Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog: Hymn, Hebrews 10:1-10, Psalms 40:2-111, Mark 3:31-35, Saint Dallan Forgaill, Hymn: Be Thou My Vision, Ballyconnell Ireland, Catholic Catechism Chapter 3:2-II The Language of Faith

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - Litany Lane Blog:

Hymn, Hebrews 10:1-10, Psalms 40:2-111, Mark 3:31-35, Saint Dallan Forgaill, Hymn: Be Thou My Vision,  Ballyconnell Ireland, Catholic Catechism Chapter 3:2-II  The Language of Faith

Good Day Bloggers!  Happy Mardi Gras!
Wishing everyone a Blessed Week!

Year of Faith - October 11, 2012 - November 24, 2013

P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Serenity Happens). It has a remarkable way of producing solace, peace, patience and tranquility and of course resolution...God's always available 24/7.

The world begins and ends everyday for someone.  We are all human. We all experience birth, life and death. We all have flaws but we also all have the gift of knowledge and free will, make the most of these gifts. Life on earth is a stepping stone to our eternal home in Heaven. Its your choice whether to rise towards eternal light or lost to eternal darkness. Material items, though needed for sustenance and survival on earth are of earthly value only. The only thing that passes from this earth to Purgatory and/or Heaven is our Soul, our Spirit...it's God's perpetual gift to us...Embrace it, treasure it, nurture it, protect it...

"Raise not a hand to another unless it is to offer in peace and goodwill." ~ Zarya Parx 2012


January 25, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
"Dear children! Also today I call you to prayer. May your prayer be as strong as a living stone, until with your lives you become witnesses. Witness the beauty of your faith. I am with you and intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."
January 02, 2013 Message From Our Lady of Medjugorje to World:
 "Dear children, with much love and patience I strive to make your hearts like unto mine. I strive, by my example, to teach you humility, wisdom and love because I need you; I cannot do without you my children. According to God's will I am choosing you, by His strength I am strengthening you. Therefore, my children, do not be afraid to open your hearts to me. I will give them to my Son and in return, He will give you the gift of Divine peace. You will carry it to all those whom you meet, you will witness God's love with your life and you will give the gift of my Son through yourselves. Through reconciliation, fasting and prayer, I will lead you. Immeasurable is my love. Do not be afraid. My children, pray for the shepherds. May your lips be shut to every judgment, because do not forget that my Son has chosen them and only He has the right to judge. Thank you."


Today's Word:  hymn   hymn  [him]

Origin: before 1000;  < Latin hymnus  < Greek hýmnos  song in praise of gods or heroes; replacing Middle English ymne  (< Old French ) and Old English ymn  (< Late Latin ymnus )

1. a song or ode in praise or honor of God, a deity, a nation, etc.
2. something resembling this, as a speech, essay, or book in praise of someone or something.
verb (used with object)
3. to praise or celebrate in a hymn; express in a hymn.
verb (used without object)
4. to sing hymns.


Today's Old Testament Reading -  Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 10, 11

2 He pulled me up from the seething chasm, from the mud of the mire. He set my feet on rock, and made my footsteps firm.
4 How blessed are those who put their trust in Yahweh, who have not sided with rebels and those who have gone astray in falsehood.
7 then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming.' In the scroll of the book it is written of me,
8 my delight is to do your will; your law, my God, is deep in my heart.
10 I have not kept your saving justice locked in the depths of my heart, but have spoken of your constancy and saving help. I have made no secret of your faithful and steadfast love, in the great assembly.
11 You, Yahweh, have not withheld your tenderness from me; your faithful and steadfast love will always guard me.


Today's Epistle - Hebrews 10:1-10

1 So, since the Law contains no more than a reflection of the good things which were still to come, and no true image of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, by means of the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year.
2 Otherwise, surely the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins.
3 But in fact the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices.
4 Bulls' blood and goats' blood are incapable of taking away sins,
5 and that is why he said, on coming into the world: You wanted no sacrifice or cereal offering, but you gave me a body.
6 You took no pleasure in burnt offering or sacrifice for sin;
7 then I said, 'Here I am, I am coming,' in the scroll of the book it is written of me, to do your will, God.
8 He says first You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the cereal offerings, the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them;
9 and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to do your will. He is abolishing the first sort to establish the second.
10 And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once and for all.


Today's Gospel Reading - Mark 3:31-35 

Now his mother and his brothers arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, 'Look, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.' He replied, 'Who are my mother and my brothers?' And looking at those sitting in a circle round him, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.


