Inishowen land of Eoghan

The following extract 'Mamore Gap' is taken from 'Inishowen land of Eoghan' p20.

As we travel from Dunree towards the village of Clonmany the road begins to climb steeply as we approach the Urris Hills that rise in the distance to a height of 1300 feet. Between the Urris Hills is a steep mountain pass that affords spectacular views towards Dunaff Head and Tullagh Point. Here lies Mamore Gap in Gaelic Madhm Mor or 'Great Gap', a place that has a mystical spirit of its own.

At the summit of Mamore is a holy well dedicated to Saint Eigne a local saint who has given his name to the parish of Desertegney nearby.

Beside the well there is a small grotto with a statue of the Virgin Mary where small offerings are left by local people and travellers. On the 15th of August each year the Rosary is said at the site of the holy well.

The Urris hills are also famous locally for Poteen making which in the past has been something of a home industry in the area. Poteen making in Inishowen usually went on in remote areas to avoid the attention of the authorities and poteen was important locally on special occasions such as wakes, weddings and other social gatherings. Indeed Urris in the early part of the 20th century was jokingly referred to as 'The Urris Poteen Republic' when a flu epidemic hit the area and poteen was used for medical purposes.

Below Mamore towards Lenan is an interesting example of the 'rundale system' or old Irish practice of dividing out the land into smaller and smaller strips berween family members which inevitably acted as a contributing factor to the twin terrors of Famine and Emigration throughout Ireland.

The Gaelic language was widely used in the Urris region up until the early part of the 20th century and the famous Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement attended the Gaeltach in Urris in 1904. Casement again returned to Inishowen in 1913 in an effort to organise the Irish Volunteers in the Urris area. When he later tried to ship arms from Germany to aid the Easter Rising of 1916 he was arrested in Co Kerry and later hanged at Pentonville prison on August 3rd 1916.

 


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