(The first ten years)

Michael McShane

Reproduced, with the Society's permission, from the 1994/95 Journal of The Creggan Local History Society


At the A.G.M., the Chairperson reflected on the busy year the Society had had and recalled a number of the events that had taken place. She thanked all the people who had taken the time and trouble to give lectures to the Society during the winter months and a special word of praise went to Jem Murphy and his son, Brian, for their hard work in restoring the wall at Creggan graveyard. The Chairperson informed the meeting that the Society had received a donation from Canon O'Neill, Crossmaglen, towards the cost of restoring the wall. It was now time for the committee to step down to allow for the election of officers to take place. Kevin McMahon proposed that the same committee be re-elected for 1989 and Jem Murphy and Paddy Conlon seconded the proposal. A show of hands was unanimous from the floor and Mr. Pat Murphy thanked the committee, on behalf of the membership, for their work and dedication, not only for last year, but for the previous years also.

At the February meeting, the publication of the third journal was discussed and Kevin McMahon was appointed to be the new Editor. Sponsors were sought and the Editor suggested changes in the format and size of the journal. The proposed work on Carran Mass-rock was abandoned, owing to a change in ownership and progress on the "Billiards Rooms" was at a virtual stand-still. However, by 2nd March, things were beginning to change a little. Mary Cumiskey reported on a meeting with a member of the local Credit Union. They had two small rooms vacant at the rear of their main building and had suggested that the Society might consider them suitable for a museum/archives. The Credit Union were willing to lease the rooms on a long-term basis and funding would be sought from the International Fund for Ireland to carry out the necessary repairs. Kevin McMahon reported that he had checked through the "Information Pack" and that it was now ready for photo-copying. Mr. Roger Weathercup, Curator, Armagh County Museum, was the guestspeaker at the March meeting.

On Thursday, 6th April, the Society held its fiftieth meeting and Mr. Ross Chapman, Newry, was the guest-speaker. His talk on early veterinary medicine caught the imagination of everybody there. A letter was received from the Department of the Environment, turning down a request for a parking area at the Dorsey Ramparts. This decision was disappointing to the Society, as they were striving to attract tourists into the area. One of the ideas was to promote the resources that already existed and the Dorsey Ramparts (see Creggan, Vol. 1, No.2), "The Dorsey Ramparts", by Michael McShane, and Creggan, Vo.1, No.7 ("Artificial Curiosities and Antiquities of the South Arinagh Countryside", by Michael McShane) could be a major attraction, if there were proper parking facilities.

By May 4th, the treasurer reported that the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust were to give financial support for the publication of the forthcoming journal. Two outings were arranged for this month, a visit to Leinster House in Dublin on May 1, and the annual outing to Downpatrick and Castleward on May 29th. By the end of May, Kevin McMahon and Michael McShane were checking the proofs for the journal, and by June 18th, the third Creggan Journal, was launched and on sale in the shops.

It was rumoured about this time that Canon Clarke, the Rector of Creggan Parish, was to retire at the end of June. Chairperson Mary Cumiskey suggested not to let the occasion pass without making some gesture of goodwill to Canon Clarke and his wife. A special meeting was convened to make the necessary arrangements. On Saturday July 22nd, a function was held in Creggan Church Hall, and Mary Cumiskey presented Canon Clarke with Tyrone Crystal to mark the occasion of his retirement. Mrs. Clarke was presented with a bouquet of flowers, Cardinal 0 Fiaich also attended the presentation. Canon Clarke thanked the Society for their kindness.

On Monday September 11th, U.T.V. researcher Jan yearling met with Mary Cumiskey, Jem Murphy and Michael McShane at Creggan Graveyard to discuss the possibility of doing a programme on the area. By October 5th, the Society received a letter from the International Fund, stating they were selected to receive grant-aid, for the renovation of a small building at the rear of the Credit Union, for use as a museum/archives.

Another sad bereavement befell the Society, Mr Patrick McArdle, North St., Crossmaglen, died on October 14th, 1989. A vote of sympathy was passed to the McArdle family on behalf of the members of the Creggan Local History Society.

Dr. Chris Lynn, from the Historic Monuments and Building Branch, was the guest-speaker at the November meeting, a large crowd listened attentively as he spoke of the link between Navan Fort, at Armagh, and the Dorsey Ramparts. Dr. Lynn, also listened to complaints by members of the Society on the destruction of some of the forts in the area.

On the night of December 7th, Mr. Pat O'Neill from Knockbridge, gave a lecture on 'Old Cures' which the members found most interesting an enjoyable. This was the last event of 1989.