|This is the fourth issue of our annual journal.
There are seven articles in it - four by regular and three by new contributors. Some articles on archaeological subjects tend to be so full of technical terms that few people - except, perhaps, unfortunate editors who are forced to - ever read them. However, our first article, "Stone Monuments in the Slieve Gullion Area", written by Roger Weatherup, the Curator of Armagh County Museum, is not in that category. Technical terms are at a minimum and the tone and level of the article is pitched just right for the general reader.
My article is about Cal Mo, the ill - famed 18th century South Armagh outlaw, and, although little is known about him, the documents describing his arrest, trial and execution throw some new light on his chequered career.
Our third article is of unusual interest, both in content and circumstance. It is an unpublished biography - written by Rev. John MacMillan, almost one hundred years ago, perhaps - of Rev. Daniel Gunn Brown, Minister for the First Newtownhamilton Presbyterian Church from 1835 to 1868, who died in 1892. Rev. Daniel Gunn Brown is still remembered in the Creggan and Newtownhamilton districts as an outstanding Christian Minister and a great humanitarian; and I wish to express our Society's thanks to the Rev. Keith Duddy, Minister of Clarkesbridge and First Newtownhamilton Presbyterian Churches - and to the congregations of those churches - for supplying us with a copy and giving us permission to publish such an interesting historical document about such an important historical figure. The published biography will, we hope, serve as a lasting memorial to one of the truly great men of our district during one of the most traumatic and troubled periods of its history.
On behalf of our Society, I would also like to thank Mr. Robert Bonar, Assistant Secretary of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland for supplying us with details of Rev. John MacMillan's career and photographs of Rev. Daniel Gunn Brown and Rev. John MacMillan.
In what could be described as a companion article to Rev. John MacMillan's biography of Rev. Daniel Gunn Brown, Mary Cumiskey, our Chairperson, writes about Sir Thomas Jackson, the famous Crossmaglen financier and philantrophist, who had family ties with Rev. Daniel Gunn Brown. Mary's meticulous research ranges right across the world - from Crossmaglen to China - and her absorbing article interspersed with interesting anecdotes - as well as bringing to light a lot of new information about the Jackson family, also deflates a few myths and dispels some misinformation about Sir Thomas himself.
Con Mac an Ghirr (Short) writes about Cullaville and brings conveniently together in a single article a wide range of scattered historical information about Cullaville and its people. Perhaps, as Con hopes, the article will inspire some local historian to do some in-depth research on the history of that area of the parish.
Glassdrumman Church is a conspicuous landmark on the South Armagh skyline and, in his article, Tony Kieran gives a brief account of its building, consecration and dedication during the 1920's and early 1930's. Perhaps, we can expect a more detailed history of the church from Tony for a future issue of "Creggan".
Most historical articles consist of dry facts and few could be described as literary. Not so, Jem Murphy's article, entitled "Memories". It is full of facts - not dry, but vibrant -evoking vividly an era and a pastoral way of life that have passed. The article is written in a flowing narrative style and the writer describes in colourful language with a sharp eye for detail and a keen ear for dialogue - a country childhood lived close to nature some sixty years ago. I found the article a pleasure to read and I'm sure you will, too.
Last year was a very successful year for our Society, though it was not without its moments of sadness.
During the year, our President, Canon David Clarke, retired from the ministry of the Church of Ireland and left South Armagh to take up residence in Warrenpoint. Since his arrival here as Rector of Creggan, Canon Clarke took a keen interest in the work of our Society - the only clergyman in our parish to do so - and few will forget his scholarly talk, entitled "The Reformation in Ireland", or the very moving ecumenical services which he organised and conducted along with Cardinal Tomds 6Fiaich in Creggan Parish Church. We wish Canon Clarke and his wife every happiness in the future and we are pleased to hear that, though he has retired, we can still call on his support and services at any time.
Last year, too, saw the untimely death of one of our founder-members - Paddy McArdle of North Street, Crossmaglen. Until his illness, Paddy seldom missed a Society meeting and we will always remember his pleasant smile and good humour and we will be forever grateful for his encouragement and advice during our difficult early years.
As the current editor of "Creggan", I would welcome articles on any aspect of the history of Creggan Parish in particular or of South Armagh in general for inclusion in our next journal - anytime, but not later than 28th February 1991.
We hope you enjoy reading this issue of our journal and that you will continue to support us as you have done in the past.
Since this introduction was written, our Society - and, indeed, the whole country - has suffered two stunning blows, in the deaths of Michael Duffy and Cardinal Tomds O'Fiaich.
Michael was a talented actor, broadcaster and writer, with a keen sense of history especially of the history of his native parish of Upper Creggan.
He contributed an article to our 1987 issue and had just completed another article for us at the time of his death which we hope to publish in a future issue.
Words fail me when I come to write about Cardinal Tomas.
I have so many happy and abiding memories of him, as has everyone who ever met him. But essentially I will remember him as the humble priest who held our heads over the water during the present troubled period of our history - as the man who spread happiness and hope in a time of sadness and despair - and I believe history will remember him as one of Ireland's greatest Christian leaders and as one of the greatest Irishmen of the 20th Century.
As an historian he was unequalled - either writing or lecturing - and our Society has had the great privilege of publishing two of his articles and of listening to two of his lectures. There is a short pictorial tribute to him in this issue and we hope to pay a more adequate tribute to him in a future issue.
The majority of the photographs in the tribute were provided by Mrs. Deirdre Fee, the Cardinal's sister-in-law, whom we thank very sincerely.
The other photographs were taken by Mrs. Rosaleen McKeown, myself and Mrs. Mary Cumiskey.