• The family of Jesus. The relatives reached the house where Jesus was. Probably they have come from Nazareth. From there up to Capernaum there is a distance of forty kilometres. His mother also comes together with them. They do not enter, but they send a messenger: “Look, your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you! Jesus’ reaction is clear: Who are my mother and my brothers? And he himself responds turning to look toward the crowd who is there around: Here are my mother and my brothers! Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother! To understand well the sense of this response it is convenient to look at the situation of the family in the time of Jesus.

• In the Old Israel, the clan, that is, the large family (the community), was the basis for social living together. It was the protection of the families and of the persons, the guarantee of the possession of the land, the principle vehicle of the tradition, the defence of identity. It was the concrete way on the part of the people of that time to incarnate the love of God and the love toward neighbour. To defend the clan was the same as to defend the Covenant.

• In the Galilee at the time of Jesus, because of the system established during the long periods of government of Herod the Great (37 BC to 4 BC) and of his son Herod Antipas (4 BC to 39 AD), the clan, (the community) was becoming weaker. The taxes to be paid, both to the Government and to the Temple, the debts which were increasing, the individualistic mentality of the Hellenistic ideology, the frequent threats of violent repression on the part of the Romans and the obligation to accept the soldiers and give them hospitality, the ever growing problem of survival , all this impelled the families to close themselves in self and to think only of their own needs. This closing up was strengthened by the religion of the time. For example: the one who gave his inheritance to the Temple, could leave his parents without any help. This weakened the fourth commandment which was the backbone of the clan (Mk 7, 8-13). Besides this, the observance of the Norms of purity was a factor of marginalization for many persons: women, children, Samaritans, foreigners, lepers, possessed persons, tax collectors or Publicans, the sick, mutilated persons and paraplegic persons.

• And thus, the concern with the problems of one’s own family prevented the persons to meet in community. Now, in order that the Kingdom of God could manifest itself in community living of the people, the persons had to overcome the narrow limits of the small family and open themselves again to the large family, to the Community. Jesus gave the example. When his own family tries to take possession of him, he reacted and extended the family: “Who are my mother and my brothers?”. And he himself gave the answer, turning his look toward the crowd: Here are my mother and my brothers! Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother, sister and mother! (Mk 3, 33-35). He crated a community.

• Jesus asked the same thing from all those who wanted to follow him. Families could not close themselves up in self . The excluded and the marginalized had to be accepted in the life with others, and in this way feel accepted by God (Lk 14, 12-14) This was the path to attain the objective of the Law which said “There must, then, be no poor among you” (Dt 15, 4). Like the great Prophets of the past, Jesus tries to consolidate community life in the villages of Galilee. He takes back the profound sense of the clan, of the family, of the community, as an expression of the incarnation of the love toward God and toward neighbour.

Personal questions

 • To live faith in the community. What place and what influence does the community have in my way of living faith ?
• Today, in the large city, overcrowding promotes individualism which is contrary to life in community. What am I doing to counteract this evil?

Reference: Courtesy of Order of Carmelites, www.ocarm.org.


Featured Item of the Day from Litany Lane


Saint of the Day:  St Dallan Forgaill

Feast DayJanuary 29
Patron Saint: n/a.

Saint Dallán Forgaill (ca. 530–598), also known as Dallán Forchella, Dallán of Cluain Dalláin, and born Eochaid Forchella, was an early Christian Irish poet, best known as the writer of the Amra Choluim Chille ("Eulogy of Saint Columba") and the early Irish poem Rop tú mo baile, the basis of the modern English hymn Be Thou My Vision.


Dallán Forgaill's given name was Eochaid, and his mother was called Forchella. He was the son of Colla, a descendant of the legendary High King Colla Uais.[1] His nickname, Dallán ("little blind one"), was earned after he lost his sight,[2] reputedly as a result of studying intensively.

He was born in Maigen (now Ballyconnell), at the eastern edge of the territory of the Masraige of Magh Slécht in modern County Cavan. He was not a member of the Masraige but belonged to a branch of the Airgíalla called the Fir Lurg, who were in the process of spreading southwards into Fermanagh and Cavan. (The barony of Lurg in County Fermanagh was named after them)[3] His was a first cousin of Saint Mogue and was a fourth cousin of Saint Tigernach of Clones.

