance during the iron age and early Christian period. The expansion of agriculture can be seen in the number of earthen ring-forts in this area. Lissian, which may mean the "fort of the little wood", has three raths. They were probably the homestead of "free" farmers. Most are intervisible and they clearly had a defence dimension in an era when cattle raiding was common place.
(b) Death of Dermot the Hospitable:
Internecine warfare weakened Gaelic Society. It is said that Dermot the Hospitable, Chief of Moylurg, was lured to Lissian and treacherously beheaded by his cousin Eoghan in the late sixteenth century.
(c) The Dillon Family:
The area is associated with the Dillon family. Luke Dillon, father of John Blake Dillon Young Irelander, was a prosperous tenant farmer. He held approximately 150 acres of land at Blenaghbane in Lissian. The townland then formed part of the Waldron estate - a sub-estate of Viscount Dillon of Loughglynn. Luke Dillon gave up his land and moved into Ballaghaderreen 1812, where John Blake Dillon was born two years later.
(d) Ballinphull: Ring Fort
(a) Ecclesiastical Enclosure:
The remains of a stone oratory, probably medieval, can be seen in the old graveyard. However, this is believed to be the site of an Early Christian monastery founded by St. Baethin at the end of the sixth century. Its name "Domus Baethin" or "Teach Baithen" is echoed in the present name of the townland. Various stories surround St. Baethin, one says that he was the son of a local chief, who was taking part in battle at "Gort na Fola" (in Teevnacreeca), when St. Patrick passed by and converted him to Christianity. His foundation was probably much more extensive and may have enclosed several acres on the hill of Tibohine. Tibohine is mentioned many times in the annals. The Book of Lecan says, "An ait ba mho chu in Airteach. Ba e Ti Baethin e!" The fortunes of the monastery ebbed and flowed with the political tide and it was a frequent victim of pillage and plunder by hostile clans and cattle raiders.
It is said that Teach Baithean was finally destroyed by Cronwellian soldiers.
(b) Present Church:
The present church was built in 1861. Four of the stained glass windows are noteworthy. They were made in 1913 by artists from "An Tur Gloine". This was a group set up by Sarah Purser and Edward Martyn to revive the medieval art of stained glass making. It formed part of the Gaelic Revival movement and incorporated themes from the Celtic past in its work.
The Rose window is the work of Catherine OBrien. Windows by Ethel Rhind depict St. Baethin and St. Asicus. These women were leading exponents of the opus sectile style.
(c) Teevnacreeva Ambush:
Sean McDermott said of Hydes book "The Literary History of Ireland" We have found in this book the spiritual dynamite that would blow an empire asunder." In the years 1919 21, Mr. McDermotts successors were attempting just that task. The Tibohine district witnessed some fighting. In Sepember 1920, members of the South Sligo Brigade I.R.A., ambushed an R.I.C. Patrol at Teevnacreeva. In the ensuing battle two R.I.C. men were shot dead and an I.R.A. Captain, Tom McDonagh also lost his life.
A few months later, John McGowan, who was captain of the Tibohine Company I.R.A., was surrounded by Black and Tans at a neighbours house at Rathkeery and was shot dead. A cross to his memory is located near the spot.
(a) Rathkeery Glebe House:
Douglas Hyde came to live in this house when he was six years old (in 1866). He spoke about his youth here in his poem "An Gleann Inar Togadh Me," expressing his love of the lake and the boglands. His interest in the Irish language and his vision was nurtured by the local people in whom he recognised the qualities of an ancient, unique and culturally rich civilisation.
(b) Site of Ratra House:
Ratra House was built by the De Freyne family. It was later purchased by the Gaelic League and presented to Douglas Hyde, who lived here with his family, part of the time, during his years as Professor of Irish at U.C.D.
Hyde and his wife had retired to Rathra when he was asked to become President of Ireland in 1938.
There are also two raths and a crannog in this townland.
(c) The Douglas Hyde Interpretive Centre:
A centre/museum dedicated to the memory of Dr. Douglas Hyde.
