CIMS  Annual Outing to Creggan, Tynan & Glaslough on Sat 7 June 2014

Branch Members from Carnmoney, Cregagh, Holywood and Malone left Belfast by coach for South Armagh on a miserably wet Saturday morning, however after picking up Eglantine, Muckamore, Tandragee and Armagh Group members between Belfast and Armagh the weather cleared.

Our first stop for the forty members and seven wives was in the Cross Square Hotel in Crossmaglen for coffee or tea and freshly baked scones.

We then proceeded to the historic church and graveyard at Creggan where the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Richard Clarke, and the Revd Richard Moore (currently in charge of Creggan) were waiting to celebrate Holy Communion. Creggan belongs to the Dundalk Group of parishes in the Diocese of Armagh.

Coffee in Cross Square Hotel
Coffee in Cross Square Hotel, Crossmaglen
Creggan Church Holy Communion in Creggan
Creggan church and Graveyard Holy Communion in Creggan
Creggan Creggan Visitor Centre 

Arthur Macartney (Hon Lay Sec). John Donaldson, Revd Richard Moore,
The Archbishop of Armagh, Alastair Donaldson and Dr Roddy Evans.

Members in Creggan Visitor Centre

After the Service members moved to the Creggan Visitor Centre which with the Church Hall is situated either side inside the entrance gates. Alastair Donaldson whose family belongs to Creggan and who has just completed his second year at the Theological Institute, told about the history of the church and graveyard.

The present building dates from c.1731 while the tower was added in 1799. While the list of clergy goes back to 1433, all trace of the Pre-reformation Church built by the O'Neills in 15th Century has disappeared.

During work in the graveyard in 1973 a stone was dislodged and was found to be covering the ancient burial vault of the Clan O'Neills, which had probably been in the chancel of the previous building. Descended from Niall, High King of Ireland, the famous Red Hand clan, based in Tyrone, had invaded South Armagh, conquering the region known as `the Fews.` Producing such legendary chieftains as Owen Roe and Red Hugh O’Neill, they had defeated Queen Elizabeth’s forces, driving them back to England.

Alastair Donaldson presents history 
Alastair Donaldson presents the history of Creggan
Tynan Parish Church

St Vindic's Parish Church Tynan


We then moved on through Castleblaney in Co Monaghan and Middletown to the Parish of Tynan in Co Armagh which was having a Flower Festival. The logistics of managing traffic in the small village was impressive and members had sandwiches, dessert and tea or coffee with a tray-bake for lunch in the Parish Hall.

We then walked up the village street to the Church to view the flowers. The Church has recently been beautifully restored following a fire.

The floral displays were each based on a hymn.

    Lunch in Tynan parish Hall  
  Church door     Lunch in Tynan Parish Hall   
            Tynan Church Interior  
  "I Will Enter His Gates" "Here, O my Lord"   Interior of Tynan Parish Church   
"Jesus Loves Me" "How Great Thou Art" "Praise Him on the Trumpet" "The Old Rugged Cross"

From Tynan we moved on to Glaslough, Co Monaghan passing en route the grounds of Tynan Abbey. This had been the home of Sir Norman Stronge (speaker of the NI house of Commons for 23 years) who with his son James were murdered by the Provisional IRA in 1981. Tynan Abbey was burnt and today only the front entrance surround remains.

We arrived in Glaslough and proceeded to St Salvador's, Parish Church of Donagh, which was built by the Leslie family in part of the Castle Leslie estate. Here we were met by Diane Wright-Kendrick, a teacher in Monaghan Collegiate and Secretary of the Select Vestry. She was presenting us with the history of the Leslie family and the church when in strode Sir John Leslie, the present fourth Baronet, to meet everybody and to make his own contribution to the history of his family. At 98 years Sir John is an imposing figure, tall, slim and straight. He had served as a captain in the Irish Guards during the Second World War. He stood at the lectern and in a firm very clear voice recalled stories of his family.

A perfect day finished with a delicious meal in Snaffles Restaurant in the Lodge in Castle Leslie. The Dean of Armagh, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan joined us for the meal.

Thanks to all in Creggan, Tynan and Glaslough who made the day such a success.

Donagh Parish Church, Glaslough
  St Salvador's Church, Glaslough
Inside St Salvador's Church Sir John Leslie addressing members
    Snaffles Restaurant, Castle Leslie  
Dr Roddy Evans, Diane Wright-Kendrick, Arthur Macartney and Eithne Snaffles Restaurant, Castle Leslie