History Trail

Pettigo has an interesting history and many well known people are associated with the area. See below.

You can download a History Trail Booklet here…

Sir Sydney Barton 1876 – 1946.

Sidney Barton was a particularly brilliant student and became a diplomat. He took part in the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900 and was awarded the China Medal. He compiled a Chinese-English Dictionary. His great knowledge of China and its people was recognized and the Chinese leader Chiang Kai Sek invited him as a witness to his wedding to Mae-Ling-Soong. He was later knighted. In 1929 Sidney Barton was appointed British Minister in Ethiopia and was at the Coronation of the Emperor Haile Selassie. Sidney Barton could plainly see the coming invasion of Ethiopia and brought in Indian Troops to defend the Embassy and during the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 he was able to provide shelter for 2000 refugees.

Sir Anthony Eden told the House of Commons that the conduct of Sir Sidney Barton had been beyond praise. He retired after the invasion and devoted himself to working for the exiled Emperor and his family. He had been annoyed by the manoeuvres of the great powers, including England, who had allowed this invasion to take place. He died in January 1946 and is buried at Muckross Church near the family home at Waterfoot, Pettigo.

Robert Childers Barton (1881-1975)

Robert C. Barton was an Irish lawyer, statesman and farmer who participated in the negotiations leading up to the signature of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. He was a cousin of Robert Erskine Childers and related to the Barton family of the Waterfoot. He became an officer in the Dublin Fusiliers on the outbreak of the First World War. He was stationed in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916 and resigned his commission in protest at the heavy-handed British suppression of the revolt. He then joined the Republican movement. In 1918 he was elected to Parliament as the Sinn Féin member for West Wicklow.
Arrested in February 1919 for sedition, he escaped from Mountjoy Prison on St. Patrick’s Day (leaving a note explaining that, owing to the discomfort of his cell, the occupant felt compelled to leave, and requesting the governor to keep his luggage until he sent for it). He was Minister for Agriculture of the Irish Republic, then of Foreign Affairs. Barton was one of the Irish delegates to the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. He reluctantly signed the Treaty in December 1921 and supported de Valera during the Civil War. After 1922 he left politics for the law, becoming a judge. He died on August 10, 1975, aged 94, the last surviving signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty.

Bishop Miler Mc Grath & Mc Grath’s Castle.

Born at Altruadin, near Pettigo, Miler McGrath became a Franciscan Friar and later journeyed to Rome and was made Roman Catholic bishop of Down and Connor. Later he became the first Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher and then Archbishop of Cashel in Tipperary. He was a clever man who could read and write in Irish, English and Latin. Because of his change of religion and greedy acquisition of lands and benefices he became unpopular with both Protestants and Catholics. He was of the ruling elite of the Clan Mc Grath who were hereditary overseers of the lands of the penitential island of St. Patrick’s Purgatory. Miler McGrath lived in turbulent times and he maintained his own army of about 200 men at Cashel; most of them Mc Graths, Monaghans and Mc Menamins from the Pettigo area. He was a very avaricious man and managed to control four dioceses and over 70 parishes at various times. Twice summoned to London to Queen Elizabeth to answer numerous complaints against him he charmed his way to even more riches. He managed to get possession of the Lough Derg lands that were confiscated under the Plantation of Ulster and built his castle in the early 1600s. It is known as Mc Grath’s Castle or Termon Castle. The castle was besieged and captured during the 1641 Rebellion and abandoned soon after.

The castle and lands were sold to the Leslie family of Co. Monaghan who controlled the Pettigo Estate until the early 20th century. He married and had nine children, was considered to be one of the handsomest men in Ireland, was an excellent swordsman, drank to excess, lived to 100 and confounded all his enemies.

