st-endaThere is a suggestion that the present Parish of Killanny is an amalgamation of two otherancient Parishes, one founded by St. Patrick in the town-land of Annahean and the other being in the townlan-land of Killanny proper, with its Parish Church of St. Ultan.

The name of Killanny is variously described as Anglicised forms of Cill Enna (Church of Enda), Cill Annaigh (the Church of the March) and Coill Fhanaidh (the wood of the slope).

The first of these is the one most popularly accepted. St. Enda belonged to a noble family in South Monaghan or North Meath, the son of a minor chieftan, Conall (Prince of Oriel), and in time he succeeded to the chieftainship himself.  His sister, St. Fanchea, became a Christian and founded a convent near Enniskillen.  Little is known about her other than she was an Abbess and flourished in the 6th century.

Once while St. Enda was on his way home from battle, he visited his sister’s convent and was persuaded to become a Christian.  He studied in Scotland and returned to Ireland.  He is mentioned as having founded a church in Killanny and of giving the very name to the Parish – Killanny i.e. the Church of Enda.  He died in 542 and his Feast Day is the 21st March.

In 1841, the Parish population was 4,896: by 1851 it had declined to 3,394.  In 1901, the total population was 1,590 and in the 1990 diocesan census, it amounted to 1,124.  The latest census of the Parish was taken on 1st April, 2010.  At that time there were 437 Catholic homes in the Parish and a Catholic population of 1257.

St. Ultans Bell

St. Ultans Bell is of an uncertain age but is believed to be over 200 years old. The bell was removed from the old church located in Killanny and moved to the present Church in Tullydrum was built in 1917.  An inscription reads “St. Ultan, Our Patron, Pray for us.” The bell is rung at 6.00pm every evening for the Angelus and before Mass on Sundays and at funerals.

Irish Place-names in Killanny

The beautiful Irish place-names originated way back in the mists of time before history was recorded but they aptly described the land the early settlers found.  The Annagh townlands, such as Annaghean, describe the marshes and bogs that lay between the drumlins (hills). Annahean (marsh of hollows),  Annacroff (marsh of the wild garlic), Annamarron (Marron’s marsh). Townlands with Drum, Cor, Cool and Mullagh refer to drumlins, Drumgeeney (mossy ridge), Drumard (the high ridge), Drumturk (ridge of swine), Drumever (Ever’s ridge), Drumhasket (barren or dried-up ridge), Coolaha (hill-back of the battle), Coolreagh (grey hill-back), Coolremoney (hill-back towards the bog), Mullaghmeen (smooth hilltop), Mullaghmacteer (McAteer’s hilltop).   The Tullaigh usually refers to a hill where ceremonies such as the inauguration of a local chieftain took place (Tullynaskeagh – the mound of the bushes - here the chieftains of Farney was crowned beside an ancient thorn tree.  Other townlands remind us of fortified settlements e.g. Dunelty (Fort ofthe Doe or Elk), Shanragh (Old Fort), Lisnakelly (Fort of the Hag or Witch), Lisnashannagh  (the fort of the foxes).

Killanny Old Cemetery

In the southeast of the parish, in the townland of Killanny, is one of Farney’s most ancient and unusual cemeteries.  In this cemetery, which is attached to one of the parish’s oldest churches, are the remains of three private chapels and the walls of a friary.  When the fabric of the Church was sold, the remains interred in it were transferred to the present day cemetery, which was opened and blessed in 1917. The oldest inscription recorded is 1706 while the most recent is 1921.

The Statue at Killanny Church Grounds

statueThe statue that stands in the grotto within the Church grounds was erected back in 1954, the then Marian Year. It was purchased at the request of the then Parish Priest Canon Mc Connell, and the local ICA Guild collected the 100 guineas at the time to buy it. The statue was especially made in Belgium and depicted Our Lady of Banneux in Belgium, where on 15th January in the year 1933 she appeared to a little local 11 year old girl, eight times. On the site of the apparition a statue resembling this Killanny statue stand erected surrounded by a grotto adorned by shrubs and flowers. The local ICA Guild, with members Mary and Bridget Mc Kenna continue to this day to maintain the grotto as a tribute to those former members who contributed to the purchasing of the statue.

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