Famine Walls

In the Ring of Gullion and Cooley Mountains there may be more than 40 km of stone walls built as relief works during An Gorta Mór, the Great Hunger. We can’t be sure because they are not listed nor even counted. They are not protected monuments, but they should be. People died building them.   […]

Borderspake: the way we used to talk

Did you ever cap a cow,  langle a goat,  brer a ditch, build an adag or coup a yoke in a shuck? Did you ever get a sceilp, a dunch, a dúdóg or a gonc? Were you ever called an amadán, gulpin, bawkie, shibby, jaurie, gam, caldera or a wee skitter? This project began as […]

The Gap of the North

For thousands of years there was only one all-weather north-south route in eastern Ireland. Every major war fought in this country revolved at some point around Bearnas Bó Uladh, the Gap of the North. There is an old adage that geography determines history, which is the record of human interaction with a given environment. 20,000 […]

Omeath through the ages

HISTORY OF OMEATH The human record in Ireland is short. In France, cave paintings have been found which are 35,000 years old, while Spain has even older evidence of human activity. At that time the ice cap over Ireland was up to a kilometer deep, covering Slieve Foye. The Ice Age ended about 12,000 years […]

The last mountain community

During the Great Hunger, families evicted from lowland farms took refuge on Slieve Gullion, occupying old booley huts or building simple cabins, clearing heather and bracken to grow food on the thin acid soil. When the forestry was felled on the south-western slopes we found the ruins of their homes. THE LAST MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY The […]

The shooting of Meredith Chambre

The shooting of Meredith Chambre, 20th January 1852 Towards the end of the Great Hunger there were attacks on numerous landlords’ agents in Monaghan, Louth and South Armagh. Only one landlord was shot – Meredith Chambre of Hawthorn Hill. He survived, but one man was hanged and over 80 families evicted.   The best that […]

Researching history: Three indispensible tools

There are three vital tools for local historical research which are freely available free online. But first, the townland (an baile fearainn) has been the basic unit of local administration for nearly a thousand years and you need to learn the townland names in  your area of interest. Be aware that townland names have changed […]

Where is the Gap?

What exactly is the Gap of the North and why does it matter? There has always been some confusion about its exact location. Older people use the term to refer to the deep glen on the Ballynamadda Road from Dromintee, just south of the junction with the Tievecrom Road, but its proper name is Gleann […]

South Armagh: a Tory stronghold

Words are funny things, they can change meaning in strange ways over the centuries. ‘Tory’ is originally an Irish word and one that is closely associated with South Armagh. It comes from ‘tóraigh’, to pursue – a person who is  ‘tóraighthe’ was, we might say, on the run. It was first used to describe the groups who kept […]

The man who made Jonesborough

When Moyra Castle was built in 1601, the townlands of Dromintee, Carrickbroad, Faughilotra, Faughiletra and Edenappa ( or Dromentey, Carrickbradagh, Oghillstraght, Foughilletra and Edenknappagh as they were called in a document of the time) were seized and the rental income from the land set aside for the upkeep and garrisoning of ‘Maighre’ castle. Eventually as military needs declined the […]