John Kells Ingram

John Kells Ingram – Author of “Who fears to speak of ’98.” 1823 – 1907. Born in Aghnahoo, Pettigo, where his father was the local Church of Ireland curate, and educated at Trinity College, Dublin, John Kells Ingram received his BA degree in 1843. He was named a Fellow of the College in 1846, and took up professorships there, first in Oratory (1852-66) and subsequently in Greek (1866-77). He held the post of librarian from 1879 to 1887, served as a senior lecturer in 1887 and was vice-provost of the college from 1898 to 1899. His first literary publication was the famous poem “Memory of the Dead” otherwise known as “Who fears to speak of ’98.” (1843). His publications spanned many areas including economics, religion and sociology. In 1847 he helped to found the Dublin Statistical Society and in 1873 he founded the “Hermathena” publication.
His best known works include “The History of Political Economy” (1888) which was translated into 11 languages and “Practical Morals” (1904). He championed the cause of admitting women to university education and first opened Trinity College Library so that people in general, could see the great Irish literary treasures such as the Book of Kells. He wrote the famous poem one night after a conversation about the 1798 Rebellion when briefly Catholics and Protestants (mainly Presbyterians and Methodists) united to try and overturn the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland from which all of them were excluded. It was published in the “Nation” newspaper on April 1st, 1843.

“Who fears to speak of Ninety-Eight?
Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriot’s fate,
Who hangs his head for shame?

Fr. Neal Ryan and “The Quiet Man” film.

Reverend Neal Ryan died October 4th 1877 aged 82 years. Was ordained in Maynooth in June 1822 appointed Parish Priest of Pettigo in March 1827 and continued so to his death. Fr. Neal Ryan served 50 years in the Pettigo Parish including the period of the Irish Famine of 1845-50 when on one Sunday he had to bury 14 corpses in Lettercran Graveyard. He was a much loved figure. He is most famous for lending his congregation to his Church of Ireland friend the Rev. James Benson Tuttle (1788-1877) when he was in difficulties. Numerous complaints were being made to his bishop who decided to come and see for himself.

On the appointed Sunday Fr. Ryan told his congregation in St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, Mulleek, to go to the Church of Ireland service in nearby Aughterdrum Church later in the day and so they did and greatly impressed the bishop. Later the story was incorporated in the novel “Green Rushes” by Maurice Walsh and later into the film, “The Quiet Man” starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Coincidentally
the two clerical companions passed to a better world within weeks of each other. Fr. Ryan made notes on the weather and crops in the Pettigo area between 1855 and 1859. They are a record of the time when priests frequently lived on a small farm where they needed to grow their own crops of hay, oats and potatoes as well as getting turf cut and saved.
They can be found on the Internet at rootsweb.com

Fr. Lorcan O’Cieran

Author of the political phrase, “Sinn Fein.” 1863-1945.

The death of Fr. Lorcan O’Ciarain P.P., Pettigo occurred in the Shiel Hospital, Ballyshannon. A native of Threemilehouse, Co. Monaghan, he was ordained at Maynooth in 1888. He was a class fellow of Rev. Dr. Mulhern, Bishop of Dromore who was a native of Ederney. Fr. O’Ciarain lived in Magheramena Castle, Fr. O’Ciarain lived in Magheramena Castle, Belleek, former home of the Johnston family, where he had the privilege of stopping the GNR train at the halt on the Castle Estate which he exercised regularly.

He was an erudite student of the Irish language and Irish history and was an authority on Old Irish. He was a friend of President Hyde and numbered among his friends the leading figures of the Irish freedom movement. He attended the first meetings of the executive of the organisation that was later named Sinn Fein. It is believed that it was he actually, who coined the title.

At the early meetings he was in close contact with Arthur Griffiths, Seamus
McManus, Alderman Cole, Edward Martin of Galway and many other leading
lights of the movement. He was also an authority on flowers and trees.

Rev. Philip Skelton, 1707-1787.
Writer and Philanthropist.

Rev. Philip Skelton was born near Lisburn in 1707. He was a scholar and prolific writer on religious matters. Between 1750 and 1759 he was Church of Ireland Minister in Pettigo. He made his mark on all creeds and classes in the locality even to the extent of selling his library to buy food when famine threatened the Pettigo area and he gave to all regardless of belief. He also dispensed medicines and in serious cases paid for a doctor to come from Enniskillen to local patients. In 1754 he published two volumes of sermons. He was an outspoken critic of anything he saw as wrong and although a talented and deeply religious man this curtailed his advancement in the church. After his death a book on his life, including his time in Pettigo was published by his friend, the Rev. Samuel Burdy. His most famous book was called “Deism Revealed in 8 Dialogues”, published in 1748. He often suffered from melancholia and decided he was about to die and his parishioners would gather to pray. It is recorded that one member of his congregation eventually said, “Would you please make a day and stick to it.”

