The Parish of Botha
comprises a large geographical area in west Co. Fermanagh; in fact, it is
one of the largest parishes of our diocese in terms of area. Botha parish is a place of contrasts and
opposites. The broad lower Lough Erne forms the parish’s northern boundary as it flows westwards
to the sea at Ballyshannon, while the river Sillees flows eastwards in the opposite direction through
the centre of the parish. The scenic shoreline of the lough contrasts sharply with the dominating
limestone escarpments of the Barrs of Boho and Knockmore to the south-west. The parish name
‘Botha’ comes from the Gaelic meaning a mud hut used by herdsmen. Today, sheep and cattle dot
the landscape of this beautiful countryside.
In the Middle Ages, much of the parish of Botha was part of a larger parish called Devenish
extending across lower Lough Erne. Today, Devenish (concentrated on the town of Irvinestown)
meets Botha in the centre of the lake.
The principal settlements in the parish are Derrygonnelly, Boho, Church Hill and Monea, with
most of the population concentrated in the eastern part of the parish.
The parish proudly cherishes its rich heritage from the past. Tully and Monea castles are two
preserved plantation castles from the 17 th century. Two unadorned high crosses at Aghanaglack and
Inismacsaint survive from the 12 th century. Boho Cross stands in the grounds of the Sacred Heart
Church at Boho, a pre-Reformation church site, whose present church dates from the early 20 th
century. St. Faber, a female saint from the 6 th century is associated with the parish, where her image
is captured in stained glass in both the Sacred Heart Chruch and the Church of the Immaculate
Conception, Monea.