Frenchpark House (Site):
The French family were originally Norman, who came to Ireland with Strongbow. A branch of the family settled in Galway and became wealthy salt merchants. The mid 17th. century was a time of great upheaval with war, famine and the "Curse of Cromwell." Many of the native land owners were forced to leave Ireland for the Continent. The Frenches were one of the families at this period and acquired a vast estate.
They settled at Dun Gar (Frenchpark) in the 1650s, where they built a large Jacobean style house with Dutch bricks imported via Galway. As their wealth grew, so did Frenchaprk House. Wings and a third storey were added in the 1700s.
In 1839, Arthur French of Frenchpark was created the first Baron de Freyne. Frenchpark House was demolished about thirty years ago.
Cloonshanville Priory fits into the movement for reform which began in the Mendicant Monasteries in Connaught after the Black Death (1348-49). The mendicant friars helped the poor, the sick and the lepers and provided shelters for pilgrims and travellers.
The Dominican Priory of the Holy Cross is said to have been founded by McDermot Roe in 1385. The ivy-covered bell-tower still stands and some ruined walls may be seen. A tall stone cross with stunted arms is located in a nearby field and may point to the presence of an earlier ecclesiastical foundation.
An interesting feature is a Piscina in the church. The Piscina was a basis made from Stone and used for washing the sacred vessels. It was placed near the altar and a little drain from it led down to the foundations.
Theobald Dillon got possession of Cloonshanville after the dissolution of the Monasteries. He rented it to John Davis, who succeeded him as collector of the Composition Rent in Connacht.
The Dominican Community had to leave and it is thought some went to Rome and others to Bayonne and Aquitance (France).
(a) Neolithic Tomb:
The most lasting legacy of the Neolithic people are their tombs, frequently located on high ground. Fairymount Hill is the highest point in Co. Roscommon. A mound covered with earth on the summit is very possibly a passage grave.
At 586 ft. Fairymount Hill commands a great view of the surrounding country and would have made a natural defence. Two large interlinked hill-forts enclose the top of the hill and possibly date from the Iron Age. Such sites were almost certainly tribal. The chief and his followers occupied the hill-fort as a palace in time of place. However, all the tribesmen and their cattle could be accommodated within its defences in time of danger. Roscommon Co. Council have built a water tower on part of it.
(c) Cill i Hooley:
St. Lallocc is said to be associated with the coming of Christianity to Fairymount (Ard Senlis). It seems there was an early ecclesiastical foundation at Cill I Hooley. There are no ruins of the church, but is known as sacred ground and was used as a burial place for unbaptised infants until approx. fifty years ago.
(d) Fairymount Church:
Michael Healy made five windows for Fairymount Church between 1907 and 1910. Healy was one of the most distinguished artists who worked with an Tur Gloine and most of his work involved complex aciding.
One of Hubert McGoldricks best windows depicts St. Brigid and was made for Fairymount Church in 1922.
(a) Loughglynn House:
Theobald Dillon and his successors acquired an estate of almost 3,000 acres, mostly in Co. Mayo. Theobald, an adventurer, worked for the expansion of Elizabethan control in Connaught and gained immense personal benefits from it. Later generations of the family supported the Catholic cause. The second Viscount, Luke, was a member of the Confederation of Kilkenny. His brother, Louis, who was a Francisan Friar, became Bishop of Achonry (1641 1645). Another brother, James, went to France, where he founded the Dillon Regiment. Their famous charge during the battle of Rauville won the battle for France.
His wife, Mary Talbot, was killed by a shell during the siege of Limerick. The Dillons became absentee landlords in the mid eighteenth century, when the Eleventh Viscount married an English heiress. A number of land agents administered the estate. The most notable were Jerrard Strickland and his son Charles.
Loughglynn House was built by Richard, 9th. Viscount Dillon, between 1713 and 1737. It belongs therefore to the early phase of mansion building that followed the Williamite Wars. It is Palladian in style and originally had a Mansard roof. The top storey was removed following a fire in 1896.
