Pettigo and its People including a history of the Clan Mc Grath. CD.

Pettigo and its People including a history of the Clan Mc Grath.

This book is intended to deal with the history of Pettigo and its people from the earliest times down to the recent past. It builds on the works of the renowned historian Fr. Paddy Gallagher in his book “The Parish of Carn,” and Robert Reid’s, “Pettigo,” plus a series of articles on Pettigo history in the Impartial Reporter newspaper in 1921 by Robert Read and Thomas A. Aiken. Additional research has been carried out in the National Archives in Dublin among the Leslie Papers, landlords of the Pettigo Estate from the mid 1600s to early 1900s. Since I have already written on the history of Lough Derg – which has a small library of works devoted to it; I will only mention it in passing.

The Clan Mc Grath has had a major influence on the area for a period of c300 years until the early 17th century so a major part of the book is devoted to it with an important section being the two royal pardons granted to Bishop Miler Mc McGrath’s followers by Queen Elizabeth 1. The arrival of the Ulster Plantation in the early 17th century brought an end to the old Gaelic society in the area and heralded the arrival of Scots, English and Scottish Borderers to settle in and around Pettigo. The Leslie Family who acquired control of the estate were to dominate for the next 300 years. All these too have made a lasting impact on the locality.

For the past two hundred years, and more, emigration had been one of the dominant factors in the Pettigo area and so it merits a major section. Many of these and their descendants have achieved high positions, from poets to politicians in the United States, Canada, Australia etc.  A chronology of the Pettigo is provided which has been culled from the newspapers of the last two hundred years. Pettigo has a lot to be proud of in terms of its people, scenery and antiquities.

This book has been sponsored by Brendan Mc Grath, a Dublin business man today, but whose ancestors came from the
Lettercran area. He was elected Chieftain of the Clan Mc Grath at the first ever Clan gathering in July 1996. Without him this book would not have been possible. Since then clan gatherings have been held in Ring, County Waterford and in Ennis, County Clare. This book will be launched at the fourth Mc Grath Clan gathering to be held in Pettigo June 21-23rd, 2002.

Another McGrath Clan gathering is being planned for 2013 to coincide with the major Irish “Gathering” which is planned for that year. See the Termonmagrath website by Sean Alexander McGrath for further details.  The provisional date would be the 19th-21st July.This would coincide with the Irish Government’s ‘The Gathering’ initiative. Please browse the site at and our Facebook at

Quote from the Irish Times in its review of the journal of the Galway Historical Society – “Even if history were judged incapable of other uses, it entertainment value would remain in its favour.”
John B. Cunningham.


1. Early Settlers in the Pettigo Area – Muintir Phoedeachain and the Mc Graths to 1600
2. The Clan Mc Grath
3. The followers of Bishop Miler Mc Grath from a general pardon of 1608
4. Other Mc Graths, at Home and Abroad
5. The Leslie’s of Pettigo and Glasslough, County Monaghan.
6. Notable Pettigo People, Past and Present
7. Emigration and some Pettigo Emigrants – Armstrongs, Bartons, Irvines, Mc Graths, Glendinnings and Coulter
8. Killynoogan Townland and its Irish Canadian Poet – John Reade
9. A Chronology of Pettigo 1750-1950
10. Pettigo Schools early 19th century
11. Pettigo during the Famine 1845-1850
12. Pettigo Townland Names
13. Pettigo Graveyards
14. John Kells Ingram
15. The Swanston Poets

16. Pettigo Cemeteries

1 Pettigo Roman Catholic
2 Pettigo Church of Ireland
3 Pettigo Presbyterian and Methodists Church Inscriptions
4 Muckross Church of Ireland
5 Lettercran Roman Catholic
6 Carn Graveyard (all religious denominations)



On Wednesday 1st, inst Margaret McCarron, an old beggar woman aged about 60, living in a cabin in Derryard, near Rosslea, in this county  was found bar­barously murdered with her throat cut from her ear to ear. The door of her house was observed locked on Sun­day, no notice was taken of it, it being of frequent occurrence during her absence collecting alms and probably the horrid deed would remain longer before being discovered but that some children who were playing near the house peeped through the key-hole and observed blood on the ground and having mentioned the circumstance to the neighbours, the door was immediately broken in, when the horrid deed was revealed to them. A box was lying near the body broken open supposed in search of money, which, it was believed; the deceased had, and was the motive for the deed.

