A major new publication is about to be added to the already large collection of Roscommon local histories. Covering a large swathe of the eastern part of the county, Sliabh Bán, A Historical Journey, is a 470-page volume which chronicles the lives and times of generations past who lived on and around the rugged mountain.
This publication is the culmination of twenty years of research and writing by Henry Owens of Lismehy. He has been assisted in recent years by Mike Lennon, now Dublin-based, but who grew up in Corbohill. Bringing it to the publication stage was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ballymore native and RTE Gaelic Games Correspondent, Brian Carthy, and the design and layout staff of Brian’s company, Sliabh Bán Productions. Individuals and businesses in the locality have also come forward as sponsors.
While individual histories of schools, churches and GAA clubs in the area have been written, this is the first comprehensive historical account of the greater Sliabh Bán district. It encompasses the modern parishes of Kilgefin, Tarmonbarry and Strokestown which include the ancient parishes of Cloontuskert, Kilgefin, Bumlin, Cloonfinlough, Lisonuffy along with the northern end of Kilbride, an area of about 70 square miles.
The book is divided into fifteen sections which deal with geography, religion, education, natural history, sport, political history, entertainment, drama, infrastructure, farming, business, prominent people and families. There is a lengthy memoir written by the late Dr. Hugh Gibbons in which he recounts his formative years in Ballybeg while Brian Carthy has contributed an account of family life while growing up in Ballymore.
Thanks to the generosity of many contributors, the book is liberally illustrated with hundreds of old photographs which will evoke memories of events, places and people who have passed on to their eternal reward. The last section is devoted to a miscellaneous collection of photographs under the title ‘Pictorial journey through the years’.
The publication of this history will help present and future generations discover and reflect on how their ancestors lived through periods of famine, poverty, political subjugation and unrest, while pursuing ordinary day-to-day activities. It also shines a light on how the population around Sliabh Bán evolved from being tenants and cottiers to the modern-day communities of today.
The launch is scheduled to take place in the Percy French Hotel, Strokestown on Sunday night, December 16th and further details will be announced in the coming weeks.