A demesne was planted in 1801. This consisted of 80 acres of woodland. Three avenues led to the house. The principal one stretched for more than mile to Moyne Crossroads.
At the end of the last century, the house was sold and acquired shortly afterwards by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, who were noted for their "Ateliers" (industrial schools) in France.
From 1903, they provided employment and training for a large number of local people in their workshops and dairy. Their cheese was famous.
(b) Loughglynn Lake:
Loughglynn lake was constructed in the early 19th. century by Jerrard Strickland, land agent to Viscount Dillon. It is of ornithological interest and is especially important to wildfowl in dry periods in winter.
(c) Loughglynn Castle:
The remains of a Normal Castle, said to have belonged to the Fitzgeralds can be seen on the south side of the lake. One tower still stands. This was later the location of the farmyard belonging to Loughglynn House.
A branch of the Dillons lived in the Castle in the seventeenth century. A son of this family, Theobald, became the Viscount in 1682.
(d) Site of Loughglynn Ambush:
On the 19th. April, 1921 four I.R.A. men were staying in a house near Loughglynn wood. When they learned that the Black and Tans were combing the wood, they attempted to escape. Two were wounded. Following a drumhead court martial the other, Bergin and McDermott were shot on the spot.
(e) Duffy Memorial Loughglynn:
Edward Duffy, chief organiser of the Fenian Movement in Connaught (1862 1867), had close associations with this area. His family home was in Ballaghaderreen. However, two of his sisters taught in a cottage near where the monument now stands.
Duffy died in Millbank Prison on 17th. of January, 1868. On hearing of his death, ODonovan Rose wrote a poem which includes the lines:-
"In the dead house you are lying Ned and
Id wake you if I could.
But theyll wake you in Loughglynn Ned,
In the cottage by the wood."
13 Aughurine Stone Circle:
About 2000 years B.C. metal was first used in Ireland and a very gradual transition from stone to bronze working took place. We know very little about the new people who arrived in Ireland with the skill of metal working. They are given the name "Beaker Folk" because of the elaborate pottery vessels they made. They constructed circular monuments on henges of stone and wood e.g. the world famous Stonehenge. A fine example of an E.B.A. Stone Circle can be seen at Aughurine. Situated near a hill top it consists of a large circle of 14 upright stones with a cave or pit in the centre. Nearby there is a second smaller stone circle. Various circular earthen formations and the remains of two trackways (possibly ceremonial) are clearly visible. The purpose of such stonehenges is unlcear. Perhaps they had a ritual or astrological significance. Cremated bone has been found at a similar site at Newgrange. Stone Circles are mostly located in the South-West and North of the country adding to the importance of the site in Roscommon.
14. Kiltobranks Cave:
A cave in the townland of Kiltobranks may well be a pre-historic tomb. It is located on high ground. The entrance is carefully constructed and a lintel can be clearly seen.
It is covered by a low mound of stones. ODonovan 9Letters 1837) says that it was called Umhaidh Phadraig and that stones were held there in the early nineteenth century.
15. Feigh Lake Wild Life Sanctuary:
16. Kilruan (Lisacul) Ecclesiastical site:
17. Kilrudane Ecclesiastical site:
(a) The Tonroe Mill and Forge:
An Oats and Corn mill of the 19th. century. Oats, wheat and barley were transported by farmers to be milled into wholemeal flour and animal feeds, while the corn was being milled, the farmer attended to other tasks such as "shoeing" the horse or repairing farm implements. The mill was operational until the 1950s.
Raths or ringforts were the typical dwelling places of the nobles and "strong farmers" from around 500 to 1000 A.D. within these enclosures were dwelling houses with walls of stone and clay and roofs of straw or reed thatch. Many Raths contained passages known as souterrains.
(c) Souterrains were stoned lined and usually entered from within a shouse in the Rath. The purpose of these souterrains was mainly storage areas for perishable foods, for concealing valuables and as hiding places during raids. There are six such Raths to be seen in this area:-
Rath No. 1: on Jack McDonnells land.
