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Robbie Dempsey recently discovered this photo of (11th October 2004) :

(source : Robbie Dempsey)

He writes "This photo was taken at a bonfire in the summer
of 1968 on the shore of Lough Macnean, Blacklion.
Can you believe the gear we are in? Finally, we got
to wear the flowery shirts ! I have no idea who took the photo."

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It gave me the opportunity to include various items relating
to Blacklion that I have gathered from the internet.

The first is taken from a site which records the history of the penal system in Ireland :

"Loughan House, Blacklion, Co. Cavan, was built in 1953 as a Noviciate for the White Fathers Missionary Congregation. In 1972 it was purchased by the state and opened as a Penal Institute for male juvenile offenders between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one. From October 1978 until April 1983 it was used as a Detention Centre for boys between twelve and sixteen years of age. Since 1983 it has been used to accommodate male offenders aged eighteen and upwards."

(photo: Loughan House shortly after it was built in 1953
source :

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And this up-to-date photo of the building came from a similar site:

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Obviously, there are various websites that cater for tourists visiting the area :

"Blacklion is a small village situated in the extreme north-west of County Cavan, beside Lough Mac Nean (sic) and on the main Sligo-Enniskillen road. The village takes its name from the Black Lion Inn, a hostelry on the old 18th century coach road. Located at the northern end of the Cavan Way, it connects to both the Ulster Way and the Kingfisher Cycle Trail.

South of Blacklion the land rises sharply towards the Cuilcagh Mountains. Here in a karst landscape centred around the Burren Forest (through which the Cavan Way passes) is preserved one of the most complete prehistoric landscapes to be found anywhere in Ireland. A variety of tombs, together with ancient habitation sites and relict field walls dot this landscape, which extends eastwards into the Marble Arch Caves area of County Fermanagh.

The Blacklion area was also the birthplace of the early 18th century Gaelic folk poet Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna. A summer school is held here annually in early July.

There is a variety of accommodation is to be found in Blacklion and the village also boasts one of the finest gourmet restaurants in Ireland, the 'Mac Nean Bistro'.

Clan Name

Blacklion is part of the ancestral home of the McGovern and forms a stage of the Beara-Breifne Greenway which is based on the historic march of O'Sullivan Beara in 1603.
(source : )

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Marble Arch Caves
The caves are one of Europe's finest show caves allowing visitors to explore a fascinating, natural underworld of rivers, waterfalls, winding passages and lofty chambers.

Located at Florencecourt Co. Fermanagh, the Marble Arch cave complex has good car parking, a souvenir shop, restaurant, exhibition area and an audio visual theatre. The caves are situated in a National Nature Reserve.
Tours of the caves last approximately 75 minutes and are suitable for people of any age of average fitness. (Comfortable walking shoes and a warm sweater are recommended) Tours of the cave complex start with an underground boat trip, after which your trained guide will conduct you through a variety of cave formations, including the "Moses walk" which must be seen and experienced to be fully enjoyed.

Advanced booking is welcome and are recommended for large groups. It is advisable to check if the caves are open, as occasionally due to safety reasons, the caves are closed after heavy rain.

(source :

(source: Patrick and Olivia O'Dolan)

Olivia writes (August 2008) :

"Over the past couple of years there has been a new signpost (just across the main road from what is now Loughan House prison) pointing to ''The White Fathers Cave'' . . . . Most of the former students who attended St Augustine's a few years before the college closed would know of the caves at Loughan. I think these caves were discovered by an earlier group of WF students. (?) The signpost is pointing towards the old road which is near to what was Keaneys of the old railway gatehouse. "

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(source : Patricia Hawkins de Medina)

Patricia Hawkins de Medina writes (26th June 2009) :

" I thought I would send you this -- Brother Paddy's ghost tractor maybe . . .
Not really, but I was driving into Blacklion behind this old tractor in the snow
and my husband took this quite evocative silhouette against the wintry Blacklion sky."

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Paul West has sent us the follow page on 'Steam & Diesel Traction at Belcoo'
which was pointed out to him by Olivia O'Dolan. Thank you both. (Feb 2017)


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And, finally, a view of Lough MacNean from the golf-course :

I wonder whether Blacklion will now see a sudden rush
of old codgers taking solitary boat rides across the Lough ?