Donegal Annual 2021

Donegal Annual 2021

Front cover –

Description Author. Page
Part One
Colmcille’s Birth and
Associated Traditions
Brian Lacey 4
In the Scribal Tradition:
Seamus Heaney’s Perspective
Seán Beattie16
Colmcille at Gweebarra BayVincent O’Donnell26
Cornelia Adair, Glenveagh Castle
and Colmcille
Rev. Raymond Blair27
Columban Scriptoria:
An Independent Line of Transmission for Cenél Conalll Genealogies
Tomás G. Ó Canann32
Colm Cille: Comóradh 1897 i nGartánNollaig MacCongáil49
Colmcille in the Donegal Bay AreaHelen Meehan58
Drumhome: Heritage SitesPierce Ferriter64
Did Colmcille Ever Set Foot in Glencolmcille?Lochlann McGill68
The Vikings and the County Donegal
Paruchia of Colum Cille
Darren McGettigan
The Saint and the Sage: Colmcille and
James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake
Donal Manning76
Harry Clarke Window and ColmcilleSeán Boner83
St. Columba as a Territorial LordMax Adams85
Colm Cille agus Oidhreacht Chloich
Cheann Fhaola
Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh93
St. Columba Fourteenth Century
Centenary Celebrations
Canon David Crooks105
Curragh to IonaSeán Boner110
The New Cathedral of St Columb’s in DerryWilliam Roulston114
Part Two ====
Inishowen and the War of IndependenceJohn Reynolds119
The Burtonport Incident, May 1921
and the Treaty Vote
Seán Boner126
Book Reviews 138
Donegal Bibliography 2020-21Rory Gallagher143
Volume 73 : 2021

Irish Historical Studies; Rules For Contributors

The ‘Rules for contributors to Irish Historical Studies’ drawn up by the late T.W. Moody and first published in that journal in 1944 have come to be widely used by Irish historians in preparing articles and books for publication and to be regarded in some universities as norms to be followed for students writing postgraduate theses and undergraduate essays.

The full article, Irish Historical Studies Rules For Contributors, is here

Schools’ Competition 2023

The story of my old photograph

We are delighted to announce the County Donegal Historical Society Schools’ Competition for 2023.

The theme for 2023 is ‘The story of my old photograph’

Competition Details

A photo can give us a glimpse into lives past, long forgotten events, forgotten places and memories that are personal or shared with the community. They will help our understanding of history, culture and identity.

Your Task

Find an old photograph from a family album ( before 1970 if you can, please) and research the story and the history behind the photograph. Maybe the story of the person, building, monument, tradition, event, piece of equipment, etc.

Present your research imaginatively and creatively.


Primary school student categories: Senior school: 4th – 6th classes only

Full class groups, one whole class entry. In small schools with a mix of ages in one classroom, the classroom can be a whole class entry.

Individuals, single student entry.

Please, no small groups. A whole class, whole classroom or individual only.


Hard copy entries only, in the form of a standard A4 project book or scrapbook.

One photograph per individual entry. A max of 5-10 for class entry depending on class size.

For individual entries, please give details of name, age and class as well as school contact details and a contact teacher.

Please do not include the original photograph – a good quality copy will suffice.

Judges will be looking for originality as well as evidence of imagination and creativity.

Entries must be delivered/posted to the

County Museum, High Road,Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.

Closing date for entries is Friday 1st December 2023.

Prizewinners will be notified in January 2024.

Any queries to Pat Shallow

2023 : Field Day, Inishbofin

Inishbofin Island, Sunday 23rdJuly 2023

Another great day out to Inisbofin Island with our host Seán Boner.

We set sail on the Boffin Ferry, Saoirse Na Mara (Freedom of the Sea) from Machaire Rabhartaigh (Magheraroarty) on the 10 minute trip to the island.

Owner, Harry Coll skippered, with his brother Owenie Coll as deckhand. The boat was suitable for those of restricted movements as you could walk on board without having to climb over the gunwale. The fare is €12 for over twelves and €5 for under twelves.

Boffin Ferry have an excellent website

Arriving at the harbour on the island, the bright sunshine provided a magnificent view back across the water from the coast at Horn Head, the Derryveagh Mountains with the Errigal as it’s crown, Muckish Mountain and west to the Bloody Foreland.

