Parish of Magh Ene - Bundoran & Ballyshannon

 Church of Our Lady Star of the Sea Bundoran

~ "Magh Ene" means The Plain of Hospitality ~

St Joseph's Church Ballyshannon 

Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher

The Diocese of Clogher

Magh Ene Wall Pendant wirh Clogher Diocese Emblem

 By Bishop Joseph Duffy.  

The Clogher Valley in South Tyrone was fertile ground for the seed that Patrick came to sow.  Soon afterwards to the west of this area a cluster of monasteries sprang up along the shores and on the islands of Lough Erne.  Among these were the monasteries of Clones and Devenish which soon eclipsed Clogher, the place where Patrick had chosen as the See for his faithful treanfhear (strong man), Macartan.  This was because of the extraordinary appeal of the monastic life in those early centuries of the Christian faith in Ireland.

But Patrick`s choice was remembered and approved by the Synod of Rathbreasail early in the twelfth century.  This synod fixed on Clogher as the See for a new diocese which could extend from the Blackwater river to Lough Erne and from Slieve Larga, west of Omagh to Slieve Beatha on the Monaghan-Fermanagh-Tyrone border.  In time this small territory pushed out its boundaries to the south and the west.  The Rathbreasail reform was taken up enthusiastically by a powerful local King, Donnchadh O`Carroll, with the result that the diocese kept extending eastwards as O`Carroll annexed the present county of Louth to his homeland in Monaghan.  This expansion of the diocese was at the expense of the primatial See of Armagh and was approved by the great reformer, St Malachy, a strange attitude even considering that Christian, the second bishop of Clogher was Malachy`s brother.  For a time in the second half of the twelfth century the See moved from Clogher to the Abbey of Louth where the bishop had his cathedral church and a chapter of Augustinian canons.  Following the Norman invasion of Louth, the See returned to Clogher.

Meanwhile the same kind of expansion was happening in the west.  This led to the incorporation of the extensive churchlands of Devenish south of Lower Lough Erne and the ancient Kingdom of Toora, thus bringing the diocese to the sea at Bundoran before the year 1250.  The political drive for this movement came from another powerful local sept, the Fir Manach, who were already established the new kingdom of Lough Erne at the time of Rathbreasail.

It was in this drive westwards that the diocese came of possess on its northwest what was to become its most distinctive shrine.  This became known throughout the Christian world as St. Patrick's Purgatory, Lough Derg.  As a national and international place of pilgrimage it goes back to at least the twelfth century.  On several maps of the renaissance period it is the sole Irish landmark.  Some years ago it was discovered to be the inspiration of a 14th century fresco in Todi in central Italy.  It was of Lough Derg that Shane Leslie wrote “St Patrick's Purgatory was the medieval rumour which terrified travellers, awed the greatest of criminals, attracted the boldest of knight-errantry, puzzled the theologian, englamoured Ireland, haunted Europe, influenced the current views and doctrines of purgatory, and not least inspired Dante”.

Whatever about this last mentioned claim, the literature relating to the pilgrimage is extensive and stretches from medieval times to the present century, when two of our major poets, Patrick Kavanagh and Seamus Heaney each choose it as a focus for a major poem.

The medieval period in the diocese was a time of learning and scholarship of which we have many fine examples.  In Professor Katherine Walsh of the University of Innsbruck published in Clogher Record, a fascinating account of a 14th century Bishop of Clogher, John O`Corcoran, who was a distinguished graduate of the University of Prague.  Another bishop, Piaras Maguire, was an Oxford canonist.  There was also an Maistir Mor O`hEoghain, a lecturer in Oxford.  But the most eminent scholar of his time was undoubtedly Cathal Og Mac Manus, the Dean of Lough Erne, who left us the famous Annals of Ulster.  It is but fitting that the Mac Manus clan around the world gathered in August of 1998 to commemorate the fifth centenary of his death in 1498 at Cathal`s native place where he complied his Annals, the place now known as Belle Isle on Upper Lough Erne.

