Bishops of Clogher lead annual ecumenical service at Pentecost


The ecumenical service taking place at Inniskeen on Pentecost Sunday.

The Ecumenical Service for Pentecost Sunday in Clogher Diocese for 2023 took place at the former Church of Ireland church, graveyard and ancient round tower at Inniskeen, near Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan on a beautiful summer’s day.

Both the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clogher, the Most Revd Larry Duffy and the Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher, the Right Revd Dr. Ian Ellis, attended the service on Pentecost Sunday, 28 May.

Bishop Larry Duffy gave the address welcoming all those attending the service at the ancient and holy place of St Daigh, the home to many gifted people over the years, not least Patrick Kavanagh.

He said; “We come together along the banks of the River Fane on this Feast of Pentecost, a feast which marks the end of the Easter season, but also the birth and beginning of the Church. The Spirit that descended on Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry is now given to us, the Body of Christ.

The clergy who took part in the service.

“St Luke in Acts of the Apostles tries to put words on this major religious event. He speaks of the rush of wind and the tongues of fire resting on the apostles. He tells us that the first fruits of Pentecost is unity; bringing people together. Pentecost brought unity of language and understanding and a clear message that salvation is open to all who call on the name of Jesus. The rejoicing is so great that the crowd thought that those followers of Jesus were drunk.

“The Spirit brings unity and peace, gifts that Jesus says are at odds with the world. Yes, there are world forces at odds with the Spirit which cause division and disharmony. Therefore, the follower of Christ has to watch out in case those worldly forces enter the human heart, marginalising people, shutting people out of company because of skin colour, ethnic background, religion or sexuality.

“This year 2023 marks two important milestones in the journey of unity and witness of Christians in Ireland. It marks the centenary of the formation of the Irish Council of Churches in 1923 and it also marks the 50th anniversary of the Ballymascanlon Talks of 1973 (not far from here) which led to creation of what is known today as the Irish Inter-Church Meeting, the body through which the churches on the island engage and give witness together to the unity that the Spirit calls us to. These bodies were formed in difficult times, in times of civil strife and division, times of great fear. Their patient endurance and the work which they continue to undertake is further witness to the work of the Holy Spirit calling us into greater unity.

“We thank God for the progress that has been made over these decades; for the faithful commitment of so many people to the work of Christian unity, peace and reconciliation. In the tradition of St Daigh and St Macartan, we pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to enlighten this and the future generations so that all may call on the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Bishop Ian Ellis said the greeting and sentence of Scripture and also led the prayers of intercession and gave the blessing at the end.

Local clergy from parishes in the Carrickmacross area; Revd Ian Cruickshank, Rector of Carrickmacross Union, Magheracloone and Ardragh and Canon Martin Treanor, P.P., Inniskeen Parish, also took part, reading lessons and leading responses. Two young people from post-primary schools in the area, Amy Hill, a member of St. Finbarr’s, Carrickmacross and a student at Monaghan Collegiate and Joseph McArdle, a member of Inniskeen Parish and student at Presentation Brothers, Carrickmacross gave their reflections on Pentecost.

The hymns were; “Be Thou my Vision,” “Spirit of the Living God” and “Spirit of God, unseen as the wind.” The music was led by Fiona Kelly playing the keyboard accompanying singer, Niamh Monahan.

This year’s outdoor service took place at the monastic site at Inniskeen where Saint Daigh lived towards the end of the 6th Century.

A short history of the area was given by Larry McDermott from the Inniskeen Development Group which has leased the church building deconsecrated as a Church of Ireland building in the 1950’s.

He explained that Saint Daigh was born in Co Meath and is also linked with monastics sites such as Clonmacnoise as well as Devenish on Lough Erne.

The monastery at Inniskeen was burned in 789, plundered by the Vikings in 948 and burned again in 1166, just before the Norman invasion of Ireland, which would lead to much change. With the passage of time, the monks were replaced by secular clergy.

Today, all that is left of the monastic foundation is the Church of Ireland church which contains remnants of the earlier foundation, and the bottom part of the round tower. For many years afterwards, Inniskeen parish was (and still is, officially) known as the Parish of Inis-Caoin-Deagha.

He explained how one of the rectors, Revd George Harrison Reade appointed in 1852 rebuilt the church on the site of the earlier church in 1854. In 1921 the Church of Ireland parishes of Inniskeen and Donaghmoyne were united but the church was deconsecrated in 1953 bringing to an end a 1400 year service to the spiritual needs of the area on this site. The building was left as an empty shell.

In 1972, the Representative Church Body of the Church of Ireland leased the building to a local group, the Inniskeen Folk Museum. In 2009, the Inniskeen Development Group took over the lease from the church body and carried out extensive renovations to the church building, including a new roof and floor and this is an ongoing project to provide an amenity for the community.

The round tower dates from the 11th Century.