A short stroll to the west of the village, past an example of the houses built with funds from the Congestion District Board, larger that you would see in the rest of Donegal as funds were more generous for the islands.

National School

At the far west of the village is the ruins of the National School.

Our guide, Seán, spoke of the standard design for a National School but how unsuitable a design for the weather conditions here on the island; with over-hanging eves and the door leading straight into the single classroom.

Modifications had made the school less prone to the weather with a chimney to allow a fire in the classroom and a partition to create a hallway to prevent the Atlantic winds from cooling the legs of the children unlucky to be seated at the back of the class.

The Island Field System

To this day you can see the fields laid out in long strips of land, this was the replacement of the rundale field system. Rundale on Inisbofin involved a village in the North East of the island that now no longer exists.

After a short stroll back to the harbour and onto to the east end of the village, we met at the church.

Arthur Kingsley Porter

Passport page of Arthur Kingsley Porter with his wife, Lucy.

Sean told the story of Arthur Kingsley Porter seen in his passport photo above with his wife Lucy.

He had a holiday home on the island and he disappeared there on the 8th of July 1933. He was a Harvard Professor who owned Glenveagh Castle and Estate. He was a troubled soul arising from the fact that he was gay but a married man who took a male lover Alan Campbell at the suggestion of his psychotherapist Doctor Havelock and with the agreement of his wife.

The new relationship did not seem to work. Kingsley Porter probably committed suicide by drowning but his body was never found.

The Island Church

We visited the Church, Muire Na nGras (The Virgin Mary of the Graces), on the island. It is a simple and attractive church. It could have been designed by an Architect who believed in Architectural Minimalism who had the mantra that ‘in minimalism less means more’. A local man Gerry Gallagher designed the church and we imagine he was more constrained by what money was available to build the church than any desire to build in a minimalist style. Nevertheless, it turned out very well.

 The commencement of the building of the church began in December 1963 and was done, dusted and blessed on the 23rd of June 1965. The driving force behind the building of the church was the Parish Priest of Gort A’Choirce, Canon Shields and he is spoken of with much affection by older people from Inishbofin. And by all accounts deservedly so. 

There seems to be a definite interest in Lourdes and the apparation of Lourdes. Canon Shiels probably had been to Lourdes. There is a photograph of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and the Stations of the Cross are in French as well as English. They may have been bought in Lourdes.

Constable Charles McGee, RIC

Sean spoke of Constable Charles Mc Gee a young man in his early twenties from Inishbofin Island who was a member of the Royal Irish Costabulary (RIC) and who was killed at Castlebellingham, County Louth on Easter Monday 1916 on the first day of the Easter Rising.

We have more on Constable Charles McGee in Other Resources / Further Reading

Paidir Inis Bó Finne

Dr Lochlann Mc Gill, who is no stranger to Inisbofin from his days of medical practise, produced a copy of Paidir Inis Bó Finne (The Prayer of Inisbofin). Seán read the prayer and translated it to English. 

While our views today across the water to Magheraroarty and beyond are indeed scenic, these waters are treacherous in bad weather with many lives endangered in these waters.

Salmon Fishing Tragedy, 1929

The story told of this tragic event is told on our website in Other Resources / Further Reading.

Daring Rescue from the Stowijk, 1940

Seán told us the story of the Stolwijk a ship that was grounded on a rock near Inisdooey. To read more of this daring rescue see the story on our website in Other Resources/ Further Reading.

Seán went on to tell of the hard life here on the island with no turf of their own, it was all carried from the bog beyond Magheraroarty and then by row boat to the island; at a time before the harbour was built. Although with the right spring tide, you can walk to the island on the stone beach causeway but local knowledge is essential.

There were no more than 120 souls on Inishbofin in the 1960s before they melted away to take up residence on the mainland; well before the harbour and church as we see them today were built.

After a short stroll over the island to admire the sands of the east beach we returned to the harbour for our ferry trip back to Magheraroarty.

Many thanks to Seán Boner for introducing us to this island, it’s history and the story of the people that called this home.

