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Gleann Ghaibhle
Glangevlin is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°11′33″N 7°53′29″W / 54.19244°N 7.8915°W / 54.19244; -7.8915Coordinates: 54°11′33″N 7°53′29″W / 54.19244°N 7.8915°W / 54.19244; -7.8915
Country Ireland
Province Ulster
County County Cavan
Elevation 127 m (417 ft)
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)

Glangevlin (Irish: Gleann Ghaibhle) or The Kingdom of Glan is situated in the northwest of County Cavan, Ireland, at the junction of the R200 and R207 regional roads. It is surrounded by the Cuilcagh Mountains and borders the counties of Leitrim and Fermanagh.[1] A large stone known as 'Maguire's chair' is deposited on the right hand side of the road, roughly 4 miles from Glangevlin village, so-called because it was supposedly the inauguration site of the Maguire clan in medieval times. However by the late medieval period the Kingdom of Glan was taken over by the Magauran's or McGovern's as they are known by today who already had strongholds in Ballymagauran, Bawnboy and Lissanover. This was after a long violent war between the two clans and still to this day the McGovern's rule the Kingdom of Glan; particularly the Pat Terrys of Tullyminister.

Glangevlin has a strong traditional Irish background and Irish was spoken up until the 1930s, one of the last places in Cavan where this was commonplace.

Glangevlin is also well known to have been the last place in Ireland to have a glacier lasting from the Ice age. The Cuilcagh mountains were the last affected part of the island of Ireland as well as the most western part of Europe bar Iceland.


The modern interpretation of Glangevlin is "Glen with the Fork", but traditionally the name is said to derive from the mythical cow Glas Gaibhleann which belonged to Gaibhnen, the blacksmith of the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Book of Magauran, written c.1340, spells it as Ghleann Gaibhle[2] but it has also been spelled Gleann Gaibhneann, as in this scribal note to the Poems on the O'Reillys:

"I am in Gleann Gaibhneann, now called Gleann Gaibhle, to-day, the vigil of the feast of John the Baptist, 1599."[3]

The Gap of Glan was supposedly created by the cow when it ran away from the blacksmith's forge. In the townland of Doire-na-tuan in Glan is shown the site of Gaibhlean's forge today. MacKillop's Celtic Dictionary gives:

”Glas Ghaibhleann, Gaibhleann, Ghaibhnann, Ghaibhnenn, Ghoibhneann, Gavelen, Gaivlen, Glasgavelen [Ir. glas, green, greenish blue; of Gaiblín (?), of Goibniu (?)]. Celebrated, magical cow, white with green spots, whose inexhaustible supply of milk signalled prosperity. The original owner is a matter of some dispute, possibly Goibniu the smith or Gaiblín, a farmer of Co. Cavan or Balor the Formorian of Tory Island".[4]


This region was reputedly inhabited as far back as 5000 years ago, when tribes such as the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Fomorians, the Milesians and the Celts found their way up the rivers Erne and Shannon.[citation needed] The evidence for this settlement can be seen in the form of the dolmens, ringed forts, caiseals, passage graves and lake dwellings associated with the area.[citation needed] These numerous caves and underground passages provided a shelter for these early settlers.[citation needed] The Ringed Forts were built as a defense against the wolves and eagles during the Bronze Age and were even used up to the 12th Century and later.[citation needed] They were built of clay, stone and bushes.[citation needed]

In the 1609 Plantation of Ulster, Glangevlin formed part of lands which were granted to John Sandford of Castle Doe, Co. Donegal by letters patent dated 7 July 1613 (Pat. 11 James I – LXXI – 38, ‘Glangewley’). It was later sold by Sandford to his wife's uncle Toby Caulfeild, 1st Baron Caulfeild, Master of the Ordnance and Caulfield had the sale confirmed by letters patent of 12 July 1620 (Pat. 19 James I. XI. 45 ‘‘Glangewly’’).

