Kesh, County Fermanagh

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Kesh
Kesh, Co.Fermanagh - geograph.org.uk - 304288.jpg
Kesh is located in Northern Ireland
Kesh
Kesh
Kesh shown within Northern Ireland
Population 972 (2001 Census)[citation needed]
District
County
Country Northern Ireland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Enniskillen
Postcode district 93
Dialling code 02868
EU Parliament Northern Ireland
UK Parliament
NI Assembly
List of places
UK
Northern Ireland
Fermanagh
54°31′19″N 7°43′23″W / 54.522°N 7.723°W / 54.522; -7.723Coordinates: 54°31′19″N 7°43′23″W / 54.522°N 7.723°W / 54.522; -7.723

Kesh (from Irish Ceis, meaning 'wicker bridge') is a village in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is on the Kesh River about 1 mile (1.6 km) from Lower Lough Erne. The 2001 Census recorded a population of 972 people. It is within Fermanagh and Omagh district.

Because of its location close to Lough Erne the village has been a popular tourist resort. It has two caravan parks, a small attractive marina and other related industries both within its boundaries and the surrounding area. It is about 5 miles (8 km) from the border with the Republic of Ireland and 22 miles (35 km) from the Atlantic coast resort of Rossnowlagh in County Donegal, thus adding to its popularity with holiday makers, day-trippers and weekenders.

History[edit]

Name[edit]

The toponym Kesh comes from ceis, the Irish word for 'wicker bridge', which refers to the crossing in the middle of the village. The village is not built around a parish church or chapel. Two Church of Ireland parishes of Magherculmoney and Tubrid meet at the river and their respective parish churches are each about 2 miles (3 km) either side of the village.

Kesh began as a ford or crossing place on the Glendarragh River. In the past, Lough Erne came very much closer to the village than it does today. Before the first great Erne Drainage in the 1880s, the lake was about eight feet higher and, especially in time of flood, may almost have reached Kesh. The ráth on Rosscah Hill above the late Joe Robert's house (a former rectory of Drumkeeran Parish) indicates original settlement here probably as far back as the Iron Age, c. 2000 years ago. There are two ráths on this hill, but the nearer to the house is believed to be a decorative feature made at the time of the construction of the house in the late 1700s. The large standing stone in Rosculban may be a relic of the Iron Age as well.

After a time, the ford was augmented with a wicker bridge, for which the Gaelic word is ceis, and hence the village got its name. The name had been spelt in varying ways but generally as Kish or Cash until relatively modern times. An ancient saying in the locality, which may refer to basket making and osier working in the area, states that anyone gifted with a big behind "had an arse on them like a Kesh creel."

Crevenish Castle[edit]

The remains of Crevenish Castle are south-east of the village on the Crevenish Road, or 'the back road' as the locals call it. During its time it was home to the Blennerhasset and Maguire families in the seventeenth-century and eighteenth-century.

The Troubles[edit]

On 2 December 1984, 28-year old Alistair Slater, a member of 22 SAS of the British Army, and 27-year-old Antoine Mac Giolla Bhrighde, a Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) volunteer, were both shot dead during an IRA ambush and a gun battle between an undercover 22 SAS British Army units and a PIRA unit near Kesh. 26-year old Kieran Fleming, a PIRA volunteer, drowned in the Bannagh River, near Kesh, as he tried to escape from the gun battle. The IRA men had been attempting to bomb an RUC police car in Kesh. Slater was posthumously awarded the Military Medal for his bravery in the action.[1][2]

Slater's Directory 1870[edit]

This information from Slater's Directory of 1870 tells of the economic activity about Kesh at that time.

BAKER Bernard Kelly
BLACKSMITH Alexander Coulter and Henry Irwin
BOOT AND SHOE MAKERS Bernard Flynn, Terence Harran, James Irwin, Samuel Mc Caffrey and William Wherry
CARPENTERS AND CART MAKERS William Mc Clintock
CHINA, GLASS AND EARTHENWARE DEALERS William Gilmore
EMIGRATION AGENTS James Aiken
GROCERS James Aiken, Richard Elliott, Adam Eves, William Gilmore and Bernard Kelly
GUANO DEALERS AND SEEDSMEN James Aiken
HARDWAREMEN James Aiken and William Gilmore
LINEN AND WOOLLEN DRAPERS AND HABERDASHERS James Aiken
MILLINERS AND DRESSMAKERS Catherine Doonan
NAIL MAKERS William Graham and Joseph Mc Barron
PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS Baptist G Graham, Drumrush, Kesh
POSTING HOUSES Adam Eves
SPIRIT AND PORTER DEALERS William Aiken, William Campbell and Thomas Muldoon
TAILORS Patrick Doonan and Edward Johnston
TIMBER IRON AND COAL MERCHANTS James Aiken
KESH RAILWAY STATION James Connell, Station Master
CONSTABULARY STATION Thomas Lewers Sub-Inspector, Thomas Kernan, Head Constable

