Celebrating days gone by in Glenelly

A special evening celebrating life in Glenelly down through the years will be held in Strabane this Thursday (7th February).

The Alley Theatre will play host to an evening of stories and songs on the subject of days gone by in the Glenelly Valley and surrounding areas.

Glenroan man Dermot O’Brien and Michael McCormick of Aughdoorish will be among those taking the floor in this not-to-be-missed event, while music will be provided by Aisling Conaghan, Cruckaclady and Sean Hegarty, whose grandfather was from Far Glenroan.

Rosemary Murphy from Glenelly Historical Society said: “There will be wonderful stories of people long since gone, who lived in our, now vacant homes, and within our abandoned wallsteads. They left behind traces that serve to enhance our own Glenelly culture. It was said that ‘the bicycle was the greatest invention, for it brought new blood into the parish’.

“What of those who travelled from Douglas Bridge to a dance in a hall outside the Plum, four to a bicycle? It was a time of ‘mutual understanding’, or was it? Neighbours could fall out over the head of a march ditch, yet different denominations would come together to whitewash for a wake or the stations. People knew how to party! Weddings didn’t have guest lists; indeed the best man might not have been asked until the evening before. If you were asked to the wedding, you might have borrowed a neighbour’s false teeth for your gums might not have been able for the delicacies.”

She continued: “And how did you get a wife? You might have put an ad in the Ireland’s Own, and you might be advised by an neighbour for it was said that ‘it was better to marry someone from your own townland for you would know better their temperament’.”

“Over generations, people living in Glenelly left this place to emigrate elsewhere. Why did they leave? Were they ever heard of again? Local people hold appreciative memories of parcels coming from far off lands. Wonderful clothes in a whole spectrum of colour and style. But can we identify from a photograph taken at Legcloghfin School, who had someone in America?”

“And then there was the return of the emigrant! If you heard by letter that they might be coming home on vacation, or indeed ‘around’ in the parish, what degree of preparation was necessitated? Would they get delph, rather than China?”

“We extend a very special welcome to those who share our appreciation of Glenelly’s former people and our places. Hope you can be there!”

The event gets underway at 8pm in the Alley Theatre.

Cranagh Church celebrates it’s centenary

A week-long celebration has been held in the Glenelly Valley to mark the centenary of St Patrick’s Church in Cranagh. The string of events included an exhibition of photographs and artefacts, a special Mass each evening with guest speakers, and a unique flower display representing aspects of the life of St Patrick.

Parishioners in the Glenelly Valley have also launched a commemorative book to chart the history of the church, entitled ‘Of Stone and Story’.

The five day celebration, which took place at the end of September, attracted large crowds to the village of Cranagh, which was bedecked in flags and bunting for the occasion.

The exhibition reflected on the church’s history and the social life of the parish over the last hundred years, and included photos, memorabilia, documentary information as well as audio and video recordings.

Visitors enjoy the exhibition


Plumbridge’s wartime crash heroes thanked

A mountain ash tree and plaque are unveiled in Plumbridge – they are a gift to locals from the family on Michael Shaxon

It has to be said, very little of the Second World War, or any war for that matter, was played out in the Glenelly Valley but one dramatic episode we can recall has now been marked in Plumbridge. (more…)