Ardess Heritage Weekend

On 9th and 10th September 2017, it was a busy weekend for St Mary’s Parish Church as it participated in two days of tours, launched an innovative phone app and held a Commemoration Service to honour those buried in the adjacent Famine Pit. 


The Church has a remarkable history going back to the fourteenth century and recently a Heritage Lottery grant has helped essential repairs to be carried out to the fabric of the church. This has led to a meaningful community outreach that has involved the wider community including the chapel in Ederney.  The Famine Graveyard holds bodies from all communities and following a refurbishment at the time of the Millennium is a popular place for people to visit. 


Mindful of the growing number of visitors, a new tourism training course was established to train up ten tour guides to World Host standards who were on hand over the European Heritage Open Days to show visitors around. 


Over the weekend, a new phone app was launched that provides an historical overview of the Church and the graveyard and includes a new musical composition putting Jim Ledwith’s poem ‘Ardess Sorrows’ to a haunting Irish melody.  The app is on the Ardess phone box and at the famine pit site. 


One of the highlights of the busy weekend was the Service of Commemoration held on Sunday evening.  With music provided by Fermanagh Choral Society and a selection of readings and reflections the evening brought a busy weekend to a close. 


If any group wishes to book a tour of the Church please contact the Parish Office to arrange Tel 028 6863 2695 or email



Heroes of Faith Week

Our Youth week was also hosted at The Fountain Centre from the 21st - 25th August 2017.  Each night included a large group activity including a quiz night, scavenger hunt, mug painting and challenge night, followed by worship and talk about a Hero from the Bible.  The theme for the week encouraged the young people to consider how they, empowered and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, could also be heroes of faith in their everyday lives.  The week concluded with a BBQ and inflatable party on the Friday night which celebrated the end of a great week!


Epic Explorers Holiday Bible Club

The Fountain Centre hosted the Epic Explorers Holiday Bible Club from the 21st - 25th August 2017.  Around 30 children came together over the week to explore Mark's Gospel and the life of Jesus.  Through games, songs, memory verses, talks, quizzes and crafts the children discovered who Jesus is, why he came, and what it means to follow him.

Kesh Carnival 2017 (5th - 13th August 2017)

Children’s Crafts


Approximately 65 children attended on Monday, making painted stone animals, chickens from paper plates, pigs with peg legs, mosaic animals, bead necklaces/bracelets, jar painting, card animals with moving legs, colouring in and painting.  The children had a fantastic time trying to make as many things as possible!




Share Ardess


On Tuesday for the Kesh Carnival our Share Ardess team provide tea/coffee and a chat to anyone who wishes to come along.  Our team provides this facility every Tuesday and also provides practical, emotional and spiritual support for those who need it. 




Puppet Training & Puppet Show


A variety of ages attended the puppet training on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The children practiced songs and jokes with their sock puppets and finished with a Puppet Show which brought in a crowd of 60 people.  The show showed off the skills the puppeteers had acquired and the crowd really appreciated the fun songs and jokes which finished with ‘Everybody Dance’ with everyone joining in.




Plate Painting


Over 100 plates were painted by the young (and old!) who stencilled and free handed artwork onto the plates (there was a selection of different animals, cupcakes etc).  The plates were then painted and individually personalised.  There was great concentration on everyone’s faces as they studied hard to get their plates exactly how they wanted.  Some even made gifts for others.  There was great artistic flare and the finished plates were amazing.




Sewing Bee / Textile Workshop


The Sewing Bee group made beautiful cushions with appliqué patterns and on the Textile Workshop made personalised fabric wall-hangings.  It was great fun to get creative with fabrics and great craic!




Children’s Novelty Sports


Over 75 children attending on Wednesday for novelty sports (egg & spoon race, duck race, hobby horse race etc ).  Fun and laughter was had by all and everyone received a medal presented by the Maid of Lough Erne, Molly Parkinson. 




Thursday Night Fun


‘The Bare Necessities’ (Jungle Book) was shown for the Family Movie Night at The Fountain Centre.  There was around 60 people who attended and popcorn and other refreshments was served.  We then had a children’s quiz half-way through and then, not to make the adults feel left out, we had a quiz for the adults at the end of the film.  


We had an Outdoor Late Night Movie for adults which was ‘Magnificent Beasts & Where to Find Them’.  We had some well prepared attendees who brought their fleeces and blankets!  It was a very enjoyable evening and thankfully the rain held off!



Second Chance Clothing Sale


On Friday & Saturday, we held our Second Chance Clothing Sale which we hold annually and the funds are provided to Orphan’s Hope which cares for abandoned babies and children in China and is dedicated to providing exceptional opportunities for transforming their lives.

We thank everyone who came along to support us.





Community Service of Thanksgiving for Kesh Festival


We celebrated and give thanks to God for the Kesh Festival with a Community Service of Thanksgiving held at The Fountain Centre.  We had an opening welcome by Robert Anderson and readings/prayers from Jayne Thompson, Alison Armstrong, Molly Parkinson (Maid of Lough Erne), Father Frank McManus and a talk by Alex Atwell.  Kerri Neville provided us with a beautiful solo of ‘Oceans Where Feet May Fail’ and Alan Crawford concluded the event with prayer and grace.  



Thank you to everyone who attended and the Ardess Worship Band for the music and The Mayfly & Friar’s Mac for providing the supper.




Men's Adventure Day

Men from the parish had an enjoyable weekend at the start of July 2017 stopping over in Carrick-on-Shannon and then attending Bona Borg Quest Challenge at Lough Key Activity Centre.  This is a fabulous adventure venue for people who wish to test their physical and mental abilities, competing against each other in teams and striving to complete the course in the time available.  Teams choose different physical and mental tasks.  They had to complete the task to be able to progress to the next task or else they returned to the start!  Our team managed to get an above average of 3 stars so were very pleased with their achievements.  Afterwards, they enjoyed an interesting tree-top walk and a well deserved rest in the park before returning home to Kesh.

Women of Faith

On Thursday 22nd June 2017, we held our Women of Faith event which was attended by around 120 people.  Rev. Philip Bryson opened with prayer and Viola Bryson led the uplifting worship.  Our speaker, Maureen Ross-Jones (Emmanuel Church, Lurgan), spoke about two women of the bible - Mary and her cousin Elizabeth.  How they encouraged each other and how we women of the church today could encourage each other and build each other up.  We had a wonderful evening. 


Afterwards, we enjoyed an amazing supper with an array of delicious desserts which was the supper was served - the beautiful desserts were thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. We are delighted that the event raised £317.00 for Open Doors and we wish to thank everyone for their kind donations.