Blacklion (Irish: An Blaic) is a border village in west County Cavan, in the Republic of Ireland. It is situated on the Cavan/County Fermanagh border beside the village of Belcoo in Northern Ireand. The name is said to be derived from an ancient inn of the same name, but no record of this inn exists. Presumably it was from the horse and carriage era. The village is generally referred to as 'The Black' by locals.
Scene: View of town facing west
Date: 1915 (estimate)
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Read about Blacklion below
Blacklion (Irish: An Blaic) is a border village in west County Cavan, in the Republic of Ireland. It is situated on the Cavan/County Fermanagh border beside the village of Belcoo in Northern Ireland.
The name is said to be derived from an ancient inn of the same name, but no record of this inn exists. Presumably it was from the horse and carriage era. The village is generally referred to as 'The Black' by locals.
In the 1950s the village name plate read Learga. This was the name by which local -older generation - people would have called the place - ie colloquially called Leargy. Learga is the plural of an Irish word Learg meaning rising ground, slopes, mountainside. This topographical feature would connect with the name of the village which sits below steeply rising ground and hills.
This village region is also the birthplace of the gaelic poet Cathal Bui Mac Ghiolla Ghunna(Yellow Charlie McElgunn) whose life and work is celebrated annually in a festival/summer school started in 1998 by Belcoo man, Aidan Mc Gourty. Cathal Bui's name is also visible on local tourist sign posts bearing the legend Cathal Bui Country with an image of a dead bird alongside. Cathal Bui - Yellow Cathal - perhaps derived from his facial colouring - sallow skin or perhaps his hair colouring or who knows maybe he was guity of some terrible act of cowardice, eg leaving a maiden in the lurch - the latter is highly unlikely despite his self-confessed proclivity for philandering - since anecdotal evidence form the time would suggest he was held in high esteem - in common with poets generally. Apparently the poet - was a famous drinking man - and was walking homewards along the lakeside on a frosty winter morning when he came upon a dead bittern which he assumed had died of thirst because it was unable to get water from the frozen lake. In any case he wrote the famous poem - An Bonnán Buí - The Yellow Bittern - which laments the fate of the bird and notes wryfully that the bird had died for want of a drink while he himself was dying because of too much of the stuff. There is a monument to his memory on the shores of Lough MacNean - 1 mile from Blacklion on the Sligo road.
Cathal Bui moved away from the Blacklion area and lived out most of his adult life as a travelling poet and seller of trinkets and tin cans in the South Monaghan/South Armagh/North Louth area - he is buried in a graveyard of Dunamoyne in this region.
In 1879 the Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway line opened with Belcoo station serving both Belcoo and Blacklion. The last trains ran through the station on 20 September 1957.