Publication of St Mogue’s Island Book
To coincide with the formal blessing and opening of the new boathouse at St. Mogue’s Island on Templeport Lake an interesting book has been published to commemorate the event. St. Mogue’s Island, or Inch as it is sometimes known, is an ancient burial place where funerals have been held since the 12th century. Its association with Mogue reaches back to his birth on the island in 555 A.D. and, because of this connection, it was the chosen burial ground for countless families from Templeport, Drumreilly, Corlough and beyond.
This very readable book ‘St. Mogue’s Island’ not only sets out to give a brief history of the island and of St. Mogue’s life, but also concentrates on the people around Port Lake, on those who had responsibility for the island’s upkeep, on some of the people and families buried there and on death, wakes and burial practices of long ago. There are also a number of contributions dealing with life in Templeport parish exactly a century ago, including the opening of Templeport Hall, the founding of St. Aidan’s Football Club on Duffy’s Hill, a ploughing match held in Bawnboy in that year and a listing of the people who lived in the townlands around the lakeshore in 1911.
One of the most notable articles in the book tells the story of an Irish manuscript produced by the monks who lived and worked on St. Mogue’s Island in the 9th century, and carried by one of them to the famous Benedictine monastery of St. Gallen in Switzerland, where it has remained for 1200 years.
The clay from St. Mogue’s Island is renowned for its legendary properties in keeping safe the people and places on which it is stored, and there are a number of stories in this book to illustrate this. It is also widely known that Mary McGovern, a survivor of the Titanic disaster, was carrying some of the clay given to her by her mother before she left Corlough in 1912, and Mary’s story is told in the book in her own words. The use of clay from the island is as popular today as it has ever been.
The tiny island, little more than half an Irish acre, has been the scene, not only of thousands of funerals, but of a miracle, a murder, a plane crash, a film and an intervention by the famous balladeer and painter Percy French, all recounted in the book. It saw the presence of packs of wolves nearby, the foundation of a famous hedge school, the first translation of the Bible into Irish by a local clergyman and the introduction of the Cavan and Leitrim narrow gauge railway as it passed along the lake shore between Bawnboy Road and Killyran stations. The book also tells the story of the Bawnboy Express, an early charabanc working between Bawnboy Road Station and Enniskillen.
The book is widely illustrated and contains a variety of pictures old and new. Some of these feature people associated with the island, those who have looked after it and those who made a significant contribution to life in Templeport. There are pictures too of Mogue’s Shrine and Bell that in 2010 made a historic return to Cavan after 130 years, of Mogue’s Harp, of funeral crossings to the island in recent years made in the depths of winter, when ice had to be hacked to make a channel for the boat to get through, of the nearby historic Holy Trinity Church of Kildoagh built in 1796 in the lakeside townland, and the Mission Cross erected there in 1874.
The book is widely on sale in Bawnboy, Ballyconnell, Ballymagovern and surrounding areas and also in the Crannóg Bookshop, Cavan, price 12 euro. It is also available by post, send an email with your request and address to: