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Creggan Local History Society Update

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Creggan Local History Society Update

Update from Creggan Local History Society

Despite the restrictions of the recent Covid pandemic, members of the Society have produced a number of new publications, inlcuding Éamonn Ó hUallacháin’s ‘The Story and Stories of Dungooley’ and Kieran McConville’s ‘A History of South Armagh from Newspaper Clippings Vol. 1748-1899’ and the Sociey has been invloved in the recent archaeological study carried

The latest edition of the society’s journal Creggan is available in the Today’sLocal shop in Cullyhanna and Valueland in Crossmaglen. Copies can also be ordered directly from the Society’s the Chairman Kieran McConville ([email protected]) and it is our 19th edition of the journal, is a bumper edition of over 200 pages. Of the articles themselves a major part of this number of the journal is taken up by what has come to be known as the Shaw/Mason survey, published in 1814. Local parishes, Creggan, Ballymoyer, Ballymascanlon and Faughart, were surveyed at the time and we are lucky to have such a detailed economic, social and cultural study of what life was like in these parishes during pre-famine times.

Another major part of this publication is contributed by our loyal Canadian based member Sharon Oddie Browne where she looks at the history of the Jackson family of Urker Lodge, Crossmaglen. A notable family whose members made a name for themselves in foreign countries but who always retained close contacts with their native place. Our Dublin based member Peter McWilliam follows on from his earlier article on his ancestor the Rev. Thomas McWilliams, Presbyterian Minister of Freeduff, with a look at the life and writings of another local Presbyterian resident Robert Greville Wallace of Cloghoge Lodge, Crossmaglen who wrote an autobiography concerning his life both in South Armagh and in India. It is gratifying to see the significant and important Protestant historical tradition in the area being more fully documented in the journal.

Founder member Michael McShane publishes the fourth and final part of the Ball Estate Rental of 1840, an important record of the tenants of these townlands which gives us a look at the townland land holdings a full twenty years before the Griffiths Valuation. An invaluable source for family historians. Unfortunately, most of the maps which originally accompanied the rental seem to have been lost, only Urcher, Carrigans and parts of the town of Crossmaglen surviving.

Fellow society regular Kieran McConville has updated and expanded an amusing story originally written by the late Herbie Conlan in an early journal about Red Jemmy Murphy, a miser “millionaire” of Tullyvallen. An everyday story of poor folk being tempted into attempted murder by the promise of unexpected wealth. Fellow regular Éamonn Ó hUallacháin goes further back into Irish history by examining some lesser-known aspects of the career of St. Malachy of Armagh [1094-1148]. He makes an important point that St Malachy, by his criticism of Irish church practises, may have inadvertently led the Papacy to support the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169.

It is thanks to our member Mrs. Irene O’Hanlon, Newtownhamilton that we were able to access the memoirs of the late Louis Murphy, Whitecross whose review of the residents of Newtownhamilton in the early 1920s is an invaluable and at times amusing social history of the town.

Kevin Murphy has given us a very interesting look at the activities of the largely Presbyterian United Irishmen and the Catholic militia, known as Defenders in South Armagh in the years leading up to the 1798 Rebellion. The attempts to unite them in a common revolutionary cause was in many cases successful and had the rebellion managed to spread out from nearby Down and Antrim a considerable force could have been mustered in South Armagh to take part in the fight for freedom.

As well as the Creggania section we have added a book review chapter to help highlight local books of historical interest. Hopefully it will expand in future years as more books are produced.

The Society is currently accepting contributions for next year’s edition of the Creggan Journal, including also short snippets (up to 200 words) of interesting local historical facts or memories for our new Creggania miscellany section, and submissions can be forwarded to the editor at [email protected].

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