uppers and lowers of a Cavan parish
ancient Parish of Lavey derives its name from the Irish-meaning
elm tree. It is situated in East Cavan and was founded by
St. Damhnat, Patroness of the Parish.
At present the Parish consists of thirty-five townlands
but is easily accessible due to the fact that it is bisected
by the main Dublin/Virginia/Cavan Road, locally called the
'Broad Road". Previously there were Sub-Divisions -
notable being Carriga, Grellagh and Killygrogan (Garryowen).
Lavey runs from South-East to North-West townlands on the
Virginia end being Corracarrow, Druminbane, Druminduff,
Stravicnabo, Drumestagh, Bogesky and towards the Cavan end
Lisanahagh, Lateever, Drumhilla, Gortnakillew. Boundary
parishes are Killinkere, Lurgan and Castlerahan on the Virginia
side, with Laragh towards its North and Denn South-West.
Annagcliff comes in towards the Cavan town end. With so
many townlands it is natural that Lavey should have many
I shall begin at the 'Upper Lavey' side of the Parish. Travelling
from Virginia towards Cavan one encounters New Inn cross-roads.
On the traveller's left will be seen a building which until
recent times was New Inn Post Office in the townland of
Druminbane. In older times this was a stopping place for
the mail coach and is now a retail shop. The road which
is on the traveller's left at the cross-roads and passes
New Inn P.O. leads to Ballyjamesduff. On the opposite side
of the main road stands the clearly marked recently developed
complex of Lavey GAA Club on the townland of Druminduff.
The secondary road on that side of the cross-roads leads
to 'Assan Bridge' and Moyleth and on to the Bailieboro area.
A short distance further on the main road one sees where
a section of that road was by-passed due to elimination
of bend and road-widening. On the part of the old road remaining
is a landmark known as 'Nicholas Shop', also an entrance
to a side-road known as 'The Moher Pass'.
Proceeding towards Cavan at the point where the newly constructed
main road meets the by-pass there is an opening on one's
left - a landmark known as the 'Corracarrow Pass'. This
joins the New Inn - Ballyjamesduff Road near Lacken Lake.
Continuing about half a mile further on, one sees on the
left a private house formerly well-known as 'Shan's Shop'
which served the public from 1956 to 1960. On the same side,
although now secluded by a hedge, one may see Lees'
Field" which was the mecca for football and camogie
players of several generations. The next landmark is 'Lees
Cross', a well-known bus stop. The road to the left leads
to Ballyjamesduff via Lattagloghan or one may go to the
village of Crosskeys. That to the right leads to another
landmark - the cottage of the late Pat McConnon (RIP). Prior
to his moving to a new dwelling Mr McConnon decorated the
cottage and kept it in pristine condition. From there one
may go straight on to other landmarks such as Stravicnabo
and Drumnaveigh old National Schools, now in private ownership,
or one may take a left turn through what was once 'Moher
Bog' and come to Tierlahood famed in song by the late Percy
After Lees Cross next landmark is 'St Dympna's Church, Upper
Lavey' on the travellers right. This Church was built in
1861. There were several renovations since then and a special
Blessing and Mass of Thanksgiving was held in the Church
on 20th October, 1996, following the last such. Close to
the Church on the same side of the road is a licensed premises
and restaurant known as 'The Bent Elbow'. A few hundred
years further on, same side of road, is 'Knocknagilla Hall'
which was a National School from 1864 to May 1962. Close
to the hall is a rocky eminence which was originally known
as 'Ferdinads Rock' but later as 'The Raven's Rock' or 'Carraig
na bFhiach nDubh.' Less than a half mile further on the
opposite side of the road is 'Aughadreena National School'
which was built in May 1962. Then there is a turning to
one's right known as 'The Mullamagavin Pass' which leads
to part of Drumgora and Mullamagavin townlands, and also
to another landmark - a house known as 'Carraig na Saoirse'
'Carraig na Saoirse' is a nice two-storied house and is
the centre for the Kilmore Diocesan Youth and Prayer Ministry.
Getting back towards the main road and continuing travelling
towards Cavan one sees on the right a two-storey dwelling
in the townland of Drum gora which was once the residence
of the Conaty Family, fronted by a retail grocery shop.
This was a landmark but is now demolished. On the opposite
side of the road is the townland of Carricknavedaun once
the seat of an old Church. Today 'Floods' Quarry is in operation.
For years there was a flat rock-face there on which a tricolour
flag was painted by a member of the Coraty family in the
twenties. The family suffered as a result of defying the
Black and Tans in their effort to remove it. The flag was
still there in my school-going days but modern technology
has removed it. According to some maps the rock appears
to be in 'Carricknavedaun' but it is often referred to as
'Drumgora Rock' and 'Eamon's Rock'.