Rath No. 2 and 3: on Bishops Ecclesiastical lands.
Rath No. 4:located directly behind the Four Altars Monument.
Rath No. 5 and 6: at Edmondstown Crossroads.
The finest examples of souterrains are to be found in Raths 5 and 6 where the chambers are believed to be linked by a series of passage-ways to further souterrains about one mile in Drumacoo.
(a) The Costellos:
The Costellos had possession of a large part of Sliabh Lugha. In 1257 the McCostellos (as they were called in Connacht) built a stong Normal castle on the site of the ancient Aileac Mor (or Castlemore), a castle which they held until 1587 when it was captured by Hugh ODonnell of Ulster. After the Costellos became dispossessed they fanned out: one branch moved to Tallaghan, the famous Una Bhan pined over one of the sons of this household, namely Thomas Laidir. Another branch moved to Cregan-na-Gran and built the Fourt Altars and another branch moved to Kilfree, Gurteen.
The Norman castle which they built is in ruins at Castlemore as is Kilfree House and the home of the Costellos of Cregane na Gran. The last residence of the McCostellos is now occupied by the Bishop of Achonry, Dr. Thomas Flynn.
(b) Bishops House Edmondstown:
The Palace itself was built in 1864, by Sir Robert Art Costello, and sold to the church about 1895. It is a Scottish Manor House built of cut stone. In later years the House was used as a boarding school for students and was known as "Edmondstown College." This boarding school was replaced by our present day St. Nathys College.
(c) Fuluacht Fiadh on Bishops House land:
Fluacht Fiadh, which were the ancient cooking places, were used extensively in the Bronze Age 2000 5000 B.C. In these prehistoric times hunting was a favourite sport in Ireland and at the end of the chase it was customary to set up camp and prepare a feast from the days kill. The animals mainly deer and wild boar were cut up and wrapped in straw. A hollow was made in marshy ground or near a stream and a woodlined trough inserted. The meat was placed in the trough and as the water level rose to cover the meat, red hot stones were thrown in. Hot stones continued to be thrown in until the meat was cooked. Fuluacht Fiadh are easily recognised by the mound of burnt stones which were placed in a horse-shoe shape. This horse-shoe shaped piece of land is much greener in colour than surrounding land.
(d) The Four Altars Monument:
The Four Altars, a ruin of penal times is situated about 3 miles from Ballaghaderreen town centre on the main Sligo Road. It was built by the Costellos of Cregan-na-Grant. The priest who read Mass at the famous Mass rock Aiteentaggart also read mass when circumstances permitted at the four Altars as he resided with the Costellos of Cregan an Gran.
While speaking on religious matters of much later times, it is well to note that up until 1873 there were 2 catholic churches which served the environs of Ballaghadereen. One was that of St. Marys Hall and the other which was located just a few hundred yards from the Four Altars on the Monasteraden Road. No trace of this church remains today, but the Sisters of Charity held class in this church every Sunday after 12 noon mass. This church was replaced by St. Aidans Church, Monasteraden.
(e) Cillin (situated directly behind Four Altars):
These ancient burial grounds were used for burials of unbaptised children. This fine example is situated in the Rath and stones mark graves.
(f) Directly beside this Rath and Cillin are traces of the original village of Edmondstown.
(g) Tohers at Creggane and Callow:
Two ancient bog trackways or "tohers" were discovered in the early 1960s. The trackway in Creggane was made of wood and stone and that of the Callow Bog was made of wooden planks only. These trackways were built primarily to permit the movement of people across the boglands of Ireland. These trackways have been radio carbon dated to 1100 B.C. The Creggane trackway can be reached by taking the first turn left after the Float bridge. It is situated approximately 400 yards along this road.
(a) McDermotts House:
The McDermott clan originally lived in Boyle (Lough Key) but when the planters came, their lands were acquired by the English and they then moved to the shores of Lough Gara, to the townland of Shroof. The remains of the fortress is still to be seen near one of the sites where the crannogs were discovered. The present day Demesne is built on the site of a former *smaller house. The Coolavin House was built in 1880 and in the grounds of this famous house is the ancient Caiseal.