Andrew Barton “Banjo” Patterson

Australian Poet.

Andrew Barton Patterson, poet, journalist, lawyer, jockey, soldier and farmer is one of the best-loved figures of Australian literature. He wrote “Waltzing Matilda”, “The Man from Snowy River”, “Clancy of the Overflow” and many other tales and poems. He was born on February 17, 1864, at Narambla, New South Wales. He was the grandson of Robert Barton, and great-grandson of General Barton of the Waterfoot, Pettigo. In 1840 Robert married Emile Darval and their second daughter married Andrew B. Paterson and the famous Andrew Barton Paterson was their son. His pseudonym, “The Banjo”, was the name of a racehorse his father had once owned. His early life was spent near Yass in NSW, and this is where he became acquainted with the colourful bush characters that he wrote about so vividly in his later life He died in 1941, just short of his 77th birthday. He created enduring songs and tales, not least being Waltzing Matilda, which is the most recognisable of Australian songs and known world-wide

“Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree
And he sang as he watched and waited ‘til his billy boiled
You’ll come a-waltzing Matilda with me.”

Irish War of Independence Memorial.

This memorial was erected in 1953 to commemorate four men who died in the invasion of Pettigo on June 4th, 1922. The names on the Memorial are Patrick Flood (Pettigo), William Kearney and Bernard Mc Canny (Drumquin) and William Deasley, (Dromore, Co. Tyrone). The Minister of Defence, Mr. Oscar Traynor made the oration at the unveiling of the statue and the event was attended by General Sean Mc Keown. After the unveiling ceremony in Pettigo on Saturday members of “C” Company, headed by their pipe band paraded to what was formerly the RIC barracks in Pettigo and observed 2 minutes silence in memory of the late Commandant P. Breen, who was in charge of taking the barracks in 1921. Afterwards the band played, “The Minstrel Boy,” which was Comdt. Breen’s favourite tune.

Anna Marie Leavy nee Moss (Painter)

Anna Marie was born in Pettigo, Co. Donegal in 1939. She was awarded a scholarship to the National College of Art, Dublin. When she was expecting her first child Anna Marie had to hang up her oil painting brushes as she turned against the smell of turpentine and so she started to paint in watercolours. She says her love of nature and watercolour painting stems from seeds set in her childhood years on the family farm near Pettigo and her mother’s enthusiasm and constant encouragement of her sketching and painting from a little watercolour box of paints.

Her reputation as a transparent watercolorist of note has grown over the years. She has had successful exhibitions with the Royal Hibernian Academy and the Water Colour Society of Ireland as well as galleries throughout the country. She has taken part in exhibitions in the USA and the Municipal Art Museum, Tokyo as part of the UNESCO International Friendship Exhibition. Her paintings are in public and private collections all over the world.

Pamela (Pam) Barton
Open Golf Champion 1917-1943.

Pam Barton who was descended from the Waterfoot branch of the Barton family of Pettigo was a famous golfer in the interwar years as also was her sister Mervyn. She was the daughter of Henry Johnston Barton, the second son of Charles Robert of the Waterfoot, Pettigo.

In 1936 Pam Barton won the British and American Open Golf titles in the same year at the age of 19. She was French Ladies Open Champion in 1934 and was runner up for the British title in this year and the following one. She was the author of a golfing book, “A Stroke a Hole” published in 1927. Miss Enid Wilson, a
golfing writer, described her in the following words, “She was a splendid sportswoman, modest, unassuming and thoughtful of others”, and Bernard Darwin wrote, “Everybody liked to see her play and everybody liked her simple, modest and friendly character”.

She was killed as a W.A.A.F. officer on November 13th 1943 when a plane in which she was a passenger crashed on takeoff. She was 26. She joined the W.A.A.F in 1941 and earlier had been an ambulance driver in London during the worst of the German air raids.

John Reade 1837-1919

Drumhariff Hill.
Short is the way from friend to friend.
The quiet village lies below,
And leading to my journey’s end
The little river windeth slow.
Like yesterday it seems, and yet
I meet few faces that I know;
It is so long, then, since I crossed
Drumhariff hill to Pettigo.

