Writings of John B. Cunningham

The Books of John B. Cunningham M.A.

 Born in Ballyshannon in the Coast Guard Cottages, under the care of Nurse Hart, eldest son of Brian Cunningham N.T. a native of Donaghmoyne, Co., Monaghan and Mae Eves, Ederney. Attended Lettercran N.S., near Pettigo where he was taught by his father who was headmaster and Mrs Margaret Mc Ginley, famous musician and mother of Sean Mc Ginley, noted actor in Braveheart, The Field etc.. Attended St. Michael’s College, Enniskillen and St. Joseph’s Training College, Belfast and became a school teacher. Retired as Headmaster of St. Davog’s P.S. Belleek in 1996 to write, lecture and work as a genealogist and tour guide. He is married to Ann Monaghan, Pettigo and they have four children, Sonya, Brian, Joanne and John. His first printed article appeared in the Donegal Magazine produced by the Donegal Democrat in 1977. This was an article on Castle Caldwell. He has numerous articles in historical journals such as the Donegal Annual, Clogher Record, The Spark, Ulster Local Studies, Familia, Irish Sword, Computer Education, Queen’s University Teachers’ Centre History Journal, Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild, The Septs, etc. This list of books does not include books contributed to or books largely edited and produced by John Cunningham. A great number are out of print but may be soon available on CD. Contact the author at Commons, Belleek Co., Fermanagh, N. Ireland BT93 3EF Phone 02868658327 or 07855325693. Many of the books are for sale on the internet  http://erneheritagetours.com/

1980. Castle Caldwell and Its Families by John Cunningham. A 210 page book dealing with the Belleek area with an extensive Irish and Scottish Caldwell genealogy. Detailed history of the Belleek area from c1600 to c1900. A5. Illustrated.

1984. Lough Derg – Legendary Pilgrimage by John Cunningham (The Story of a 1000 year old pilgrimage) A5 102 pages. Illustrated.

1989. Mysterious Boa Island – A study of the history and culture of the largest island inside Ireland. Illustrated.

1992. The Story of Belleek by John Cunningham (A history of Belleek Pottery, County Fermanagh – Ireland’s oldest and largest pottery.) A4 80 pages. Illustrated.

1993. The Letters of John O’ Donovan from Fermanagh in 1834 by John Cunningham (A unique glimpse into pre-Famine Ireland now only available on CD.) Illustrated.

1996. Florence Court – Home of the Earls of Enniskillen. A Resource Book for Teachers. Illustrated.

1996. A History of Belleek Fire Brigade “F” Division.

1998. Around Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Belleek – The Archive Photograph Series book. paperback, 128 pages. This collection of over 200 old photographs covers the towns of Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Belleek, focussing on the section of the River Erne between Belleek and the sea. It extends over nearly 150 years of photographic history, during which an enormous number of changes have taken place.

1999. Castle Coole – A Resource Book for Teachers. Illustrated.

2000. The Best Years of Your Life? – A history of the schools of the Belleek area. (A 222 page A4 book with histories of 17 schools, numerous photographs and over 700 years of roll books.) Illustrated.

2000. Monasteries and Early Church Sites of the River Erne by John Cunningham (Over 1000 years of monastic and church history in Fermanagh, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal.) Illustrated.

2002. Oscar Wilde’s Enniskillen by John Cunningham (Enniskillen and Fermanagh of 1864-1871, Oscar Wilde’s formative years at school in Fermanagh. A social history of Fermanagh of this period as drawn from the local newspapers.  A4 80 pages. Illustrated.

2003. Above rebound as Fermanagh in Victorian Times – Stories and scandals from Victorian Fermanagh. A4 80 pages. Illustrated.

2002. Enniskillen – A Walking Tour by John Cunningham, Rosalind Mc Conkey and Catherine Robinson. (A very detailed 80 page guide to Fermanagh’s county town which is steeped in history) Illustrated.

2002. Pettigo and its People including a history of the Clan Mc Grath by John Cunningham. A4 112 pages. Illustrated.

2003. Pettigo Schools Reunion 1953-2003 by John Cunningham (Available as a downloadable PDF file) Illustrated.

2003. Roisin’s Life and Times around Broomfield, Lisdoonan, Donaghmoyne and Carrickmacross by Roisin Cunningham (A long life in 20th Century Monaghan) Edited by John Cunningham for his Aunt Roisin née Gartland. Illustrated. Roisin has recently celebrated her 90th birthday 2011.