He died in 598 when pirates broke into the island monastery of Inniskeel, County Donegal, where he is buried. He was reportedly beheaded, and it is also said that God reattached his head to his body after he was martyred.[4] He was acclaimed a saint in the early 11th century, during the reign of the High King Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill.[3] A medieval poem entitled "On the breaking up of a School" composed by Tadhg Og O Huiginn, c.1400, refers to the death of Dallán which caused his school to break up and the students to disperse as they would accept no other master.[5] In a list of ancient Irish authors contained in the Book of Ballymote, Dallán is called “grandson of testimony”.[6]

Literary Works

Dallán Forgaill was a poet, Chief Ollam of Ireland, as well as a scholar of Latin scriptural learning.[3][7] He helped to reform the Bardic Order at the Convention of Drumceat.[8]

He is best known for eulogies attributed to him on the subject of contemporaneous Irish saints, namely the Amra Choluim Chille on Saint Columba, Amra Senain on Saint Senan, and Amra Connaill on Saint Connall. These poems, rarely translated, were written in such obscure language that subsequent scribes included copious glosses on the poems. The best example of this is the Amra Choluim Chille, wherein the glosses contain poems in themselves, some of which deal with the Fenian Cycle.[citation needed] He reputedly wrote Amra Choluim Chille, which he completed shortly after the death of Saint Columba in 597, because Columba had successfully saved poets from expulsion from Ireland at the assembly of Druim Cett in 575.[9]

The early Irish poem Rop tú mo baile, the basis of the modern English hymn Be Thou My Vision, is also sometimes attributed to him.


  1. ^ According to the Life of St Dallán in the Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae
  2. ^ Dictionary of the Irish Language, compact edition, Royal Irish Academy p. 178
  3. ^ a b c T. M. Charles-Edwards, ‘Dallán Forgaill (fl. 597)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 27 June 2009
  4. ^ “Dallàn's death and burial" on page 37 of 'The Bodleian Amra Choluimb Chille' in Revue Celtique. Vol. 21 (Paris 1900), pp. 133-136.
  5. ^ Studies Journal, Volume XXV (1924). Edited by Osborn Bergin.
  6. ^ Book of Ballymote, p. 308, 26, "Dallán hua Forgaill in fil ut .i. Dallan mac Alla meic Eirc, meic Feradaigh gan tinii ardollam Erenn gan on, is e ro mol Cohan cille." ('Dallán son of Alla son of Erc son of Feradach without fear, Chief Ollam of Ireland without disgrace, it is he that praised Columba.')
  7. ^ J. O'Beirne Crowe, The Amra Coluim Cilli of Dallan Forgaill, Dublin, 1871
  8. ^ according to Geoffrey Keating's History of Ireland
  9. ^ Moody, TW & Martin, FX (eds) (1967). The Course of Irish History. Cork, Ireland: The Mercier Press. pp. 60.


Featured Items Panel from Litany Lane



Today's Snippet I:    Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

The original Old Irish text, Rop tú mo Baile is often attributed to Dallán Forgaill in the 6th century.[1] The text had been a part of Irish monastic tradition for centuries before its setting to the tune, therefore, before it became an actual hymn.[2] It was translated from Old Irish into English by Mary Elizabeth Byrne, M.A., in Ériu (the journal of the School of Irish Learning), in 1905. The English text was first versified by Eleanor Hull, in 1912, and is now the most common text used.[3] In the 20th century, two new sets of relatively common lyrics were put to the same tune used for the hymn. The first was "Lord of All Hopefullness," written by Jan Struther around 1931.[4] The second was a popular wedding hymn, "God, In the Planning and Purpose of Life," written by John Bell and Graham Maule and first appearing in publication in 1989. [5]


Original Text

The original texts of the now-called Be Thou My Vision are in Old Irish, similar still in style to modern Irish.
Rop tú mo baile, a Choimdiu cride:
ní ní nech aile acht Rí secht nime.
Rop tú mo scrútain i l-ló 's i n-aidche;
rop tú ad-chëar im chotlud caidche.

Rop tú mo labra, rop tú mo thuicsiu;
rop tussu dam-sa, rob misse duit-siu.
Rop tussu m'athair, rob mé do mac-su;
rop tussu lem-sa, rob misse lat-su.
Rop tú mo chathscíath, rop tú mo chlaideb;
rop tussu m'ordan, rop tussu m'airer.
Rop tú mo dítiu, rop tú mo daingen;
rop tú nom-thocba i n-áentaid n-aingel.
Rop tú cech maithius dom churp, dom anmain;
rop tú mo flaithius i n-nim 's i talmain.
Rop tussu t' áenur sainserc mo chride;
ní rop nech aile acht Airdrí nime.
Co talla forum, ré n-dul it láma,
mo chuit, mo chotlud, ar méit do gráda.
Rop tussu t' áenur m' urrann úais amra:
ní chuinngim daíne ná maíne marba.
Rop amlaid dínsiur cech sel, cech sáegul,
mar marb oc brénad, ar t' fégad t' áenur.
Do serc im anmain, do grád im chride,
tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime.
Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime,
do serc im anmain, do grád im chride.
Go Ríg na n-uile rís íar m-búaid léire;
ro béo i flaith nime i n-gile gréine
A Athair inmain, cluinte mo núall-sa:
mithig (mo-núarán!) lasin trúagán trúag-sa.
A Chríst mo chride, cip ed dom-aire,
a Flaith na n-uile, rop tú mo baile.