Although born in Ballyshannon, John Reade’s parents, Joseph Reade and Mary Smyth came from Pettigo. He emigrated to Canada in 1856 where he became one of the best known Canadian poets of the later half of the 19th century. At his death he was described as “The Dean of Canadian Literature.” Hebecame general editor of the Montreal Gazette and held this position for the rest of his life. In 1870 he published a much acclaimed volume of verse entitled “The Prophecy of Merlin and other Poems”. This volume made his name in Canada. He was a wonderful linguist and translated poetry from Latin, Greek, Italian and French. He died unmarried and is buried in Montreal. John Reade took a keen interest in Canadian politics and fervently supported the idea of Canadian Confederation.

“French” Tom Barton Famous Wine Merchant.

”French Tom” Barton was born on the 21st of December 1695 at his father’s house at Curraghmore, Pettigo, and was sent to school in Ballyshannon. He emigrated to France and worked as a wine factor at Marseille and Montpelier
before moving to Bordeaux and founding his famous wine firm Barton and Guestier when he was about thirty years old. It was not until the period of the French Revolution that the name Guestier became associated with that of Barton the wine merchants. Hugh Barton, then head of the firm had to flee the French Revolution and he arranged with Daniel Guestier, his foreman, to manage his business in Bordeaux while he managed its affairs in Britain.
At any time Guestier could have seized the business as his own. Eventually a partnership was drawn up between the two men in 1802, which continued between their descendants until the firm was sold in recent times. In 1830 both men brought their eldest sons into the partnership and thus the firm of Barton and Guestier was born.

Pettigo Railway Station and Market Yard.

The Great Northern Railway branch line from Bundoran Junction near Kilskeery, Co. Tyrone to Bundoran, Co. Donegal opened in 1866 with the ultimate intention of going on to Sligo. Bundoran Junction was on the Enniskillen to Derry line. This line passed through, Irvinestown, Kesh, Pettigo, Belleek and Ballyshannon en route to Bundoran. It greatly aided the movement and export of agricultural produce such as sheep and cattle and the import and distribution of coal, building materials and imported food. Livestock were loaded onto the train from the nearby Pettigo Market Yard.
The train also carried people to the developing seaside resort of Bundoran whose first hotel, the Hamilton Hotel, was built by Pettigo man, Hazlett Hamilton, who was a major property owner in Pettigo. The railway closed down in 1957. The firm of Messrs. Brassey and Field completed the railway after the previous contractor become bankrupt. The return fare from Pettigo to Bundoran in 1866 was 3rd class 1 shilling, 2nd class 1s-6 pence and 1st class 2 shillings (10 pence). The railway was also very important in opening up access to the Lough Derg pilgrimage for people from all over Ireland.

Moya Doherty
Producer of Riverdance.

The worldwide Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance had half its origins in Pettigo. Moya Doherty was born in Mill Street, Pettigo, the daughter of Master Doherty the local headmaster of Pettigo National School. Her mother was also a teacher in the area. Moya conceived Riverdance as a spectacular interval entertainment for the RTE 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, drawing together the key participants and staging the finished piece to adulatory public reaction. RTE appointed Moya Doherty to handle Eurovision just four years after she was first selected and trained as a station producer. Since then Riverdance has gone on to become one of the most successful stage shows of all time and is now touring all over the world with companies in America and Europe. In recognition of her achievements, Moya was voted 1997 Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year. Bill Whelan composed the music for Riverdance.

Pettigo Mill.

Pettigo owes a great deal of its existence and economic importance to Pettigo Mill. The waterfall to drive a mill was probably the reason why the village grew here rather than at Mc Grath’s Castle at Aghnahoo. In addition to the flow of the river, three lakes in the Lettercran area, Lough Nageague, Lough Navarnog and Lough Veenagreane could supplement the flow in a dry period of weather. When the sluice gates at these loughs were opened their waters reached Pettigo Mill in about an hour. In 1851 Pettigo Flax Mill was added to the existing corn mill. On March 17th, 1856 a young girl was caught by her clothes in the machinery of the mill at Pettigo. She was drawn in and immediately crushed to death. The mill also supplied power to a saw mill which made egg boxes among other things and in the 1930 generated electricity for most of the village of Pettigo. In 1957 the ESB completed negotiations with, Mr Shaw, of Pettigo Mill and took over the provision of light and power to the village.

