Bekan. A Window Into a Rural Parish in East Mayo. Where is Bekan?. Bekan parish is situated in East Mayo about midway between the towns of Claremorris and Ballyhaunis. Beacan: Saint or Legend?. According to local tradition, St.Béacán was born about a mile west of the centre of Bekan Village.
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A Window Into a Rural Parish in East Mayo
Bekan parish is situated in East Mayo about midway between the towns of Claremorris and Ballyhaunis.
(See article by Tom Waldron on Mayo Abbey)http://www.mayoalive.com/Mag0896/Fndlings.htm
Rev.Fr.Michael Comer R.I.P. standing on the mound of stones now identified as a megalithic tombin his native Larganboy
In August 1791, a strange and unusual musical instrument was found in the Bekan bog. It was made of wood and was bound with a bronze ribbon from end to end.
The instrument is thought to be unique and, as no similar instrument appears to exist, it has been titled the ‘Mayophone’. It is a hollow wooden tube, measuring about two metres in length.
Simon O’Dwyer of Prehistoric Music Ireland, after carrying out extensive research, has reconstructed a new model. Along with a wide variety of Bronze Age and Iron Age horns the Mayophone was demonstreted in Bekan School on the 30th Jan. 2004.
The original is currently in the crypt of the National Museum. It has been established that it’s age is at least 1,300 years.
Simon O’ Dwyer with the Mayophone in Bekan N.S.
Is this the remains of a monastic settlement founded by the legendary St.Bekan? Local folklore holds that it is, but there is no hard evidence to support this. It may be the ruins of an old church dating back to around the 14th or 15th Century.
Mar a ‘bhfuil an fear óg sin ‘tá I mBéacán
Frainc de Burc, an t-ógfhir suairc
Is ailne ar mhaise’s ar bhreáthacht;
A leaca gheal nua is deise snua
Is a shúile gorma gan aon smál,
Níl aon fhear clúiteach sa domahn
Nach aige ‘tá a rún is a chéadghrá
Let us go over to Co. Mayo
To the young man who lives in Bekan;
Frank Burke, that young gay blade,
Paragon of beauty and excellence:
With his bright flawless cheeks
And shining blue eyes’
Not a man of renown in all the earth
But gladly admits him to his confidence and friendshipA Bekan Song Plaincstidh Béacáin
This song probably dates back to around the mid 18th Century. The Frank Burke mentioned in the song was most likely a member of a family of minor Catholic gentry who owned Spotfield Estate down to the end of the 18th Century
The translation is by Prof.Nollaig O Muraile
Following a protest by tenant farm labourers against Lord Erne’s English agent Captain Charles Boycott of Lough Mask House in 1880, the phrase and the practice known as ‘boycotting’ began.
Boycott had purchased 95 acres of land in Kildara, Tulrahan in the parish of Bekan in 1879 for £1,125.He paid £525 to the Bank of Ireland and took a mortgage of £600 on the rest.
After Boycott finally had to leave Ireland, he still liked to return occasionally to Kildara on holidays.
Following his death in 1897, the lands were sold to meet his debts and Boycott’s last link with Bekan was broken.
Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott
It was renovated in 1968 by the P.P. Fr. Thomas McEllin and the shrine to Our Lady of Fatima, on the left, was erected by his brother , Fr.Ned McEllin, who succeeded him.
Men who served in Dáil Éireann
Rev. Dr. Enda McDonagh
Where to look
Island Ogham Stone
Greenwood Wedge Tomb
Bekan Lake Crannog
The map shows the location of some of the main features mentioned in this presentation.