1953 July to December.

25-7-53 Ederney Parochial Sports. Teams from Pettigo, Dromore, Ederney and Trillick took part with Pettigo and Dromore reaching the finals by defeating respectively, Trilliok and Ederney. The final was not played owing to the rain and Pettigo won the tournament on a toss.

25-7-53 Weeping mothers and sweethearts crowded the GNR terminus at Great Victoria Street as more than 100 young men and women left by train for Cobh on their way to Canada. This was the 4th Emigrant Special to leave Belfast in the last six months and contained many families and Queen’s University graduates. The front of the train was decorated with the head of a giant Elk’s head. They will join the Cunard liner, “Georgic” at Cobh. Already on board from Southampton are 36 members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who have been attending the Coronation ceremonies.

15-8-53 At Belleek Court, Francis Devanney of Forkhill Park, Irvinestown was fined £3 with costs and bound him to keep the peace for twelve months on his own bail of £5 plus one surety of £5 for striking James Burns, Brollagh, Belleek on 30th June. Devanney, who has a family of 10, came out of a pub convenient to the Cementation Works yard and struck Burns in the face for being unwilling to go on strike. The R.M. said he would have sent Devanney to jail only that he had a large family. Devanney has a long list of previous convictions for similar offences.

22-8-53 After the unveiling ceremony in Pettigo on Saturday members of “C” Company, headed by their pipe band paraded to what was formerly the RIC barracks in Pettigo. (Currently in 2002, the Priest’s House) and observed 2 minutes silence in memory of the late Commandant P. Breen, who was in charge of taking the barracks in 1921. Afterwards the band played, “The Minstrel Boy,” which was Comdt. Breen’s favourite tune. (Unveiling of Pettigo 1922 memorial.)

22-8-53   Donkey owner fined at Belleek. Susan Johnston, Commons, Belleek was summonsed for allowing her donkey to wander on the road. Seamus O’Connor, a driver employed by the Cementation Company said that the donkey wandered out in front of him. He did the donkey little harm but the front of his car was smashed in. The defendant said that the donkey must have jumped over the ditch and that on the evening in question all the animals were being annoyed by flies. She was fined 7/6 with 18/- costs.

22-8-53 Enniskillen child drowned. Inquest on Lough Erne fatality. Gerald Divine, Darling St., Enniskillen, aged 6 years drowned on the afternoon of the 8th while playing at the Round “O,” Enniskillen.

22-8-53 Enniskillen Convent’s great achievement. Every one of the 28 pupils entered for the Senior Certificate Examination passed.

22-8-53  Northern Patriots remembered in Impressive Ceremony. War of Independence Recalled at the Unveiling of Pettigo Memorial. The names on the Memorial are Patrick Flood (Pettigo), William Kearney and Bernard Mc Canny (Drumquin) and William Deasley, (Dromore, Co., Tyrone). The commemorative Mass was said by Rev. A. Slowey, C. C., Belleek and an FCA Guard of Honour, under Lieutenant L. Emerson, Ballyshannon, rendered Compliments at the Consecration. Minister of Defence, General Sean Mc Keown attended. Mr. Oscar Traynor made the oration at the unveiling of the statue commemorating the invasion of Pettigo on June 4th, 1922.

29-8-53   Irish-Ireland Activities in Devenish. Children’s classes attended by almost 60 children of the Parish up to the age of 14 years. The classes have been enthusiastically attended and supported by the children on three nights weekly, and lessons have been given in Irish Prayers, conversational Irish, Irish singing, dancing and history. There have been lessons in etiquette and a football team of juveniles chosen from the boys has been established and has proved a match for the best in three counties. The season closed on the 15th of August with a Ceilidh in St. Mary’s Hall. Among the prize winners were: – Best mannered child, Mary Flanagan, Corramore. Irish Prayers, Eileen Burns, Cashel. Exercise Books, J. J. Carty, Knockaraven. Accordion 1. J. J. Carty, Knockaraven; 2. Gerald Feely, Knockaraven.

