Lisacul, a small village in northwest Roscommon, is made up of several townlands: Aghadrestan, Carrownaknockaun, Cloonacolly, Cloonargid, Clooncah, Cloontowart, Corracoggil North, Corracoggil South, Creevy, Curraghhard, Curraghsallagh, Derry, Drummad, Figh, Kilrooan, Kiltybranks, Kiltymane and Lissydaly. Its name in Irish is Lios an Choill, meaning The Fort of the Hazel Tree.
The 2006 census records a population of 734 but we like to think we’re bigger than that. Certainly, we seem to do a lot more than that small number suggests – just have a look at the clubs and societies pages. Most of the pages and posts on this website record what’s going on now, but we’re in the process of setting up some other pages to record what happened in the past – and we’ve got a lot of past in Lisacul: our oldest structures – seven ring forts – date back to the Iron Age.
Read on for more about Lisacul.
The Toddler Group
Children start coming to the Community Centre as babes-in-arms, and sometimes even earlier. The Toddler Group meets every Thursday during term time, and Toddlers can bring Daddy, Mammy, Granny, Granda, Auntie, Cousin or Minder with them (as long as they promise to behave themselves).
Coming to the Toddler Group means that the transition to preschool is less traumatic for everyone as the children have already met with the staff of Brightsparks and THEY HAVE SEEN THE TOYS!!!
Brightsparks is run by a voluntary management team and day to day staffing is by highly qualified preschool educators, supported by an able administrator.
As well as the usual imaginative, creative, and physical elements of the curriculum, the children go on school outings – walking down to the church grounds for a picnic – and they meet with members of the community who come in to visit and share stories about their lives and their work. We’ve all been very excited to meet Gardaí, truck drivers, nature walk guides, and nurses.
The children have access to an outdoor sensory garden, and grow edible plants, such as lettuce, scallions and strawberries, as well as plants that smell nice when touched, and plants that might be found in a land where dinosaurs roam.
We were delighted to be able to grow the preschool in 2018, adding places to bring our capacity to 28, and extra hours so pre-schoolers can be picked up just before the national school day ends, reducing car journeys and giving parents an extra hour at home.
The National School and Parents’ Association
We have just over ninety pupils in our school, with four teachers, two special needs assistants, one resource support staff and one learning support staff spread over four classrooms and supported by an administrator.
The Parents’ Association raises funds for treats such as the Christmas Party, with presents from Santa for all the children, school tours, and extra equipment, books, and stationery for the children.
We’re have just built a new classroom to cope with the increasing pupil roll. As so many children move from the preschool to the national school, we are able to plan some years in advance so the facilities will be available when they are needed.
Lisacul Ladies Club was established in 1996. We currently have fifteen members who meet monthly in the Community Centre.
At our meetings we discuss events we would like to take part in and plan outings. We hold a raffle and enjoy refreshments and occasionally home baking! We have a savings club where members save for our outings. We also have a lotto syndicate and as we are all positive people, we believe one day our luck will come in!!
Over the years we have invited numerous speakers to attend our meetings: from beauticians, reflexologists, local pharmacists, fashion stylists to garden experts and florists and we have done flower arranging, yoga, interior design and Healthy Life style courses.
We have also taken part in initiatives such as conservation of water, for which we won a Green Home Award, presented by Duncan Stewart and as part of our Charity work, we knitted Easter Chicks and raised money for the Diocesan Apostolic works and made a patchwork quilt which was auctioned to raise funds for the local Hall.
Social outings are a major part of our activities. We have excursions to Roscommon for shows in the Arts Centre as well, to Claremorris and The Royal Theatre, to Dublin for a show at the O2, some shopping and an over-night stay. We have attended the Roscommon Races and greyhound racing in Galway. Some members even went on a trip to Rome. Every Christmas we go out for a meal, usually a party night. In June we do likewise before we break for the summer. This year we had a lovely meal in Gleeson’s Town House Roscommon followed by attending “The Matchmaker” in the Arts Centre.
One local project that we undertook and are very proud of is the Ladies Garden plot in the local cemetery. The plot is just inside the main gate and we cleared and planted flowers there some years ago. Some members do the planting each year and others help with the weeding throughout the summer.
So, as you can see the club is going from strength to strength. New members are always welcome. We are proud of our club and village!