English Translation

by Mary Byrne, 1905
Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart
None other is aught but the King of the seven heavens.
Be thou my meditation by day and night.
May it be thou that I behold even in my sleep.
Be thou my speech, be thou my understanding.
Be thou with me, be I with thee
Be thou my father, be I thy son.
Mayst thou be mine, may I be thine.
Be thou my battle-shield, be thou my sword.
Be thou my dignity, be thou my delight.
Be thou my shelter, be thou my stronghold.
Mayst thou raise me up to the company of the angels.
Be thou every good to my body and soul.
Be thou my kingdom in heaven and on earth.
Be thou solely chief love of my heart.
Let there be none other, O high King of Heaven.
Till I am able to pass into thy hands,
My treasure, my beloved through the greatness of thy love
Be thou alone my noble and wondrous estate.
I seek not men nor lifeless wealth.
Be thou the constant guardian of every possession and every life.
For our corrupt desires are dead at the mere sight of thee.
Thy love in my soul and in my heart --
Grant this to me, O King of the seven heavens.
O King of the seven heavens grant me this --
Thy love to be in my heart and in my soul.
With the King of all, with him after victory won by piety,
May I be in the kingdom of heaven O brightness of the son.
Beloved Father, hear, hear my lamentations.
Timely is the cry of woe of this miserable wretch.
O heart of my heart, whatever befall me,
O ruler of all, be thou my vision.

English Versification

by Eleanor Hull, 1912; this version was popularised by virtue of its place in the English Hymnal
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
Be all else but naught to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought in the day and the night,
Both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.
Be thou my wisdom, be thou my true word,
Be thou ever with me, and I with thee Lord;
Be thou my great Father, and I thy true son;
Be thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight;
Be thou my whole armour, be thou my true might;
Be thou my soul's shelter, be thou my strong tower:
O raise thou me heavenward, great Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
Be thou mine inheritance now and always;
Be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O Sovereign of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
High King of Heaven, thou Heaven's bright sun,
O grant me its joys after victory is won!;
Great heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.

Modern Irish Translations

The hymn has been translated into modern Irish many times. The most popular is that by Aodh Ó Dúgain of Gaoth Dobhair, County Donegal. Two verses of his translation were recorded by his grand-daughter Moya Brennan – the first time any part of his text has been publicly recorded. Since then, those two verses have been recorded by many artists including Roma Downey & Aoife and Iona.

These verses are very close translations to the first two of the Old Irish text above.
Bí Thusa ’mo shúile a Rí mhór na ndúil
Líon thusa mo bheatha mo chéadfaí ’s mo stuaim
Bí thusa i m'aigne gach oíche ’s gach lá
Im chodladh no im dhúiseacht, líon mé le do ghrá.
Bí thusa ’mo threorú i mbriathar ’s i mbeart
Fan thusa go deo liom is coinnigh mé ceart
Glac cúram mar Athair, is éist le mo ghuí
Is tabhair domsa áit cónaí istigh i do chroí.

Modern Scottish Gaelic Translation

With Old Irish being the ancestor language of Modern Scottish Gaelic, the song was translated by Céitidh Mhoireasdan and publish by Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Soills’ Air Mo Smuain
Dèan dhòmh-sa tuigse,
Cuir soils’ air mo smuain;
Dh’iarrainn gur Tu
Bhiodh ’gam stiùreadh gach uair;
Làmh rium ’s an oidhche
Is romhan ’s an tràth,
Réidh rium ’sa mhadainn
Agus glèidh mi tro’n latha.
Ceartas do m’ bhriathran
Agus fìrinn do m’ bheul,
Thusa toirt iùil dhomh
’S mi dlùth riut, a Dhè.
Athair, thoir gràdh dhomh,
Gabh mis’ thugad fhéin;
Cum mi ri d’ thaobh
Is bi daonnan ’nam chrè.
Dìon mi, a Thighearna,
Ri mo chliathaich ’s gach feachd;
Cum mi fo d’ sgiath
’S thoir dhomh misneachd is neart,
Fasgadh do m’ anam
Is mi ri d’uchd dlùth;
Treòraich mi dhachaigh,
Dhè chumhachdaich Thu.
Beartas cha’n fhiach leam;
No miann chlann ’nan daoin’,
Thusa na m’ fhianais
Fad làithean mo shaogh’il
Thusa, Dhè ghràsmhoir,
A-mhain na mo chrìdh’,
Le blaths is gràdh sìorraidh,
Mo thighearna ’s mo Rìgh.


