Saturday, 8 June 2013

The Conversion of Ballyshannon 1856

The ballad below entitled “The Conversion of Ballyshannon”  recalls  one of  the first missions given in Ballyshannon in July 1856 where Very Rev. Daniel McGettigan (1815-1887) was Parish Priest of Kilbarron. Indeed a few months  earlier he had been  elevated  to the position of Coadjutor Bishop of Raphoe on the 18th May 1856. 

Fr. McGettigan continued as parish priest of Kilbarron until 1867. In 1870 he was appointed Archbishop of Armagh. 

Russian gives Mission in Ballyshannon 1856

In July 1856 there was a  Redemptorist Mission given by Fr. Pecherin in St. Patrick’s Church in Ballyshannon. Fr. Pecherin gave a series of mission in Raphoe diocese in 1856 and was in Doe in May and in Killybegs in June 1856.Vladimir Pecherin (1807-1885) had a controversial career following his departure from his native Russia and his conversion to Catholicism. He settled in Ireland in 1851 and as a member of the Redemptorist Order he gave missions all over the country. He also became the first chaplain to the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

Returning to the ballad a third priest is named as Fr. Smallen and this is a reference to Fr. Thomas Smollen (1829-1909) who was a curate in St. Joseph’s Church on the Rock in Ballyshannon.Fr. Smollen later served as parish priest in Clones and Enniskillen and was Dean of Clogher from 1907. (The ballad gives different spellings for the three priests named above).

The Conversion of Ballyshannon

Come all you Roman Catholics wherever you may be,
I hope you will join together in love and harmony;
All with these lowly fathers all in Ballyshannon town,
That has forgot all earthly joys to gain a Heavenly crown.

So now my dearest brethern the time is drawing nigh,
That we will be called upon to praise the Lord on high;
I hope we will be happy yet salvation we will find,
And conquer all our enemies like Father Petcherine.

And as for  Bishop Gettens the people well do know,
He is a credit to his country in the diocese of Raphoe;
Long may he reign and prosper and wear a glorious crown,
His Lordship we can never forget in Ballyshannon town.

He has brought these holy Missioners all with him for to dwell,
And all bad vice and wickedness was in the town has fell;
The children educated and their manners cultivated,
All heresies defeated and bigotry put down.

So now like loyal brethren we will assemble all,
And join those lowly fathers will vice and fall; (sic)
We will forget all earthly joys and them we will leave behind,
and with the Cross and Crucifix we will follow Petcherine.

It is for the Blessed Virgin a patron she will be,
And likewise to St. Joseph and the Blessed Trinity;
May the angels always guard them,
And may the Lord reward them,
And protect those holy fathers wherever they may be.

So now to conclude and finish I will leave down my pen,
I hope we will be patronized all by our Heavenly friend:
I mean brave Father Smallen that time guardian of his flock
He is a member of that holy Church built on  St. Peter’s Rock.

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people from the Ballyshannon area are enjoying the blog worldwide. Please let people with an interest in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas know about this site, particularly people who are not living locally and those who are abroad. The site is called Ballyshannon Musings and there are a number of back issues available on the internet. 

Copy this link and it can be googled at The site can be located on the internet (or by connecting to my Facebook page). New items will be posted every week on Ballyshannon Musings during 2013the year of “The Gathering”. 

Below is an extract from an email received from a young Ballyshannon man following the blog in Australia .
It's great to have an account of the history of Ballyshannon in such an easy to read and access way. I'm currently out in Australia and I can easily see how it's so popular in many countries. It's nice to keep in touch with back home and read the history of the area.

Lots Happening for Ballyshannon 400 Gathering Events

Check a recent blog to read about  what happened in Ballyshannon  400 years ago. Ballyshannon will have lots of interesting events to commemorate this event and it would be an ideal time for our diaspora to be here for some or all of Ballyshannon 400 from 5th-11th August when there will be daily events of a historic, cultural and community nature. In the lead up to Ballyshannon 400 visitors will be in town for the Ballyshannon Folk Festival which takes place from the 1st to the 4th August also for a Dedication Service and weekend events to commemorate the Erne Fishery Case  on 3rd and 4th of August. A future blog will discuss the victory in 1933 won by the people in what has become known as The Erne  Fishery Case .

Check out the events you might like to attend later in the year including Ballyshannon 400 on 
Lots happening in Ballyshannon in the summertime including:
Ballyshannon Folk Festival

Welcome New Attractions for Visitors to Ballyshannon in 2013
  1. "Local Hands"  Arts and Crafts Gallery  newly opened in Main Street Ballyshannon.
  2. Dicey Reilly's Micro-Brewery Market Street, the first established in County Donegal. Good to see an old Ballyshannon industry enjoying a new lease of life. Ballyshannon in the 19th century had a distillery and a brewery overlooking the modern footbridge on the Erne close to the Mall Quay. Mulligans also had a successful business on the Mall in recent times
  3. The Ballyshannon and District Museum, with coffee shop available, is newly opened  in Slevin's Department Store.

 Next Blog posted Saturday 15th June "A Forgotten Story and the Top Ten Blogs in 2013"

A New Local History suitable for those at Home and Away
Anthony Begley, local historian, published a new book entitled: "Ballyshannon. Genealogy and History" which reveals newly researched history and genealogy of the town, extending as far as the Rossnowlagh, Cashelard, Corlea, Clyhore, Higginstown and Finner areas. Includes the parishes of Kilbarron and Magh Ene.
The genealogy material provides detailed guidelines for anyone tracing their roots in the area or anywhere in County Donegal or Ireland. The book contains 500 pages and is richly illustrated with stunning colour, aerial photography, original illustrations and rare photographs of the area not seen before.

Topics include: How to go about Tracing your Roots/The first settlers in the area/ Newly researched history of the town of Ballyshannon and the townlands in Kilbarron and Mágh Éne parishes/ Records of the first travellers and tourists to Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Belleek and Ballintra/An aerial guide to place names along the Erne from Ballyshannon to the Bar/Flora and Fauna of the area/ A history of buildings and housing estates in the locality/Graveyard Inscriptions from the Abbey graveyard, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s /Rolling back the years with many memories of the Great Famine, Independence struggle, hydro-electric scheme, Gaelic games, boxing, handball, Boy Scouts, soccer, mummers, characters, organisations, folklore and lots more.

Book Available from The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon, Ballyshannon and District Museum, The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town or Anthony Begley West Rock Ballyshannon.  Enquiries welcome for postal and other details.

The blogs are original and are not taken from the book above.

No comments:

Post a Comment