* That smaller house was owned by the Holmes Family.
(b) Cashel at Coolavin:
This Caisheal is situated on the McDermott Estate in Coolavin. This round stone fort is about 2000 years old. It is about 10 feet high and 15 feet wide with an entrance at the South East. There are also two souterrains in the enclosure and it is believed by Madame McDermott herself that the timber road at the Float (Creggane) is connected to the Caisheal. Circa 1900 a group of people repaired the Caiseal in an attempt to restore it to its original shape.
(c) Directly opposite the Caiseal at Coolavin is the house of a former Protestant Rector. This house was divided into two parts; one half belonged to the R.I.C. Barracks ( again situated below the gate to Coolavin Estate on left hand side of road) and the other was the Protestant Rectors House. The old road leading from the Ballaghaderreen side of the Rectors House was referred to as "The Green Road" which is said to be a further continuation of the timber road at the Coolavin Caiseal. On the left hand side of the Rectors house is the sit e of a Protestant Graveyard.
(d) St. Attractas Well and Crucifixion Plaque:
A few hundred yards beyond the impressive entrance to Coolavin House lies St. Attractas well and Crucifixion Plaque.
Enclosed on three sides by walls, the centre is comprised of a limestone flag. The figure of Christ as he hung on the cross is sculptured on this with the instruments of the Passion carved on either side of them. Tradition has it that the work was done in the 17th. century by a local artist. The inscription I.H.S. 1662. 21G is imprinted on the Plaque and its believed that the 1662 may signify the year of restoration while the I.G. may stand for Iriel OGara.
On top of the north wall are placed 13 round water worn pebbles. The number 13 seems remarkable, maybe it represents the 12 apostles plus Jesus.
At the foot of the wall there is a prominent hollow in one boulder. The water in this was believed to cure children who had rickets.
St. Attractas Hospice Killaraght
St. Attracta was the daughter of the chieftain of the area called Talan, who was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick. She founded a hospice for travellers at Killaraght which survived to the 15th. century.
(a) Monasteraden Graveyard and Souterrains:
Monasteraden Graveyard is unique in that it is the only round graveyard in Ireland. St. Aidan founded his monastery there.
(b) St. Aidans Church Monasteraden:
This church replaced the former smaller church at Edmondstown crossroads and was built around 1873. In the eastern corner of the churchyard the famous burial vault of the McDemott family can be seen. Interred here are the remains of:
(a) The Right Hon. Hugh, The MacDermott Prince of Coolavin, who was Privy Councillor and Attorney General for Ireland.
(b) Charles Edward: The MacDermott.
(c) Charles John: The Mac Demott.
(d) Dermot Francis: The Mac Dermott.
(e) Hugh Percy Victor (5th son of Right Hon. Hugh MacDermott).
It is well to note that the MacDermotts built the church in Monasteraden. Also in the grounds of this quaint little churchyard OSullivan Beara stopped on his march from Kerry to the land of ORourke of Breffini. He passed through Ballaghaderreen and through Monasteraden (Donncha ODulaing planted an oak tree here as he retraced OSullivan Bearas March).
(c) Flannery and Corcoran Monument Townabrack Road:
On the roadside between Monasteraden Church and Moygara Castle stands a monument erected to the memory of Joseph Corcoran and Brian Flannery who lost their lives at this very spot, on the 2nd. April, 1881.
The conflict occurred between two countrymen named Joseph Corcoran and Brian Flannery and Sergeant Armstrong. This was a period of mass eviction of people from their homes under foreign rule. Both these families were about to become dispossessed like several others and on this occasion both Corcoran and Flannery were shot dead by the police party on the edge of the roadway, where to cairns, 6 or 7 feet high and 8 feet apart now mark the fatal spot. Both Flannery and Corcoran are buried in the old Cemetery in Kilcolman.
