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The Parish has a colourful history. Local historic sites include the Deer Park (Kiltierney), which is an ancient religious settlement. Drumskinney Stone Circle, Moneyvriece Moate and Oghill Tower to name but a few.

Ederney Townhall, the Glendarragh Wishing Well, St. Joseph's Church and the churches in Montiagh and Bannagh are also interesting landmarks that particularly characterize the Parish.

Numerous raths and forts in the locality of the town in Drumkeen overlooking the town and in Ederney townland itself tell of occupation of the area to at least the Iron Age and the impressive necropolis [graveyard] of nearby Kiltierney tell of a civilization about the Glendarragh Valley which is nearly as old as human habitation in Ireland itself.

 

 

The Parish Beginnings

The parish of Culmaine encompasses the communities of Ederney, Lack, Kesh and Boa Island. The ancient parish of Magherculmoney (meaning ‘Plain of the Peaty Apple’) housed one of Ireland’s earliest Christian settlements known as Kiltierney Monastery which is also referred to as the Deerpark. Saint Tighernagh (St Tierney) was credited with establishing the monastic site in 550AD. The Parish of Culmaine, comprising of the civil parishes of Magheraculmoney and Drumkeeran, has therefore been recorded to have been born in the 6th century of our Lord.

 

Ederney’s Origins 

The core of the parish is centred around the village of Ederney whose name is said to come from Gaelic word eadarnaidh based on the eader meaning between or middle. Other theories suggest its meaning is ‘ambush’. However, on the first ever known map of Ireland, drawn up by Greek geographer Ptolemy more than 2,000 years ago, there is a tribe recorded just north of the Erne as the Erdini. Ederney has had various spelling arrangements down through the centuries with versions such as Eadarnaidh, Edernagh and Ederny.

The best documented story of Ederney’s birth begins with the project started by King James I in the early 1600’s known as the Plantation of Ulster. Small private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while the official plantation began in 1609. An estimated half a million acres were confiscated from Gaelic chiefs, most of whom had fled Ireland in the 1607 (Flight of the Earls). King James wanted the Plantation to be "a civilising enterprise" that would settle Protestants in Ulster, a land that was mainly Gaelic-speaking and of the Catholic faith. In return for grants of lands the protestant land owners and minor gentry from England and Scotland to settle in Ulster were enticed to bring British workers with them to build strong houses and to create towns and villages and associated infrastructure.

By 1610, Charles I was in control when Estate of Edernagh was established with the strong house and bawn being built on the westerly end on the estate beside Lower Lough Erne near where Crevenish Castle was later erected. Shortly, after that village of Ederney was established to include six wicker-constructed houses beside the bridge over the Glendarragh River to accommodate some of the landed English workers. Later the village of Kesh was developed.

 

The Chapels 

Early records detail that worship, weddings, births and burials were carried out at the Church of St Mary at Ardess later to become under the control of the reformed faith. In the intervening years Catholic worship was prohibited by the civil authorities resulting in religious services being carried out in secret at what has become known as Mass Rocks. However, in 1750, a small stoned built chapel was erected in the townland of Edeniticromman followed by the first Blackbog Chapel (a small wood and thatched building) in the townland of Aghagrefin serving the parishioners in the last decade the 1700s. By the start of the 1800s, Blackbog Chapel had moved to a new location at Monavreece (Moneyvriece) a site also provided by the Johnston landlords. Other parish chapels at Bannagh and Montiagh were established by Fr O’Reilly around 1840. By 1957, Blackbog Chapel had closed and the new St Joseph’s Chapel was opened at Ederney village to serve a growing population of parishioners.

Old St Joseph's Church at Blackbog

Chapel at Blackbog

 

Bishop cuts the first sod Sept 1954

Bishop cuts the first sod September 1954

 

Foundation Stone

Dr O'Callaghan lays the foundation stone of the new St Joseph's Church on the 2nd July 1955

 

 

 

Work in progress

 

Eddie Keenan (Foreman) & Barney McKeown (worker)

 

 

 

 

 

Opening of the new Church November 1957

 

Dr Dan Duffy who delivered the homily at the opening of the Church 17th November 1957

 

Interior of St Joseph's Church pre 1972

 

The Schools 

In the early years of the nineteenth century, there were numerous schools in the parish of Culmaine but many were in poor condition and were badly conducted. The Province of Ulster had 3,449 schools in 1821 but they were fragmented in structure with numerous types of schools, including ‘charter’ schools, schools of the London Hibernian Society – to which Roman Catholics did want to send their children because they were all of a proselytising character – and ‘pay’ or ‘hedge’ schools. It was against this background of haphazard educational provision that the Irish system of National Education was founded in 1831 under the direction of the Chief Secretary, E.G. Stanley. Some 2,500 national schools were established in the province of Ulster in the period 1832-1870, built with the aid of the Commissioners of National Education and local trustees.

Locally, Moneyvriece National School was a one-room building and construction started in 1849 by voluntary labour of Culmaine parish under the direction of Fr Michael Smollen, PP. First evidence of the school being recorded as an educational establishment was in September, 1852. Ederney’s first school, at the rear of Maguire’s Shop at Main Street, was referred to in an 1826 report. There were many rural schools charged with educating children in the parish including Bannagh and Montiagh schools.

 

Moneyvriece School 1920

Children outside Moneyvriece school 1920

 

 

   

Culmaine Parish Committee 2017