H. J. Robinson

Editor of the Irish Petty Sessions Journal. The Irish Petty Sessions Journal was a monthly paper printed by John
Robinson, Pettigo, and published by H. J. Robinson who was clerk of Pettigo Petty Sessions. It was a journal for magistrates, clerks, solicitors and the Royal Irish Constabulary. It appeared from October 1st 1893 until January 1897.

The subjects covered were the leading cases decided at Petty Sessions throughout Ireland, assaults, appeals, cases stated, Exchequer Division, Employer’s and Workmen’s Act, Food and Drugs Act, pharmacy prosecutions and Queen’s Bench Division. It is an important window into the operation of the legal system in Ireland in late Victorian times.

The Crimean War Tree.

The Crimean War Tree was planted by W. F. Barton Esq. J.P., Clonelly in commemoration of the taking of Sebastopol in 1856. The parapet was erected by his son H. Barton Esq. J.P. in 1895. Edward Barton and many others from the Pettigo area served in the Crimean War. After the capture of Sebastopol the Crimean War was virtually at an end. The Impartial Reporter newspaper records the local rejoicing.

“On Friday night the 21st September, the little town of Pettigo presented a scene of unusual animation and excitement, that evening having been set apart for rejoicing in honour of the capture of Sebastopol. The preparations were on an extensive scale, as F. W. Barton Esq., of Clonelly had procured a large supply of fireworks from Dublin. At 8 o’clock, Mr. Barton, accompanied by his guests heard a salute of 21 guns followed by a most brilliant display of fireworks, such as would not have disgraced the metropolis itself. A crowd of about 2,000 witnessed the splendid occasion.” This sycamore tree is believed to be the second tree sited here. The Crimean war is famous for the birth of modern nursing under Florence Nightingale and the famous “Charge of the Light Brigade” which was immortalized in poetry by Alfred Lord
Tennyson.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Rev. Charles Elliott, D.D
1792- 1869.

In 1810 a youthful parochial schoolmaster in Pettigo, Charles Elliott from Ardara, acquired a friendship here which had important repercussions for American Methodism. Charles Elliott had heard the Methodist message preached at his mother’s house and arrived in Pettigo imbued with enthusiasm. In Pettigo he was befriended by the Rev. William Ingram of Pettigo Church of Ireland, the father of John Kells Ingram who wrote the famous poem “Who fears to speak of ’98”.
Ingram took a great interest in him and directed him in his studies. He would also have to resign Methodism if he wished to go to Trinity College, Dublin and so he emigrated to America in July, 1816, with his widowed mother and her eight other children. Here he gained a great reputation as the Rev. Charles Elliott, D.D. and became a major writer on Methodism and became the first editor of the Pittsburgh Christian Advocate. He spent some time as a missionary to the Wyandot tribe and wrote about this experience. He was stricken with paralysis in 1866 and died in 1869.

The Termon River.

The Termon River rises near Scraghy in Co. Tyrone and flows into Lough Erne at the Waterfoot, about two miles from Pettigo, a total distance of c10 miles. The Erne then flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Ballyshannon. It flows through extensive water meadows in the Lettercran area and is largely unpolluted and has a good population of brown trout. Otters and mink are found in the Termon and dippers, grey wagtails, mallard and heron can be found. It is also home to a very rare crayfish – the White-clawed Crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes (Lereboullet). It is one of only four crayfish species indigenous to Europe.

Austropotamobius which often occur in upland brooks and are esteemed as food and have been widely moved around by man. Today only three European countries retain a single indigenous crayfish species; these are Norway and Estonia with the Noble Crayfish and Ireland with Whiteclawed Crayfish. The White-clawed Crayfish is the only crayfish species found in Ireland, where it is protected under the Wildlife Act. It is classified as vulnerable and rare in the IUCN Red List of threatened animals and listed under Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive. Ireland is now thought to hold some of the best European stocks of this species, under least threat from external factors. Irish stocks are thus believed to be of substantial conservation importance.

The Termon River forms the border between Counties Fermanagh and Donegal and between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In ancient times it formed part of the boundary or terminus of the monastic lands of Lough Derg and thus got its name from the word terminus.