Lisacul Active Age group traces its origins back to the 1990s when a group of senior citizens in the parish decided to meet up every week in the Community Centre. Calling themselves the Reminiscence Group, they were to be facilitated by a member of staff from the local FÁS scheme (later to become the Community Employment Scheme). The meetings consisted of a chat, a cup of tea and a few games of bingo, with the occasional addition of a guest speaker on topics of interest to the group some day trips were also undertaken. With many local tales and stories being related during the weekly chat, the idea of putting them on paper arose and so there followed two publications, “Old Times Remembered” and “Here We Go Again”. Featuring tales on local history and folklore, those publications ensured that they were preserved for future generations.
Lisacul Active Age is affiliated to Active Retirement Ireland, a national body with 550 local groups and almost 25,000 members. The group is now involved in many activities although the chat, the cup of tea and the bingo are still at the heart of every weekly meeting, along with guest speakers, arts and crafts, and exercise classes.
Day trips are also a regular feature, including attending the annual Bealtaine Festival organised by Roscommon Active Age committee and the Harvest Festival organised by Roscommon community Gardaí. There is also the annual Roscommon Active Age dinner dance and an annual visit to Knock. The group also invite neighbouring groups to join them for tea and entertainment once a year and attend similar events organised by some of those groups. All of which proves just why they are called the Active Age Group. Long may they continue.
There is a tradition of drama in Lisacul, dating back to the Lisacul Players in the early 1960s who staged several successful three act plays. They are probably best remembered for their production of John B. Keane’s “Sive”, a relatively new play then and also a source of some controversy in the Church-dominated Ireland of that time. The group survived into the mid-1960s, but then recession and emigration forced its disbandment.
The tradition survived, however, and in the late 1980s a new Lisacul Drama Group emerged and proceeded to stage a succession of great plays over the next decade. The most notable among these was another John B. Keane classic “The Year of the Hiker”, but following their final production in 1990 drama would not return to Lisacul for a further 25 years, but then, once again, tradition ensured it was not about to disappear forever.
In 2015, following a fundraising ‘Mock Wedding’ the previous year, a new group came together and commenced reading play scripts. Having decided to revert to the original title of Lisacul Players, they staged their first three act production “A Wake in the West” in 2016 and followed this up with “Cupid Wore Skirts” in 2017, “Anyone Can Rob a Bank” in 2018, “Love Knots” in 2019 and “Mammy’s Boy” planned for 2020.
Drama is now back on a firm footing in Lisacul, with a committed group both on and offstage and an appreciative audience who look forward to the annual production. The group have built up an impressive stock of stage lighting and sets over the years and the recently completed hall renovations have enabled them to use those assets to their full potential. Here’s to many ‘Leg Breaks’ in the future!!
The village of Lisacul has improved immensely over the years due to projects undertaken by the Tidy Towns Committees. We also see huge benefits socially in that people of all sections of society come out to help with Tidy Towns projects. It is also a great way new people to an area can meet locals and become valued members of the area.
Lisacul Tidy Towns contributes to the community by fostering a sense of pride in our small village. The committee is excellent at integrating new residents to Lisacul by inviting them to join/work with a group of people to achieve goals. We feel this helps people to settle into life in Lisacul.
Eire Óg GAA
The Eire Óg club came into existence in 1984 following the breakaway of Loughglynn parish from the existing Michael Glavey’s club. This club had been formed in the early 1960s with the amalgamation of the parishes of Loughglynn and Ballinlough, both of whom had existing clubs that had been badly hit by emigration in that period. Now however, with many young families returning home. Loughglynn which includes the half parishes of Gorthaganny and Lisacul, decided to strike out on its own again.
The first year proved very successful when, playing at junior level, the team won the County League and reached the final in the Championship. Three years later in 1987 they won the county junior title, moving up to Intermediate level and eventually winning that title in 1993. The move to senior level was to prove a more challenging proposition and within a short time the club returned to Intermediate level where they have remained ever since, reaching the final again in 2004 where they were narrowly beaten. In the late 1980s, shortly after the club’s foundation, a patch of land was acquired a short distance outside Loughglynn village where a new pitch and clubhouse were developed. These new facilities were dedicated to James Timothy, one of the club’s star players after their formation, who died tragically in a road accident. The club has contributed players to Roscommon teams at all levels, however with emigration raising its head once more and many rural clubs now finding it difficult to field underage teams, it’s perhaps ironic that Éire Óg and Michael Glavey’s have once again joined forces at this level.
Éire Óg also has a very strong Ladies club, which has enjoyed considerable success at various levels over the years, the most notable probably being the involvement of two club players on the Roscommon ladies’ team which won the All Ireland Junior title in 2001.