2003. The Way We Were in Fermanagh in the 1950s. An overview of Fermanagh in the 1950s from the local newspapers. Illustrated.

2004. From Ballyjamesduff to Ballyshannon – A Guide to the River Erne. (John Cunningham and Vicky Herbert.) A4 120 pages. Illustrated.

2004. The Way We Were in Fermanagh in the 1960s. An overview of Fermanagh in the 1960s from the local newspapers. A4, 108 pages. Illustrated.

2005. Pettigo Up Against It – A History of Pettigo Gaelic Athletic Association. 200 pages. A sporting and social history of Pettigo, Co., Donegal. Illustrated.

2005. Tales from the Banks of the Erne – The life stories of people who lived around the Erne in the 20th century. A5 74 pages. Illustrated.

2006. The Way we were in Fermanagh in World War 11 and the 1940s. The Golden Age of Smuggling. 222pp. Illustrated.

2006. The Pettigo History Trail. Illustrated. A guide to the history and heritage of the Pettigo area of Co., Donegal.

2007. The Fermanagh Miscellany. (Article entitled “Joseph Maguire c1879 -1965 and a Hidden Genre of Fermanagh Literature in newspapers.”)

2007. Fermanagh In Sight. NW Fermanagh – A pictorial guide to the area. (Gail Mc Gowan (Photographer) and John B. Cunningham). 48 pages.

2008. The School Behind the Yew Trees – A History of Trillick County Primary School, Co., Tyrone. 92 pages, A4. Illustrated.

2008. Fermanagh In Sight. S.W. Fermanagh – A pictorial guide to the area of the Fermanagh Highlands. (Gail Mc Gowan (Photographer) and John B. Cunningham). 48 pages.

2008. The Fermanagh Miscellany No. 2. (Articles entitled: “Tracking down St. Molaise” and ” Fermanagh Winners of the Victoria Cross.”)

2009. A History of Belleek Church of Ireland. 23 pages. A second edition in 2010 enlarged and including the first ever Belleek Church Flower Festival. 28 pages ring bound.

2009. Fermanagh In Sight. Enniskillen the Island Town – A pictorial guide to the area. (Gail Mc Gowan (Photographer) and John B. Cunningham). 58 pages.

2009. A History of Belleek Church of Ireland. (Revised and enlarged. Second Edition.)

2009. The Fermanagh Miscellany 2009. Edited by Dianne Trimble and John Cunningham (Articles entitled: “Dinny and Maggie’s Caeling House”, “The Florencecourt Yew Tree”, “Richard Cassells, Architect” “John White, Surgeon General to the first Fleet to Australia.”)

2009. All Our Yesterdays – Kesh School and the past schools of the Parishes of Drumkeeran and Magheraculmoney. It contains more than 900 years of roll books from a dozen schools. In addition to reminiscences from former pupils there are about 250 pictures and illustrations plus accounts of the numerous schools that once existed in this area; in fact over thirty schools with a mention of Sunday Schools of the region as far back as the 1820s. The book contains c10,000 names and has 264 pages.

Contributed articles to the following books/journals.

1983. The Queen’s University History Journal Volume 2. History in the Primary School – The way forward. by John Cunningham and Richard McMinn.

1988. Belleek Community and Visitor’s Guide. Belleek a short village history.

1996. Workhouses of the North West  ed. Jack Johnston  (WEA People’s History 1996). Lowtherstown (Irvinestown) Workhouse.

1997. The Famine in Ulster – Ed Christine Kinealy and Trevor Parkhill. The Famine in County Fermanagh.

1999. Lettercran – An illustrious past, an uncertain future. Ed. James Hilley. A rural industry in west Ulster – Stonecutting.

2004. The Heart’s Townland – marking boundaries in Ulster. Ed. Dr. Brian Turner. The Graveyard Shift – reading boundaries in a graveyard.

2006. Migration and Myth – Ulster’s Revolving Door. Ed. Brian S. Turner. The lost English Plantation of County Fermanagh.

Articles in the Clogher Record Historical Journal and classification.

