Points of Interest
1. Teampall is Reilig an Chreagáin
Creggan Church and Graveyard
In the fifteenth century the O’Neill clan of Tyrone invaded South Armagh, took over a large area of land – which included the townland of Creggan – and in 1490 built a chapel there. The Catholic population worshipped there until the sixteenth century when it was taken over by the newly established Church of Ireland during the Reformation. Consequently, the attached graveyard has people of both religions buried there. After the reformation Catholics would have worshipped at the local Mass rocks of Carnally and Carrive.
The existing church was built in 1758. The graveyard holds the graves of the famous South-East Ulster Gaelic poets Seamus Mór Mac Murphy, Padraig Mac Aliondain and the most famous of them all, Art Mac Cooey. Mc Cooey’s best known work is ‘Úirchill an Chreagáin’, of which the last two lines translate as: “Should I die in some far off Country, in our wanderings East and West. In the fragrant clay of Creggan let my weary heart have rest”
Another famous man buried there is Sir Thomas Jackson who was born in Urker near Crossmaglen in 1841. He worked for Bank of Ireland before going to Hong Kong and making his name in financial circles. He founded the Hong Kong and Shangai Bank in 1856, was knighted in 1899 and made a baronet in 1902.
In 1903, he erected a clock on Crossmaglen Market House to replace a “dummy clock” which had been donated by the local landlord Thomas Ball, an event which gave rise to a ballad beginning:
“We talk of great physicians and Dr Williams pills,
And mother regal syrup as a remedy for ills,
But long live Sir Thomas Jackson great laurels for to win,
He gave speech unto a dummy clock in the town of Crossmaglin.”
Another impressive feature of the graveyard is an underground tomb containing preserved bones and over 70 skulls. It is the burial tomb of the O’Neills who built the original church there. This tomb was accidentally re-discovered in 1971.
Gleann agus Conairí na bhFilí
Poets’ Glen and trails
At the rear of Creggan Church you will find steps leading down to a bridge over the Creggan River which will take you into the Poets’ Glen, a picturesque riverside walk and walled garden. The walled garden was originally part of the rectory built in 1770 and home to the rector of Creggan Church of Ireland. The rectory was demolished in 1981.
One of the Poets’ Trails, stretching a distance of 8 miles, begins at Creggan Church and goes through the townlands of Glassdrummond and Mounthill.
2. An Séipéal agus an Loch ar an Ghlasdromainn
Glassdrummond Church and lake
St Brigid’s Church is a magnificent building constructed in 1932 under the guidance of the parish priest Canon Peter Sheerin. The site was donated by John Quinn of Lurgan Road and the stone came from the ruins of Ravensdale Castle which was burned down in 1922. John Mc Guinness of Dundalk was awarded the contract at a sum of £18,500. It took ten years to complete. The twelve red granite columns came from Aberdeen and the altars were supplied by Favilla of Italy. Glassdrummond Church is open to the public from 11.00 – 18:00 every day except Wednesdays.