News

Ancient fort ‘used by Hugh O’Neill as hideout’ discovered in dried-up swamp

QUB experts to begin survey of crannog found near Moneymore

Archaeologists from Queen’s University are to carry out a survey of what is believed to be an ancient fort in Co Londonderry.

The remains of the man-made island dwelling, known as a crannog, emerged after a swamp in Maghadone, near Moneymore, dried out following a drought.

This fort may have been used by Hugh O’Neill, the last of the O’Neill chieftains, as a hiding place before the Flight of the Earls more than 400 years ago. The stones were found near the home of Sean Corey, the chairman of the Loup Historical Society.

He’d grown up hearing rumours of a hidden medieval structure, but no one was able to access it because the land was too wet. He added: “Sean spent three weeks clearing the site to release it from dense undergrowth.”

Mr Corey said: “Once I saw the curve of stones, I knew we had something there. We found a complete wall, four or five feet in height and 90 feet in diameter. It’s very exciting.”

Read full report 

Ancient Clans getting a bit of promotion on Radio Ulster ..

Heather McLaughlin is interviewed by Anne Marie McAleese on Radio Ulster ‘Your place and mine’ who explained how the project came about as a Peace IV project between Mid Ulster District Council and Donegal County Council and setting up Heritage Forum in each area.

The Ancient Clan website captures many of the heritage sites visited by the groups during the two year project. Forum members contributed photographs of heritage sites and even produced some short videos to promote the sites. The radio interview included excerpts from the Battle of Benburb and The Bard of Armagh videos.

Listen to the interview that was aired 25 February 2024

Hold the date!
Spanish Armada Re-enactment walk of crew of La Duquesa Santa Ana – 18th August 2024

Donegal GAP History and Heritage Group are holding a Spanish Armada re-enactment walk of the survivors of La Duquesa Santa Ana from Rosbeg to Killybegs on the 18th August 2024. They will also have Oireas historical 16th century encampment in Ardara on the same date.
In 2018, we commemorated the 430th anniversary of one of the shipwrecks off the Irish coast, namely La Duquesa Santa Ana, and told the story of Don Alonzo de Levya as far as we had researched at that time. Thanks to various pieces of research, we have been adding to our understanding of this man and the people who served under him.  We are so looking forward to making this year’s event a memorable one.

Mind The Lane:
Return to Gows-Hill

Lovely to be reminded of some familiar Ulster Scots words and phrases.

As a tribute to their late father Stanley Elliott sisters Beth Acheson and Heather McIvor produced a booklet to commemorate the words and phrases he used throughout his life that we now recognise as Ulster-Scots. the video also includes a visit to the Bard of Armagh grave in Desertcreat. This video was recorded for an Ulster-Scots programme.

 

View latest video history talks produced by Hill of O’Neill & Ranfurly House in celebration of their 10th anniversary.

Dr. Hiram Morgan, University College Cork, speaks about Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone.
Dr Jim O’Neill presents an analysis of the Nine Years’ War (1594 – 1603).
Dr. Mary Katharine Simms, Fellow Emeritus (History), Trinity College Dublin, describes the history of Dungannon.
Dr. Colm Donnelly, Director of the Centre for Community Archaeology at QUB, the “Time Team” excavation of Hill of The O’Neill in 2007.
Videos

Donegal: Official launch of the Ancient Clans website and The Battle of Benburb Film Donegal Castle

The official launch of the Ancient Clan website and The Battle of Benburb Film took place in Donegal Castle with opening welcome by Michael Naughton- Leas-Chathaoirleach of Donegal County Council.

This website has been developed through contributions from Donegal and Mid Ulster heritage Forum whose members have been involved in workshops and site visits over the 2 years of this cross border programme.

This exciting initiative is supported by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme and managed by the SEUPB. This project was awarded €140,000 under the thematic approach Building Positive Relationships element delivering an action plan based upon a Peace IV Cross Border Shared Community Heritage Programme.

The Website heralds the beginning of new and meaningful relationships both across Mid Ulster and Donegal Forums but as is evident with the increasing interest shown across the Island as a whole allowing heritage to be protected and promoted from all community perspectives through this very beneficial and timely resource.

Michael Naughton- Leas-Chathaoirleach of Donegal County Council

Mid Ulster District Council and Donegal County

Chathaoirleach, and Council Councillors from Mid Ulster and Donegal County Council, PEACE officers and representatives attending the launch of the Ancient Clan website and The Battle of Benburb Film

Donegal: Introduction to The Battle of Benburb by Dr Pádraig Lenihan,
National University of Ireland in Galway

Dr Pádraig Lenihan, NUIG acted as the historical expert to guide the making of The Battle of Benburb Film, providing the details of the battle and the script for the voiceover. Dr Lenihan was unable to attend the event personally at Donegal Castle but recorded an introduction  before the film was shown to the audience at the launch.