In early 1708 the famous harpist Turlough O'Carolan was travelling to Mayo from Fermanagh when he was caught in a snowstorm in Glangevlin. He and his guide were forced to take shelter in a miserable cabin where he spent a few days waiting for the snow to clear. Whilst on the muddy mountainside with nothing but water to drink he composed the famous air "Lament for Sir Ulick Bourke".

The Roman Catholic parish of Glangevlin formed part of Templeport parish until 1750 when it was hived off into a separate parish.

John O'Donovan visited Glan on Monday 16 May 1836 for the purpose of the Ordnance Survey then taking place. He states:–

"After having procured a kind of a dinner at the head Inn of Swanlinbar, wishing to lose no time in that uninteresting village we directed our course southwestwards for about three miles through the Parish of Kil Naile, and then turned northwestwards to make our way into the centre of the wild valley of Glen Gavlen, a distance of 8 long Irish miles. This is the worst road and perhaps the wildest district I ever saw. Situated between the two lofty and barren Mountains of Cailceach and Sliabhan-Iarainn, this valley will never induce mankind to run a railroad through it; its sides are precipitous and rocky, defying the exertions of the plough and the wheeled car, and even of the side car! The loy (a peculiar long spade) only can be used to form the nidus for the potato and grain. The snow lies brooding on the mountains on either side till late in Spring (which prevents early tillage) and when dissolving before the south wind warmed by the sun of spring it (i.e. the snow turned into water) overfloods and injures the sloping fields, the Mistks and Meenies of this Valley of Gavlen. Its road (if road it might be called) is precipitous and stony, and intersected by many deep and rough glens with their mountain streams (now nearly dried up) which makes it very difficult to run a rail road from the City of Bawnboy to that of the Black Lion. Perhaps the future industry of the men of Hy Briuin Breifny may open this important communication after they shall have again set up Magauran as the Lord of the Tribe of Eochy (Tullyhaw)! We lodged in a farmer's house in Glen Gavlen for two days; on Tuesday we directed our course northwards through the parish of Templeport, over a very bad, rough, rocky road and indulged our curiosity by visiting the large spring well in the Townland of Derrylahan in which the Shannon (according to tradition) had its source. It is a round deep pool throwing out a stream of considerable size which the country people call the Shannon. The pool itself is called by some Poll Lagan Sionna, and Lag Bhun na Sionna by others. From this pool we directed our course through the Parish of Killoynagh to hear the names of the townlands in it prounouned in Irish by the natives. They speak the Irish very well but retain no traditions connected with the old Church except that it was built by St.Bridget and St. Leyny, from the latter of whom it and its Parish have received its name. There are two wells dedicated to them which are set down in the name Books and which will consequently appear on the Map. Of St. Leyny nothing is now remembered but that he was a Leinsterman who, falling in love with St. Bridget, followed her hither, but who, when St. Bridget plucked out her eyes to destroy her beauty, repented, became a Saint and built this Church by which he transmitted his memory to posterity with more success than he would have by marrying the beautiful-eyed Bridget. When St. Leynie declared that he was in love with St. Bridget she asked with what part of her he was in love. He answered, with her eyes, upon hearing which she plucked out her eyes saying, here they are for you - a wonderful thing for one to do, who was herself a bastard. After getting the names of the Parish of Kil-Loynie we returned from the Black Lion and Lough Macnean to our host in Glenn Gaibhlean, and the next morning we remeasured our journey along the craggy and precipitous road between the mountains, the only pass out of this dreary district and proceeded southwards through the Parish of Templeport with a view of seeing Father Philip Magauran, a lineal descendant of the last chief of the tribe of Eochy (Tullyhaw) but he was not at home."