Other languages

  • Bahasa Indonesia - Kaulah, ya Tuhan, Surya hidupku
  • Dutch - Wees Mijn Verlangen
  • French - Qu'en toi je vive, Seigneur bien aimé
  • German - Steh mir vor Augen
  • Norwegian - Deg å få skode
  • Spanish - Oh Dios, Sé Mi Visión or Oh Dios de mi alma, Sé Mi Visión
  • Welsh - "Bydd yn Welediad fy nghalon a'm byw"
  • Ukrainian - Будь мені, Боже, метою життя
  • A Swedish ballad titled Gå inte förbi was recorded by Sissel Kyrkjebø and Peter Jöback in 2003 using the melody 'Slane' (the usual melody for Be Thou My Vision) but the lyrics have little to do with the Irish text.


The tune Slane
The music is the Irish folk song, Slane, which is about Slane Hill where in A.D. 433 St. Patrick defied the pagan High King Lóegaire of Tara by lighting candles on Easter Eve.

Besides this general connection to Christianity, the folk song has little prior connection to the text. The two were first combined in the Irish Church Hymnal in 1919.[6]


    1. ^ Be Thou My Vision at Cyberhymnal
    2. ^ Songs and Hymns entry
    3. ^ "The New Methodist Hymn Book Illustrated", John Telford (Epworth Press, London, 1934): This old Irish poem was translated by Mary E. Byrne M.A. of the University of Ireland, an Irish Research worker to the Board of Intermediate Education. It was versified by Miss Eleanor Henrietta Hull, founder of the Irish Text Society, its secretary in 1899 and sometimes President of the Irish Literary Society of London and author of books on Ireland.
    4. ^ http://www.hymnary.org/text/lord_of_all_hopefulness_lord_of_all_joy
    5. ^ http://www.hymnary.org/text/god_in_the_planning_and_purpose_of_life
    6. ^ Smith III, James D.. "Be Thou My Vision". Christianity Today Library. Retrieved 15 January 2013.


      Today's Snippet II:  Ballyconnell, Ireland (Béal Átha Conaill)

      Ballyconnell Ireland 
      Ballyconnell (Irish: Béal Átha Conaill, meaning "Entrance to the Ford of Conall") is a town in County Cavan, Ireland. It is situated on the N87 national secondary road at the junction of four townlands Annagh, Cullyleenan, Doon and Derryginny in the parish of Tomregan, Barony of Tullyhaw. The town has an altitude of 55 metres above sea level. The mean daily January temperature is 4.5 degrees Celsius and the mean daily July temperature is 15 degrees Celsius. The average annual rainfall is 1,000 mm. The average annual hours of sunshine are 1,250. Ballyconnell won the Irish Tidy Towns Competition in 1971 and was joint winner with Trim, County Meath in 1974 .

      It lies astride the Shannon-Erne Waterway which was opened in 1993, formerly known as the Woodford Canal which was finally completed in 1860. Prior to being canalised it was known as the River Grainne. The town sits at the foot of Slieve Rushen mountain and is a mile from the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The population of Ballyconnell according to the most recent census undertaken in 2006 was 747 persons, an increase of 31% on the previous 2002 census.


      The earliest surviving mention of the name Ballyconnell is an entry in the Annals of the Four Masters for the year 1323 A.D., which states "Rory Mac Mahon, son of the Lord of Oriel, Melaghlin O'Seagannain, and Mac Muldoon, were slain by Cathal O'Rourke at Bel-atha-Chonaill". Before being named Ballyconnell it was named Áth na Mianna which means Ford of the Miners. It was also named Gwyllymsbrook between 1660 and 1702 by its then owner Thomas Gwyllym.

      The name is an anglicization of Bél Átha Conaill which means "The entrance to Conall's Ford". The ford was a shallow crossing over the River Grainne and was the ancient border crossing for travellers going between Ulster and Connacht. The ford was caused by silt and gravel washed down from the nearby Slieve Rushen mountain by the Tanyard Stream which flows into the Grainne about 20 yards upriver from Ballyconnell bridge on the western outskirts of the town.

      Conall was the great Ulster Hero and Red Branch knight Conall Cernach, who was killed at Ballyconnell by the three Ruadhcoin sent by Queen Maeve of Connacht to avenge the slaying of her husband Ailill by Conall.[1]



      The area was settled at an early date, as evidenced by the double-court tomb in the town dating from c. 3,500 B.C. and a ring barrow in the same field (Sites number 31 & 107, Doon townland, “Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan”, Patrick O’Donovan, 1995, pp. 7 & 22).