Membership Newsletter August 2023

We invite all current and past members of the County Donegal Historical Society to join us for the official launch of the latest Donegal Annual 2023 at the MacGill Summer School in the Highlands Hotel, Glenties, on Saturday 19th August 2023 at 4.00pm. The launch will be performed by Dr Joe Mullholland.

During the past year the Board of Management of the County Donegal Historical Society has undergone some personnel changes. President Raymond Blair, Secretary Una Mc Garrigle, Acting Secretary Séan Bonar, Treasurer Helen Meehan, PRO Eamonn Mac Intyre, and Assistant PRO Bobby Mc Daid have recently retired from their respective Officer positions after many years of voluntary service to the Society. We thank them for their dedication and service.

These Officer positions have recently been accepted by incoming President Joe Gatins, Secretary Hugh Devlin, Treasurer Natalie Lough, Assistant Treasurer Michael Meehan, PRO Sean Mc Clafferty, and Assistant PRO Connie Duffy. All other Board members remain as before.

Please note Membership Renewals for 2024 can now be paid in a number of ways: The fastest and most sustainable way is via our new website ; by Bank Transfer to AIB Account Number IBAN: IE48AIBK93718502711018 BIC: AIBKIE2D, or by forwarding a payment by cheque to County Donegal Historical Society, PO Box 13629, Letterkenny, Co Donegal. Please note that payments should no longer be sent to Una Mc Garrigle. For any queries, please contact the Society via

Donegal Annual 2023

Donegal Annual 2023

Front cover – Erigal, Co. Donegal, 1939, Paul Henry, Estate of Paul Henry, IVARO, Dublin, 2023, oil on canvas, Collection of Irish Museum of Modern Art, Heritage Gift by the Bank of Ireland from the Bank of Ireland Collection,  2008.

Description AuthorPage
President of County Donegal
Historical Society
Rev. Raymond Alexander Blair
Eithne Coyle and the Struggle for
Irish Nationhood
Méadhbha Ní Bhaoill5
Joseph Murray: Revolutionary,
Teacher and Garda
Niamh Brennan20
Untold – Donegal Women in the
Revolutionary Period
Caroline Carr29
Decade of Centenaries: Fact and
Helen Meehan37
A Visit to Donegal in the 1820sMyra D. Kavanagh41
The 1400th Anniversary of
Adomnán, Naomh Adhamhnán,
St Eunan 
Brian Lacey46
Baptist Johnston Barton (3)
1848 – 1914 : the Old Colonel
Col. Declan O’Carroll (Rtd.)49
Inishtrahull: Isle of ShipsSeán Beattie58
A Forgotten Paul Henry Connection
with Letterkenny
William Roulson68
Donegal’s Other Kelp and Iodine
Peter E. Childs74
The Rise and Decline of the Donegal
Town Spa
Rev Raymond Blair80
P.T. McGinley, P.T. MacFhionnlaoich,
Cú Uladh (1856-1942):
Ceannródaí Ildánach na Gaeilge na
Luathbhlianta i nDún na nGall
Nollaig MacCongáil84
Two Intriguing Names of Inishowen
and Inse Gall
Aidan O’Hara96
A Great American Donegal-born
Sculptor of the American Capitol
Geoff Cobb102
Doonan Rock: Inauguration Site of the
Uí Chanannáin Dynasty
Seán Browne106
Sidelights on Fiddling in the LagganMartin McGinley113
Challenge in the Quest for Genetic
Surname Signatures: A Cenél Conaill
Case Study
Tomás G. Ó Canann121
Ballyshannon Famine Orphan Girls’
Memorial: 175th Anniversary
Anthony Begley137
Life, Art, and History Eamon O’Kane139
Book Reviews143
Donegal Bibliography 2022-23Kevin McCaul147
Schools’ Competition159
Volume 75 : 2023

2022 : Field Day, Newtowncunningham

The Field Day to Newtowncunningham was weather wise not a great day. We went to the Church of Ireland, to the ruined Burt Castle and later to the local Orange Hall. It did rain when we were at Burt Castle but it did not take from our enjoyment of the day I think.