29-8-53 Lord Bishop’s Regulations – Dances must end at Midnight. The Lord Bishop of Clogher, Most Rev. Eugene O’Callaghan, D. D. has issued regulations governing the organisation and attendance of Catholics of the Diocese at dances which continue until after midnight. The regulations are to come into force on September 1st. All Cross-roads, open air and dancing decks are to close before lighting-up time, All Parochial Halls and halls controlled by Catholics are to close not later than 10 o’clock midnight – old time. In addition I forbid Catholics of this Diocese to attend any public dance which is to continue to a late hour. These regulations bind in conscience i.e. under pain of sin from 1st September. Priests are to exert vigilance to see that the Diocesan Law for the conclusion of all public dances is strictly observed.

5-9-53 Newtownbutler are new County Champions after beating Irvinestown in a grueling final by 0-6 to 0-4. The game was played in Gaelic Park, Enniskillen through terrific downpours but the large crowd cheered on while sheltering under trees. Billy Charlton was at the centre of an almost impregnable full back line for Irvinestown. Kevin McCann (Belleek) was a scrupulously fair referee whose handling of the game was beyond criticism.

12-9-53 Garrison Man Unconscious for Seven Days. William George Acheson of Gorteen, Garrison, was unconscious for 7 days and in hospital for a month after cycling into the side of a shooting-brake. As he had suffered a lot through his own negligence he was only fined 5 shillings.

19-9-53 A fine of 15 shillings plus costs was imposed on John Murphy, Stranlongford at Irvinestown Court on Friday for being drunk in charge of a bicycle twice. His wife appeared in his stead and said he was ill and asked for a month to pay the fine.

19-9-53  Ederney drew with Irvinestown 3-3 to 1-9 although the league points were of little interest to either in this local derby. In the juvenile match before Irvinestown easily defeated a much lighter Ederney team. Most promising for Ederney were Manus and Martin Maguire, Sean and Joe Rolston, Joe Turner, Tony Maguire and Tony McGrath. In goals for Ederney Seamus Milligan made several fine saves including two penalties.

19-9-53 On Tuesday morning after 11 o’clock Mass in St. Mary’s Church, Pettigo, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. O’Callaghan, Lord Bishop of Clogher, blessed and opened St. Mary’s new national school at Pettigo. At the blessing ceremony a guard of honour was provided by the school children under their teachers Master B. Egan, B.A., N.T., Mrs T. Bradley, N.T. and Miss Mc Fadden, N.T. The minister of Education was represented by Mr. Joseph Brennan, T.D. who in a short address said Pettigo people should be proud of their beautiful new school, which had been such a necessity for the past 30 years. The building, he said, was a credit to the contractor, Mr. Geo. Irwin, Donegal, and his staff of tradesmen and workers. Thanks was expressed to the Rev. priests, Very Rev. P. Dempsey P.P., Rev. Jas. F. Brennan, C.C. and Rev. A. Slowey, C.C. for their unfailing efforts and constant attention until the beautiful building was completed. To Fr. Jas. F. Brennan alone the parish are deeply indebted for all his work for both the welfare of his parishioners and for the churches and schools in both Pettigo and Lettercran, and it is hoped that he will remain many long years in the parish so as to reap the reward of his zeal. His Lordship also blessed the twelve new houses erected in the village under the housing scheme. The choir with Miss Dora Mc Neill at the organ rendered sacred music during the Mass.

19-9-53 Pettigo Girl’s Licence Suspended at Belleek. Kathleen Monaghan, Ballymacavanney, Lough Derg, was fined £2-2-6 with costs and disqualified from driving for a year in N. Ireland, for driving without due care, and without a licence, insurance and tail lights. She admitted all offences. Constable Bell who stopped her said she came into the town from the Ballyshannon direction on the wrong side of the white line and swerved up the Main Street. She said she was learning to drive.

26-9-53 Omagh, St. Enda’s win Irvinestown Tourney Final by defeating Lisnaskea by 5-8 to 2-7. The fifteen wristlet watches were presented to the Omagh players afterwards by Rev. J. Mc Kenna, P.P., Irvinestown. Omagh opened the scoring with two goals. The 13 a-side format suited Omagh.

3-10-53 All the residents allotted new houses in Pettigo have taken up their residence during the weekend and are delighted with such splendid houses with every modern convenience.

