Belfast Naturalists' Field Club visit to Tynan and Caledon, 1872

Source: Belfast News-Letter, 20 June 1872. "Belfast Naturalists' Field Club." Online at the British Newspaper Archive, (accessed 2015-11-17). Extracted by Alison Kilpatrick.

  Belfast Naturalists' Field Club.
  (From a Correspondent.)
On Saturday last, the members of this club enjoyed a very pleasant trip to Tynan and Caledon, the pleasure being very much enhanced by the presence of the Rev. Dr. Reeves, of Armagh, who accompanied the party and described the various points of interest visited, furnishing such copious historical information regarding them as could only be acquired through an antiquary of his learning and research. Owing to the uncertain state of the weather, the party leaving Belfast was small; but several members joined at Lisburn and Portadown, and at Armagh some members of the Armagh Natural History Society. Arriving at Tynan Station, the party, some on foot, and some in conveyances from the Caledon Arms Hotel, left for Tynan Abbey, the beautiful demesne of Sir James Stronge, M.P., where some time was spent in the enjoyment of its many attractions. The Abbey is not an ecclesiastical edifice, nor is it connected with any ecclesiastical foundation. It is simply a domestic building, erected on what may be considered an ecclesiastical style of architecture, its site being a portion of what are known as Bishop's lands, and it was formerly called Fairview. The Abbey is the residence of Sir James Stronge, one of the members of Parliament for the county, and contains a good collection of excellent paintings, some specimens of ancient glass painting, and no small variety of pottery. In the grounds there are three very good examples of ancient Irish crosses. Two of them were removed from Glenarb, a few miles distant, and one was taken from Tynan, in their originial position. They were uncared for, and were falling into ruin. They are now well protected, and their wanting portions made good. This is some slight return for their removal from their original sites hallowed by the time-honoured associations that hung around them. [
...followed by further description of the demesne, then of the party's tour to Rathtrillick, then back to Tynan, and:] Dr. Reeves was obliged to leave at Tynan, but not before a hearty and unanimous vote of thanks was given him for the valuable services he rendered the party during the day. They then moved on to Caledon, so-called probably from the quantity of nuts that formerly grew there. Dunkeld, or fort of nut trees, in Scotland, had the same origin, as well as the name Caledonia. Some of the most stirring events of the nation's history occurred around this neighbourhood. The town of Caledon had its origin in a castle which was erected close at hand, in the early half of the fifth century, by a member of the great O'Neill family. In early writings it is referred to as Ceannaird. Ceannaird (pronounced Kinard) signifies "Highhead," probably from the townland which had that name up to 1609. The Castle of Kinard became a place of very great importance, and there are several notices of it in the Annals of the Four Masters. Shane Boy, who built the Castle of Kinard, was a younger brother of Henry O'Neill, who was "The O'Neill," or chief of the race, at the close of the sixteenth century. Kinard and all the territory of Turanny, in the County of Armagh, belonged to Sir Henry Oge O'Neill, and was specially excepted from the enormous tract which was granted to Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, being known as "Henry Oge's country." When Henry Oge received his pardon from Queen Elizabeth in 1602, he was resident at Portnelligan, but he soon after removed to the Tyrone part of his estate; and, instead of the Castle of Kinard, he chose as his abode a structure which was erected on a small artificial island in the lake or swamp of Drummorey, which was situate in the low ground. When Sir Cahir O'Dogherty, after the death of Sir Henry Oge, in 1608, invaded the territory, we are told that he made his way across the lake of Drummorey in boats and rafts to the island that was therein, and plundered the fortress that was on it. During the Tyrone wars it was found, by experience, that an enclosure of water afforded greater security against a sudden attack than one of stone, and consequently the native chief preferred the confinement and discomfort of a little island to the ample proportions of a building on the mainland. These islands were generally artifiicial, being formed by piling, and stockade filled in with clay and stones, and were known by the name of Crannogs. Such structure have been more or less in use from the earliest times; but in the latter half of the sixteenth century they became, in the unreduced part of Ulster, the almost universal refuge of the refractory chieftains. In 1609, Robert Hovenden was resident at Kinard, and in 1613, his wife, who by her first husband, was mother of Sir Phelim O'Neill, obtained as her jointure a grant of Drummorey, Kinard, and other lands, which were created into the manor of Kinard, with liberty of park. Here also Sir Phelim, when he became of age, took up his abode, and laid his plans for the rebellion of 1641. But when in the progress of insurrection the country was swept by the enemy's troops, he betook himself to the insular dwelling as affording greater security than a fortress which was accessible on foot. Even this failed in its desired end, for on Sunday following the 14th of July, 1642, the English forces from Armagh "burnt Druim-orraigh, the court of Sir Phelim, and all his plate." This reverse, however, did not wean him from his island, for in the December of 1650 it was in the island of Drummunagh that he won over the Baron of Strabane at the eleventh hour to join him in the rebellion, and two years after, when he was hunted down, after the rebellion was over, it was in an island, probably this, though it is not named, he was discovered, and dragged to justice by Lord Caulfield, his captor, whose arm was nerved with vengeance for a father's murder. The district around Caledon suffered much, as it was the source of many of the atrocities perpetrated during the rebellion of 1641, commenced by Sir Phelim O'Neill on the 22nd of October in that fatal year. It now shares the peace and prosperity that happily prevails over the whole country, and the memory of the deeds of blood that once disturbed it only adds a melancholy interest to a district rich with historical associations, and embellished with natural beauty. At Caledon the party could do little more than drive through the park, of which they saw sufficient to lead to a determination to visit the place again. They, however, had an opportunity of examining another ancient cross in the grounds, this being the fifth cross seen during the day, a greater number than probably could be seen within the same space in any other place.
Article concludes with description of plants observed.]

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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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