Inishmacsaint’s heritage will be on view during special open days


Revd Stephanie Woods with Ron Ferguson and Eddie Rogers preparing for the heritage open days.

The heritage of St Ninnidh’s Church, in the Church of Ireland’s Parish of Inishmacsaint near Derrygonnelly will be outlined in a special exhibition and open days in early September.

The parish will be opening their church on European Heritage Open Days on Saturday, 11th September from 10am to 6pm and on Sunday, 12th September from 2pm to 6pm. Information will be available on the Ely ancestry and their contribution to the church.

The Fermanagh Genealogy Group will be attending on the Saturday.

On Sunday, 12th September, during morning service, the Bishop of Clogher, the Right Revd Dr. Ian Ellis will lead a Service of Thanksgiving for the Ely family and for all in the community, past and present, who have contributed to the life and growth of this community of faith.

A special memorial stone will be unveiled recording those who are buried in the church crypt.

The Revd Stephanie Woods, who is in charge of the parish, has compiled a short, colourful history book of the church and the Ely family, an accompanying puzzle book and a book detailing the providence and meaning of the stained glass in the church. These will be available over the weekend.

Nineteenth Century panels, hand painted by Lady Anna Maria and currently awaiting restoration, will also be available for viewing as well as the 6th century hand chiselled font (still in use today) and the first full size, autonomous window undertaken by the world-famous glass artist Wilhelmina Geddes.

The present church at Benmore was built in 1831 using a loan of £1,384 12d 3 3/4d from “First Fruits,” a fund from the first year’s revenue of all Church of Ireland vacant churches. With repayments annually of £55.8s the Second Marquis of Ely, John Loftus who lived between 1770 and 1845 paid a fifth and the parish the remaining four fifths.

John Loftus owned some 34,000 acres of land in Fermanagh and was considered a good landlord.

One of the interesting features in the church is the 6th century baptismal font chiselled from local stone and brought from Inishmacsaint Island to the church where it is still used.

The church was consecrated by the Second Marquis’s brother, Bishop Robert Ponsonby Tottenham on August 31 1831.
Among the many treasures which adorn Inishmacsaint Church is the Angel of Resurrection stained glass window dating from 1912 and which was the first full scale church window produced by the celebrated Irish artist, Wilhelmina Geddes.

Funding and support for the weekend has been provided by the Lough Erne Partnership.

A virtual tour of the building and grounds is available on the Facebook page;