Cllr John Clendennen pictured at a recent meeting with members of the local community at the Lemanaghan monastic site.

Heritage Week event to take place on Lemanaghan Bog

Lemanaghan Bog Heritage and Conservation Group are looking forward to welcoming visitors to the area for their Heritage Week event this Sunday, August 14.

Lemanaghan Monastic Site, located near the boglands at Lemanaghan, between Ballycumber and Ferbane was founded by St. Manchan in the 7th century. It is believed that the lands at Lemanaghan, referred to as "the island in the bog", had been given to St Ciaran of Clonmacnoise in 644 as a thank you from Diarmuid, High King of Ireland who had asked the monks for their prayers for his success in battle. Manchan a monk of Clonmacnoise, then founded a sister monastery within this newly acquired territory at Lemanaghan. The place-name Lemanaghan “Liath-Manchain” in Irish means the grey place of Manchan”.

As part of the heritage week event, the locals will guide visitors down a 150 metre stretch of the pilgrim path to St. Mella’s Cell. St Mella was St Manchans mother, her house or ‘cell’ is a rectangular medieval enclosure containing a single oratory. This peaceful setting is rich in history and good for the soul. On the return trail, locals will discuss the folklore and stop at St Manchan’s holy well which is reputed to cure all kinds of ailments.

The architectural significance of St Manchan’s Church will be explained during the heritage week event. The main church at Lemanaghan is principally Romanesque and features rounded windows in its southern wall and the remains of a partially ornamented doorway in its west gable. The doorway may be compared with the larger west doorway of the cathedral at Clonmacnoise and both have been dated to the end of the twelfth century.

There is a very special, rectangular-shaped stone in the graveyard that is very beautifully carved on one side with a design that incorporates a series of spirals within a fret pattern. It has visual similarities with the ornament on some of the Irish high crosses of Ireland.

The hidden gems of the tour include the display of several early medieval grave slabs that were found in the graveyard, some of which carry inscriptions in Irish. Most appear to date from the tenth and eleventh centuries.

Light refreshments will be served in the old school house, where the remains of Lemanaghan Castle can be viewed in the background.

The unmissable historic event will start at 6.30pm immediately after the annual blessing of the graves in Lemanaghan graveyard. Mass at 6pm for anyone wishing to attend.

Location: Lemanaghan Monastic Site, Eircode: R35 HR61