Father Peyton and the Bonniconlon Connection
Fr Patrick Peyton, the Rosary Priest, has strong Bonniconlon Connections, though his place of birth was Carracastle, in the Parish of Attymass. He was born in 1909. His father John Peyton married Mary Gillard of Rathreedane in March 1899. He said that in those days a child was regarded as being reared once they were able to carry 2 sods of turf from the rick at the gable house to feed the open fire.
He was one of a family of 9 children reared on a small farm where there was no revenue from other soures until his two sisters went to America in 1920 and sent money home.The going was rough, he said, and they were lucky to have their fill of potatoes, cabbage, turnips, soda bread, butter, eggs and the occasional mouthful of bacon fat.
On two occasions he went to live with his Grandparents Robert and Kitty Gillard, Rathreedane. He enrolled in the Bofield school in May 1914 and was taught there for three years by Maria Loftus, a teacher who made a lasting immpression on him. He went to Rathreedane for the 2nd time in 1917 to help his invalid grandfather who was now almost blind. This time he enrolled in Bonniconlon school and was taught by Jonah Loftus, brother to Maria.
He had many happy memories of his days in Rathreedane and sitting at the fireplace as his Grandfather told him the history of Rathreedane and of the Gillard family. He learned about Ruadhains fort - the Ruanes, his Grandfather told him, were local chieftains at the time of St Patrick in the fifth century and one ruane joined St Patrick to work as a herdsman. This ruane, he believed, establised the first church of Kilgarvan. [Other historical records mention this possibility also, but it is by no means certain].
His Grandfather recalled for him that his Grandfather was a French soldier who came to live in Rathreedane after 1798 when French soldiers dispered following the surrender of Ballinamuck.
Fr Patrick Peyton RIP