The Kingdom of Glan is described by Lewis (1837) as a mountainous district between the counties of Fermanagh and Leitrim, generally known as the country of the MacGaurans.[1] Around 1837 there was no public road, only one difficult pass; the Gap of Beal.[1] At that time the area was approximately 16 miles in length by 7 in breadth, and was densely inhabited by a 'primitive race' known as Mac Gaurans and Dolans, who (it was reported) intermarried and observed some peculiar customs; electing their own king and queen from the ancient race of the Mac Gaurans, to whom they paid implicit obedience.[1] It was also stated by Samuel Lewis that their sole occupation was tilling the land and attending the cattle; potatoes and milk, sometimes with oaten bread, being their chief food; and that "the want of a road by which the produce of the district might be taken to the neighbouring markets operates as a discouragement to industry and an incentive to the illicit application of their surplus corn."[1]

The Troubles [Disputed - no verifiable source][edit]

Glangevlin has throughout history been an Irish republican stronghold. With many volunteers hailing from Glan itself as well as the surrounding areas. From the Old IRA to the modern day Real IRA, Glangevlin has never been short in the supply of volunteers. Glan Hall was the official headquarters of the feared and renowned West Cavan Brigade of the Provisional IRA. The West Cavan Brigade also covered many other near by areas such as Blacklion, Dowra, Corlough, Templeport and even as far east as Ballyconnell, Killeshandra and Drumlane. The Brigade were highly feared by Her Majesty's forces often adventuring into the North to take on the SAS in the south of Fermanagh. They also patrolled the streets of Blacklion and Dowra making it a no go zone for the Gardaí. However the most feared volunteers of the renowned Brigade occupied the steep slopes of the Cuilcagh Mountain and were known collectively as the 'Glangevlin Snipers'. Throughout the late 1970s, and early 1980s they assainted dozens of British Soldiers infact British troops became so frightened of this deadly duo that by the mid 1980s British soldiers would only operate the Fermanagh/Cavan border region by air and even then they weren't safe with famous duo taking down a grand total of three British army helicopters killing 10 soldiers in the process. The last one of these attacks came in July 1992. Over the course of the troubles the duo are believed to have assassinated up to 25 British Soldiers, five of them being SAS. However no one was ever prosecuted for these killings and outside the republican circle their names remain unknown.

Ghostly Goings On[edit]

In 1943 Glangevlin was purportedly the site of an supernatural event, when four young local women reported that they had seen the ghastly spectre of a funeral cortege, as they made their way home at 1 a.m. in the morning. In an extraordinary coincidence, a local man from Glangevlin had died a few days before in a New York City construction accident, despite the best attempts of his buddies to save him. It transpired that the local mans dying request was to be buried at home in Glangevlin, but due to his precarious fiscal state, this was deemed impossible. Instead his burial took place in New York at 8pm, which with the time difference, was the exact same time that the local women encountered the ghost cortege in Glangevlin, so you know it has to be true. Further evidence of the veracity of the claims is provided by the fact that one of the women was (in later years) the mother of Irish music superstar Big Tom. In later years Big Tom documented the incident in his Number 1 smash hit 'The Ghost of Glangevlin'.

Townlands in Glangevlin parish[edit]

Altnasheen; Altshallon; Bellavally; Bursan; Carnamaclean; Carrick West; Coppanaghbane; Coppanaghmore; Corneenflynn; Corracleigh; Corratawy; Crea; Curraghglass; Curraghvah; Derrylahan; Derrynananta; Derrynataun; Drumhurrin; Dunmakeever; Esvaugh; Garvolt; Gowlat/Golagh; Gub; Knockgorm; Lattone; Legatraghta; Legglass; Legnaderk; Legnagrow; Moneenabrone; Moneensauran; Mullaghlea; Mully Lower; Tonanilt/ Towney; Tullycrofton; Tullynacleigh; Tullynacross; Tullyminister; Tullytiernan

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland. I. S. Lewis & Co. 1837. 
  2. ^ Unknown (1947) [c. 1340]. "XXIII: Aonghus Ó hEoghusa .cc.". In McKenna, Lambert. Book of Magauran:Leabhar Méig Shamhradháin. p. 197. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  3. ^ Carney, James, ed. (1950). Poems on the O'Reillys. p. xi. 
  4. ^ MacKillop, James (1998). Dictionary of Celtic Mythology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.