3-10-53 Armagh gallant in defeat as they fail in the All Ireland final to Kerry by 0-13 to 1-6. Armagh missed a penalty and squandered chances to win. The official attendance of 85,155 and receipts of £10,904-9-1 constitute a record and an additional 7,000 got into the ground without paying.

3-10-53 During Monday’s floods Mr. P. Halpin, Customs Officer, Pettigo, performed a plucky act when he rescued four sheep from the Termon River as they were being swept away. He waded waist deep into the fast flowing river to rescue them.

3-10-53  Marian Year Proclaimed. The Pope has proclaimed 1954 as Marian Year in celebration of the centenary of  the definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius X1 on December 8th 1854. The Pope ordered the World’s 400 million Catholics to concentrate on Our Lady’s intercession for three objects:- The Unity of the Church, The Peace of the World and The Church of Silence – 60 million Catholics behind the Iron Curtain.

3-10-53 Mr. Cahir Healy, M.P., again unanimously chosen at the Nationalist Convention to run as an anti-partition candidate in South Fermanagh. It was decided not to run in Enniskillen or Lisnaskea (where the Prime minister held) as these areas had been gerrymandered to return two Unionist candidates although Fermanagh had a Nationalist majority.

10-10-53 Cost of Dying Rising Too. Enniskillen Rural District Council is losing £300 to £400 per year in running Brendrum Cemetery. Increases are to be made in the burial and grave charges.

10-10-53 Fermanagh give grand display in losing to Derry by 9 points to 6 points. Following a draw with Tyrone it seems that a corner has been turned in Fermanagh’s fortunes since they were last a team to be feared in 1935. “P. Rooney was sound enough … Matt Regan, a supposedly volatile footballer, was as sound as a bell, brilliant in placing, deadly in tackling and as clean a player as was on a clean field. More performances like this and Matt will have beaten the best of his past  …. Gonigle was a good plodding midfielder, with a flash of brilliance in him quite often … J. P. McCann seemed a grand player playing with the foot brake partly on.

10-10-53 Mrs Brigid Maguire, relict of Mr. Peter Maguire, died at her home at Knockaraven, Devenish on Tuesday 15th September.

10-10-53 On Sunday evening Pettigo village was en fete with bonfires and cheering crowds when the residents learned that their Junior team were victors in the County Final against the Doe team at Ballybofey.

10-10-53 On Wednesday of last week torrential rain fell in the district for twenty-four hours continuously causing the most devastating floods ever remembered in the district. In Cortness (Gortanessy?)district a bridge connecting the farm of J. Fletcher, with the leading Pettigo to Castlederg road was swept away, nothing being left on the iron girders. The village street was flooded to a depth of two feet from the Diamond to the railway station. Pedestrians had to wade to the railway station in their bare feet. Ricks of hay and corn were swept away and in the mountain district sheep were swept away. Roads were also torn. The Pettigo to Castlederg road was under water for three miles at Lettercran.

17-10-53 Ceilidhe Mhor in St. Joseph’s Hall, Cashel, on Sunday 18th, October. Music by McCusker Bros. Ceilidhe band (first visit to Cashel. Dancing 8 o’clock, Admission 3s-6d.

17-10-53 Dance in Mc Cabe’s Hall, Belleek, Friday 23rd October with music by Derrylin Starlight Band. Admission 4 shillings.

17-10-53 On Friday night Pettigo GFC held a victory ceilidh in St. Mary’s Hall, Pettigo, to celebrate victory over St. Michael’s (Doe) at Ballybofey the previous Sunday in the junior County Final. The cup was carried in procession through the village by the team headed by the captain. The hall was packed by patrons from both north and south of the Border. The dance which was from 8 to 12 concluded with the National Anthem.

17-10-53 Tully’s High St. Enniskillen – Special Coat Display – Lady’s Gabardine Coat in popular new colours for 6 ½ guineas.

31-10-53 At Kesh court, Pettigo man, Thomas Reilly of Mill St. was fined 40s and had his licence suspended for 12 months for driving a car without insurance and 10s for driving without a licence. William Elliott of Killsmollen was fined 8s for carrying two passengers on a goods vehicle without a licence, Grace Elliott, Tulnagin, Ederney and Patrick Meehan, Largy, Lack who were both fined 2s-6d. Hugh McGrath, Ednaveigh was fined 8s for allowing three heifers to wander on the road. For allowing four animals to wander on the road William R. Johnston, Lack was fined 6s. John A. Harron, Gubbaroe, was fined 5s for throwing fireworks in Kesh. Thomas Mc Clelland, Feddans, Kesh was fined 20s for using a goods vehicle without a licence and Edward Maguire, Main St. Ederney was fined 3s for having no reflective mirror on a motor vehicle, and 5s, for having no horn.

31-10-53 Ballinamallard Couple’s claim against Kesh man. Charles Leonard and his wife Kathleen of Coolgarron, Ballinamallard sued Malcolm Turner of Tievaveeney, Kesh for £50 and breach of contract. They alleged that the defendant had invited them to live with him and that he would transfer his lands to Kathleen. They took up residence and put in two acres of potatoes and one of corn but the plaintiff refused to complete the contract or allow them to take away the crops. The defendant claimed that they had ordered £25 of groceries from Blakley McCartney of Kesh in his name and used them solely for themselves and family. The Judge granted £10 to the plaintiffs and allowed the defendant to keep the crops.

31-10-53 Enniskillen Fishery Board member disqualified for six months and fined £7 and costs after a fishery prosecution in Derrygonnelly. He was Mr John Maguire, Boa Island, a fisherman and his partner Edward Cassidy who was fined £4 and costs. Evidence was given that they had failed to stop their boat when challenged by the police launch, were fishing with worms with long lines and had undersized eels in their possession.

31-10-53  Fermanaghman to share in the residue of a ten million pound estate. One of two brothers who will share in the residue of the estate of the Duke of Westminster, Britain’s richest landowner, after many legacies and annuities to members of the family, friends and servants is Lieutenant Colonel Robert George Grosvenor, Ely Lodge, Enniskillen. The Duke died last July aged 74. He came to Fermanagh in 1951 when he bought the Ely Estate from Mr. Cathcart. He and his brother are cousins of the late Duke.

31-10-53  Old Character Passes. An old man of the roads, Bob Davitt, died in Ballyshannon. He was almost 80 years old and had been known to generations of families in the North-West as a gentle, kindly, old man who moved from place to place with his familiar, “bundle on his shoulder.” Youngsters delighted in letting imagination work on the mysteries of the great bag, which was opened occasionally to show the small articles that Bob would sell. He had great dignity and would only condescend to take a meal at some houses, and indeed to call only in some. He slept in haysheds or at the foot of haystacks; he was loved by children of several generations. By his passing a link has been broken of Ireland’s “men of the road.” He had a considerable sum of money when he died.

31-10-53  The sudden death took place at Killybeg, Belleek, of Mrs Jane Keown, wife of Mr. Patrick Keown. She had been in indifferent health for some time past.

7-11-53 A decree of £3 was awarded against Thomas Duffy, Commons, Belleek, for trespass by his cattle on lands at Rathmore, Belleek. The action was taken by John Mc Elroy, Auctioneer, Belleek who had the setting of the land. He claimed that the land was worth £20 per annum but Duffy would only offer £12 which was refused.

7-11-53 Inquest on Ballyshannon woman adjourned. Mrs Agnes White (49), widow of James White, one of the leading merchants of the district in his time was found dead in the attic of her home on Tuesday of last week. She was suffering from heart trouble for a number of years and was inclined to excessive worry. She was found lying in the attic with a rug under her head as a pillow. He found a cup and a small glass beside the body. Guard Flynn gave evidence of finding traces of vomiting and two partly dissolved capsules of a purplish colour. Dr. Patrick Daly gave his opinion that the capsules could not have caused her death.

7-11-53 Mr. S. McGinley is appointed secretary of Pettigo GAA Club. (John McGinley, Customs Officer and father of Sean McGinley, noted Irish actor.)

7-11-53 Storm over Fermanagh – Torrential rain all over the county during Sunday caused the most serious and extensive flooding in years. The Belleek to Letter Road was impassable at Rosscreenagh, where water poured down from the hills and covered the entire valley.

7-11-53 The case was dismissed against Joseph McDermott, Corry, Belleek, for riding his bicycle without due care and attention. He had been badly injured when struck by a lorry while cycling from his farm at Brollagh. He had spent 15 days in the Shiel Hospital, Ballyshannon, with severe head and arm injuries. A similar case against the lorry driver was adjourned.

14-11-53 The death has occurred of Rev. W. Babbington Steele, Castletown, Monea, retired minister of the Episcopalian Church of Ireland. He was born in 1865 and was the son of Rev. William Steele, headmaster of Portora from 1857 to 1891.He was the brother of  the convert, Rev. John Haughton Steele, born 1850, who had been minister at Deryvore, Co., Fermanagh, incumbent of Trinity Church, Crom, Newtownbutler for 27 years, before becoming a priest in 1912. Fr. Steele died on March 17th, 1920 and is interred in the grounds of Cavan Cathedral.

14-11-53 The death of Mr. James Cleary, Donegal House, Bundoran. He was a native of Lissan, Garvery, Enniskillen and had spent his early years in America returning in 1925 to set up a successful business in Bundoran. He had been on his way to Benediction on Monday evening when he died.

21-11-53 A fire broke out in the roof of Letterkeen School, Kesh, on Wednesday 11th. The 40 children were removed by their teacher Miss Mary I. Stephenson. Two sections of Enniskillen Fire brigade arrived within a half an hour, making the 18 mile journey in record time. They were able to put out the fire before any serious damage was done.

21-11-53  Opening Announcement – Radio and Television Service of Thomas P. Gannon, 37 East Bridge Street, Enniskillen opposite the GPO. Leading makes of radio and television stocked, batteries, valves and all radio components, sheet music and gramophone records, complete repair service, batteries charged.

21-11-53 Two men drowned in shocking Belleek tragedy. Both were employees of the Cementation Company. The dead men are Jack Lawler, Athy, Co., Kildare and Jack Mc Grath, Lisnarick. Edwards, J. Maguire of Boa Island was rescued. Mc Grath’s body has not yet been discovered despite search parties of up to 50 people searching the banks of the river. Mr. Maguire gave a graphic description of what happened to members of the Press.

28-11-53  Border fireworks. Guard James Dowd summonsed James McInern (18) of Bannaghbeg, Clonelly, Co., Fermanagh for exploding squibs in Main St. Pettigo and then running into the North out of the jurisdiction. McInern was caught but another youth escaped. The case was adjourned as McInern’s sister had rung in to say he was ill and unable to attend. Daniel McGrory was fined 10/- each for being lying down drunk on the road and having no light on his bicycle.

5-12-53 The minor Football Championship between Lisnaskea and Garrison was a very one sided affair with Lisnaskea having an easy win Garrison conceding two very soft goals at the beginning.

12-12-53 Ending of the Marian Year in a three day ceremony. Overflowing crowds at all Masses. “The cry for a new Redemption, a Redemption coming through Mary, has been answered.” Said at a ceremony at the Graan.

19-12-53 The longest ever Ballyshannon inquest lasting 3½ hours was resumed on the 9th on Mrs Agnes Fyffe White, proprietoress of the well-known business bearing her name, at the Mall, Ballyshannon, whose body was found in the attic of her home on 28th of October.

26-12-53  Inquest into Belleek tragedy. Accidental drowning verdicts were returned on John Lawlor (39) Athy, County Kildare and John McGrath, Rossgweer, Lisnarick, employees on the Erne Scheme at Belleek who lost their lives on the 16th November, when their boat was swept away after their engine had failed. The inquest on Lawlor was held in Belleek Courthouse and a jury of which Christopher Ross was foreman. John Maguire, Boa Island, the boatman gave evidence. The engine died out and they missed the first safety rope because the boat passed over it. They caught hold of the second but it sagged leaving them under the water. He let go and was swept through the open sluice gates. Below Belleek Bridge and the eel weir he caught up with the overturned boat and it took him to the bank where he clung to a tree until rescued. Like Lawlor he was wearing a life jacket but Lawlor’s head struck the sluice-gates and he was drowned. McGrath had no life jacket and his body was not found for days after. As his body was found on the Eire side of the Border an inquest was conducted in Ballyshannon. Frank McCauley found McGrath’s body having searched each day for it.

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