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The Breifne Historical

Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne,
the Breifne Historical Society, deals with the local history of Counties Cavan and North Leitrim.

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Cumann Seanchais Bhreifne


Creevelea Abbey, near Dromahair

Creevelea Friary, near Dromahair, played an important role in the life of the area.  Founded in 1508 by Owen O’Rourke, prince of Breifne, the friary was closed by Sir Richard Bingham in 1584.

The friars were allowed to return in 1615 but by the time of the Cromwellian Settlement (1654) their activities were greatly curtailed. They eventually left the priory sometime around 1680.

In the 1650’s it seems that the parishes of Inishmagrath and Ballinaglera were regarded as one district. It’s likely that the two parishes were also jointly administered.

As the friars departed the friary at Creevelea they settled for a while in the townlands of Gaeglum and Greaghnagloch. This settlement became known as New Creevelea. The settlement consisted of five priests and three lay brothers. The names of five of them are known: Fr Paid Ó Coirnín, Fr John Nerney, Fr James Rooneen, Fr Charles Reynolds and Br Dominic MacGowan.

They later moved to Ballinaglera where they settled at Corglass.


While the friars did not stay very long in the area, their presence resulted in the fact that the local church there is still known as Creevelea Church.