(d) Megalithic Tomb at Shroof, Monasteraden:
This megalithic tomb situated at the top of Townabrack Hill dates to about 5000 B.C. It was excavated by Dr. Raftery in the early 1950s. With over 300 Crannoga found at Lough Gara archaeologists believe this to be a megalithic graveyard of some kind or other.
(a) Moygara Castle and Souterrain:
After the Anglo-Norman invasion the OGaras were pushed out of their territory (i.e. centre of territory was the country north of Castlemore and Ballaghaderreen) into Coolavin. In 1206, the OGara buily Moygara Castle on the side of Mullaghtee. It was a castellated building 185 feet square, with battlemented towers, four of which can still be traced. The dwelling and entrance were on the left side.
In 1220-1221 the OGara territory, with the exception of Coolavin and Killaraght was granted by De Lacy to the De Angulos, Barons of Navan. This take-over was strongly contested.
The castle was attacked and captured in 1256 by OCuisin (one of Fitzgeralds Anglo Norman leaders from Sligo town). In 1259, it was recaptured by the OGaras aided by the OConnors and was rebuilt. It remained in the possession of the OGaras until 1581 when it was burnt by Malby of Connacht.
It is widely believed that the gates of the castle were thrown into Lough Gara. The remains of the other two castles are still to be seen, i.e. the Castle at Cupanagh and Derrbybeg Castle.
Fergal OGara commissioned the arrivals of the Fair Masters.
The souterrain out of Moygara Castle was used as an escape route.
(b) Lough Gara Crannoga:
Crannoga or lake dwellings were popular constructions during both the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. Over 300 Crannoga were discovered at Lough Gara and these particular ones date from 500 B.C. to 1000 B.C. Objects including bone pens, combs, glass beads, bronze ornaments and numerous wooden bowls were found. Stone causeways formed a path from the shore to the crannog. Artefacts of a much larger kind than those already mentioned were found also polished stone axes, pottery ornaments, spindles, whorb, rotary querns and iron objects. These Crannoga presented evidence of metal working and it can therefore be said that the inhabitants of these crannoga were engaged in industrial activity.
(c) Templeronan Cemetery:
Situated on the shores of Lough Gara, this cemetery is built on the site of a former monastic settlement. The graves of some of the monks are to be seen in this cemetery. The grave of Thomas McDonagh is also to be seen here. McDonagh was fatally injured by the Black and tans during the fight for freedom.
(d) Giants Grave and Cul Cnoc ) Drimacoo)
Drimacoo, an area overflowing in Folklore and Traditions contains 4 prominent Raths and the Giants Graves. As late as 70 years ago, groups of fiddlers appeared to anybody crossing the hill Cul Cnoc, and to this present day people wont cross the hill after dark.
23. Grave Slabs at Carrentemple:
Fourteen sandstone early Christian grave slabs were found mainly to the south and east of the church within the old graveyard. Two of the slabs have art that is derived from pagan Celtic Iron Age Art.
One other slab has a design similar to the design in the Book of Durrow, datable to 650 A.D.
It is therefore suggested that many of these slabs date to the 7th or 8th century.
(a) "Caiseals" :
There are 7 Celtic Age stone "Caiseals" in Kilmovee, which includes the largest "Caiseal" in Connaught, located at the rear of the present day Kilmovee football pitch.
(b) Ogham Stone:
An Ogham Stone, found in a wall in Kilmovee is now mounted beside "The Three Wells." "The Three Wells" are reputed to have sprung up when St. Mobhi struck the ground with his staff when he had no water to baptise the local people.
(c) Brooklawn House:
The first residence of the Bishop of Achonry in the Ballaghaderreen area.
(d) The Glebe:
The residence of the Protestant Rector for Ballaghaderreen. When the French army was marching east from Killala to Longford, the battalion came through Kilmovee to cross the River Lung. Local farmers joined the batallion to fight off the enemy. When the batallion was defeated, the local farmers lands were confiscated and given to the Protestant Church.
