15-4-1950. FERMANAGH IN EASTER WEEK. BY EAMONN MacAINDREIS (Eamon Anderson.)

15-4-1950. FERMANAGH IN EASTER WEEK. BY EAMONN MacAINDREIS (Eamon Anderson.)

“Right proudly high o’er Dublin Town

They hung out the flag of war

’Twas better to die ’neath an Irish sky,

Than at Suvla or Sud-el-Bar.

And from the plains of Royal Meath

“Strong men came hurrying through,

While Brittania’s sons with their long range guns

Sailed in by the Foggy Dew.”

THIRTY-FOUR long years have passed away since the beginning of the last fight for Irish freedom—a fight that must go on till the last square inch of Irish soil is free from the rule and laws of foreign invaders and native traitors. The Rising of Easter Week 1916 was the trumpet blast, which started to awaken the Irish people from the torpor and misery of the “Slave Mind.’’ O’Connell, greatest of our Irish “ Constitutionalist ” leaders died of a broken heart in Black 47 ” after his life-long efforts for “ Repeal of the Union ” had ended in dismal failure, and the corpses of a million victims of an English-made famine lay rotting in the fields and cabins and graves all over Ireland, whilst another million tried to cross the Atlantic, but at least a third of them never landed as they died of famine going over. Later in the last century came Butt and Parnell, also Constitutionalist leaders, who did their best during their lives. Parnell did his best during the whole of his short life for the reduction of rack-rents and the amelioration of the conditions under which the poor Irish tenant farmers had to live, and no Irish Catholic leader—except those who have shed their blood for Ireland— has as high a place in the affections of the Irish people, even to the present day, as the Protestant Charles Stewart Parnell.

SINN FEIN. In 1903 Arthur Griffith started the Sinn Fein movement. Although the name ’Sinn Feiners’ was given by the English to those who rose with the gun in Dublin in 1916, Arthur Griffith’s Sinn Fein policy simply meant passive resistance and he was, through all his life, totally opposed to resistance with gun. The words “Sinn Fein ” are Irish words meaning “We ourselves,” and one of the mottoes of the movement was “Burn everything English except English coal.” To withdraw all our elected representatives from Westminster, and start a National Assembly in Dublin (Just as was really done here after the General Election of 1918—years before the Treaty was signed). To keep all the money possible at home in Ireland and start home industries of all kinds with it, so as to stop emigration. A verse of the song “ Sinn Fein ” made about 1904 said:

“We cultivate each root and plant ’neath Irish skies;

We wear our Irish home-made goods, our flannels, tweeds and frieze,

And every product of the earth, old Ireland does contain

To keep Irish hands from foreign lands, is the motto of Sinn Fein.”

 

But although many of the brainiest people in Ireland joined and supported the Sinn Fein movement from the start it was not a success and a young man named Dolan went forward as a Parliamentary candidate in Leitrim in 1907 on the Sinn Fein policy, and was beaten, although not very badly—as he got all the votes of the survivors of the Fenian movement there. I think it was the same Dolan who was really elected for North Leitrim in the General Election of 1918, but any way I am glad, to say that most of us who were attending Kinawley School in 1907 took his part at that time, although some of us were only about 11 years old at the time. But I was just after finishing the reading of A. M. Sullivan’s ‘Story of Ireland,” which gave no very nice picture of British misrule in Ireland, and which ended with a description of the great 11 days snowstorm—from 5th to 16th March, 1867, which prevented or put a stop to the Fenian Rising. In 1914, when the first European War started, every able-bodied man in Ireland was drilling and some very disabled men too; First Carson started the Ulster Volunteers to fight against even a very mild form of Home Rule for any and every part of Ireland, and then John MacNeill started the Irish Volunteers to fight for it if necessary.

In a little village and countryside like this 160 men of the Irish Volunteers drilled almost every evening, their drill instructors being veterans of the South African War—only about a dozen years over at the time. And then came the first Great European War starting on 4th August, 1914. A Home Rule Bill, (awaiting amendment,  was rushed through the British House of Commons, but not to take effect till the War was over, and, on the strength of that doubtful promise the Irish Party at Westminster made the terrible mistake of starting to recruit for the British Army. Some of us were very fond of reading the Dublin “Leader,” edited by D. P. Moran at the time, and, though not an “extreme” paper by any means, it was very severe in its criticism of the Irish Party for the stand they were taking. The christened the Irish Party “The All is Won Brigade” and said week after week “We do not desire the death of the All is Won Brigade, but that they be converted and live.” Also the question and answer—”When is a Home Rule Bill not a Home Rule Bill…” “When it is awaiting amendment”; also “We have always admired the Irish Party, but we now want to take the recruiting streamer out of their hats.” The ’Leader’ called the European combatants “The British pot, and the German Kettle ” and gave the recitation of an argument between the Pot and Kettle in which both cast up their misdeeds to each other:

“Upon a kettle, plenty black, its not for pot to make attack ” says the kettle; the pot cast up “ the Church of Rheims destroyed by fire,” but the kettle replied “Ah March, 1867, which prevented or think so much of Papist art— which must be full of superstition, of ignorance and Rome’s tradition.”