Seán Mc Clafferty led the field day and ensured access from the local landowners where Burt Castle is situated. Burt Castle in Autumn looks out over barley fields of gold. Refreshments were served in the Orange Hall. They had, upstairs, a model of a First World War trench complex that I found interesting.

Courtesy of the Historical Sites of Ireland.
Burt Castle

2022 : Field Day, Glencolmcille

The field day on 7th August was in Glencolmcille again in on a very sunny day. Glen is beautiful in all weather but it was a particularly sunny day.

Paddy Beag Mac Giolla Easbuig who is part of the bed-rock in Glencolmcille was to be our guide but he was immobile from recent surgery and had Liam Mc Ginley fill in for him, which he did admirably.

Liam told us about Colmcille and his association with the Glen. Liam is a bit of a character, as they say, and that comes across in his talk. Not surprising, his Saint Colmcille is a bit of a character as well. I was half expecting Liam to book himself and Saint Colmcillle into an Air bnb in Glencolmcillefor few days rest from the building works before he was finished. He also took us to a number of historical archaeological sites and dealt with the sites with the seriousness they deserved. He took us to the Church of Ireland and the Pillar Stone just beyond it, a visit that was particularly memorable. There is a souterrain or underground chamber in the graveyard of the church. This church is closing and it is an important ancient historical site that may have a community interest in the future.

The above is a replica of a broken stone that was located in Glencolmcille. The buildings with the flat roofs in the background are the Lighthousekeepers dwellings for the families of the staff who were manning Rathlin O Beirne.

Dr. Lochlann Mc Gill who is a former President of the Society and presently a member of the Executive relaunched his book In Conall’s footsteps. This was done on the same evening as the Field Day in Glencolmcille. Although technically not a DHS event in practice given Dr. Mc Gills close association with the Society many of the Society attended the launch that was a successful evening.

Dr. Mc Gill organises the Mc Gill Lecture that is named in honour of his father ‘wee Paddy’ from Ardara. There was no lecture last year but no doubt it will be back in future years.

2022 : Field Day, Inis Mhic A Durn / Rutland Island

Our first field day of 2022 was to Rutland Island/Inis Mhic A Durn off Burtonport on Saturday the 11th June 2023.

We took one of the car ferries to Arranmore and were dropped off at Rutland. This is the island with the ruins of an 18C fishing station that was buried by sand storms in the early 19th Centrury. James Napper Tandy visited the island on the gun runner Anacreon in September of 1798.

The week had been inclement weather wise and the day was no better. However, we did get a two hour spell in Rutland that was dry and warm but for the most part overcast with only the odd bit of sunshine.

Above the Union Store on Rutland, a kelp store built the year of the Union between Britain and Ireland in 1801.

One side of the street that was built in Rutland in the 1770s as part of the fishing station scheme. It is now made up of holiday homes with one or two exceptions. This street officially Duke Street but that did not sound right so the locals called the place Duck Street.

Our new website

Welcome to the new website of County Donegal Historical Society. You will have been redirected here from our old website at

Bookmark us : Use ctrl+d to save our new address to your Internet browser’s Favourites folder.

Website Legacy : We recognise that the previous website has been able to garner a range of information on the Society and its members over many years so we have transferred all of the information from the old website to our new site. Use the Search function on each page to search our new site.

More updates : this new format will be more flexible, allowing our members to contribute articles and so that we can provide you with more updates on the work and events run by the Society.

Index of Annuals : as part of this new website, we have included the table of contents for each Donegal Annual published since our foundation in 1946. Use the Search function that you will find on each page to search for keywords that are of interest to you.

Accessibility : The overall “clean” design for this phase is to make this site accessible by using plain black text and white background with medium sized-fonts for easier reading by all visitors. Some photos have descriptions added for screen-readers and more will be added over time, this is work in progress. The design is also chosen so that the website contents can be read without change on any device whether desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Security : Our new website will provide a more secure way for us to communicate with you; notice the padlock 🔒 next to our website name in your browser.

Membership : With a more secure website, we have been able to introduce electronic forms for membership allowing both our new and current members to register and pay for membership online.

Future Plans : We have many plans for this new website for the near future. Come back to see how things progress.