The Plantations of the 17th century brought total destruction and ruin to Catholic Church structures in Clogher as in the rest of Ireland.  All diocesan lands and property were confiscated, and clergy were subjected to the regime we associate with Eastern Europe before the fall of the Berlin Wall.  But the diocese was never without a number of young men who were ready to journey to France and Spain and the Low Countries for their education and return as priests.  Nor should we forget the four Mac Mahon bishops who did honour to their name and calling in those dark days; Heber, Hugh, Bernard and Ross.  The last three became Primates in Armagh.  There is no better description of the operation of the penal laws than the account of the diocese of Clogher sent to Rome in 1714.

The end of the 18th century brought a measure of toleration and saw the beginnings of the work of reconstruction.  Modest “Masshouses” were set up in backyards in the towns and inconspicuous sites in the country.  This improving state of things was noted by Bishop James Murphy in 1804 in his report to Rome.  “Our illiterate laity”, he write, “for nine tenths of our people owing to their great poverty are such, have made astonishing progress in acquiring a competent knowledge of Christian Doctrine within these few years back.  This change has been effected by the zeal and exertions of the parish priests, many of whom have, besides the public catechism established on Sunday mornings and evenings in their chapels and places of worship, prevailed with a number of well disposed laity to teach in the more remote parts of their parishes on Sunday evenings”.  Dr Murphy set up a school in Monaghan to prepare young men for Maynooth.  His successor, Dr Kernan, laid the foundation stone of the diocesan seminary in 1840, and Dr Kernan`s successor, Dr MacNally, laid the foundations of St. Macartan`s Cathedral in 1861.  Since then, unfortunately, the most significant development has been a negative one.  The political settlement of 1922 left the diocese divided down the middle by a territorial border.  This means that the current peace process has a relevance here as in few other parts of our country.

The Diocese of Clogher  (Click to enlarge)

 

The Parishes of Clogher

 PARISH OF MONAGHAN,

 PARISH OF ARNEY (CLEENISH),

 PARISH OF AUGHNAMULLEN EAST,

 PARISH OF TULLYCORBET (BALLYBAY),

 PARISH OF INIS MUIGHE

SAMH (BELLEEK-GARRISON),

 PARISH OF BROOKEBORO (AGHAVEA-AGHINTAINE),

 PARISH OF BUNDORAN (MAGH ENE),

 PARISH OF CARRICKMACROSS (MACHAIRE ROIS),

 PARISH OF CASTLEBLAYNEY (MUCKNO),

 PARISH OF CLOGHER,

 PARISH OF CLONES,

 PARISH OF CLONTIBRET,

PARISH OF CORCAGHAN (KILMORE & DRUMSNAT),

 PARISH OF DERRYGONNELLY (BOTHA),

 PARISH OF DONAGH,

 PARISH OF DONAGHMOYNE,

 PARISH OF DROMORE,

 PARISH OF EDERNEY (CÚL MÁINE),

 PARISH OF ENNISKILLEN,

 PARISH OF ERRIGAL TRUAGH,

 PARISH OF ESKRA,

PARISH OF FINTONA (DONACAVEY),

 PARISH OF INNISKEEN,

 PARISH OF IRVINESTOWN (DEVENISH),

 PARISH OF KILLANNY,

 PARISH OF KILLEEVAN (CURRIN,

KILLEEVAN & AGHABOG),

 PARISH OF LATTON (AUGHNAMULLEN WEST),

 PARISH OF LISNASKEA (AGHALURCHER),

 PARISH OF MAGHERACLOONE,

 PARISH OF NEWTOWNBUTLER (GALLOON),

 PARISH OF PETTIGO,

 PARISH OF ROCKCORRY (EMATRIS),

 PARISH OF ROSLEA,

PARISH OF TEMPO (POBAL),

 PARISH OF TRILLICK (KILSKEERY),

 PARISH OF TYDAVNET,

 PARISH OF TYHOLLAND

Clogher Diocese website  www.clogherdiocese.ie

 
Magh Ene Parish Office     Bundoran    t: 071 9841290      e: ppbundoran@gmail.com