In 1993, the Creggan Local History Society republished John Donaldson's "Account of the Barony of Upper Fews"... To do justice to his much quoted work and to honour the historian in some way befitting of the man and his work, the society decided to republish his work in a fine hardback version only. In the event, the annual 'Creggan' journal for 1994, had to be shelved.
However, through the generosity of the local business community and families, the society is now in a position to publish a double issue of 'Creggan' 1994/95. In 1994, the Society celebrated its tenth anniversary, this year (1995) we mark the 150th anniversary of The Great Irish Famine.
The first four articles in this issue 1 dedicate to all the people who worked so earnestly through good times and bad, to keep the society buoyant. It is by no small measure of their enthusiasm that in the first ten years of existence eight major and two minor publications are in circulation.
This issue of 'Creggan' is best described as being in three parts. The first part taking in Kevin McMahon's article on The War of Independence in Creggan Parish. Once again Kevin has done the society proud, his painstaking research has produced another fine article. He is a regular contributor to the Creggan joumal and was editor from 1988-1991.
Len Gourd is one of two new contributors to 'Creggan' his well composed article "In Search of the Eastwoods" poses a number of questions to the local historian. Some more research (if not already done) is needed to find the answers.
Kevin Murphy's account of 'Caricknagavna' the townland in which he resides is a condensed version of a much larger work by him. He has shown what history can be attached to a townland and the need to retain townland names. Hopefully this article will spark off the need to research many more townlands in the South Armagh area.
My own article Artificial Curiosities and Antiquities of The South Armagh Countryside completes the first part of the journal. It is the second part of a series of articles on ancient monuments in South Armagh and is drawn from material some of which has been previously published. It is my sincere hope that the owners on whose land these historic monuments stand will act as guardians to them, and thus, preserve this important part of our heritage for future generations.
The second part of the Journal also consists of four articles which are all famine related. Mary Cumiskey, our chairperson is gifted in the art of conversation and has brought together, a number of reminiscences from some of the most senior members of our community in her article Folk Memories of the Famine. Mary is a regular contributor to 'Creggan' and works diligently for, the good of the Society.
In Kevin McMahon's second contribution to this issue he selects extracts from official documents and papers relating to the Famine in Creggan Parish. Thus giving an insight as to the severity of the Famine in this area.
We welcome Dr. Alistair McCracken, as the second of our new contributors to this issue of 'Creggan'. Dr. McCracken presents a document of scientific interest on the Potato Blight. He has taken us through the various stages of the blight in what is a very interesting and informative article. Once again my own article, "The Potato and its Consequences in Ireland" completes this part of the journal.
The Creggan Local History Society was founded by a small group of local historians at a meeting held in Crossmaglen Community Centre on the 25th October, 1984. Ten . years - an d over one hundred meetings later - the third part of the Journal, "History in the Making" is a chronological account of the events of that period and is succinctly expressed by the incumbent editor of 'Creggan'. Two homilies by the late Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich are also published as part of these events. His first homily given in St. Patrick's Church, Crossmaglen on 29th September, 1985, the second in Creggan Parish Church on 17th September, 1988.
Other homilies also included are, by His Grace Most Rev. Gerard Clifford Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh, Canon W.J. Marshall and Canon Joseph Maguire at annual ecumenical services in Creggan Parish Church. Mr. Douglas Gageby the well known Irish Times editor who delivered a lecture at the 1992, ecumenical service, is also published here.
As editor of this issue of 'Creggan' I wish to express my sincere thanks to Seanchas Ard Mhacha for their kind permission to republish Cardinal Cahal Daly's homily at the Anniversary Requiem Mass for Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich in St. Patrick's Church, Crossmaglen on 7th, May 1991.
I would also like to express my thanks to those associated with the production of this issue of 'Creggan'; to the contributors for their articles; to the sponsors for their generous financial help and to Mr. Gabriel Campbell for the videotape of Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich's homily in Creggan Parish Church on 17th, September 1988. I am also indebted to our Chairperson Mrs. Mary Cumiskey for her kindness, and help in making corrections. I am especially grateful to Mr. Kevin McMahon for his guidance and expertise in editing and for typing some of my own work for me when his time was of the essence to other projects. I also thank Frances Brannigan who transcribed the spoken Irish from a tape recording of the homily by Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich in Creggan Church. To Mr. Liam Flynn, (printing) and his very courteous staff for their professionalism in handling this issue of 'Creggan'.
The contents of the this issue of 'Creggan' are wide and varied, keeping up the flavour - I hope - of previous issues so that you the reader will enjoy it. I also hope that within these pages the student involved in local history projects will find something of interest - if not in this issue - then in previous issues of 'Creggan'.
Finally, I would like to say a hearty 'Cead Mile Failte' to Fr. Patrick J. Campbell recently appointed Parish Priest of Lower Creggan. Fr. Campbell a noted historian was editor of Seanchas Ard Mhacha from 1978 - 1985 one of the leading historical journals in Ireland.