(The first ten years)

Michael McShane

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


The A.G.M. took place on January 4th, in the Community Centre, the format being the same as in previous years - the Treasurer's report, Secretary's report, and the Chairperson recalling events of the past year and thanking the various speakers who made the long journey to Crossmaglen during the winter months, and thanking also those who helped the Society in any way throughout the year, particularly the sponsors, and the people who bought the Creggan Journal.

Some new suggestions for our next journal were put forward by Kevin McMahon, and Mrs. Carmel Cumiskey suggested page sponsorship rather than filling the book with adverts. This suggestion was agreed upon, and will be implemented in the next journal. February was a busier month than usual. On Thursday lst, Professor George Eogan, from U.C.D. gave a lecture on 'Passage Tombs and Passage Builders in Stone Age Ireland.' On Friday February 16th, the annual dinner was well attended in the Ravensdale Park Hotel, with Rev. Canon Clarke and Rev. G. Carson as guests of honour.

The lecture on the Armagh Railway Disaster, by Mr. Damien Woods, arranged for March Ist, had to be cancelled owing to inclement weather. The annual outing was arranged for Easter Monday April 16th, to take in various historical sites around Dublin not previously visited. The fare including a meal was fixed at 10. April 20th, 1990 was another sad day in the life of the society. Members were stunned to hear of the death of Michael Joe Duffy, Michael Joe was a professional actor by trade, and was well known on the local scene for his humourous story-telling. The Secretary to the Society is a niece of the deceased, and a vote of sympathy was passed to her, and members of the Duffy family, on behalf of the Society. Mr. Sean Duffy from Trinity College Dublin, lectured to the Society on Dr. James Woods, the Loughross Poet, on Thursday May 3rd. (see Creggan Journal No. 3, 1989, page 33 -51).

On the evening of May 8th, news of the death of Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich was filtering into every house in the country, and one can only regard his passing as a void in ones life which cannot be filled.

Chairperson, Mrs. Mary Cumiskey opened the meeting on Thursday June 7th, by recalling the Cardinal's untimely death. She spoke of the special relationship that existed between the Cardinal and Creggan, "he really loved the place", she said. "He knew the history of the place, he knew the history of its people, and was happy when among them. The Cardinal gave every encouragement to this Society to continue the good work of ecumenism, also the important work of recording, documenting and publishing the history of the Parish of Creggan, and its surrounding area. Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich, was Patron to the Creggan Local History Society from November 1988."

Kevin McMahon, the editor of the journal, told the meeting that he would include a pictorial o the late Cardinal 0 Fiaich in this years' issue as a tribute to him, and he hoped the Society would pay a more adequate tribute to him next year.

The launch of the fourth journal was now arranged to coincide with the Crossmaglen traditional weekend fair A display of the Society's artifacts was also arranged for the same weekend.

At the September meeting the Chairperson spoke of the launch of the fourth journal which took place as planned on the night of August 30th. She congratulated the editor on his work, especially on the rearranging of articles to accommodate the inclusion of the pictorial tribute to the late Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich.

The Chairperson informed the meeting that both Michael McShane and herself attended two meetings during the summer organised by a group set up for the regeneration of South Armagh, (R.O.S.A.). The idea was to bring together all local groups to express the needs of the locality. The first meeting was mainly to distinguish between the pluses and minuses. The second meeting however was to chew over the more solid proposals and assess their feasibility. The members of the Creggan Local History Society put forward a proposal that an 'O'Neill Centre' be erected on the site of the now demolished Rectory on the lawns attached to Creggan Church. The whole idea was well founded, the site ideal, and if the project came to pass the 'O'Neill Centre' would include a museum, library, auditorium, meeting rooms and a shop. Outside the main building other shops such as craft shops would be built. An area to display farm implements would also be included. Provision for the inclusion of a self-service restaurant was also suggested. The consultants (Mackey & Mackey) who were engaged by R.O.S.A., were impressed by the proposals, and as far as the Creggan Local History Society were concerned the whole matter lay in the hands of the consultants.

By November, the editor was seeking p5nnission to devote the entire 1991 journal to the late Cardinal Tomas O'Fiaich. There was enough material already submitted for the journal, but he would like to see more local people write their memories of the Cardinal. His aim was to publish the journal as a tribute on the first anniversary of the late Cardinal's death.

The Rev. W.G. Neely, from Keady, saw out the last meeting of 1990, when he lectured to the Society on Old Kilkenny (an urban history 1391-1843), in early December.