 1999 – The Blennerhassetts of Kesh – Blennerhassett Family, Kesh, (Estates (Fermanagh), Genealogy)

1993 – Dr Lombe Atthill and his picture of Fermanagh before the Famine. (Famine, Fermanagh, Kesh, Ardess, Atthill, Biography)

1992 – The conflict surrounding the drainage of the River Erne 1881-1890. (Transport, Lough Erne, Fermanagh, Communications)

1990 – The investigation into the attempted assassination of Folliot Warren Barton near Pettigo. (Barton Family, Pettigo, Estates (Donegal), Crime)

1989 – The landlord, the minister, the tenant and the tithe in Belleek in 1758, Belleek, Caldwell. (Belleek, Estates (Fermanagh), Landlords, Tithes)

1988 – The Loan Fund scandals. (Banking, Crime)

1987 – The Castle Caldwell estate in 1780 and the recent arrest of the highwayman Francis McHugh. (Belleek, Caldwell. (Belleek, Estates (Fermanagh), Landlords, Tithes, Crime)

1983 – William Starrat, surveyor-philomath. (A survey of estates in Fermanagh and Donegal in the early 1700s)

1981 – John Caldwell Calhoun: Vice president of the USA. John B. Cunningham & M.A.Whalley. (Genealogy)

1981 – Lough Derg and its unusual ‘guardian’, Rev. Alexander Calhoun. J. B. Cunningham and M. Whalley. (Religion, Donegal, Pilgrimages.)


1978The Role Of The Caldwell Family In The Williamite  Defence Of The Erne And Donegal

1980 – Sir James Caldwell and the Lives of Half-hanged McNaughton.

1981 – William Connolly’s Ballyshannon Estate, 1718-1726

1982 – The Struggle for the Belleek-Pettigo Salient, 1922.

1983 – The Ballyshannon Herald, 1845-1850.

1988 – Ballyshannon and Environs, 1803.

1989 – Carne Graveyard, Pettigo, Co., Donegal. Rev. P. Ó Gallchóir, P Slevin & J. B. Cunningham

1990 – A Ballyshannon emigrant’s letter and Lifford Jail1990.

1994 – Old Graveyards and Irregular Burials near Pettigo, Co., Donegal.

1996 – Belleek, Ballyshannon and Pettigo in the 1790s.

1998 – John Kells Ingram writer of “Who fears to speak of ’98.”

1999 – A Rural Industry in West Ulster – Stonecutting in SW Donegal and adjoining Tyrone.

2000  – The Port of Ballyshannon.

The Septs – Irish Genealogical Society International publication.

2008. Reasons for Irish Emigration.

2009. July Vol.30 No.3 Dinny and Maggie’s Caeling House.

 Ancestral Trails – The newsletter of the Cassidy Clan.

1999 Autumn. How Emigration changed Ireland: the impact of Emigration.

Computer Education February 1992.

Studying the Irish Famine using computers and Electronic Mail – Electronic Mail in the context of Education for Mutual Understanding (E.M.U.)

The Spark. A publication of the Workers’ Educational Association.

1992. The story of Belleek Pottery.

1994. Prionsias Dubh the Highwayman, otherwise Black Frank Mc Hugh.

1994. Some Fermanagh influence on Early Canada Henry Caldwell in Quebec.

1995. The Vaughan Charitable Charter School – Tubrid and its Punishment Book c1848-1866.

 Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild Newsletter Volume 1 No. 8.

1979. Emigrant Memories of Belleek.

1982. The Emigrant Children of the Vaughan Charitable Charter School, Kesh, Co., Fermanagh.

 Familia – Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild.

1994. Volume 2 No 10 1994. The Caldwells of Quebec p88 – p114.

Ulster Folklife.

1994. Arney Brick and Florencecourt Tile, Brick and Pottery Works, Vol. 40 (1994).

1998. (With Joe O’Loughlin) O’Loughlin’s Bicycle Shop, Belleek, Co., Fermanagh and the coming of the bicycle. Vol. 44 (1998).

2000. Fermanagh’s Tapestry Industry. Vol. 46, (2000). Also The Bogle Bush, Ederney, Co., Fermanagh.”

2001. Not exactly Isaac Walton – using an otter and illegal means of fishing.

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