Continuing the journey towards Cavan one sees on the left
a two-storey dwelling which was once the P.P's house and
known in my youth as 'Father Galligan's'. Just before that
on the left is a secondary road leading to the townland
of Aughadrecna and known as 'The Aughadreinee Road'. Records
show that there was a road there from ancient times. Further
along the main road one sees 'Beaghy Lake' on the right
and is now moving into Lower Lavey. On the left is a hardware
store which from the turn of the last century to the forties
was the landmark known as 'Corraghoe Creamery'. A road to
the left leads to Crosskeys village in Denn Parish. Next
on the main road one comes to the right turn for the Bailieboro
road is the 'Lavey Inn' - licensed premises serving as bar,
restaurant, dance hall and catering for all functions such
as dances, weddings etc. It's add states 'situated on main
Cavan/Dublin road - overlooking 'Lavey Lake'. On the opposite
side of the main raid or the 'Lavey Inn' is the landmark
'Lavey Strand' which is the entrance to the lovely 'Lavey
Lake' with its two islands and crannógs. It was here
that the famous 'Green Walk' celebrating 'Reform' took place
on 21st July 1833. A road branching off to the right as
one goes towards Cavan at this point leads to Stradone village
in Larah Parish. There was once a public house at 'Lavey
Strand' known as 'Fitzpatricks'. This is no longer a licensed
Keeping to the broad road the next landmark in one's left
is 'Lower Lavey Protestant Church', with a road alongside
same known as the 'Lavey Road'. Writing in Lavey's 'Ringfort
Annual' 1998, my dear friend Seán F. Murray, Fermoy,
says "the Protestant Church at the junction of the
broad road and the Lavey road was a useful landmark when
directing strangers to particular houses and area in that
part of our parish". Taking the 'Lavey Road' one comes
to the now ruined 'Lavey A.O.H Hall". Turning left
there one can take the 'Lavey Lane' and opposite the original
home of the afore-mentioned Seán Murray enter a gateway
to 'St Dympna's Shrine' in the townland of Corrawillan.
St. Dympna's Shrine continues to be a place of pilgrimage
from people from all over Ireland and beyond. The Saint's
name had been given to both Parish Churches and 'The Legend
of St Dympna' would require a complete article on its own.
One such is given by Gerard Tierney in 'Killyconnon National
School 1899-1999' published by Killyconnon N.S. Centenary
Committee 1999, printed by R&S Printers, The Desmond,
The historian, late Bridie N. Smith Brady wrote in the Anglo
"Oh blessed spot where St Dympna rested
Now the wild ash sobs on your chapel floor
Your walls lie low but your faith edureth
In Breffney hearts as in days of yore."
Close to the Shrine is the now disused and once famous 'Cusacks
Mill'. By passing the 'AOH Hall' and travelling a little
further along the 'Lavey Road' one can also reach the Shrine
and Mill through laneway leading to home of Johnnie Cusack,
Cavan All-Ireland Football medal holder. Returning to the
'Lavey Road' one may continue to another famous landmark
known as 'Leiter Tree' or 'The Big Tree'. This stood for
centuries on an elevated patch at the staggered junction
of the Lavey/Cuttragh/Killyconnon roads and the Feaugh lane
(to the North). When I first saw 'Leiter Tree' in the thirties
it certainly was a big leafy tree but the last time I saw
it was in February 2006 it was merely a stalwart stump.
At the tree one may turn left to the nearby 'Lavey Community
Centre' and the new 'Lower Lavey St Dympna's Church', and
continue to 'Killyconnon National School'. Looking South-West
one sees 'Slieve Glath' Mountain, most of which is not in
Lavey Parish. However, its foothills extend into the townlands
of Cuttragh and Derryglen and from Lower Lavey a straight
ditch which extends from the summit to the townlands mentioned
is clearly visible. This appears to divide the mountain
in two between the two townlands. The mountain is visible
from almost all parts of Lavey Parish. The mountain is pronounced
locally as 'Sliglath' and has association with Oisín
and Finn MacCool in local Oisianic tradition. One may go
from the 'Big Tree' or indeed, from Corroghoe to 'Corriga
Hill' on which there are still traces of Cromwel's batteries.
Returning towards the 'broad road' one may call to the old
Cemetery beside the Protestant Church, part of which was
reserved for Catholics. This holds grave stones dating back
to the 1960's and a crest of the famous Neil Smith, a local
fighting hero. Inscription is still clear - "The last
Smith", a cousin of the late Francis Murray, Lavey,
was buried there in the 1940's.
Leaving the Protestant Church and turning left towards Cavan
on to the main road one sees on the right 'Burrowes Lake',
surrounded by forest lands.
Then the townlands nearest Cavan - Drumhilla, Lisananagh,
Lateeever and Gortnakellew come into view - the last landmark
alongside the 'broad road' being 'Cusack's Garage'. In Lateever
townland one may see 'Clough a Cinney' on the lands of the
late 'Jimmy Ralph Smith - a big flat stone supposed to bear
footprints of Fionn Mac Cool. This must have association
with 'Latteever', 'Leacht Eibher', 'Leacht' being a big
flat stone or gravestone, 'Eibhir' being one of the old
names for Ireland. According to the late V. Rev P.A. Sharkey,
P.P Author of 'The Heart of Ireland' Ir and Eibhir were
our first inhabitants and the poem 'Bán Chnoic Eireann
Oighe' says 'Beir beannacht ó mo chroí go
tír na hÉireann - chun a mháireann
de shíolradh 'Ir's Eibhir' at bhán Chnoic
I know that I have omitted many previous landmarks such
as 'Tirneys Hill', 'Terry the Blacksmith's Forge', 'Bianconis'
Stables', 'Moher Hall', 'Lattagolghan Mill' - all no longer
in use or not visible today. All the many ringforts are
Now, dear readers, especially those from Lavey, I hope you
will forgive me because, no doubt, I have omitted some present
landmarks which you see in your daily lives. You will appreciate
that it was well over half a century since I left Lavey,
and while I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the help
given to me by Seán F. Murray in preparation of this
article my great friend had left four years before I did
so. My family maintain that I 'never left it' and I'm sure
the same applies to Seán.
Slán go fóill agus go mbeirimid beo ar an
am seo áris.
By Joe McManus