Feedback : We hope that you enjoy this new facility, send your comments to us at

Donegal Annual 2020

Donegal Annual 2020 cover picture Farmlands, Donegal (detail) by Hans Iten (1874-1930), National Museums Northern Ireland, Ulster Museum Collection.

Farmlands, Donegal (detail)

Hans Iten (1874-1930)

National Museums Northern Ireland, Ulster Museum Collection.


Cenél nÉoghain in
Patrician Hagiography
Dr. Thomas
Two Ballyshannon Philanthropists
and their Legacy
Anthony Begley14
Donegal and the Victoria CrossRichard Doherty20
Kate McCarry: Letterkenny’s First
Woman Urban Councillor
Dr. Angela Byrne27
The Viking Impact on the Inishowen
Darren McGettigan32
Rev. Edward Glacken 1806-1896:
Famine Relief in Glenties
Katelyn Hanna37
Gaelic Surnames and Settlement
Patterns in South West Donegal
Tomás G. Ó Canann42
DNA Analysis: Researching Donegal
Dr. Maurice Gleeson and
Dr. Sam Hanna
The Origins of the Uí Dochartaigh of
Brian Lacey59
Manor Courts of Donegal in the Early
Nineteenth Century
Raymond Blair65
Foyle College and Donegal
Dr. Robert Montgomery
and Seán McMahon
Convoy Woollen MillsBelinda Mahaffy75
Changing Features of the
Protestant Community In North Donegal
from an Occupations Perspective
Edward Rowland79
Andrew Elder (1821-1886), Castlefin:
Campaigner For Land Reform
Dr. William Roulston87
William J. Doherty, Buncrana:
Engineer, Antiquarian and Politician
Dr. Seán Beattie96
Patrick Sarsfield Cassidy (1852-1903):
From Dunkineely to New York
Helen Meehan101
James Musgrave: A Man of IronLulu Chesnutt107
Pipe Organs of DonegalDerek Fleming113
From Malin to Wisconsin: The Friar’s
Curse by Michael Quigley
Des Doherty117
Book Reviews126
Officers 2020-2021133
Donegal Bibliography 2019-2020Rory Gallagher135
Volume 72 : 2020

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here

Donegal Annual 2019

Near Dungloe

James Humbert Craig RHA (1874-1944)


Seán Boner, President,
Donegal Historical Society
History of Clonmany Village, InishowenMarius Harkin6
Raphoe Diocese: Early Protestant
Places of Worship in the 17th Century
Dr William Roulston16
Alexander Nixon, Heathfield, BallyboesDr Seosamh O Ceallaigh22
A Forgotten Donegal Mansion:
Glentogher House, Inishowen
Rev Raymond Blair29
Quaker Assisted Emigration From
Arranmore, Co. Donegal in 1884
Dr Seán Beattie34
Robert Taylor Carson HRUA (1919-2008)Dr Denise Ferran, PPRUA40
Ballyshannon Gentry FamiliesHelen Meehan48
Donegal Medical Personnel in WW1Caroline Carr53
Edward Kelly: Last Elected MP for
Donegal in Westminster
Anthony Begley63
Letterkenny Workhouse 1844-1923Dr Niamh Brennan68
Meig Bhuirrce and the Origin of
Clann tSuibhne in Scotland and Ireland
Tomás G. Ó Canann77
Seán D. Mac Lochlainn, County Manager, DonegalSeán Boner87
Tenant Right in Donegal, 1849-1850Katelyn Hanna95
Boston’s Donegal DiasporaDr John McColgan99
A False Dawn: Royal Visit to
Buncrana, 1903
Mervyn Watson110
The Wreck of the William and MaryDr Frank Sweeney119
Late Eighteenth Century Maps of Ballybulgan Townland and TenantsDr Sam Hanna121
Paddy the Cope, Michael Powell and the Story of the Unmade FilmKen Fox126
Book Reviews136
Officers 2019-2020138
Donegal Bibliography 2018-2019Rory Gallagher141
Calendar of Events 2020148
Volume 71 : 2019

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here

Donegal Annual 2018

Turf Harvest, The Rosses, Co. Donegal (detail)

