Extending from the hills of Donaghmoyne and South Armagh into the lowlands of Louth, Inniskeen (Inis Caoin) is located in the south-eastern extremity of Co Monaghan.
View Map >>
Inniskeen was the site of an early monastic settlement founded by St Daig (which give the parish its old Irish name Iniscaoin Deagha), marked today by the ruins of its round tower. Situated between two divides of the River Fane, the monastery was a natural spot for men who wanted solitude – on the Inis Caoin, the pleasant or quiet island. There are also the remains of an early burial site in Drumgristin upper and the motte-and-bailey in Candlefort is the only remaining reflection of the Anglo-Norman presence.
On the site of St. Daig’s little monastery a later generation built a small stone Protestant church, which has since been deconsecrated and is now used as a folk museum. At Drumcatton the people built their first post-penal church of St. Anne in 1796 on a mass site they had once used. The parish was deprived of most of its congregation when its one thousand or so inhabitants of the mud cabins of Blackstaff (known as Tattyboy’s, Blackstaffe or Eight Tates though the ages) were turned out on the roads as punishment for being “a nest of rebels”. This event is now recorded on a memorial stone at Blackstaff.
In 1820 the community of Inniskeen built St. Mary’s Church on the site of a previous thatched church. In 1974 a new church was built in Inniskeen, the church of Mary, Mother of Mercy, Ednamo, and the church at Drumcatton and St. Mary’s was closed. In 1988 the Inniskeen Enterprise Development Group was set up and has overseen the refurbishment of the old St. Mary’s Church into the Patrick Kavanagh Resource Centre. St. Anne’s has been renovated by the Drumcatton 2000 Committee to become a rural and folk museum.
The first section of the Dundalk and Enniskillen railway, between Dundalk and Castleblayney was opened in 1849 and passed through the parish of Inniskeen, making stops at Inniskeen and Blackstaff. Several trains passed through daily, offering first, second and third class carriages, a day and night mail train also travelled the tracks. The Inniskeen station closed in 1955.
Born in Mucker in 1905, Patrick Kavanagh is Inniskeen’s most famous son. The Patrick Kavanagh Resource Centre is housed in the old St. Mary’s Church, which Patrick would have attended, and celebrates his life and work. For more information on the Kavanagh Centre and Inniskeen see the Patrick Kavanagh Centre web site: www.patrickkavanaghcountry.com