Reference – Reynolds, J.D. (1998) Conservation management of the white-clawed crayfish, Austropotamobius pallipes. Part 1. Irish Wildlife Manuals, No. 1.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river;
For men may come; and men may go,
But I go on forever.
Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Basil McIvor – 1928-2004
Pioneer of Integrated Education in Northern Ireland

Basil McIvor (17 June 1928 – 5 November 2004), the son of a Methodist clergyman is seen as a pioneer of integrated education in Northern Ireland. He was born in Tullyhommon, Pettigo, in the house directly below the Presbyterian church. He attended Queen’s University, Belfast and was called to the Bar in 1950. He was Unionist MP for Larkfield, Belfast, in the Northern Ireland Parliament at Stormont before direct rule was imposed in 1972 and held the posts of Minister for Community Relations and then in the Power Sharing Executive of 1973-74 was Minister of Education. He was a member of the Ulster Unionist group who negotiated the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973.

He was to the fore in pushing the need for shared schools for Protestant and Catholic pupils in Northern Ireland believing that the province’s schooling system, built around the Catholic-Protestant division, was intensifying sectarianism In 1981 he became the first chairman of Lagan College, Northern Ireland’s first integrated school which opened with just 28 pupils. Now there are 57 such schools in the province. His autobiography, ‘Hope Deferred: Experiences of an Irish Unionist’, was published in 1998.

Armstrong Family. Pettigo
Australian Pioneers.

Mr. James Armstrong of Pettigo was a pioneer of the Illawara, New South Wales, Australia, near Sydney – known with affection as “Bedad.” He was a tailor by trade but after arriving in NSW in 1839 he took up farming. He and his wife, Jane Johnston, had 11 children of whom two died young. One son, Thomas, married Jane Gray, whose father Henry Gray, and brother George, bred the famous Illawara Shorthorn dairy cow.

They came from Shanmullagh, near Ederney. John Armstrong, youngest son of James, died aged 98 years, his father died at the age of 107 while his sister lived to be 115 years. Of his own 10 sisters and brothers, eight lived to be over 80. The word Illawara is an Australian aboriginal word used to describe the land some 50 miles south of Sydney. Much of the land was cleared with the assistance of convict labour.

The Illawara breeders were credited with having a flair for stockbreeding and an “eye for a good beast”. Amongst the most celebrated was a cow called “Honeycomb” which was claimed to be the Champion Dairy Cow of the world in the 1890s.

Pettigo Presbyterian Church.

On June 3rd, 1852 a sermon was preached by the Rev. Dr. Cooke in Pettigo Presbyterian Church, to aid in liquidating the debt incurred in the erection of their new house of worship. Dr. Cooke preached from Ecclesiasticus IX : 10. The discourse was clear and textual, highly evangelical, and distinguished for originality, beautiful and appropriate illustrations, and was listened to with breathless attention by a respectable and overflowing congregation. The thanks of the minister and congregation are given to Dr. Cooke for his valuable services, and the following gentlemen who kindly officiated as collectors on the occasion, Folliott W. Barton, Esq., Clonelly; Colonel W. H. Barton, Waterfoot; when the
sum of £21 was collected.

They also thankfully acknowledge to have received the following subscriptions from different gentlemen in the neighbourhood, namely :- F. W. Barton £6, Colonel Barton £3, A. F. Barton Esq., £2, Mrs. Nelson £5, Rev. N. Ryan, P.P., H. Hamilton Esq., £2, H. Hamilton Esq., £2, Mr. D. Gallagher £1-10-0, A. Campbell, Omagh, £1, Mr. George Adair, £3, John Greene, Esq., £3. Source: Impartial Reporter Newpaper.

Prionsias Dubh Mc Hugh, Highwayman
otherwise Black Frank Mc Hugh
one of the last highwaymen of Ireland – hanged in 1780.

Prionsias Dubh was a gentleman highwayman who flourished in the second half of the 18th century. He is buried here in Carne Graveyard, near Pettigo, the oldest local cemetery. He is remembered in local song and story as being valiant, chivalrous and humane – a person who robbed the rich and helped the poor. His headquarters was in the Scraghy hills nearby. He was finally caught and hanged along with his companions Richard Monkham, Patrick Corrigan, James Mc Cabe, Alex. Wright and Bryan Mc Alin in Enniskillen in May 1780. At his hanging Frank took advantage of the privilege of addressing the crowd and went on at some length.