      The ford would have been a logical place to erect a settlement and it probably dates from the time of the court tomb. The earliest inhabitants were hunter-gatherers rather than farmers. They lived by fishing, hunting wild game and foraging for berries and nuts. This area would have been thickly wooded at the time, with no roadways. The easiest way to travel would have been by boat via the river and the numerous lakes and streams in the area. The only other known megalith in the parish is a wedge tomb dating from 2000 B.C. on the side of Slieve Rushen mountain in Aughrim townland (Site number 7, Aughrim townland, “Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan”, Patrick O’Donovan, 1995, p. 2). However after remaining undisturbed for 4,000 years it was recently dug up by the Quinn Group to enable them to mine sand deposits from the mountain. It was relocated to the grounds of the group's hotel, The Slieve Russell, to serve as a tourist attraction.


      In ancient times, Ballyconnell lay on the eastern part of Magh Slécht named Maigin ("the little plain"), so called because it was a narrow strip bounded on the north by Slieve Rushen mountain and on the south by the River Graine. Maigin was the birthplace of Saint Dallán Forgaill.

      In medieval times the town belonged to the McGovern chiefs who had a fort there. Ballyconnell was situated in one of the ballybetoes of Tullyhaw named Calmhagh (Calva), which basically means almost the same as Maigin, the narrow plain. As it was on the border between Fermanagh and Breifne, Ballyconnell was a flash-point for the wars between the Maguires,O'Rourkes, O'Reillys, McGoverns, McKiernans and their allies. The Annals of Ireland record incidents at Ballyconnell in the following years- 1323 Rory MacMahon, Mel O'Seagannain & MacMuldoon were slain at Ballyconnell by Cathal O'Rourke.[2] 1457 Brian Maguire fought with Lochlann O'Rourke, the Mcgoverns & McKiernans at Ballyconnell.[3] 1470 O'Donnell & O'Rourke fought with O'Reilly, the English and the McKiernans at Ballyconnell.[4] 1475 Hugh Roe O'Donnell went to Ballyconnell to make peace with the O'Reilly.[5] 1595 O'Donnell camped at Ballyconnell after raiding the town of Cavan.[6]


      In 1605 Captain Richard Tyrrell bought the Calva estate from Cormac Magauran. He sold the estate to Walter Talbot, a recusant servitor from the Dublin Pale and a burgess of Cavan Corporation, before 1609 but the title was defective. However in the Plantation of Ulster in 1609 Sir Arthur Chichester, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, allowed Talbot to keep his estate as he had begun bringing in settlers and building houses. It was regranted to Talbot as the Manor of Calva. The lands granted were the town of Ballyconnell and the surrounding townlands of Derrogeny, one poll; Killog, one poll; Gortulleran, one poll; Mucklagh, one poll; Skeagh, one poll; Gortewey, one poll; Rathkillin, one poll; Downe, one poll; Enagh, one poll; Townaciateragh, one poll; Cowlynan, one poll; Cloughan, one poll; Cavan, 2 polls; Mullaghduffe, 2 polls; Kilcloghan, 2 polls; Carraghmore, 4 polls; Nationna, 2 polls; Ardagh, one poll; Rosbreassell, one poll; Crosse, 2 polls; Kildannagh, 2 polls; Kiltragh, one poll; Knocks, one poll; Killenawe, one poll; Dowerhannagh, one poll; Uzren, one poll; Nidd, one poll; Bartony, 2 polls; Dromyne, one poll; Cavanickehall, one poll and Barrin, 2 polls.[7]

      When Talbot arrived the only notable buildings in Ballyconnell were the Catholic church at the top of Church Street (Site number 1815, Doon townland, “Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan”, Patrick O’Donovan, 1995, p. 230) and an old McGovern fort. The rest of the buildings were mud huts belonging to the Irish natives. In September 1611 a survey found that Talbot had built a strong timber house and two other wattled houses (Site number 1798, Annagh townland, “Archaeological Inventory of County Cavan”, Patrick O’Donovan, 1995, p. 228). He had also felled 40 trees but did no other work.[8]

      By 1613 Talbot had progressed with building work. Sir Josias Bodley reported on 6th February 1613-"Porportion No. 29: 1,500 acres. On the proportion undertaken by Capt. Culme and Walter Talbot, there are 3 or 4 handsome Irish houses by them built, and some provision made towards the building of a castle in a most convenient place for occasions of service, being near a special ford or passage, by which in times past that county was much infested. The quarry of limestone and building stone is on the place, good store of lime already burnt, and of building stone digged, much timber and planks drawn thither already, and the rest provided in a wood not above a mile off, so that this next summer the whole work, I suppose both of castle and bawn will be perfected."[9]