A correspondent writes— An inquest was held at Derryard, on Thursday the second inst., by J. Armstrong, Esq., coroner, on the body of Margaret McCarron who was found dead in a cabin which she occupied alone. Her throat presented a frightful appearance, being cut so deeply as to remove part of the oesophagus. The verdict was “murdered by some person or persons at present unknown.” The only conceivable motive for the perpetration of this crime is the obtaining a little money, as it was known in the neighbourhood that deceased occasionally received a small remittance from a daughter in America.

Another Account.

There can be no doubt now but the above cruel and brutal murder was perpetrated in order that the assassin might possess himself of some five or six pounds which his unfortunate victim was known to possess, and which she usually carried in a small bag attached to a string around her neck and which she had only a short time previously received from the parish priest, who had it in charge. When the neighbours went to force open the door suspecting that all was not right the landlord, a farmer residing within 150 yards of the poor woman’s house, and from whom she rented the cabin at £1 per annum, prevented their doing so, stating that she was absent, and which was a very natural con­clusion to come to as the door was fastened on the outside with a padlock; but the neighbours, knowing well her punctual habits in returning each night would not be persuaded to desist, and consequently broke open the door, when the horrid sight of the mutilated body met their view. The case is still wrapt in mystery, but the local justice and constabulary are doing everything in their power to on ravel it.  At public meeting held at Rosslea the following resolutions were passed:-

Resolved—“That the members of this meeting look with the deepest indignation upon the brutal deed which has been perpetrated amongst us, and regard with the utmost horror the sad fate of a defenceless woman, and we pledge ourselves to see out with all the means at our disposal, the party or parties who have disgraced this neighbourhood for the first time with the barbarous crime of murder.”

Resolved – “That the thanks of this meeting be conveyed through Rev. Mr Murphy, to John Madden Esq., Rosslea Manor, for his indefatigable exertions as a magistrate in endeavouring to capture the murderer, and that he be made aware of our desire to cooperate for that object with him; and also for his kind consideration as a landlord in trying to vindicate the character of his tenantry for which he shows himself so interested by his words and acts.



On Sunday morning, about half-past twelve o’clock, the church bells rung the fire alarm, and soon the inhabi­tants of Enniskillen were roused to witness one of the most awful fires ever witnessed in a country town.

A square block measuring about 70 feet frontage in High-street, extending to  Cole’s-lane about 150 feet, was all in one blaze and down-tumble in two or three hours. The fire spread so quickly that little could be done, to save property; and some of the inmates had to fly for their lives without their dress.

The block was occupied by Whitley Brothers, bakers, grocers, leather cutters, and general wholesale provision dealers, and was divided into three shops. The fire com­menced In a tea store over the kitchen, near to which was a pile of bacon, and immediately adjoining were several large stores for bread stuffs. Had the fire been discovered a little earlier, a few buckets of water would have extin­guished it; but that failing the flames rushed through the premises as if lightning were the agent of destruction.

Efforts were made to remove as much as possible of the goods in the, shops— seeing- that the flames had cut off access to the stores-and succeeded n getting away all the leather, the articles in the main shop, and some furniture. The horses and cattle were n other premises, except a calf, the cries of which were piteous, but which was saved by two dare-devils who risked their own lives in its rescue, and got their coats burned off their backs in the act.

The fire did not confine itself to the Whitley premises. Mr Cooney, draper on one side; Mr Molyneux, watch-maker and jeweller, on the other side; were well singed, and would have both shared the fate of their neighbour but for the great efforts made to save them. The fire had burned out Mr Molyneux’s rere windows and ignited the staircase. The flames were kept in check by Mr Wm. Quinion, Wine merchant, who took his post in the blaze and being well helped by water carriers, succeeded in extinguished them. Mr Patterson, S.I., and others took timely precaution at Mr Cooney’s, which were suc­cessful. Yet Messrs. Cooney and Molyneux suffered much loss by the removal of their goods to other houses; as did also Messrs Johnston and Carson, drapers, Mr S. Little, grocer and some others.

The thought is terrible when we ask ourselves what would have been the result if high wind had prevailed!— Everything was dry as tinder, and the whole town might have been consumed had not, luckily a calm continued.

The officers and men of the 29th Regiment were promptly on the ground and did good service with the barrack engine. The soldiers worked away till they were exhausted and rested not till the fire was got under. The officers excelled; in a mild, firm, and gentlemanly bearing in keeping order and the magistrates and police were not wanting. Mr Smith J.P. carried his bucket of water with a will Captain Butler, R. M. and Dr. Walsh were everywhere, and anything but idle! The County Inspector Bailey and Sub-Inspector Patterson headed the police energetically and their men did well.  Harrington, Sly (or Sleigh), Duffy, and some others did deeds of daring, that ought to be rewarded! Four of our own young men worked hard. But all pale before the achievements of two young townsmen, John Howe and Charles Aunon. Those two were worth a hundred. Only that testimonials have become so common, so cheap, so worthless, and so ill applied of late, we would vote them the thanks of the town in public assembly. However our own truthful testimony will suffice.