He was eventually interrupted by the hangman and told to finish. He turned and said – “for you it’s a long day but a short one for me” and continued his final address. His body was taken in a flotilla of boats from Enniskillen to Pettigo to be buried here. He is still remembered in song and story in this area; particularly his companion “Supple” Dick Corrigan (supple means swift running).

Eva Brown’s Love Story
“Come all ye love-lorn damsels who dwell around the town
Till I tell ye the story of lovely Eva Brown
Who loved a bold young highwayman whose name was Francis Dubh
Who robbed the rich and fed the poor and to his friends was true.”

John Caldwell Calhoun
Vice President of the United States 1782-1850.

The Rev. Alexander Calhoun was Vicar of Templecarne Parish, Pettigo from 1698 to 1717 and may be buried in Carne Graveyard. His great grandson, John Caldwell Calhoun was born in South Carolina, in 1782. He was elected to South Carolina’s state legislature in 1808 and three years later entered the House of Representatives.

As chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, he introduced the declaration of war against Britain in 1812. In 1817 Calhoun was appointed Secretary of War, a post he held for eight years. Calhoun became vice president of the United States in 1824 under John Quincy Adams and was re-elected in 1828 under Andrew Jackson. He resigned in 1832 over tariffs, which hurt the slave-owning South. Thus John C. Calhoun became the first U.S. vice-president ever to resign. John Caldwell Calhoun died in Washington, D.C. in 1850 and was buried in Charleston. In 1957, United States Senators honoured Calhoun as one of the five greatest senators of all time. In 1844, as Secretary of War, he signed the treaty annexing Texas to the USA.

Templecarne Graveyard.

Often shortened to Carne this graveyard and former church is one of the most ancient Christian centers in Donegal. A church existed here for hundreds of years and it is recorded on the first Ordnance Survey maps c1830. Nothing is now visible. This place was considered so sacred in times gone past that the people left their valuables in this church when they and their animals went for months into the hills for the summer grazing and nobody would steal from it. Another sign of its importance appears in the Annals of the Four Masters. Here the first Red Hugh O’Donnell resigned his chieftaincy, on May 26th, 1497.

Funeral parties were recorded in the 1750s where barrels of poteen were consumed. Quarrels erupted and on one occasion one unfortunate mourner died and some of those present were delighted at the new wake and a further three days of drinking. Since the early 1600s both Protestants and Roman Catholics are buried here. On the 12th July 1795, disaster struck the Lough Derg pilgrimage when an entire boatload of pilgrims sank in the lake. From the struggling mass of about 70 pilgrims only three survived. Some of these were interred in Carne cemetery. A feature of the graveyard is the Scalan or shelter built against the Northwest corner. This was to shelter the priest from
the elements. This particular Scalan is a late erection built to shelter the priest as he collected offerings (donations to the clergy) at funerals.

“Being far on the ocean when the stormy wind rose Which filled our heart sorely with great grief and woe Going past the Priors Island as now was our cry God have mercy on our souls if in the deep we must lie.”

From “The Drowning of the Boat” by James Mc Caffrey.
Drumawark Millennium Cross.

This cross was erected to mark the closing of the last Millennium on June 21st 1999 – the longest day of the last year of the Millennium. It replaces an earlier cross which marked the way in ancient times to the Pilgrimage of Lough Derg. Underneath is deposited a container with all the names of those who contributed to this project. The name Drumawark means “the hill of the view,” and from here one can see Lough Erne and Lough Derg. Nearby was a holy well and beside it a large heap of pebbles.

Pilgrims would drink from the holy well and take some pebbles to help count their prayers as they went, often barefooted, to Lough Derg. On their return they replenished the pile of pebbles from the shores of Lough Derg. The chief organisers were (photo: l-r) John Cunningham, David Keys and Peter Gormley with the assistance of the local community. Local musicians rendered “The Old Rugged Cross” and the ceremony was filmed by the BBC.

The Children of Termon Mount – A Sister’s Love.