      By 1619 Pynnar's Survey of Land Holders found that Talbot had built a strong defensive wall called a bawn, which was a square measuring 100 feet (30 m) along each side and 12 ft high, with two flanking towers. Within the bawn was erected a strong castle of lime and stone three stories high which "stands in a very good and convenient place for the strength and service of the country".[10]

      In August 1622 another survey found that- "Walter Talbot has 1,500 acres called Ballyconnell, upon which there is builded a strong castle of stone and lyme, with two flanckers at each cross corner. This castle and ye flanckers are three stories and a half high and standeth in a very good place and convenient for the strength and defence of that parte of the country which is an obscure and bordering corner of the countie. Mr Walter Talbott, his wife and familie are now dwelling there. There are severall Palemen estates, some in fee farm, some for lives and some for yeares, upon part of the land. The rest are leased to natives of the country. The said Walter Talbott and all his tenants are recusants. Armes in the castle are 11 pikes, 3 callivers, 5 head peeces, 3 targetts and 1 halbert".[11] The castle was accidentally destroyed in a fire before 1739 and Ballyconnell House was erected on its site in Annagh townland.[12] However, some of the ruins are still visible and a section of the bawn wall was recently uncovered in an archaeological excavation.[13]

      Walter Talbot died on 26 June 1625 at Ballyconnell and his son James Talbot succeeded to the Ballyconnell estate aged just 10 years. James Talbot married Helen Calvert, the daughter of George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore of Maryland, USA, in 1635 and had a son Colonel George Talbot who owned an estate in Cecil County, Maryland which he named Ballyconnell in honour of his native town in Cavan. George Talbot was appointed Surveyor-General of Maryland in 1683. In the aftermath of the Irish Rebellion of 1641 James Talbot's estate in Ballyconnell was confiscated because he was a Catholic and he was granted an estate in 1655 at Castle Rubey, County Roscommon instead. He died in 1687.

      After the Rebellion the confiscated Ballyconnell estate was granted to Captain Thomas Gwyllym of Cromwell's army in August 1666 and the town was renamed Gwyllymsbrook in his honour. He was a native of Glenavy, County Antrim where his father, Rev.Meredith Gwyllym, was vicar of the parishes of Glenavy, Camlin, Tullyrusk, Ballinderry & Magheragall from 1622 until sometime after 1634.[14] Gwyllym had already been in temporary possession of the estate as his name appears as a Cavan Commissioner in the 1660 Hearth Money Ordinances and in the 1664 Hearth Money Rolls he has five hearths in Ballyconnell. Thomas Gwyllym died in 1681 and his son Colonel Meredith Gwyllym inherited the Ballyconnell estate.

      The Gwyllym estate was sold for £8,000 in 1724 to Colonel Alexander Montgomery (1686–1729) of Convoy House, County Donegal, M.P. for Donegal Borough 1725 to 1727 & for Donegal County 1727 to 1729. He died in 1729 and left the Ballyconnell estate to his nephew George Leslie who then assumed the name George Leslie Montgomery. George Leslie Montgomery was M.P. for Strabane, County Tyrone from 1765 to 1768 and for County Cavan from 1770 to 1787, when he died and left the Ballyconnell estate to his son George Montgomery, whose estate was administered by the Court of Chancery as he was a lunatic.[15] George Montgomery died in 1841 and his estate went to his Enery cousins of Bawnboy. In 1856 they sold the estate to take advantage of its increased value owing to the opening of the Woodford Canal through the town in the same year. The estate was split up amongst different purchasers including George Roe (who bought Ballyconnell House, a few houses in the village and a few townlands including Annagh, Corranierna and part of Rakeelan) and Earl Annesley (who purchased the townlands of Carrowmore, Gortoorlan, Moher, Mullinacre and Snugborough). Another well-known family in the town were the Benisons of Mount Pleasant and Slieve Russell who owned a flax mill in Ballyconnell. Miss Josephine Benison, a daughter of James Benison, married Tom Arnold who was grandfather of Aldous Huxley, brother of the famous English poet Matthew Arnold and son of Dr. Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby Public School who appears as head master in the book Tom Brown's Schooldays. Josephine's headstone in St.Brigid's R.C. graveyard in Ballyconnell reads- "In loving memory of Josephine M. Arnold widow of Thomas Arnold M.A. F.R.I., died 16th January 1919, aged 87 years."

