Welcome to the twin communities of Pettigo, in County Donegal, and Tullyhommon, in County Fermanagh. Pettigo and Tullyhommon share the same small village community bisected by the Termon River which creates the border between County Donegal and County Fermanagh. My Monaghan ancestors were born and raised near the little village of Pettigo on a mountain called Croagh. Thanks to John Cunningham, local historian, tour guide and author of
Erne Heritage Tours, who braved the elements and rough terrain, I've located my ancestral home. He wrote: "Croagh is in a remote area with little good roads. It is also on the top of a hill since the Irish word 'Croagh' means a hill and the only way in to your house is by a long uphill walk through bog and rough grazing. Most of the mountain was common land with farms round the bottom with each farmer having grazing rights on the highest ground. It is a high bare area covered in short grass, heather and rushes and chiefly grazed by sheep. It overlooks the pilgrimage island of Lough Derg on one side and Lower Lough Erne on the other. Near the top of the mountain are two small lakes and your ancestral home lies between both of these which are about a half a mile apart. Your home looks down into what is locally known as Mulraine's Lough. I met an old shepherd on the mountain - he owns a lot of it and he confirmed the Monaghan house and farm which carried on in the family down the years until nearly the present day. The house is standing about 4-5 feet high. There is no sign of roofing which suggests a thatched house from which all the timber and straw have vanished. To the right of the house, as one looks at the front door, is some metal roofing and this may have been a byre, turf house, or henhouse. There are a few remains of some other buildings. I photographed the house, the lakes, the landscape and nearby Carn Graveyard which for centuries (at least 600 plus years) has buried the people of the locality although now is largely superceded by newer graveyards in Pettigo. I recorded Carn (otherwise known as Templecarn Graveyard) many years ago and published it in the Donegal Annual Historical Journal - some Monaghan inscriptions are from the early 1700's."
Finding that information was very exciting for my family and we owe John a sincere debt of gratitude. Since I've found very little on the 'Net available on this little town, I decided to create a page of my own to promote interest in, and tourism to, Pettigo, Tullyhommon and the surrounding areas. If you have a business, large or small, in or near Pettigo or Tullyhommon, please e-mail me and I'll be happy to provide free advertising space on this site. I'd also love to hear from anyone with roots or an interest in Pettigo or Tullyhommon. Perhaps, together, we can present a worthwhile presence for Pettigo and Tullyhommon on the web.
The little village of Pettigo sits on the border between Donegal and Fermanagh and, in my opinion, some of the friendliest people in Ireland live there. Pettigo is strategically situated at a crossroads between Lough Erne and Lough Derg and between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Pettigo has always been known for friendliness and hospitality. In Celtic times, it was the "Place of the Blacksmith" and for medieval Europe it was the gateway to the Purgatory of St. Patrick. The 17th and 18th centuries saw Pettigo become a famous marketplace and in more recent times its frontier location made it a "smugglers paradise". Pettigo provides the visitor with an excellent base for touring Counties Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Sligo, Tyrone and Derry. Within a half hour's drive there are two 18 hole golf-courses, blue flag beaches, an aquatic centre and all water sport and swimming facilities. The Marble Arch Caves, Yeat's Country, the Ulster American Folk Park and the Giant's Causeway are within an hour's drive.
St. Patrick's Purgatory: Pettigo is a village where the border separating the Republic of Ireland from Northern Ireland
runs. As a matter of fact, the river that runs smack through the middle of Pettigo is the dividing line. Locals say the fish that swim in it are bilingual because of it! It is a handsome village and is the main centre for pilgrims visiting Lough Derg. Turn left in the village and follow the signs to Lough Derg. The island on this southeast Donegal lake has received pilgrims from all over Europe since early Christian times. It is known as St. Patrick's, who reputedly did penance here. Only pilgrims are allowed on the island during the summer pilgrimage season. The Octagonal church, which can be seen from the mainland, was built in 1921.
LOUGH DERG: Lough Derg is a large, shallow lough of over 2,000 acres, 4 miles north of Pettigo. This is the lough with the famous island known as St Patrick's Purgatory, with its basilica and penitential exercises, where pilgrims flock every year from June to August. What is less well known is that it holds a stock of nice trout averaging just under a pound and some much better ones too-trout to 4lb have been reported. The fish are pink fleshed and their diet consists mainly of Gammarus-freshwater shrimp. Other forms of fish food and fly life are relatively scarce and consequently the trout are slow to come to the fly. Lough Derg fishes best in May. It has fair hatches of chironomids and sedges and evening fishing gives best results. A favorite area is along the northeast shore where the river flows out. Boats are available for hire from Mr. Monaghan at the Quay. Private angling boats are not allowed without permission from the Prior. This lough can blow up very rough and it has many rocky shoals just under the surface.
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