Oul’ bad talk: Michael J Murphy’s Bawdy Tales

Michael J Murphy’s collection of bawdy tales: a talk for the Michel J Murphy Winter School 2021 Michael J. came back to live in Dromintee when I was 13 or 14. Before long I heard two things from the older people about Mickey Buck, as they called him. One was that he had notions about […]

That’s more Protestant-looking

When I was a child my granny had a saying which intrigued me. When she had tidied up the kitchen and swept out the floor, she would stand back and say: “Now, that’s more Protestant-looking.” In the Plantation of Ulster at the beginning of the 17th century, settlers had to be enticed to leave the […]

Me, the goat and the Baroness

    Life is made up of connections of all kinds and from a distance they can look kind of odd – until we uncover all the little links and can see how they join together. This is me when I was very wee and living in a house called Scarce’s in Adavoyle. Seems a […]

The landlords

“Hand me down me blunderbuss, I’m away to pay the rent” – a saying around Slieve Gullion following the shooting of landlord Meredith Chambre, 1852 One hundred and fifty years ago, virtually none of the land in South Armagh was owned by the people who farmed it. In the post-Famine era probably a majority of […]

A sense of place

There are 137 families called Murphy in the BT35 postcode phonebook. Here in South Armagh we have no connection to  the great tribes of Ó Murchú in Munster or MacMurchú in Wexford. We are the MacMurchaidh: in the Oriel dialect of Irish that is pronounced MacMurphy, as indeed it was spelt in English locally until […]

Who killed Oliver Plunkett?

I left Drogheda with a vague idea that he got done in by the English or the Redcoats or maybe the Protestants. In fact his treason trial, conviction and execution had been arranged and orchestrated by three South Armagh men, all priests of the Archdiocese, all Franciscans.   Fifty or more years ago one of […]

Kilnasagart Stone, Dungooley Castle

‘Cill na Saggart’ means the ‘church of the priest’. Standing at almost 2m tall, Kilnassagart Inscribed Stone is regarded as being one of the oldest inscribed stones in Ireland. It has a total of 13 crosses on its faces and the inscription, ‘This place, bequeathed by Ternoc, son of Ceran Bic, under the patronage of […]

Booleying on Slieve Gullion

We are the land of the cow, we are the people of the cow. There are 8.5 million cattle on the island of Ireland, which is 1.3 per head of human population: our near neighbours in England have to do with just one cow between about ten of them. Our language and culture are full […]

Local history videos

The Ages of Carlingford (2016)    A 19-minute tour of Irish history and pre-history from the Ice Age to the coming of the railways – from a Cooley perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KRjS4cvjJIhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KRjS4cvjJI           The Mountains of Cooley: shaped by people (2021) A 20-minute video on the rich heritage of Irish-language placenames in the […]

100 things to look out for in the Cooley Mountains

100 things to look out for in the Cooley Mountains

The mountains of Cooley are uniquely accessible – it is quite a challenge to get more than a mile or so from a public road. The main road from Jenkinstown over the Long Woman’s Grave to Omeath (blue line) was built by the county Grand Jury in the 1770s at the urging of the Fortescues, […]