Annahaia - Áth na hÁithe - The Ford of the Kiln
Annahaia leis to the north of Dromintee townland, up on the slope of Slieve Gullion (Sliabh gCuillinn - The Mountain of Holly), to the left of the road heading towards Meigh (An Mhaigh - The Plain).
Áith is the Irish for kiln and there were plenty of these about, usually lime kilns. The ford in question is most probably over the stream that comes down from Slieve Gullion and forms the boundary with Dromintee townland. Áth is the Irish for Ford. The townland takes in a part of the Slieve Gullion forest drive along with the Slieve Gullion Courtyard, formerly the Chambré estate.
The Chambré's (or Chambries, in the local vernacular) were the local landlords and while some say they were fairly beneficent with regard to tenants others would disagree, pointing to the harsh role they played as local magistrates. This was certainly the view taken of magistrate Meridith Chambré when the Ribbonmen decided to take him out in 1852. On his return from the local assizes in Forkill on Tuesday 20th January 1852 he was waylaid by two members of the Ribbonmen - a secret Irish society determined to rid Ireland of its landlord class - and shot. Unfortunately for the would-be assassins, too long spent in the local shebeen - complete with poteen-soaked gun wadding - had taken its toll, and the action was less than a success. Chambré's footman, Cole, was able to fire back and the Ribbonmen took flight. Chambré had been wounded - shot in the eye - and though it was thought he would not survive (local men forced to carry him on a door back to his residence, thinking he was dead, cursed him and Chambré - still having his wits about him - remembered who these tenants were and promptly evicted them on his return to health) he did live. It is still something of a taunt to Dromintee people to this day - usually by Mullaghbane people - that we only ever 'half-shot' a landlord.
A local lad, Francis Berry (or Barry) from Aghadavoyle, was supposed to have been involved and acted as scout, and was arrested shortly afterwards. He was taken to Armagh gaol and when his sister visited she took him food wrapped in a newspaper. Whether true or not the very same newspaper had seemingly been used as wadding in the guns used to shoot at Chambré - and so young Berry was convicted and hanged on 14 August 1852. Nine families of Berrys were subsequently evicted from the Chambré estate. On the news that Chambré had survived, local Protestant tenants around Aghadavoyle and Annahaia lit tar barrels on the roads to celebrate and paraded in their sashes playing 'Orange' tunes.
The last of the Chambré's left the estate in the early 1970's and the Chambré estate is now owned by the Department of Agriculture. The CoI church, St. Matthews, built by Chambré, is now in ruins while the 'Protestant' schoolhouse, barracks and rectory are now private dwellings.
There are still Barrys living in the south Armagh area.
The townlands >