25. Urlaur Abbey and Pattern:
The Dominican Friary (Abbey) at Urlaur was founded in 1434. A papal bill dated 18th. March, 1434 issued by Pope Eugene IV granted Fr. William Nangle and Fr. Thomas OGrogan permission to remain in Urlaur and erect a regular monastery.
Edmond Costello and his wife, Fineola Cusa, daughter of OConnor Dun were generous benefactors and they financed the building of the Abbey.
It became the burial place of the Costellos, their sephulcre was located near the altar.
The friary is situated on the Northern shore of Urlaur lake about 9 miles from Castlemore. Perhaps its remote and beautiful location was what attracted the friars here and there are frequent reference to novices coming here from all over Connacht.
The Dominicans were mendicant friars. This friary fits into a reform movement that was especially strong in the West of Ireland in the 15th. Century. The reformers were called observants and they strove to follow the rule of their order strictly. The austere vision that inspired them seems to be reflected in the strong pure lines of the architecture.
The remains of the church and of the domestic buildings are very fine.
The church is rectangular in shape. There are openings (doorways) in the west and south walls. Eighteenth century prints show a beautiful east window and three gothic arches separating the Nave from a recessed area. An interesting feature is the aperture, where lepers could hear Mass.
On the south are the other buildings of the friary. Up the steps, on the second floor, was the dormitory where the friars slept. Below, the refectory, kitchens and other conventional buildings, the end part was the boathouse for a quick escape.
aur is still held each year on the 4th. August to remember the feast of St. Dominic, testifies to the enduring mark the Friars made. The chief duty of the Dominicans was to preach. They became closely integrated with local communities and the people warmed to them. They also helped the sick and lepers and provided shelter for pilgrims and travellers though living on charity themselves. Each Dominican house had its own territory in which it had the right to beg. Its seclusion helped Urlaur to weather the dark storms of oppression.
Most monasteries in the West escaped suppression until the reign of James 1. The long delayed blow fell on Urlaur in 1608. An inquisition was held in that year and another in 1610. The friary was declared suppressed and its lands given to an adventurer, Sir Edward Fisher. Later it passed into the hands of Sir Theobald Dillon. But the friars went on living quietly at Urlaur.
Things got worse with the coming of Cromwell. Fr. Dominic Dillon and Fr. Richard Overton of Urlaur were put to death at Drogheda. A Fr. Mac Costello was also killed by the Cromwellians and Fr. Gerard Dillon died in prison. Yet in the midst of turmoil and terror, on August 16th. 1654, eleven Dominicans met at Urlaur to regulate the affairs of the Order.
In 1698 the friars had to flee the Friary again because of the Penal Laws. Despite the threat of transportation and possibly death, five friars remained in the area including Fr. Pierce Costello and Fr. Redmond Costello.
By the late 18th. century the Friary was in ruins and the community was dwindling. The last friar was Fr. Patrick Sharley who died in 1843.
Acknowledgements to Mr. Paddy McGarry, Bernie Jordan, Michael Mulligan and Ann OBrien.
Ballaghaderreen and Districts Development Limited was incorporated on the 17th of July 1995.
It is a Company Limited by Guarantee whose members are drawn from the local community.
The primary objective of the Company is to pursue and promote the economic and social
development of Ballaghaderreen and its surrounding areas to the maximum extent and in
ways that will benefit the entire community. On the 18th of July 1996 Ballaghaderreen and
Districts Development Limited launched an integrated Community Business Plan to cover the period 1996 -2001.
The Plan contains details of 34 projects, both community based and privately promoted,
to address all aspects of the town's ongoing development needs. It had been recognised that Ballaghaderreen
had suffered from problems associated with economic underdevelopment and depopulation which affected
many parts of rural Ireland, but appeared to be more manifest in the Westorn Region. The Community Business
Plan saught to address these issuesby way of an integrated and managed approach to local development.
Since the launch of the Community Business Plan in 1996,
a great deal of work has been put in at local community level with considerable results.
A priority project in the plan was the restoration of Dillon House at The Square in
Ballaghaderreen, a building of considerable importance which had been home to three generations of
Irish political leaders,the most recent of which was James Dillon, one of the leading political figures of this century.