James Humbert Craig RHA (1874-1944)

courtesy of Peter Kelly


From Malin to the Middle East:
the Inishowen Crosses and Pillar Stones
Dr Michelle Brown4
Donaghmore Parish, Barony of RaphoeBelinda Mahaffy15
Amateur Drama in Donegal 1952-61Siofra Ni Shluaghadhain22
“Open Air Mass in the Donegal
Mountains”, 1867“
Aidan O’Hara26
Aspects of the History of
Clann tSuibhne
Tomás G. O Canann31
The Provision of Anglican Places of Worship
in the Parishes of Inishowen,
Dr William Roulston42
John McGettigan 1882-1958:
Migrant, Musician, Minstrel, Entrepreneur
Marcas Ó Murchú49
By the Banks of the EanymoreHelen Meehan54
The Role of the P.S. Cynthia and the
S.S. California in the Development of
Donegal Tourism.
Mervyn Watson59
John W. Nixon and his Derry Libel
Dr Desmond Murphy65
The Cenél nEóghain of Inishowen:
Aldfrith of Northumbria’s Donegal
Dr. Brian Lacey72
The Deliverance of Donegal –
A Political Ballad and the Donegal
Election 1874
Rev Raymond Blair83
Néillí Boyle, Seamus Ennis and
“The Moving Cloud”
Seán Boner88
Upper Lough FoyleRoss Cooper97
Ballintra Map 1773 and Associated
Dr Sam Hanna103
The Ancient Order of Hibernians in
Donegal 1904-1927
Dr Seán Beattie107
Ulster Plantation Leases, Manor of
Castlefinn 1680-1827
Terry Dolan122
Book Reviews132
Officers 2018-2019136
BibliographyRory Gallagher131
Calendar of Events 2019148
Volume 70 : 2018

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here

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Donegal Annual 2017

Donegal landscape by Ludwig Schenkel c.1950

(courtesy of David Bigger,
Central Library, Foyle St., Derry)


A Quaker Tour of Donegal in 1880Dr. Seán Beattie4
William Robinson, Father of the English Flower GardenBelinda Mahaffy16
A Historical Note on Baile Uí ChanannTomás G. Ó Canann23
An American Sea Plane Base in InishowenMeg Carroll29
Peadar O’Donnell’s Young AmbitionsDr. Nollaig MacCongáil39
Raphoe Diocesan ArchivesMoira Hughes39
Donegal and the Strabane Morning PostRev. Raymond Blair48
Images of Donegal Farm LabourersDr. Padraig G. Lane52
Liam Clarke and Arranmore Island’s First Resident DoctorSeán Boner58
Tithe Problems in DonegalDr. Frank Sweeney62
Derry and the Question of Partition 1920-22Martin Lynch67
Poteen Making in InishowenEmma Mahon74
The Wray and Stewart Families of Ards, Dunfanaghy Edward Rowland78
The S.S. Melmore: Donegal Tourism and her Last VoyageMervyn Watson88
The Architectural  Legacy of Sir Arthur Chichester’s Plantation in InishowenClaire Burke94
St. Patrick’s Purgatory and St. Peter’s TurasHelen Meehan100
The Waterloo PriestRichard Doherty107
Donegal News in 1917John Cunningham111
An Píoláta Cósta as an Tamhnaigh, Cill CharthaMíchaél Mac Giolla Easbuic114
Book Reviews118
Donegal Bibliography121
Officers 2017-8127
List of Members128
Calendar of Events 2018135
Volume 69 : 2017

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here

Donegal Annual 2016

The cover of the Annual is a most atmospheric painting by Norman Teeling, “Sackville Street before the Rising.”

This is a special centenary edition of the Donegal Annual to commemorate the main events of 1916 – the Easter Rising and WW1.

From the 20+ articles in this edition (see Contents below) it is appropriate to focus on two in particular. Helen Meehan writes about Patrick Pearse and the MacManus brothers and this is Helen’s 25th consecutive year contributing to the Annual. 

Rev. Dr. John Silke has a detailed article about Donegal and 1916. This sadly is believed to be Dr. Silke’s final piece of writing and the Annual includes an obituary in his memory, written by Timothy O’Sullivan.

