Come Sample 'Peacemaking' in South Armagh this Saturday (13th)

A south Armagh peacemaker is inviting the public to come and enjoy a taster of his work on an open evening this weekend in Darkley.

Ian Bothwell of Crossfire Trust is issuing the open invitation to ‘Romancing the Land’ this Saturday at his base in Darkley House near Keady.

Thank you to all those who came and helped at the Work Day.

Ian Bothwell, director said ‘It takes a lot of work to get the grounds and property ready for the Spring and Summer. We could not do it without our many volunteers. Thanks guys, we could do it without you.’

Work Day March 2015

For the second year running Crossfire Trust entered a float into the St Patricks Day parade in Keady.

‘The parade is a great opportunity to reach out to our local community. St Patrick is a great example of someone who overcame – personal hate and misunderstanding, cultural isolation and fear,’ said Ian Bothwell director of Crossfire Trust. ‘We are also able to let people know that we are here and what Crossfire Trust has to offer.

St Patrick's Day parade

Ian Bothwell director and founder of Crossfire Trust was recently asked about his continued motivation.

He said, “I remember the day I read my Bible in 2 Corinthians 5:18 - 'But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation'. It had never dawned on me before that reconciliation was a ministry.

Continued Motivation

On Friday 5 July a journalist called Jason Johnson from the Sun on Sunday newspaper called for an on the spot interview with me concerning a rumour that Dessie O’Hare was volunteering with us at Darkley House. I was open and honest and said that yes he has been and works to help me in different initiatives. He highlighted the fact that he was using what he called a bogus name. I was aware of Dessie’s intention to use a new name to allow people time to get to know the new Dessie. I have no problem using either name.

Darkley House

I listened intently to William Crawley’s interview on Radio Ulster about politicians saying ’sorry’. It triggered off past experiences when in Crossfire Trust, as part of our community development, we expressed the word ‘sorry’. The first time was on 15 August 1998 we had gathered at Darkley House for ‘I’m sorry’ weekend. We made a banner on the Friday night and wondered where we would take it and our greeting cards which were also called ‘I’m sorry’ with a blank page for personal message.

Let's not hurt

On Wednesday night we had a very enjoyable evening recording the BBC Radio Ulster Gardeners Corner Programme in the conference room in the Coach House. The programme was hosted by Cherrie McIlwaine and her team. Thanks to all who asked questions. The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster at 9am on Saturday 1 June.


Last week, Ian Bothwell, director for Crossfire Trust was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace, in acknowledgement of his 30 years of service to the people of south Armagh.

Ian was joined by his wife Pauline and their two children, Justin and Megan.

Ian said, “It is an honour and feels good to be acknowledged and the people of Crossmaglen are chuffed that their ‘servant’ and their town are being recognised.

Ian and Pauline

The Coffee Morning and Plant Sale at Darkley House last week raised over £700 towards a Scandinavian Barbecue Hut.

It brought together the local community including an ex employee of the linen mill who arrived on his horse drawn cart. Darkley House was viewed and admired by the supporters as was the china ware on kind loan from its Vintage Darling of Markethill.

Vintage Coffee Morning and Plant Sale

Rhubarb is urgently required by Crossfire Trust charity. ‘It is a simple way for the community to be involved in helping others as someone’s surplus can feed others at no expense to themselves’, as Director Ian Bothwell explains. The project is part of the Crossfire Trust Care Programme which residents and volunteers of the South Armagh award winning charity will use the donated rhubarb or other fruits to make jam and in the process develop personal life skill.

The charity is having to find new ways of putting food on the table as the Housing Executive have reduced their benefits for housing which means individuals, especially those under 25 years old, can be left very vulnerable.