The house has fallen into disrepair and a proposal was made to Government that it be refurbished and designated as the
Headquarters of the Western Development Commission, a body established at that time as the focus of economic
regeneration in the five counties of Connaught as well as Donegal and Clare. That objective was realised when
on the 27 of February 1997 the then Taoiseach Mr. John Brutom T.D., announced that Dillon House,
Ballaghaderreen would be theHeadquarters, of the Western Development
Commission and would be fully refurbished for that purpose. Mr. Bruton
said at that time "Dillon House wIll be a flagship development for the town of
Ballaghaderreen. Its central position in the Market Square will provide a new focus for the
town and will reflect Ballaghaderreen's pride in its history and optimism in its future.
The location of the Headquarters of the Western Development Commission will also put Co. Roscommon at the centre of the
Western Region and will provtde a new perspective and focus point in the region. It is a symbol of the
future development of Ballaghaderreen and, more generally, of the
regeneration of the Western Region. This project is an excellent example of the benefits of doing things in a "partnership" way.
On this occasion it is a partnership between my own Department, the office of Public Works, Roscommon County Council and community interests -notably Ballaghaderreen and District Development Limited."
The people of Ballaghaderreen were subsequently pleased tp welcome the newly
appointed Chief Executive of the Western Development Commission, Mr. Liam Scollan,
and his staff who adopted Dillon House as their Headquarters, leading to the official
opening of the newly refurbished Dillon House for that porpose by the present Taoiseach,
Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D. at a ceremony in Ballaghaderreen on the 7th of May 1999.
Mr. Ahern' s predecessor, Mr. Bruton T .D . also attended at the official opening,
in a unique gesture of political solidarity with
Ballaghaderreen' s designation as the Commission's Headquarters.
The status of Ballaghaderreen as a Regional Development Centre was further enhanced when on 18th June 1999
Mr. Noel Dempsey, T.D., Minister for Environment and Local Government announced that
Ballaghaderreen was to be the location of one of two new Regional Assemblies
to be established under new structures for regionalisation to be implemented by the Government.
The Assembly would be known as the Border Midland and Western Regional
Assembly and, said Mr. Dempsey, it would "have an important role to play in a number of areas.
" He indicated that the Assembly "will have functions in relation to new
Regional Programmes which are to be put in place under the next National National Development Plan as well as
monotoring the general impact of all EU programmes in its area.
" He indicated that the Assembly "will also have a general power to promote the
co-ordination of public service delivery which. ..will see the Assembly assessing its
region's development needs and securing more coherent development of policy and
provision of public services in the region," working closely with the existing regional authorities.
The Minister continued that the Border Midland and Western Regional
Assembly would be assisted in this task by the choice of Ballaghaderreen as it's
Headquarters the town being "well positioned geographically" in its region.
The Minister indicated that he had no doubt but that Ballaghaderreen would prove to be an excellent choice
in terms of providing the sort of focus to which all those concerned with making the new
Regional Assembly work effectively will be able to readily relate.
Since then Mr. Gerry Finn has been appointed Chief Executive of the Border Midland and
West Regional Assembly, which has had its initial meetings and elected its
representatives from the thirteen County Councils and one County Borough
which make up its catchment area, and has also elected a Chairman.
The region qualifies for Objective One Status for EU purposes and has a
population of almost one million. A location in the town for the Assembly has recently being
designated and work thereon will commence when the planning process is complete.
Ballaghaderreen as a Regional Development Centre were further enhanced when on the 19th of
January 2000 Dillon House hosted the first ever full Cabinet Meeting outside of Dublin.
An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertin Ahern T.D. and his Ministers attended and afterwards conducted an Information Seminar
on aspects of the National Development Plan insofar as it affects the Objective One Status Area,
which was held at St. Nathy's College in Ballaghaderreen.
Ballaghaderreen was privileged to be designated as the location for this historic Government Meeting which
marked an important step in the development of a more balanced Regional Development Programme.