The first RIC officer to die in the Rising was Constable Charles McGee, a native Irish speaker from the Donegal island of Innisboffin. He is the subject of two articles in the Annual, one by Dr. Méadhbha Ní Bhaoill and the other by Dr. Seosamh Ó Ceallaigh. In a similar vein Seán Boner writes about Private Con Duggan of the Royal Irish Rifles who also died in the Rising.

Seán Beattie, the editor of the Annual, examines early reactions to the Rising in the North-West, while John Cunningham peruses the local press for that year with a selection of interesting snippets. Rev Raymond Blair similarly examines “The Donegal Vindicator” which described the Rising as “an outbreak of criminal folly” and that’s the title he uses for his article.

Emerson Herdman from Sion Mills was in Dublin and photographed the city in the days after the Rising. Seán Boner prints some of these in his article and tells us that the entire collection is in the National Library, including ones he took in the Rosses where the Herdmans also had extensive business interests.

Standing back to reflect on the entire spectrum of commemoration and memory is thoughtfully achieved by Dr. Desmond Murphy, a barrister from Derry. Dr. Sandra Buchanan focuses on the Rising in a wider global context, backed up with an immense amount of bibliography.
And the events of WW1 are also in the Annual. Rachel Magowan features Dorothy Young, a Belfast trained nurse who served in war time hospitals in France and who had spent her youthful summers in Culdaff. She later moved to Jersey and named her house Inishowen, evidence surely of the serenity she had found in that beautiful peninsula.

We must never forget the excellent service provided by the Donegal County Archives Centre for a lot of our information and Dr. Niamh Brennan, the Head of Archives, details the 1916 collection held at Lifford, “a small but intriguing collection” is how she describes the 1916 material.

This is not the full extent of the Annual – see the Index on our website for that. It was launched by Prof. Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Emeritus Professor, NUI, Galway.

Full credit to Seán Beattie and his editorial staff in bringing to fruition this milestone publication to remember a significant year in Irish history.


President Bio4
Pearse’s Letter to a Donegal MotherAnthony Begley5
Easter Rising 1916 – Early Reactions in the North WestDr. Seán Beattie11
Easter Rising 1916 – A Global ContextDr.Sandra Buchanan23
Military Presence in Donegal in 1916Richard Doherty28
Donegal County Archives and 1916Dr. Niamh Brennan31
From Culdaff to the SommeRachel Magowan39
Patrick Pearse and the MacManus BrothersHelen Meehan43
From Nationalism to Republicanism:
Letterkenny and 1916
Kieran Kelly49
Constable Charles McGee RIC
Dr. Méadhbha Ni Bhaoill54
Constable McGee and the Easter RisingDr. Seosamh O Ceallaigh62
Noble SentimentsDr. Lochlann McGill67
Derry and The Easter Rising 1916Brian Lacey70
The Fermanagh Press and Donegal 1916John Cunningham81
Commemoration and MemoryDr. Desmond Murphy85
Donegal and 1916Rev. Dr. John Silke88
“An Outbreak of Criminal Folly”:
Donegal Vindicator 1916
 Rev. Raymond Blair96
Vol. Joseph O’Doherty Recalls 1916Joseph O’Doherty100
Feeding the Rising: Food and Farming in 1916Mervyn Watson102
Reflections on the RisingRev. Bernard J. Canning105
The IRB and The Easter RisingLiam Diver107
Private Con Duggan Seán Boner109
Emerson Herman’s Photographs of the RisingKieran Kelly111
Notes on Medieval Donegal IllTomás G. O Canann114
Book Reviews121
Donegal BibliographyHelen McNutt123
Fr John Silke ObituaryTimothy O’Sullivan130
List of past presidents 131
Officers 2016-17132
List of Members133
Calendar of Events 2017140
Volume 68 : 2016

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Donegal Annual 2022

Donegal Annual 2022

Celebrating 75 years 1947-2022

This issue is dedicated to the founder members

“I may say that this Society, with its associated Journal and proposed Repository, bids fair to fulfil a hope I have entertained for a long while.”

Andrew Lowry, President, Foreword, Journal of the County Donegal Historical Society, November 1947.