Mr Robert Gordon chairman of the Town Commissioners, did his best but was badly aided by the cor­poration engine, which was consistent in its refusal to work being out of order. A fire brigade should be organised immediately of the young men of the town which would be much more manly and utile than fooling as amateur bandsmen.  The suffering and inconvenience is deplorable but none of the parties will suffer loss, all being insured in the North British and Mercantile, the Globe, the Royal and other good offices.

Enniskillen Bands.

Enniskillen 1st October 1864.

Some 25 years ago there was an amateur band in Enniskillen, which was the ruin of every young man who joined it. A counter irritation or opposition band was got up in the Roman Catholic Chapel, which the late Rev. James Shiel, P.P., made smithereens of. He jumped into the big drum and beat the musicians out of the chapel with their own instruments – and we ceased not till we scattered the amateurs. During the existence of those bands the town had no peace: about forty young men were completely demoralised, some of them enlisted, others emigrated, and not a few lost their lives. The present boat racing mania is a source of much mischief, which must be abated. No respectable person should have anything to do with the Boat Club, or subscribe to its funds – it is a nuisance.

THE FENIANS IN FERMANAGH Impartial Reporter 28th April 1864.

THE FENIANS IN FERMANAGH Impartial Reporter 28th April 1864.

A good deal of stir has been created in Enniskillen by the apprehension of a number of Fenians. Eight or ten of them are in jail; others let out on bail; and, if report be true, very many hundreds of them have taken fright and given the country “leg bail,” as assurance that, they will no more trouble old Ireland by their presence or folly. The Very Dr. McMeel, P.P., has been untiring in his efforts to save his people from the political madness and unchristian association of the Fenians.



We have received the following narrative from a highly respectably correspondent, on whose fidelity and accuracy we can rely. Our correspondent writes: —  “On the 1st December instant, there were evicted by the sheriff on the property of John G. Adair Esq., in the parish of Gartan in county Donegal ten families, consisting of forty-nine person—six of the families were Roman Catholic, and four Protestant, (two Episcopalian and two Presbyterian) Everything in each house was put out the fire extinguished, and the door fastened (where there was one), and the persons themselves literally left on their dunghill, without any provision for their shelter, for even a night. The most of the above being in the most wretched state of poverty, must, of necessity go to the poorhouse, and thus increase the rate which is,5s for the present year) on the rest of the impoverished tenantry. One of the evicted families, by name Stephenson, consists of ten persons, almost destitute of clothing. Another is Widow Knox, with four children. Her husband fell into bad health a few years ago and consequently into poverty, being unable to till his land, so as to support his family and pay his rent. In the spring of the present year he went to the United States of America (his passage being paid for him), in order, to obtain, if possible, by working, the amount of rent due. However, about a week before the evictions, his wife received an account of his sudden death, while at his work, so his wife and family are left helpless. In order to account in some measure for so many, evictions, we may state that, about five years previously Mr Adair summarily raised the rent of each tenant on the property nearly one-half. Bad years having ensued; they have had the greatest difficulty to pay this increased rent. At the Spring Quarter Sessions of this year, upwards of thirty out of about sixty tenants on the property, were, served with notices of ejectments for non-payment of one year’s rent. More than the half of these had settled by the October Sessions when the ejectments were put through against those who had not paid; and  as upwards of £3 were added for costs on each, few were able to settle and some only after the arrival of the sheriff, when the evictions mentioned took place. As Mr. Adair never expended a shilling in assisting the tenant to drain, or improve his farm, or in any way improve his condition, and insists under all circumstances on the payment of their very high rent, the tenantry consider their case as all but hopeless, have lost all energy and interest  in the cultivation at their farms, and are fast-sinking into a state of wretched poverty, looking upon their situation as little better than that of the Derryveagh people,, who were all turned out at once, instead of piece meal. This is truly a melancholy state of things, to occur in a Christian country and under British law and government. On the adjoining property of Derryveagh, where the whole-sale evictions were effected, Mr. Adair has had between three and four hundred, horned cattle, several hundred sheep, and upwards of thirty horses on that property during the summer; and, from all appearances, he will make the whole of his property in the same way. The work is being carried on in a remote mountainous district of Donegal, but should not, we think, be concealed from public view.