“When in doubt, consult the “Leader” was another headline in Moran’s paper. The recruiting policy of the Irish Party naturally split the Irish Volunteers from top to bottom. More than 200,000 took Redmond’s advice and joined the British Army—while John MacNeill, founder and leader of the Volunteers, was totally opposed to recruiting at all times. A party in Knockninny parish “who had never lost the old Fenian faith” (i.e., the faith in an Irish Republic) separated from, the rest and went out. and drilled by themselves, whilst we, the 160 Volunteers of the Fermanagh part of Kinawley Parish, avoided the difficulty by ceasing to drill altogether. ”

If an odd unfortunate man did join the, British forces, the saying always was: “He must have been drunk! when he threw himself away like that.

More than a year and a half of the Great War had passed away when the startling news came of the Rising of Easter Week. Although the fight had been going on from noon on Monday the news did not come to to our part of the county till Thursday morning, and I must say that very few understood it or approved of it at the time. However, that day I met an old man named Owen Jones on the road, who had been a long time in America in his day, and he said “It’s time for us to hear good news like this. What are these men only the Fenians? What is this only the Fenian Rising—50 years delayed?”

SIX FERMANAGH MEN. As far as I can find out up to the present at least 6 Fermanagh men; all of them living in Dublin at the time, took part in the Rising. Of course there may have been more, but anything I can find I will publish here—
le cúnamh Dé (With the help of God.). The names of the 6 men were;—George Irvine and a man named Wilson, both natives of Enniskillen; Philip Cassidy and Owen Green, natives of Mullaghdun; and two men named Maguire and Meehan, natives of Derrygonnelly. George Irvine was a captain in the Irish Volunteers, and a Professor in Trinity College. In the early part of his life he lived in East Bridge Street, Enniskillen. but left it when very young. On the 29th June, 1917, he was chaired through the streets of Enniskillen, by a great cheering crowd of Fermanagh Nationalists.

Wilson kept a boot shop in East Bridge Street about 50 years ago, but his place was burned—he lost his money and goods and then went to live in Dublin. Both Irvine and Wilson were Protestants. Owen Green was in business in Dublin at the time, and now  owns and works a farm and drapery store at Kinlough, County Leitrim. He was wounded in the Rising and interned after it. Maguire and Meehan were also in business in Dublin at the time. I have not yet found out their present whereabouts, but it is believed they are in Glasgow. They fought in the G.P.O. Philip Cassidy (trocaire De are a n-anim) passed away in Dublin on 5th May, 1938. His remains were brought home and interred in Arney Churchyard, where a crowd gathers every year at Easter to pray for the repose of his soul. At the time of the Rising he was a young man in business in Dublin and bought his own rifle, revolver and uniform. He fought beside Patrick Pearse in the G.P.O. He had 6 brothers and 3 sisters. Two of his brothers have also passed away. Patrick passed away on 1st June, 1933 in Glasgow. His remains were also brought home and interred in Arney Churchyard. Charles was killed in an accident in New York. Henry emigrated to Australia and lives in Brisbane, Queensland. He is a great writer in Australian papers on Irish affairs and especially on the Border question.

Thomas Gregory is a Civic Guard in Ballyconnell, Co., Cavan. Maurice runs a business in Belmore Street, Enniskillen, while John runs a farm at Carrigans, Enniskillen. Miss Barbara Cassidy also lives with her brother at Carrigans, while Mrs. Alice Corrigan, another sister, lives at Mullaghdun, and Mrs. Annie MacManus. another sister, whose husband is a Free State Customs and Excise man lives at Dungarvan, Co. Waterford. John Cassidy has also suffered great hardships for his country during the trouble, which has left him disabled, long before his time. He did 21 years in the old prison ship in Belfast Lough, the Argenta. Some day before long, I must give the experiences of all the Fermanagh men who have suffered in this way, after having a chat with them one by one. Another man, named Tom O’Shea, who worked in Enniskillen for a while in his time, also took part in the Rising. He was a native of Donegal. He was sentenced to be hanged, was in Peterhead Prison for a while, and also in Derry Jail. I have heard that a number of Volunteers in the Belcoo district were away from home during the whole of Easter Week, but it is not known whether they were in the Rising or not.

George Irvine was over 50 at the time of the Rising. The others were all young men in their 20’s. Much has yet to be written about the War of Independence and Fermanagh’s part in it, but I am now going to finish up this article with a few extracts from the pen of Henry J. Cassidy—written about 5 years ago in the “Brisbane Leader ” on the evils of Partition in Ireland:

“Partly as a result of clever propaganda, many people have a vague sort of idea that the North- Eastern part of Ireland is somewhat like a piece of Great Britain placed on the wrong side of the Irish Sea. In reality this mutilated portion of Ireland’s Northern Province is in most ways about one of the most distinctively Irish parts of Ireland: It even includes one of Ireland’s all too few remaining native Gaelic-speaking districts (despite the fact that Irish is treated as a foreign language by the Six-County education authorities). The North-East corner has rather more than its proportionate share of links with Ireland’s patron saint and her glorious early centuries of Christianity. The ancient city of Armagh with its splendid Cathedral, is the Archiepiscopal seat of the Cardinal Primate of all Iceland, who is the lineal successor of St Patrick. The much-abused “Ulster” has been for such a long time misused and misapplied that it has come to signify in the minds of many people the term “Orangemen.”

