We visited Clontibret, and Irish village just on the border with Northern Ireland. In particular we visited a small church property. Pictured below is the new church, and also next to it are the remains of the old church. This is where Garry’s great great grandparents were married in the first half of the 19th century. Growing up I heard many references to Newry and County Monaghan so it was wonderful to see the area.
Clontibret is famous for an historical battle. Just down the road from the church in 1547 was the Battle of Clontibret was fought in County Monaghan in March 1595 during the Nine Years War between the Crown forces of England’s Queen Elizabeth I and the Irish army of Hugh O’Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone. The battle ended in victory for Lord Tyrone, and was the first severe setback suffered by the English during the war.
On 7 August 1986, in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Northern Irish unionist politician Peter Robinson led an “invasion party” of 500 unionist militants into Clontibret and held a military parade with drill in the square, before being forced by the Gardaí [police] to retreat back across the border. Irish authorities claimed that there were no more than 150 militants. Two Gardaí were beaten by the mob, while Robinson and others were arrested, tried, and eventually fined for the incident.
We found it difficult to see the history of violence in such a peaceful landscape.