Dr Lenihan both enjoyed and learned from being involved in the project the professional and the skills which made this film such a success.

1646 is a ling time ago but it is important to remember as a human tragedy where over 3000 men lay dead or dying on the battle field. Benburb mattered because the Scottish Covenant army attached the Confederate Catholic regime but were stopped in this battle won by Owen Roe O’Neil. There is something heroic about the Ulster army who stood, fought and won which is loved back on as a period of courage.

Dr Lenihan

Donegal: Showing of Ancient Clan website and The Battle of Benburb Film

A demonstration of the website was given by David Bell, a Mid Ulster Forum member, followed by a showing of The Battle of Benburb Film.

Mid Ulster: Official launch of the Ancient Clans website and The Battle of Benburb Film Benburb Castle

Councillor Cora Corry, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council officially launched the Ancient Clan website and the Battle of Benburb Film in Benburb Priory. Councillor Cora highlighted that to know where we are going, we need to know where we’ve come from, and this brand new website certainly gives anyone interested a great insight into the rich heritage of the ancient clans shared between Donegal and Tyrone.

With thanks to funding through Council’s Good Relations service from the PEACE four cross border shared heritage project, and not to mention the hard work of all those involved, this fantastic online resource beautifully and comprehensively illustrates the shared heritage of the O’Neill and other ancient clans and the Plantation of Ulster. The images, information and interactive map will encourage residents and visitors alike to find out more about where and how their ancestors lived, and the web of connections between the two counties.

The History Heritage Forum members involved in the project have worked extremely hard to ensure this legacy was developed, and in addition have formed groups linked to ancient clan names. In doing so, they are sharing their history, genealogy and culture locally and across the world. These digital resources have truly put this history and heritage on the map for generations to come!

Councillor Cory

Professor Gerry McKenna, Chair of the Library & Museum Management Board welcomed the Mid Ulster and Donegal Heritage Forum and other guests to Benburb Priory and added to the significance of promoting our heritage sites to protect them and share their history from all community perspectives.

A demonstration of the website was given by Heather McLaughlin, Ancient Clans project coordinator followed by a showing of The Battle of Benburb Film.

Introduction to The Battle of Benburb by Dr Pádraig Lenihan,
National University of Ireland in Galway

Dr Pádraig Lenihan, NUIG acted as the historical expert to guide the making of The Battle of Benburb Film, providing the details of the battle and the script for the voiceover. Dr Lenihan was unable to attend the event personally so provided a recorded introduction before the film was shown to the audience at the launch.

He explained how proud he was to be associated with the making of the film, the authenticity and the power of the project. He emphasised the importance of making people aware of a battle in which 3000 were killed in one evening in June 1646. It is part of a struggle between native and newcomer, settler and native.

The legacy of this and following wars is not to forget the past but deal and engage honestly and respectfully with the past. The Benburb event is important because it ensured the survival of the Confederate Catholics. Owen Roe O’Neil the winner at Benburb is an important story but so is the story of Monroe and paying due respect to both traditions.

Dr Lenihan, NUIG

The Making of the Battle of Benburb

One of the main components of this cross border heritage program between Mid Ulster and Donegal is to raise awareness of the invaluable heritage sites in each area and to promote them to to increase awareness and access from wider communities at these shared space sites. As part of this Mid Ulster District Council supported the production of a short film re-enacting which took place in Benburb on the 4th June 1646. The production was filmed at Benburb Priory.

The Battle of Benburb took place during the Irish Confederate Wars, the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It was fought between the Irish Confederation under Owen Roe O’Neill, and a Scottish Covenanter and Anglo-Irish army under Robert Monro. The battle ended in a decisive victory for the Irish Confederates and ended Scottish hopes of conquering Ireland and imposing their own religious settlement there.

The Battle of Benburb

Tomás O’Brogan, Oireashs, living history re-enactors, Cathal Hegarty, Benburb Productions, Film maker.
The script for the film and voice over was provided by historial expert Dr Padraig Lenin, National University of Ireland in Galway.

Viewing of The Battle of Benburb Film

Following the official launch of the Ancient Clan website the audience views The Battle of Benburb Film for this first time. The film, is a short 12min film which  the main details of the battle with living history actors portraying battle, marching and encampment scenes.

Battle of Benburb

EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS

Mid Ulster

From 10th – 11th September properties across Mid Ulster will open their doors for free as part of European Heritage Open Days, an annual celebration of local architecture, history and culture. Over 20 properties will offer free entry across the weekend, with many also enhancing the visitor experience with living history tours.

The open days are a once-a-year opportunity for curious families, architect lovers, and heritage enthusiasts to explore buildings and exclusive sites that are rarely open to the public.

Details on how to book for individual events in the Mid Ulster area can be found on the Visit Mid Ulster website.