A Service of Dedication of a replacement inscription stone for the Princess Diana Cairn was held on Monday afternoon, at New Street, Enniskillen, organised by the Rotary Club of Enniskillen. 

The service was conducted by the Very Rev. Kenneth R.J. Hall (Dean of Clogher) and Monsignor Peter O’Reilly. The introduction and request to dedicate the stone was by Mr. Henry Robinson, President of the Rotary Club of Enniskillen. 

Selwyn Johnston, a former President of Enniskillen Rotaract Club, explaining the background, recollected that in 1993 young people from Enniskillen Rotaract Club, with the help of Enniskillen Rotary Club and Fermanagh District Council refurbished the area under the East Bridge with new seating, shrub beds and pathways. 

The park was officially named ‘Inis Ceithleann Island Park’ by the Chairman of the Council, Mr. Caldwell McClaughry who paid tribute to the young people from Rotaract for having completed an ‘excellent job’ inside a week.

Rotaract, under the inspiration of its President Selwyn, continued with a further ambitious three day community project, with 60 young people from Raleigh International to create a new park in the adjoining waste ground. 

“It was officially named ‘Plunkett’s Park’, after the Town Commissioner who was renowned to have spent many happy hours at this stone pulpit admiring the calm beauty of the River Erne,” noted Selwyn, who added: “The completion of both parks helped transform the area while helping to promote the passion young people had for their local community.” 

Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales, paid a surprise visit to Enniskillen on Sunday, November 14, 1993, remembers Selwyn, continuing: “After taking part in the Remembrance Day Service, the Princess visited Inis Ceithleann Island Park to take part in a service attended by young people from both traditions.” 

Selwyn said that firstly, she met local primary schoolchildren and helped them to plant bulbs. He recalled: “Then she took part in the peace services and read the lessons from the Beatitudes. The reading which included the verse, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God,’ was largely taken up by those gathered as ‘Diana’s call for peace’.”

Selwyn outlined: “The Princess laid the last stone before the Rev. Rob Frost, a Methodist Minister from England, poured oil over it - ‘oil is a symbol of healing’. He explained that a ‘cairn’ is used by walkers or climbers to show a way during darkness or bad weather, and he hoped that Enniskillen’s Peace Cairn would help show us the way to Peace.”

Mr. Henry Robinson, Rotary President, pointed out that “regrettably, the inscription stone that told the story of the Peace Cairn suffered with erosion to the extent that the writing became illegible.”

He explained: “With its close connection with the creation of Inis Ceithleann Island Park, Enniskillen Rotary Club felt it was appropriate to have Princess Diana’s visit and the creation of the Peace Cairn recorded for posterity. 

“To do this and with the generosity of two Rotarians, it was decided that the story should be inscribed on a durable surface for future generations.

“Sadly, Princess Diana was herself to die in a tragic car crash in a Paris tunnel just four years later, on 31 August 1997.”