Memorial marks contribution by Ely family to historic church in Clogher Diocese


The unveiling of the Ely memorial stone by Bishop Ian Ellis.

A memorial has been unveiled in memory of the Ely family who contributed so much to St. Ninnidh’s Parish Church, Inishmacsaint in Clogher Diocese over many generations.

The memorial was unveiled and dedicated by the Bishop of Clogher, the Right Revd Dr. Ian Ellis at Sunday service during the European Heritage Open Weekend.

Among the visitors attending the service was Ms Elmarie Swanepoel, Programme Manager of the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership, who along with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, gave their support and funding to the project.
The Project Graveyard Committee used the support and funding for graveyard scrub removal, historical research and the erection of the Ely memorial stone.

The unveiling ceremony was part of an extensive heritage weekend when the church and grounds were opened to visitors.

The owners of the former old Benmore Rectory close by, Jason and Claire Palmer, opened their grounds for visitors where they received refreshments prepared by members of the parish.

During the weekend, the Fermanagh Geneaology Group attended.

Bishop Ellis who led the 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, referred to heritage.

He said: “Heritage speaks to us of the full range of our inherited traditions, it includes our monuments, our other objects and our culture. It includes our contemporary activities too and the meanings and behaviours we draw from them. It is much more than just the preserving and exhibiting, restoring and displaying a whole collection of all things. Heritage is about gathering up from the past, reflecting, learning, and preserving all the key values and inheritance we have and passing them on to a generation still to come.

“As people of faith on a day such as today, as we look back and look around us with a heightened sense of awareness of people of faith who have worshipped here we give thanks to God that we are in the words of our reading surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith’.”

The present church in Inishmacsaint Parish was built in 1831 and contains many ornate and historic artefacts including a 6th Century font brought from Inishmacsaint Island still in use today and the first full size, autonomous window undertaken by the world-famous glass artist, Wilhelmina Geddes.