The Ball Alley
This text is taken from The Gathering, because it captures so much of what makes Lisacul a great place.
“In the early 1900s, when facilities for sport were, to say the least hard to come by, the building of a handball alley must have been regarded as one of the greatest contributions to sport that any parish could hope to make. At that time the parish of Lisacul was no different from the rest, and it was with great joy that the young people of the area received the news that an alley was to be built in their townland. To construct a ball alley under the best of conditions must be regarded as a major undertaking, but to build one at a time when money was hard to acquire and when the country was in the grip of a revolution must have taken tremendous courage and determination. It was these obstacles that the young men of Lisacul had to contend with, when in the spring of 1916, they decided to build an alley. […]
Once the decision to build was taken, the generosity of the neighbourhood soon became evident. Joe Kelly of Currohoguile offered a very suitable site ideally situated just off the Ballaghaderreen to Ballyhaunis road. John Duffy, also of Currohoguile, donated building limestone and Bob King of Feigh provided sand.
Work on the building began immediately [with] tradesmen and labourers offering their services free and it must remain a tribute to their dedication and hard work that the alley was built within a year and formally opened in 1916 by Bill Ford, then principal teacher of Lisacul School. Space does not permit me to name everybody who worked on the construction of the ball alley but I hope I will be excused for mentioning the three Mulrennan brothers of Kiltomaine, who as tradesmen plasterers were responsible for a large amount of the finishing of the walls and sand floor. Unfortunately, two of the brothers did not live long to enjoy the fruits of their labours, both Jim and Pat giving their lives for Ireland in the troubled times of the 1920s. The third brother, Jack (dice) survived them for many years, living to an old age.
From the beginning the alley proved to be an immense success. It attracted players from all over the County [and] was strongly patronised by the local youth, so much that it was possible that one might have to wait for up to two hours to get a game. At that time a box [was] provided in which the contestants put a halfpenny for each game they played, in that way the debt on the alley was paid off. “
The Church of Christ The King
Below the windowsills, the church is 165 years old. Above the windowsills, it’s only 83 years old. The rebuilt church was dedicated in 1942 by the Bishop of Elphin. In the 1960s, a new presbytery and boundary wall were built, trees around the church were removed, and the grounds were tarmacked.
Vatican Two saw the removal of the altar rails and the creation of a new altar facing the congregation. Funds were raised to add storm glazing to the windows and to put down carpet. We also got a public address system. In 2000 the grotto and millennium garden were developed and more recently came the installation of an electronic bell and external public address system.
The CE team looks after the grounds and keeps the place spick and span, paying particular attention to the area in the run up to the annual cemetery mass.
Ros Go Run
In early 2014 eleven people in Loughglynn, Lisacul and Gorthaganny thought it would be a good idea to have ten kilometre run though the townlands. Then they thought they might as well add a half marathon to the event. In 2019, a third run, of 5 kilometres, has been added.
Ros Go Run draws runners from across Ireland and Europe, and the US. Apparently, the date fits in perfectly if you happen to be training for the Berlin Marathon and doesn’t interrupt your holiday in the West of Ireland. (If you’re training for Dublin or New York, it fits in well with them, too.)
The event raises money for three groups—MS Ireland, Éire Óg GAA club, and Lisacul Community Development and, in return, Lisacul Community turns out every year to provide stewards for the races, a slap-up post-run feast, and support and encouragement to the runners along each of the routes.
The CE Scheme
Our CE scheme has 16 operatives and works across Loughglynn and Lisacul, looking after the church grounds, GAA pitch, community centres and street furniture, most of which they’ve built themselves.
We can call on a range of skills across the team – painting, carpentry, copy writing, horse riding, singing, dancing, juggling, project management, gardening, plastering, IT, design, roofing, flooring, sewing and dress making – so when there’s work to be done across the village, or the Active Age group need someone to lead the singing, or the Drama group need an emergency pair of bloomers, the CE team are on it.
Publications and Social Media
Over the years, Lisacul has published regular Christmas Newsletters, to be sent to our Diaspora. We also commemorate significant events with The Gathering and School Reunion.
With the advent of Facebook and the village website, LisaculInfo.ie, we are able to keep in more regular touch with villagers, both locally and worldwide. The website now holds copies of our publications, as well as write ups of village events, and general information, while Facebook is used to advertise local events and businesses, and for anyone looking for lost ancestors.
And, because everyone needs to get something from the village for Christmas, we produce a calendar featuring images taken throughout the village during our 365 project.
Our website address is: http://lisaculinfo.ie.
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