Local attractions[edit]

  • The Lough Erne Hotel, originally a Royal Irish Constabulary barracks, later a tapestry house, and now the only hotel in Kesh by the Glendurragh River at the top of the main street. Still has the old gaol doors intact from the 1800s.
  • Belleek Pottery, world famous producer of Parian china.
  • The Boa Island carved stones, graveyard and enclosure are Scheduled Historic Monuments sited in the townland of Dreenan 5 miles from Kesh
  • Castle Archdale Estate and marina, a large amenity that includes gardens, walks, water sports and other facilities; the complex also has a large caravan and camping park
  • Drumrush Lodge, a restaurant and caravan park that also has a private marina that offers a full range of water sports
  • Lough Erne is nearby and linked with Kesh by a navigable river terminating at the marina in the middle of the village beside the Lough erne Hotel
  • The Manor House Hotel, 6 miles (10 km) away in Killadeas, provides golf and water sports facilities as well as a private leisure club and swimming pool
  • Muckross, an inland lakeside 'beach' which used to be popular with families is now taken over almost exclusively by jet-skiers. It is south of Kesh, about 1 mile (1.6 km) from the village on the shore of Lough Erne
  • North Fermanagh Club, a football (during winter) and cricket (during summer) venue on the Crevenish Road

Kesh Primary School[edit]

The date the school was established is unknown but the Clogher Records record a school in Kesh, Rosscolban in 1820 beside the schoolmaster's house. The original building was built in 1865 (as marked on the memorial stone on the front of the school). In 1957, the Right Hon Edward Archdale[who?] paid for the renovation of the school of 1 classroom making it into 3 classrooms and a PE hall. Many children were demanding enrolment as a result of the closure of other rural schools in 2001 WELB decided to build a new school. Building started in 2006 and the same year the school was ready to intake an average of 200 children.

Notable Kesh connections[edit]

  • Comedian Frank Carson spent time as plasterer in Kesh and is responsible for the work in some of the local authority housing on the Ederney Road. He is warmly remembered.
  • Although born in Oxford, former Arsenal and England defender Martin Keown spent a lot of his childhood in Kesh as his father is from near the village.
  • Former England cricket captain, Michael Vaughan has often been spotted in Kesh, his wife Nichola is from a village nearby.
  • Frank Ormsby, poet and former editor of The Honest Ulsterman, lives in the neighbouring village of Irvinestown.

Transport[edit]

Kesh railway station on the Enniskillen and Bundoran Railway was opened on 13 June 1866 and closed on 1 October 1957.[3]

The greatest impetus ever provided to Kesh was the arrival of the railway in 1866. It provided employment and a focus for traffic to and from the station. Hardware shops and shops providing for the needs of farmers could now carry a greater variety of goods and stock could be replenished more quickly than by horse and cart.[citation needed] Cattle and other livestock could also be transported to distant markets after being bought in local fairs such as Ederney and Lack itself. Butter and eggs could be produced in greater quantities and markets in Belfast and Dublin easily reached by train. Another boon to Kesh was the establishment of the Creamery there although this was done against much local opposition.[citation needed]

Ulsterbus routes 194 (Enniskillen to Pettigo) and 83A (Omagh to Kesh) stop in Kesh

2001 census[edit]

Kesh is classified as a small village or hamlet by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) (i.e. with population between 500 and 1,000). On Census day (29 April 2001) there were 972 people living in Kesh. Of these:

  • 23.7% were aged under 16 years and 17.6% were aged 60 and over
  • 49.2% of the population were male and 50.8% were female
  • 15.8% were from a Catholic background and 83.1% were from a Protestant background
  • 2.3% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed

For more details see: NI Neighbourhood Information Service

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/50391/pages/240 Slater profile
  2. ^ http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/chron/
  3. ^ "Railscot: Kesh, Fermanagh" (PDF). Railscot-Irish Railways. Retrieved 16 October 2007. 

External links[edit]