A famous story from the Pettigo area featured in the school reading books of Ireland for decades. It concerned the death from exposure of two Mc Grath children on Carrigaholten Mountain near Scraghy in December 1848 on the way home from Castlederg Fair day. The girl had been forbidden by her father to pass the house of a boyfriend of whom he disapproved hence they went across the mountain rather than go home by the road. They died in a blizzard and when they were found it was seen that young Ellen Mc Grath had used her shawl and heavy petticoat to try to save her brother.
She had tried to save his life by giving up everything that could save her own. Their father was a stone cutter and made a headstone for the grave of his children. He got as far as cutting, “In loving memory” on the stone and was unable to finish it and that is how it was erected in Lettercran graveyard. Buried here also are the remains of the Haughey children who drowned in Lough Veenagreane in 1913. When thirsty cattle rushed into the lake to drink the young girl dashed into the water afraid they would drown. Her brother tried to save her and both perished. At memorial stone inscribed with 1913 stands by the lake. Another Haughey man died in the 1850s swimming his horse across the same lake.

Dean Acheson,
United States, Secretary of State 1893 – 1971.

Dean Acheson, descendant of the Achesons of Grouse Lodge, near Pettigo, was born in Middletown, Connecticut, USA. He went to Yale University and Harvard Law School. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed him as Under-Secretary of the Treasury in 1933. In 1945 Harry S. Trueman selected Acheson as his Under-Secretary of State where he played an important role in devising both the Truman Doctrine and the European Recovery Programme (ERP). He became Secretary of State in 1949.

He supported Harry S. Trueman in his dispute with General Douglas MacArthur over the Korean War. Truman decided not to stand for President in 1952 and Acheson’s close friend, Adlai Stevenson, was chosen as the Democratic Party candidate for the election. It was one of the dirtiest in U.S. history. Disillusioned by the smear campaign, Acheson returned to his private law practice. He also wrote several books on politics including, Power and Diplomacy (1958), Morning and Noon (1965), Present at the Creation (1970) and The Korean War (1971). Dean Acheson died in 1971 aged 78 years.

Lettercran National School.

Back row, l-r: Mary Ellen McGrath, Maggie Ellen McGoldrick, Rita McGrath,
Agnes Begley and Sally Cunningham.
2nd row, l-r: Master Cunningham, John Leonard, Michael Cunningham,
Fidelma Leonard, Agnes McGoldrick (dec’d), and Margaret McGinley (dec’d).
3rd row, l-r: Johnny Cunningham, Maggie Begley, Maurice Leonard, Bernadette McGrath,
Seamus Leonard, Bridie Begley and Michael Leonard (dec’d).
4th row, l-r: Roisin Cunningham (dec’d), Carmel Leonard, Gerturde Leonard,
Liam Leonard, Francis McGinley, Vincent Cunningham, Aidan Cunningham and
John James McElhill.

Various schools served the Lettercran area until this present building (now a community hall) was opened in 1939. Among those who taught here have been Mrs Doherty, mother of Moya Doherty, the creator of Riverdance, Mrs
Margaret Mc Ginley, mother of Sean Mc Ginley, star of stage and screen e.g., “The Field” and “Braveheart” and Brian Cunningham father of John Cunningham, writer and historian, among many other notable achievers from this area. Margaret Mc Ginley was a native of Ardara, Co. Donegal, a native Irish speaker, poet, songwriter, musician, actress and teacher who taught in Lettercran National School, from 1951 to 1961.

During her tenure at the school she trained a talented school ceili band which had great success at Feiseanna as prestigious as Derry, Sligo, Enniskillen, Strabane and Glencolumbcille. She wrote many songs including one on the Evelyn Marie fishing disaster in which 6 fishermen died in January 1975 and also composed “The Glenveigh Suite” an account in drama, narration and song of the Glenveigh Evictions of April, 1861 in which 244 tenants were evicted. Along with Kevin O’Loughlin she also composed the music for ‘The Drowning of Denis Mc Cabe’ – an award winning musical suite for the St. Davog’s P.S. Ceili Band, Belleek.

PEACE III Pettigo Tullyhommon Termon Project

Donegal County Council in partnership with Fermanagh District Council and ADoPT (Association for the Development of Pettigo & Tullyhommon) is currently undertaking a major regeneration project in the villages of Pettigo and Tullyhommon funded by the EU’s PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body

The Special EU Programmes Body is the Managing Authority for the European Union’s PEACE III Programme

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