Last Friday, May 18 pupils from Scoil Sean Mac Diarmada and Ballymeehan National School joined with Belleek Controlled Primary School and St Martin’s PS, Garrison for a day of stories, histories, poetry and song.
The schools held a Show & Tell Day in the Gillaroo Centre, Garrison Co Fermanagh as part of a cross border communities project.
The students had worked together to showcase their own areas and everyone came away knowing a little bit more information on their neighbours across the border.
The project was born out of a Leitrim Country Council project and collaborated with Fermanagh District Council with funding from the International Fund set up by the British and Irish Governments in 1986 to promote contact and reconciliation along the border.
Pupils from Ballymeehan NS, Rossinver were first to present their area. They focused on Rossinver Post Office, local townlands, the history of ring forts (Lisdarush Ring Fort is the second largest in Ireland) Fowleys Falls, Rossinver Church and graveyard. St Mogue is said to be buried in Rossinver graveyard and the site boasts a stone from the ninth century.
Pupils from Beleek Controlled Primary School gave a detailed history on the structure, value and translations of local townlands in their area. They informed the crowd that there are 62,000 townlands in all of Ireland and they are the smallest values of land, which date back to the 1600s.
Children from Scoil Sean MacDiarmada gave a history of Kiltyclogher including the fact the village was first named Sarahville after the daughter of landlord Charles Henry Tottenham, the young girl died following a horse riding accident in the area. They explained that Kilty is a planned village and they gave histories of the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.
The kids noted Prince Connells grave exists from the Stone Age and informed those present about Black Pigs Dyke. They also gave a detailed history of Sean Mac Diarmada, signatory of the 1916 Proclamation. They had the roll book from the school in Kiltyclogher which he attended as a child.
They had pictures of Mac Diarmada’s homestead and the commemorative monument to him which takes pride of place in the centre of the village.
St Martin’s PS, Garrison gave a very entertaining presentation of fireside stories from around Lough Melvin. They told about smuggling in the war years between Garrison and Rossinver, Mrs McGee, Garrison Fair and the monestary on Inishtemple on Lough Melvin. The Annals of the Four Masters were recorded on this island and a stone from the old monestary on Inishtemple is part of the foundation of the Franciscan Friary, Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal.
The school’s presentation ended with a beautiful rendition of the song ‘Adieu to lovely Garrison.”
All the pupils from the four schools were presented with certificates and each school got a commemorative plaque for taking part.
The schools also had beautiful presentations of their work on show in the Gillaroo Centre.
In sharing each others histories the children (and adults) learned about their neighbours across the border in a fun and entertaining way, promoting communication and interest between North and South.
This project is one of many that has helped communities either side of the border to get to know each other in an inclusive and open manner.
Dolores McSharry, Co-ordinator of the Gillaroo IFI Project and Tom Lavin of Leitrim Development Company praised the children for their hard work and spoke about the importance of such projects to encourage better cross border relations.