Views from around Learmount and Upper Cumber parishes Co. Derry.

We now know that Colonel O'Kane was from Tireighter townland on the slopes of Sawell hill shown in the image below. It will no doubt be of interest to descendants of O'Kanes, Mullans, McCluskeys and other people whose ancestral roots are in the area to see images of the churches and graveyards where their ancestors may have worshipped at and are buried in. We know that scores if not hundreds emigrated to America from the townlands of these parishes. Many many went to the Philadelphia area. Their blood relatives are still in the area and many will have moved on to other parts of the States. Let us take a short look at some views around both Learmount and Upper Cumber parishes. Park would have been very well known to Dennis O'Kane.

View across Park village from Altinure. Sawell hill in background.

Coming into Park village from Learmount.

St Mary's chapel Altinure.Dec.2003

This beautiful church stands on high ground on the west side the Faughan river in a very beautiful setting. There had been a Mass house on the site since about 1730 after the relaxation of the Penal Laws. By about 1822 the old Mass house which had been repaired from time to time was at the ends of its days. a slate roof was put on it and it was kept operative until 1870. In 1871 the current church (the one above) was built and opened.

Old Section of graveyard of St Marys.

This view looks across the oldest part of the graveyard with the oldest headstones. Note the number of Celtic crosses. It is a matter of interest to note that the person or persons who have the largest headstones generally were the better off families. There was a kind of one upmanship around even in the very bad times. Do things change?.

Old Celtic Cross in front of St Marys.

This large granite Celtic Cross was erected to commemorate a mission that took place at the church in June 1873. It is till in quite good condition after some 140 years.

St. Joseph's church Craigbane Co. Derry.

This is the most remote of all the chapels listed. It lies along a glen between two mountain slopes. This would have been a community in the mid 19th century having to self help and each person and family would have to work for each other. This spirit I find is still alive and well. To the right of the above image can be seen Sawell hill a view well known to Dennis O'Kane in the 1820's. It is a barometer of the Sperrin weather!. The people of these hills and valleys of the Sperrin are I find resolute, determined, resourceful. In my researcing the material for this website I have found them to have been most giving of what historical information they had and most courteous in their exchanges. There is a lot of history in the Sperrin hills and it would really need to be written down before it is too late.

The bleak Sperrin hills between Draperstown and Claudy Co. Derry.