      Griffith's Valuation of 1857 lists about 90 landlords and tenants for Doon and Ballyconnell. Further information and a detailed map showing the location of each holding can be seen online.[16] The population of Ballyconnell in 1821 was 353. The 1841 Census of Ireland gives a population of 387 in Ballyconnell, of which 193 were males and 194 were females, with 75 houses, of which eleven were uninhabited and one in the course of erection. The 1851 Census of Ireland gives a population of 503, an increase of 116 on the 1841 figure, due to people moving from the countryside to the town to escape the intervening Irish Famine of 1845-47, of which 252 were males and 251 were females, with 85 houses, of which five were uninhabited and one in the course of erection. In the 1911 census of Ireland, there are 134 families listed in Ballyconnell.[17]

      Structures of note

      • Ballyconnell is famous for having both the oldest man-made structure within the boundary of any town in Ireland (The 5,500 year old double court-cairn in Doon townland) and also for the oldest living thing in Ireland (The 2,000-5,000 year old Ballyconnell Yew tree in Ballyconnell Demesne).
      • Ballyconnell Market House is a five bay, two storey building dating from about 1838 and was used by the Defence Forces as a border post during the troubles in Northern Ireland. It was also used by the Reserve Defence Force until 2005 when the building was sold to Cavan County Council. It is now unused and lying dormant.


      • Ballyconnell railway station opened on 24 October 1887, but finally closed on 1 April 1959.[18] It was part of the narrow gauge Cavan and Leitrim Railway.
      Martin Leydon Coaches operate a route linking Ballyconnell to Belturbet, Cavan, Bawnboy, Ballinamore, Swanlinbar and Enniskillen. [19] Bus Éireann local route 465 serves the town on Tuesdays only providing a link to Cavan, Arvagh, Ballinagh, Killeshandra and Carrigallen. [20] Until Mid-October 2012 Ballyconnell was also served several times daily by Bus Éireann Expressway route 30. [21]


      Cement factory
      The industry in the area is mainly agricultural, but it also has a large cement factory (owned by former billionaire businessman, Sean Quinn), a plastics factory and an animal feeds plant.

      Tourism is an important part of the town's economy with cabin cruisers using it as a stopping place when navigating the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

      The town has a proud record in the National Tidy Towns Competition, winning the overall award in 1971 & 1975, together with many County winner awards through the years. In the 18th century lead, silver, coal, limestone, granite, marble, gravel, sand and iron were all mined from Slieve Rushen mountain.


      1. The Death of Conall Cernach at Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan, by Tom Smith in Breifne Journal 2012
      2. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100005C/index.html
      3. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100001C/index.html
      4. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100001C/index.html
      5. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100001C/index.html
      6. ^ http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/T100001C/index.html
      7. ^ Names in the Land Grants in Northern Ireland: From the Plantation of Ulster.
      8. ^ "The National Archives".
      9. ^ Survey of Undertakers in Co. of Cavan 6 Feb. 1613- Tullaghagh Servitors, in Report of Manuscripts of Reginald Rawdon Hastings, Historical Manuscripts Commission, London 1947, vol. IV, p. 164
      10. ^ A Special Census of Northern Ireland, Pynnars Survey of Land Holders.
      11. ^ '1622 Survey of Cavan' in Breifne Journal 1958, p.60 P.O'Gallachair
      12. ^ "Henry's Upper Lough Erne in 1739".
      13. ^ "Excavations.ie".
      14. ^ "Glenavy History".
      15. ^ The Pursuit of the Heiress: Aristocratic Marriage in Ireland 1740-1840 By A. P. W. Malcomson.
      16. ^ [1]Griffith’s Valuation 1857
      17. ^ [2]. Census of Ireland 1911.
      18. ^ "Ballyconnell station". Railscot - Irish Railways. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. Retrieved 10 September 2007.
      19. ^ http://www.leydonscoaches.com
      20. ^ http://www.buseireann.ie/pdf/1202387791-465.pdf
      21. ^ http://www.buseireann.ie/news.php?id=1182&month=Sep


        Catechism of the Catholic Church

        Part One: Profession of Faith, Chapter 3:2-II

        II. The Language of Faith

        170 We do not believe in formulae, but in those realities they express, which faith allows us to touch. "The believer's act [of faith] does not terminate in the propositions, but in the realities [which they express]." St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 1,2, ad 2 All the same, we do approach these realities with the help of formulations of the faith which permit us to express the faith and to hand it on, to celebrate it in community, to assimilate and live on it more and more.

        171 The Church, "the pillar and bulwark of the truth", faithfully guards "the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints". She guards the memory of Christ's words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles' confession of faith.I Tim 3:15; Jude 3 As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith.