Aughakillymaude Community Association is a rural neighbourhood body of people residing happily in the surrounds of the prehistoric Knockninny Hill some 2 miles outside Derrylin village in South West Fermanagh. Knockninny Hill boasts several bronze age monuments (including pre-historic cave) and has two separately designated ASSI areas because of rare orchids and fauna.
Our rural community that is at peace with itself and her neighbours of Derrylin and Kinawley villages has become identified with that most ancient of rural pastimes - mumming!
The Association in 1988 rescued its disused, listed school building (1888) from being sold off into private ownership and set about restoring its unique sense of place as a living lough shore community overlooking Upper Lough Erne.
Its main usage until 2005 has been as a community centre but in 2006 it sensitively extended the building to incorporate a permanent exhibition of what else - mumming traditions! The centre's unique location, immediatedly over looking upper Lough Erne boasts unparalleled views anywhere in Ireland.
Mumming has come to define what Aughakillymaude people are all about - acting as one, creating fun and sharing its traditions of skittles (wooden bowls) traditional music, dance and mumming with visitors and new families into the area from far and wide.
The centre hosts monthly historical society meetings and they published a history of Aughakillymaude school in 2004. However, the place comes alive when the mummers "act the bit out" in the centre.
The Association who own and manage the building raises its funds mainly through the mummers exploits on the road. In 2006 both the junior and senior mumming troupes performed over 40 times throughout Ireland at festivals, homecomings, emigrant wakes and increasingly, weddings where ancient fertility rites are much sought after by newly weds seeking all sorts of guarantees for the future.
The mummers religiously abide by traditional straw costuming and disguise and have restored (after a fifty year absense) the mystic custom of an annual mid summer's eve mountain top bonfire rituals on the 21st June to mark the Sun being at its strongest point in the year.
Looking beyond Lough Erne's shores the Association and its motley crew of mad mummers have extensively toured in England, Portugal, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Sardinia from 2003. All their far flung mumming aficionados, in turn, have visited the Aughakillymaude set up as cultural exchanges play an important role in broadening mindsets.
For 2007, the Association aims to have ready their exhibition of mumming heroes and villains and to show off their recently launched Video/DVD of mumming for the tourist season.
Plans are also afoot to secure new funding that will allow the centre put in place an annual folklife calendar of events and to embrace the ever widening cultural connections from across Europe and the Americas.
Apart from the exhibition area, facilities for hire include hall (150 capacity) with partitioning doors, Plasma TV and DVD and Video, dedicated conference/exhibition room (40 capacity), modern kitchen (dishwasher, glass washer, 2 cookers, microwave, hot water boiler, fridge, freezer) and public car parking. The building and its approach is fully accessible.
The centre's distinctive location makes it ideal for a spectacular lough shore walk during day long conference business. As the sun sets in Aughakillymaude the place comes alive with the sounds of bird wildlife, as the shores of Upper Lough Erne are protected sanctuaries under Ramsar and Special Area Conservation (SAC) European Union designations.
Tel: 079710 75955
Office: 028677 42727