In contrast to this loud-mouthed plantation “Ulster” there is the real original Ulster of the Red Branch Knights – an Ulster nurtured on countless generations of legend and folklore, history and tradition, blending and harmonizing with and being part and parcel of the inspiring legends, history and traditions of an unconquerable and indivisible Ireland. This invincible spirit of Irish patriotism is just as vital and indestructible in the Six-Counties cut off from the rest of Ireland, as in the 3 Ulster counties which were left to form part of “Southern Ireland.” “One learns with some misgiving that there is a number of quite sincere Irish patriots, who seemingly hold the belief that Partition must continue till the Orange brethren in the North-East can be won over in favour of a United Ireland. It would appear that these extremely moderate Irish people think their country should submit to mutilation and Six-County Catholics put up with being trodden in the dust for another few generations or so.

 

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Land League 1942 by Eamon Anderson.

25-4-1942. FOLK TALES OF FERMANAGH. BY EAMON ANDERSON. It is truly said that the history of Ireland is written in ballads. Before the days of writing, two thousand or more years ago, the old Gaelic bards of Ireland composed all historical happenings in verse which were committed to memory and handed down for countless generations. Irish historical poetry begun with Amergin, the son of Milesius, about fifteen centuries before Christ, and continued ever since, generation after generation, down to our own day. Some of the early Gaelic historical poems, such as the Táin Bó Cúailnge (Great Cattle Spoil of Cooley), amounted to hundreds of thousands of lines. No wonder that in the Gaelic Ireland of the past it took twenty years’ hard study for the Bardic Order. Not only had a man to be naturally a poet himself, but had also to commit to memory all the Gaelic poetry up to his own time. If we add to that all the ballads and songs that have been composed in English during the last century or so in every parish and corner of this island of ours, and got it all printed in books, it would fill the Fermanagh Co. Library.

So that is the reason that we know so much about the Ireland of the past from the earliest times down to our own day.

For some weeks past I have been writing about the Land League days which many, of our readers can remember. It would be interesting to know how many are alive to-day of the countless thousands who attended the great Land League meeting in Enniskillen on 2nd, of October, 1887. That meeting would have been almost forgotten to-day but for the ballad which Frank Maguire composed to commemorate it. I am going to publish that ballad here this week, and you will find that it describes the meeting far better than any dry prose history could do.’

I have mentioned Frank Maguire in these articles before. He was a fanner and lived his lifetime in the townland of Ruscaw, a mile north of Kinawley village, the next townland to Drumlish, where I was born myself. I never remember him, as he passed away before my time, but his songs and ballads are living still in this part of the country. When I was a child I thought that the few townlands around us were the most wonderful place’s in the world, and I have the same opinion yet! Ruscaw produced two of our parish bards, Frank Maguire and the old school master, Michael Maguire, In Teravally, a short half-mile away, lived Charley Farmer, another of our parish bards. In Drumbinnis lived two of our noted shanachies whom I have often quoted here, John Maguire and Owen Jones. Once I said to Mr. Cahir Healy, who, alas; is far from us to-day, “I think our parish of Kinawley is the best in Fermanagh for folklore and traditions, and bards and ballads.” “I agree with you,’’ said he. “and anyway, that is the right spirit for a person to have—to regard his own townland or parish as the hub and centre of the universe. If every townland would preserve its own traditions we would then be able to preserve those of all Ireland.”

So now here is Frank Maguire’s ballad on the Enniskillen Land League Meeting. The Dean mentioned chairman was the Very Rev. Dean Bermingham, then parish priest of Enniskillen.

“Bold Redmond” was Willie Redmond, then M.P. for North Fermanagh, who was then a fiery young patriot, even fiery enough at that time to please that most ardent Irish Nationalist, Seumas MacManus, the famous Irish writer, who was in Enniskillen at the time. To those of us who remember 1914 and later times and how the old Irish Parliamentary Party lost much of their early Nationalist enthusiasm, this will seem rather strange. But in later days they apparently forgot Parnell’s oft-repeated warnings. Parnell had only a limited belief in the efficiency of Parliamentary agitation. He was of the opinion that without a well-organised public opinion in Ireland his power in Parliament would be slight. He publicly stated that long association with the House of Commons would destroy the integrity of any Irish Party, and publicly advised the Irish people to keep a keen watch  on the conduct of their representatives in the British House of  Commons at all times. As I say, the Irish Party, and many of its people must have forgotten these warnings in later times, else they would never have agreed, even temporarily, to the so-called Home Rule Act of 1914, which merely empowered the Irish people to play at a “Parliament” in Dublin, whose enactments could be vetoed by either the British Lord Lieutenant or the British Parliament, or ruled illegal by the High Court of Justice, and, alas, providing that Ireland’s finances would remain chiefly in England’s hands, and also for the first time in history, agreeing to the partition of Ireland. We get an idea of how the Irish people advanced in the seven years after, when we consider that although Griffith and Collins “Treaty,’’ and “Free State” gave control over tariffs and finance, and many other great powers of all kinds, yet a civil war was fought against it. The Constitution of Eire, of recent times goes a long step further again and gives far-reaching powers, and yet the partition question cannot yet be solved.

So here now for the Land League Song.

 

ENNISKLILEN MONSTER             DEMONSTRATION.

 

Rejoice, ye sons of Erin, for old Ireland shall be free,

The bard’s inclined to tell his mind for all that he did see.

On the 2nd of October, right well I mind the date,

When our Members they came over, their minds for to relate.

 

That morning, as the bell did ring, to chapel we did go,

And fervently we all did Pray against the daring foe,

Returning from the altar, with a mark upon our brow,

Saying freedom for our country, where is coercion now.

 

With horse and foot we took the road,

each shepherd led his flock,

We arrived in Enniskillen at the hour of two o’clock

From Portora gates to Belmore Street was crowded with the throng,

No man to yield, but for the field in thousands we marched on.

 

For to make up their number, I might go through the count,

There is no rule in learning could tell the full amount.           ,

I saw the hand of Shane O’Neill on the green flag from Tyrone,

And the royal band of Fintona, they played us “Garryowen.”

 

At the Jail Square I rested there to take another view,

When Lowry, off the Monument, he asked me “Is that you?’

And are these the Derry Prentice Boys, or when did yous leave home?

I took you for another man, I thought you were Maglone.”

 

“We’re not the Derry Prentice Boys, nor yet from Sandy Row,

For our Parliament is landed in old Ireland once more.

We have the men of Ulster here, our cause for to maintain,

Our member is bold Redmond, and our chairman, is the Dean.”

 

North and South Fermanagh, they made a grand display.

With Kinawley and Kilskeery, and the boys from Lisnaskea.

From Maguiresbridge to Monaghan, and Tempo in the glen,

With Montiagh lads and Macken men, who fought their way and won.

 

We had Belleek and Bellashanny, and the men from sweet Roslea,

With Mullaghdun and Arney like an army in array,

And noble Enniskillen, with good order and command,

Their cry was “No coercion, but freedom for our land.”

 

And now a few words about the song to explain certain points in it. “Maglone” was “Barney Maglone,” a beloved Enniskillen poet of those days who used to write in the Fermanagh vernacular. His real name was Wilson, and I don’t think he was entirely nationalist in politics, in fact he did not express any opinion on politics. At any rate, when making verses he used to go and stand and ‘chat’ with the statute of Sir Lowry Cole on the top of the monument on the Forthill to gain inspiration. So, according to Frank’s imagination in this ballad Sir Lowry mistook Frank for “Barney Maglone,” and the immense procession for the “Derry Prentice Boys” who were paying a visit to the town of Enniskillen. And a very ghostly visit it would be for, like Sir .Lowry himself, the Prentice Boys had departed this life. They closed the gates of “Derry against King James’s Army in 1685, which is generally considered one of the brave deeds of Irish history, but, unfortunately, on the wrong side! Not that Irish Nationalists ever thought much of King James, and always considered him an old coward anyway, who ran away from the Boyne,, and from Ireland. It was really for Ireland, and not for King James, that the Irish were fighting in that war, and it’s the gallant Patrick Sarsfield was the real hero of it, a man who was admired for his bravery even by those who were fighting against him. Probably Sir Lowry, or his statue, or his ghost, as in life he belonged to the unnational and aristocratic party, would much rather see the Derry ’Prentice Boys marching the town in ghostly array, than a great demonstration of people standing for what he would consider the “preposterous” idea of a free Ireland, and the still more “preposterous” idea of “The Land for the People,” and not for the landlords!”

Belashanny is spelt the old way here, as in the ballad, instead of Ballyshannon, which is a modern corruption. “Bela-shanny” is the phonetic pronunciation of the old Gaelic name of the place (Beal atha na Seannach). Bands and banners from all over the place mentioned, and a lot more attended the meeting.

Up till recent years we had the old Land League banner preserved in Kinawley inscribed “Kinawley to the Front. Away with Landlordism.” We carried it in all processions up to 1917, when we changed it for the Tricolour. But the same three colours were also on the old banner, only fixed in a different way— a white cross on a green background, yellow shamrocks and a white fringe. Also a life-size picture of Charles Stewart Parnell.  As1 said before, there must be many people still in Fermanagh and neighbouring counties who attended the great Enniskillen demonstration of 1887. Seumas MacManus admired this ballad so much that he has included it in his latest book, “The Rocky Road to Dublin,’’ which is the author’s own life story.

But there are a great many other local ballads of the Land League days which never have yet been in print which I must publish in these columns so that they will live in future ages.

And now a word about Frank Maguire, the composer. Like many of the old generation, he got little or no schooling, and only “met the scholars,” as they used to say. He only got into the second standard at a hedge school. But my uncle Joe used to write down all his verses, and also the verses of old Master Michael Maguire. So Seumas MacManus christened him “Secretary Joe” in the poem which he made commemorating old Master Maguire—

“His songs shall be recorded By Secretary Joe.”

Frank Maguire was a great humourist. At that time there was a family in this district called the “Quaker Crawfords.” Whether some of the family in times gone by belonged to the religious persuasion called Quakers I know not, but at any rate they were never called anything only the Quakers. Frank used to “kailey” in it, and was very “great” in it. They had a big farm of land, and often sold a lot of meadows. They were not satisfied with how auctions were going one summer, so Frank said to them, “If yiz give me the sale of your meadows I will get you the best price in the country.” “But sure you are no auctioneer. ” “No matter.” says Frank, “I can be an auctioneer for wan day anyhow, and I’ll bring Joe Anderson to write down the bids.” So the auction was advertised by word of mouth from mountain to lough, and the whole country gathered in hundreds to see the fun of the thing. Frank started to auction the plots with hammer and all, like a real auctioneer, and Joe with notebook and pencil took down the ‘bids.’ Any advance on thirty bob for this plot. Any advance. Come on now, and don’t be like beggar men. Give the landlord’s rent of it itself.” And so on. Carried away by the fun, many men bought meadows that day and gave a good price for them, that did not want hay at all. The end of it was that the meadows fetched far more than any auctioneer could get, and that auction is talked of to this day. There was a man in the country at that time nicknamed “Pat the Moat,” and he was very fond of taking near-cuts, even tramping across fields of crop and vegetables. Going daily to work one summer he had made a regular “pad-road” across the middle of Frank’s field of corn so Frank met him one day on the road and gave him this warning in verse—

O Clatty Moat, you’re nothing loath, your habits to maintain,

Marchin’ o’er me cornfield, and comin’ back again.

But if you do not stop it, and from it don’t refrain,

I’ll meet you on some evenin’ and tramp you in a drain.

Frank had many original sayings. There was a woman in the countryside who had a lot of style and polish, but very little real good breeding, Frank’s comment on her was: “In spite of Art, Nature will appear.”

He once took the contract of opening a drain, in the village which served the barrack and other houses. He had to carry the drain along the edge of a field, and the owner of the field came like a lion and objected to the right-of-way of the water that way. The row rose higher and higher, and at last a villager named Paddy Flynn came on the scene. Frank saluted him in this way:—

“Paddy Flynn yon are welcome in,

In dignity and glory

To join our force, yon are not loath,

to drive away this Tory!’’

Paddy Flynn, by the way, was father of the late Mr. John Flynn, of Enniskillen. In this country the words “wit” and ‘sense’ are often used as to mean the same thing. Frank, however, used to distinguish between them by saying, “The want of wit is as bad as the want of sense!” By “sense” he correctly meant one of the five senses, i.e., hearing, sight, etc. What he meant to convey was that the want of wit. i.e. foolishness, was as bad a failure as to be blind, or deaf, or dumb, There are many more articles to be written about our parish bards, and many songs of their’s which will be published at a future date.

Glangevlin Land War.

Fermanagh Folk Tales. By EAMON ANDERSON. THE LAND WAR IN GLAN.

Some few months ago I wrote in those columns about the wild range of mountains which lies to the west of us, here in Kinawley. This wild range is called the Cuilcagh range and is more than 40 square miles in extent, an uninhabited wilderness of mountain, bogs, rocks and cliffs and hanging precipices, including the Hanging Rock and the great cliff of Benaghlin and the mare immense cliffs of Cuilcagh also that famous Fermanagh beauty spot, the Marble Arches. The highest point of this .range is the Moat of Cuilcagh, 2,168 feet above sea level. It is the highest point in Fermanagh and commands a view of 17 counties. Walk a half mile west from the Moat across the great flat stony top of Cuilcagh and you look down the precipices into a wide and romantic valley. This is the valley of Glangevlin, where rises the Shannon, Ireland’s greatest river. This wild glen is surrounded on all sides by mountains 2,000 feet high. On the south side the only entrance to it is the Gap of Glan, which the great topographer John O’Donovan, described as the wildest place he had seen in all Ireland. On the north and north-west sides other gaps in the mountains open out to Blacklion and Dowra. In later articles I will describe the scenery of these wild regions—every square perch of which I have travelled in my time. Half of these wild regions lies in Fermanagh and the other half, including the valley of Glangevlin lies in West Cavan. Glangevlin takes its name from Gabhlin (Gevlin), the famous smith of the Tuatha De Dannaens, who flourished about 35 centuries ago. According to tradition here Gabhlin, the smith, dug out the iron ore from Slieve-an-Iarainn (the Mountain of Iron) that long range which closes in the west side of Glangevlin. The site of his forge is still pointed out along the infant Shannon, and even the gorge in the mountain, where he dug out his iron. But for the present I am going to leave the more ancient tales of Glangevlin and also the description of its wild and romantic scenery for a future date and go on to the Land War, which was fought more fiercely there than in any other district in Ireland. Glangevlin or Glan as it is more generally called is a parish in itself closed in from the outer world by the mighty ranges of Cuilcagh and Slieve an Iarainn and inhabited by about 300 families, descendants of Fermanagh Maguires, MacManuses, MacCaffreys and Cassidys, Cavan O’Reillys and MacGoverns, and Leitrim Dolans, and other clans further away who took refuge from Saxon extermination in this remote and barren valley during the last couple of centuries. Every time I go in through Glan Gap and enter the valley I think of Cromwell’s sentence on the Irish race: “To Hell or Connaught.” It is said that in Cromwell’s time the barony of Burren, in Co. Clare, to which the first batch of the Munster Irish were driven, contained neither water enough to drown a man; wood enough to hang, a man, or soil enough to bury him. There you have the description of Glan in a nutshell. The townland of Derrylahan (which contains the Shannon pot – a deep pool from which the infant Shannon flows), and several townlands around, are inhabited by the descendants of refugees from Macken, Co. Fermanagh; who went “on their banishment’ into this wild place to escape arrest and transportation after the terrible affair known as “Macken Fight,” which took place on the 13th of July, 1829. Although generations of hard toilers have reclaimed many little green fields among the heather and rocks, one of the descendants, of the Macken refugees told me the following story a few years ago—on one of the occasions when I went to visit the Shannon Pot—which will show how hopelessly barren the place was when they settled on it in1829. Here is the tale he told me:— ‘‘The first spring my grandfather was here he began to think of putting in a little crop. He had a little horse and he put two creels on the horse’s back and filled them with manure and started out with the manure through the wilderness around him to look for a spot where he might set a few ridges of potatoes. He went from place to place and from spot to spot, high and low driving his horse before him. He searched every square perch of two or three hundred acres around his cabin without finding one spot where a ridge of potatoes could be set. At the end of a long spring day he drove the horse back again and took his graip and emptied the two creels of manure out on the little, manure heap again.” The heathery barren pastures of the valley afford scanty herbage for a hardy breed of little mountain, cattle. On the vast mountain ranges above them on all sides hundreds of sheep are kept, and only for the sheep no one could exist in Glan. By dent of liming the heather and of tremendous labour with pick and crow bar little fields have been reclaimed for tillage. These fields are fenced with stone ditches and tilled with the loy (i.e., laide—a Gaelic name for a peculiar kind of spade). Not a tree is to be seen in Glan, not a whitethorn hedge or bush—even the hardy alder only grows a few feet high. Yet barren as the valley is, in the landlord days, for every acre of it a rack-rent had to be paid to the Earl of Annesley, a rack-rent that would hardly be expected to-day off the most fertile acres of Meath or Roscommon. The revolt of the Glan, people against landlordism and oppression shall live on in history and tradition, to the end of time. Their peculiar position walled in by the giant mountains gave them great help in the dozen years war which they waged against all the forces which the tyrant could bring against them. In the year 1879 when Michael Davitt started the Land League, a great local leader arose in Glan called Thady Dolan or Thady-Pheadar-Thadgh (pronounced Thady-Flather-Haig) as he was locally called in Gaelic—according to the custom of the district a man’s fathers and grandfathers Christian name is added on to him own to distinguish him from other people of the same name. And the Irish language has lived on in Glan to the present day and people still only middle-aged can remember a hundred of the old generation in that remote glen, who could not speak a single word of English. So Thady Dolan with the help of the parish priest and curate of the valley organised the people and started his plan of campaign. First of all—the more thoroughly to unite the people, he prevailed on them to give up all secret societies, such as Molly Maguireism and even Fenianism.

He had the same opinion as that great Irishwoman, still alive, Madam Gonne MacBride, that a straight and open fight against either tyrants or invaders is a hundred times better than trying to fight by secret methods, and also does away with the danger of spies and informers such as were to be found in all secret societies. Then he and the Glan people started Parnell and Davitt’s ”No Rent Manifesto” with a vengeance.. “Pay no rent until the landlord agrees to have a fair rent fixed.” This might mean of course—the .eviction of the whole people of the valley—but even so an outsider would hardly come in to take their barren lands, and even if he did, he would not be allowed to live long in this world! In these days a stranger even a tourist, entering Glan would be met at the Gap by Thady’s men, and unless he could show proofs that he was a real true man, he would not be allowed to enter the valley, and in addition he would get a few wallops of an ash-plant, that might leave him in hospital for a month. Not a single tenant in Glim paid a single penny of rent for eleven long years. Time after time every few months the agent sheriff and bailiffs with large forces of police and arrays of Red-Coats, marched in through the Gap to evict the people and in later times to seize cattle, sheep or other property yet every time the evictions and seizures were a farce and a failure. For Thady and his people had a hundred plans. A pair of sentinels were posted every day on the heights above the Gap. Every time the tyrants were coming—with their protecting army of police and military, the sentinels could see them coming on the road six or seven miles away. Then they would blow a mighty blasts on a cow’s horn which,

when heard back down the valley, would be taken up by other horns and then the chapel bell would be rang as a signal for every man and woman in the valley to gather with all the weapons they could lay hands on and prepare to meet the tyrant even if it meant the loss of their lives. Signals would be sent on into the neighbouring parishes of Ballinagleragh and Killinagh (or Blacklion) and armies of men armed with pikes, and pitchforks and scythe-blades fitted on to stout ash handles, would come trooping over the giant hilltops to help the Glan people. In return the Glan people would often be called out to help neighbouring parishes when necessary. The minute the chapel bell was rung as a signal every man in Glan, by order of the dauntless captain, Thady, had to stop whatever work he was at no matter how busy he was and gather up for the mobilisation. And woe to any Glan man who did not

promptly obey the signal! The last time I was in Glan a man, not too old either for the Land War in Glan was carried on well into the 1890’s, told me this tale: “My brother-in-law (giving his name) was as strong and as manly a man as there was in the parish, and was afraid of no man living. One day he put six bags of corn on six asses’ backs (that is the way they have to haul loads in these mountain places) and got a neighbour gossoon to help him to drive the asses I down to the mill at Dernatuan along the Shannon. The mill was only a short mile from his house, and he was half-way down his own lane to the road when suddenly the horns began to blow away up towards the Gap and then the Chapel bell began to ring—the signal for the men of Glan to gather up—the evictors were coming to throw out, if they could, a few of the more helpless families. As he was so far on his way to the mill he said to himself ‘Och, I’ll go on to the mill with the corn and take it off and the gossoon can bring back the asses; and I can be out with the gathering as soon as any of them. He was about a quarter mile from the mill when he met Thady Dolan on the road and about 50 men along-with him. Down every mountain lane in sight the people were hurrying to join the throng. “Did you mot hear the signal,” said Thady. “I did,” said the man, “but I was on my way to the mill and I’ll be with you in ten minutes.” “You will and a damn sight sooner,” said Thady, taking a sharp knife out of his pocket and ripping the six bags of corn from top to bottom and spilling all out on the road. “Get into the ranks, he thundered.’ ‘That will learn you and every other Glan man to get out the minute the signal, is given no matter what they are doing. ”When the military and police would be coming through the Gap huge masses of rock, several tons weight, previously loosened with crowbars, would come hurtling down the cliffs on both sides of the narrow, pass, cutting lanes in their ranks—often breaking bones and always forcing them to fly back for their lives. If they reformed and came on again at great risk and got on to the houses which were to be evicted for that day they would find the houses surrounded by a dense crowd of angry men and women armed with every conceivable rude weapon, each and every one of them ready to die rather than let the family be evicted. It seems that at this time the military had no legal power to fire on the crowd else there would often have been serious bloodshed on both sides. Strange to say the whole eleven years of open warfare passed with very few evictions, very few wounded and no loss of life.

In next week’s article I will give a further instalment on the Land War in Glan, also a song -“The Lament for Thady Dolan,” composed the day he went to his grave.

The landlord of Glangevlin was Earl Annesley, of Castlewellan in the County of Down. It is a title in the Peerage of Ireland. It was created on 17 August 1789 for Francis Annesley, 2nd Viscount Glerawly, with special remainder to his younger brother the Honourable Richard Annesley. He had previously represented Downpatrick in the Irish House of Commons. The titles of Baron Annesley, of Castlewellan in the County of Down, and Viscount Glerawly, in the County of Fermanagh, were created in the Peerage of Ireland on 20 September 1758 and 14 November 1766 respectively for his father William Annesley, who sat as Member of the Irish Parliament for Midleton. Annesley was the sixth son of the Honourable Francis Annesley, fourth son of Francis Annesley, 1st Viscount Valentia.

The first Earl Annesley had several illegitimate children but no legitimate issue. He was succeeded (in the earldom according to the special remainder) by his younger brother, the second Earl. He had earlier represented seven different constituencies in the Irish Parliament and served as a Commissioner of Customs for Ireland. His eldest son, the third Earl, sat in the British House of Commons as the representative for Downpatrick. On his death the titles passed to his eldest son, the fourth Earl. He sat as Conservative Member of Parliament for Great Grimsby and was an Irish Representative Peer in the House of Lords from 1857–74.

He never married and was succeeded by his younger brother, the fifth Earl. He was a soldier and also represented County Cavan in Parliament as a Conservative. Between 1877 and 1908 he sat in the House of Lords as an Irish Representative Peer. His line of the family failed on the death of his only son, the sixth Earl, who was killed during the First World War. The late Earl was succeeded by his first cousin, the seventh Earl. He was the son of the Hon. William Octavius Beresford Annesley, sixth son of the third Earl. This line of the family failed in 1957 on the death of his son, the eighth Earl. He was succeeded by his third cousin once removed, the ninth Earl. He was the great-great-grandson of the Hon. Robert Annesley, second son of the second Earl. As of 2014 the titles are held by the ninth Earl’s third son, the twelfth Earl, who succeeded his elder brother in 2011. As a descendant of the first Viscount Valentia, Lord Annesley is also in remainder to this peerage and its subsidiary titles. The family seat was Castlewellan Castle, Castlewellan, County Down.

May 16th 1942. FERMANAGH FOLK TALES by EAMON ANDERSON. It is safe to say that the greater part of the military and police who were sent by the Government of the day into Glan and hundreds of other places in Ireland during the Land War, to help the tyrannical landlords to overawe the people, thoroughly detested the dirty work they were forced to perform. The following tale will help to bear out the truth of this. An old man named MacManus, who lived in this Kinawley district, told it to me some years ago. On a certain summer’s day in the 1880’s a large force of British military, tired and wearied with the long march, were returning to Enniskillen after one of the periodical raids on Glan. It is twenty miles from Enniskillen to Glan Gap, via Swanlinbar and Dernacrieve Cross and then up the mountain road from that. It is 8 miles more from the Gap down the valley to the Shannon Pot, and Glan extends some distance beyond that to where it meets the parish of Killinagh. The soldiers—foot-sore weary and thirsty— were passing through the Kinawley district on their way back to barracks at Enniskillen. Passing a spring on the roadside near a house, the captain stopped his battalion to let them and himself, have a drink of the spring water. He called at the neighbouring house for a mug or porringer and entered into conversation with the owner, telling him where they had been that day, and their errand. This English captain was horrified at the idea that any human beings should be expected to pay rent for the wild district he had seen that day. “Instead of being forced to pay rent for it, they should be paid, and paid well, for living in it,” he said.

In those times an old gent named Moore, who was Lord Annesley’s agent for Glan, lived in a comfortable house called Glan Lodge, about a half-mile outside the Gap. It would not be very healthy or safe for a man of his calibre to live inside the Gap, as anyone who has read last week’s article can guess! And even at the Lodge, where he lived, he did not consider himself safe for a moment for he had a large force of police in and around his house to protect him. night and day during the whole dozen years of the Land War in Glan. And he never ventured out of doors without this force of police around him and often a good part of Queen Victoria’s army as well. This old man, before the Land War started, and before the people were thoroughly organised, had evicted a number of the Glan people and tossed their houses. When he died, a year or two after the Land War was over and won, a local poet made a song on him. According to the song, old Moore, when he died, went to a certain place, we shall not mention! The climate of that place not being agreeable to him, he began to entreat the gentlemen (or devils) who were in charge of him to let him out and back to Glan, and he would atone for his past misdeeds by being kind to the people for ever:-—

 

Then out spoke old More, “If yiz let me back to Glan,

I’ll build for them fine houses and reinstate them in their land!”

 

The older generation of the Glan people tell the following story about his treachery, which happened at the very end of the Land War. The fight in Glan had been going on for a great number of years without the landlord and his henchmen gaining anything, or being able to collect a penny of rent, despite the great forces at their back. They were heartily sick arid tired of it, and perhaps the Glan people were a bit tired of it too, for no matter how warlike people are, it is not easy living in a constant state of vigilance and warfare for a dozen years. So the 300 odd tenants in Glan, with, Thady Dolan at their head, held a consultation, and decided that they would ask Father McGauran, the curate, to go out with an offer to the agent. This offer was nothing more or less than one third of the rack-rent they had been formerly paying, with all the arrears of the long years of the Land War wiped out completely. Father MacGauran walked out through the Gap and down to Moore’s, a distance of 4 Irish, miles from the Glan Chapel and priest’s house, and old Moore had a great welcome for him. “I have come, said the priest, “with an offer from the Glan people. If you agree to this offer (naming the figure—a reduction, of about 60 per cent.), we are agreeable to meet you at any time and place you appoint and sign, all papers.” ‘‘Can you make no better offer than that?” says old Moore. “No,” said the priest, “these are our final terms. If you do not agree to that the fight must go on.” Old Moore thought for, a long time, and then said: “Well, if you can do no better than that, I suppose we will have to take it and try to live on it:” He then made arrangements with the priest to meet the Glan people at the little village in the Centre of the, valley and come to final terms. The priest walked back through the Gap and down the valley, spreading the news as he went, sending word up every mountain lane to the people to come out that evening to sign the settlement. For the first time in a dozen years the vigilance of the Glan people relaxed and the sentinels left the mountain tops—and that was just what the treacherous old agent wanted. Father MacGauran was just finishing his dinner that afternoon when a breathless messenger rushed in crying: “The army is coming; the redcoats, the. redcoats! They are in through the Gap and coming down here as quick as they can march.” It was true. It seems that this was one of the days that the Redcoats were coming anyway. So old Moore in his deceitful mind, had seemingly agreed to the offer brought by the priest, so that he would put Thady Dolan and “the conquering heroes of Glan” off their guard for once and get, the people evicted, or their cattle seized, without giving them time to send out the signals and gather to oppose the invaders. Father MacGauran rushed out in great anger, at the way the agent had deceived him and, like Moses and Joshua of old, he held up his hands to Heaven and beseeched the Almighty to stop the tyrants and despoilers and their, army and save his people. Away up the road towards the Gap, in full view of him, a half-mile of’ the road was covered with marching troops. The nearest of them were over a mile away yet, the moment the priest held up his hands, the tyrant Moore and his protecting army stopped suddenly, as if struck powerless by an avenging angel. Not a step further could any of them come. After a long time in this position old Moore shouted to some of the Glan people nearby to go down and tell Father MacGovern to come up that he wanted to speak to him for a minute.

“No,” said the priest, “go back and tell him to tell the army to turn about and march out of Glan again, and then, maybe, he’d get power to come down here to me himself.” This was done, and when the last of the soldiers had disappeared through the Gap, old Moore came down, shamefacedly enough, to where the priest was still standing on the road. So he was glad to meet the Glan people and come to terms at last. A whole generation of the Glan people, many of them still alive, were eye-witnesses to the happening I have just narrated. Some modern sceptics may shake their heads at this story and say “Impossible.” But if you open the Bible you will find both the Old and New Testaments full of similar miracles. Open the Lives of the Saints and you will find the same. And there is the same God of Miracles in the 19th and 20th centuries that there was in the bible times and in the centuries of the saints. And who will deny that He can work miracles when necessary for the sake of His oppressed people in modern times as well as in ancient times.

A process-server had hard times in most parts of Ireland during the Land War. But no process-server ever dared to enter Glan. Outside the Gap in the neighbouring parish of Curlough—also very Mountainous—a process-server once started with a great sheaf of “prosses” to serve them on the people. A number of men with blackened faces met him and took the “prosses” from him. Owing to hurry for post, I must leave the “Lament for Trady Dolan” over till next week,