Front cover – Blown Sand , 1797 (From William Hamilton “Memoir of the Climate of Ireland”, in Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, 1797, Vol. 6, pp 27-55 by permission of the Royal Irish Academy).

The Garda Síochána in Donegal (1922-1923)Seán Beattie 4
Night of Terror in MountcharlesHelen Meehan19
The Border in Finnegans Wake:
‘the sanguine boundary limit’
Donal Manning23
In Search of Fahan MuraL. S. McLaughlin29
Richard Hayward’s Donegal ConnectionPaul Clements39
Painting Life in the Rosses:
W. H. Bartlett (1856-1932)
Raymond Blair45
Bundoran Golf Club: Unique Sporting InscriptionAnthony Begley49
Dún nanGall: “Fort of the Foreigners”?
Archaeological Evidence for Viking Activity in Medieval Donegal
Megan McAuley54
The Burt Reclamation SchemeLiam Campbell64
Girls’ Secondary Schools in Londonderry after 1845Robert Montgomery72
Culdaff Letter, 1777George Mills76
The Extraction of lodine from Seaweed in Ramelton, Co. DonegalPeter E. Childs78
A Donegal-born Covenanter Minister in South Carolina: Rev. Thomas DonnellyWilliam Roulston91
The Earliest Books by Donegal AuthorsBrian Lacey94
John Hamilton, Brownhall:
Tenants of the Ballydermot Estate 1821-1857
Sam Hanna100
Aonach Thir Chonaill: Aonach GaeilgeNollaig
Mac Congáil
Edmund Brian Doherty Plaque, Cruit IslandShannon McGaffin121
Extraordinary Landlordism in Western Donegal: Valentine Ryan – Landlord, IniskeelTom Plunkett124
Dunaire Finn agus Dún na nGallDuane Long129
The Emergence of Muintir Chanannáin
in Early Medieval Donegal
Tomás G.
O Canann
Book Reviews148
Donegal Bibliography 2021-22Una Mathewson154
Notices 163
Volume 74 : 2022

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here

2015 : Field day in Rathmullan and Oughterlinn (July 2015)

Our July field day began at the home of Dermot and Jacinta Hardy where we received an interesting history of Rathmullan and its abbey from Áine Ní Dhuibhne. Their house is at the location of the 16th century McSweeny’s castle. Sadly, the abbey is closed at the moment due to its condition.

We then went out to St. Catherine’s Church, Oughterlinn where John McCreadie gave us an illustrated talk on the history of this wonderful edifice. This is an area of great peace and quiet with commanding views of the nearby hills and sea. Then a short walk followed to the mass rock, another of those hidden gems in the county.

Finally, we were treated to tea and refreshments in the St. Vincent de Paul Centre in Rathmullan by members of the local historical society in the town.

2015 : Field day in Finner Army Camp 16th August 2015 

Finner’s history is pedigree in status. “In the Middle Ages Finner appears to have been the residence of a Chief who lived on the strategic Finner hill above the old Finner church and graveyard.” So writes Col. Declan O’Carroll in his definitive history of the camp * and who acted as our guide for this field day. Declan is also a former President of the Donegal Historical Society and in his professional career he served in Finner, and also overseas with the Irish Defence Forces.

Our day began in the Officers’ Mess with some light refreshments; then a short walk to the lecture hall where Declan gave us an illustrated history of the camp. And it’s a fascinating history. The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were based here at the end of the 19th century, training for the Boer War and the Great War. The British handed it over to the Irish authorities in 1922. In 1969 in the aftermath of the Battle of the Bogside, Finner housed refugees from the North.

In more recent decades a major rebuilding programme was completed and today Finner is an impressive sight with its modernity. We walked around the camp and heard historical details of the various locations visited. The panorama is magnificent – everything to please the eye: sea, sand dunes, Ben Bulben in the distance, an unbroken vista of nature at its most scenic. Only the chapel remains from the early days – it too has a most eye-catching interior featuring the stained glass artwork of Irish artist George Walsh. Here our day ended with our President, Dr. Lochlann McGill extending our gratitude to Declan and to 28 Infantry Battalion who all made our visit so enjoyable.

* ” Finner camp – a history” 2007, published by the Defence Forces.