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 donegalhistory.com

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 info@donegalhistory.ie

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

2015 : Donegal Annual

Donegal Annual 2015

The 2015 Donegal Annual, which has just been printed, marks another milestone in the numerous achievements of the Co. Donegal Historical Society since its foundation in 1946. Sixteen articles span the county, followed by book reviews, a list of officers and members, plus the schools’ competition.

Notable to begin with is that of Helen Meehan’s. She has been a regular contributor for the 24th consecutive year and in this edition she looks at the astronomical features of pre-Plantation Donegal. On a related theme, Ross Cooper focuses on the stone circle at Beltany near Raphoe, regarding the winter solstice. Raphoe does well in this year’s edition. Myra D. Kavanagh writes about Sarah Porterfield’s emigration to the USA in 1741 and Frank Sweeney details a tragic incident at a fair day in the town in 1850. The area around Raphoe is known as the Laggan and Sam Hanna documents the Laggan Army and Land Leases 1642-1665.

Mervyn Watson shows the significance to the county of cultural tourism in the early 1900’s, greatly helped by the extensive railway system and the increasing number of new hotels.

Hibernian Sunday Schools in Donegal, 1809 -1847 are examined by Seán Beattie, the Editor of the Annual.

Music to the ears of many readers will be Eddie Ward’s article on “The Rose of Arranmore.” It’s poignant to read the real-life story of Grace O’Donnell, the islander who inspired this lovely song.

Brian Lacey’s feature reminds us that it’s the 1500th anniversary of the birth of St. Colmcille.

Several buildings also come under the spotlight. Port Hall, near Lifford, built in 1746, played an important role in recent history. Martin McGuinness came here to meet members of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet. A previous owner of the house, Anthony Marreco, founded Amnesty International in 1961 while he was living there. Belinda Mahaffy has thoroughly researched the history of this house on the banks of the River Foyle. (N.B. The house and grounds are not open to the public).

Donald Munro remembers life in a Glencolmcille rectory while nearby Malinbeg is the focus of Seán Ó hEochaidh’s Irish language diary from a visit there in 1935, edited by Lillis Ó Laoire.

Michael Kennedy writes about Inishowen’s wartime coast watchers 1939-1945.

The cover of the Annual is a photo of the look-out post at Malin Head, taken by Adam R. Porter of Buncrana.

Born in nearby Greencastle in 1786, Gen Frederick Young founded the senior battalion of the Gurkhas and Rachel Magowan relates his achievements.

Around the 1870’s, Hugh Dorian of Fanad chronicled the everyday life and customs of the area. Rev. Raymond Blair’s article summarises letters and other writings by him, giving a fascinating insight into a vanished world.

The longest article in this year’s Annual is Notes on Medieval Donegal by Tomás G. Ó Canann. He begins by informing readers that in the 12th century the abbey of Assaroe at Ballyshannon was known by its Latin name of Samaria, from the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.

The history of Donegal continues to fascinate the inquisitive mind and here we have a gem of a publication. Full credit to the Editor, Seán Beattie and his editorial team. All information about the Society is on its website at donegalhistory.ie

Beltany stone circle, Raphoe

The cover is the look-out post at Banba’s Crown, Malin Head, courtesy of Adam Rory Porter, photographer, Buncrana.

Aphort, Arranmore island. In centre is the football pitch.

2016 : Field Day in Marble Hill and Gortahork (August 2016)

The scenic splendour of Marble Hill, deep Sheephaven Bay and Gortahork were our final destinations for this year’s field days. But we were there to enjoy much more than the breath-taking views. Our President, Dr. Lochlann McGill, welcomed a very large group to Marble Hill. Our first stop was its gate-lodge where our guide, Charlie Gallagher pointed out a most interesting feature of the lovely lodge , ie the still intact roof made from the local Roshine slate. 

The house itself was once owned by Mr. Hugh Law, MP and TD. Robin Law, his grandson, who lives nearby, was also in attendance. We then walked to the dance hall and this was the first time in more than 50 years that it was opened to the public. Patrick Pearse knew the hall well, as we were soon to find out. Andrew MacIntyre, a postman from nearby Ballymore, played the fiddle at ceilidh evenings held in the hall when Pearse came.

Eamonn MacIntyre, his grandson, read a letter his father Eddie had written in 1966 to Dr. McGill’s father about Patrick Pearse’s visit to the house as Mr. Law’s guest. Eddie wrote, “I often heard my father say that Pearse was a frequent visitor…and collected a large quantity of Irish folklore in the district around Marble Hill. It was in Law’s house too that Pearse learned the Fairy Reel, a dance then peculiar to that part of Ireland. My father played the fiddle on that occasion and was personally thanked by Pearse.” For his work in preserving the local musical culture of the district, Mr Law in 1904 presented Andrew with a violin case with a silver plaque on it and Patrick Pearse contributed to the purchase. Andrew and Eddie were founder members of the Donegal Historical Society.
Charlie Gallagher spoke next and recalled the popularity of Marble Hill with many other distinguished guests at the house. They afterwards wrote about the locality and we are most fortunate, noted Charlie, in having such a wonderful amount of writings and art-work from that era relating to the district. He mentioned quite a few of these people and what they had to say and Charlie’s power of recall was amazing. Entertainment was then provided by two fiddlers,Seamus McGowan and Liana MacIntyre. The Society would like to take this opportunity to thank the present owner of Marble Hill House, Ms Juliet Joblin-Purser, for allowing us access to the dance hall and environs. NB…It must be pointed out that the house, gate-lodge, dance hall and grounds are private property and not open to the public.
On then to Coláiste Uladh, Gortahork where Dr. Seosamh ÓCeallaigh gave an illustrated lecture on the immense contribution the college has made to the language and culture of the district. Patrick Pearse, Joseph Plunkett and Roger Casement attended the college and immersed themselves in the local culture and ways of life. The college itself is in immaculate condition and a joy to behold. Our day ended with a wonderful tea at the college. Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.

As the Society come to the end of our commemorations for 1916, it is surely fitting that we give the last word to Joseph Plunkett, one of the seven signatories of the Proclamation and who was executed at Kilmainham Gaol on May 4th 1916. Years earlier, as a young man at Coláiste Uladh, enjoying the carefree days at the college amidst the heather-clad hills of NW Donegal, it was the arrows of Cupid that struck him. Here is the first verse of his poem, “Coláiste Uladh” which he wrote to his beloved, a local girl whose surname was O’Carroll.

Cloughaneely Irish College
Has a wealth of wit and knowledge,
Not to speak of health and beauty
Grace and graciousness go leor.
But among its charms entrancing
Men and maidens, songs and dancing,
There is nothing so delightful
As yourself, mo mhile stór

Our President 2022

Uachtarán Chumann Staire agus Seanchais Chondae Dhún na nGall.

President of the County Donegal Historical and Folklore Society.

The outgoing president of the Donegal Historical Society, Seán Boner (left) presents new holder of that office, Rev. Raymond Blair with his chain of office following Annual General Meeting in Ballybofey

The President of Donegal Historical Society, Rev. Raymond Blair, was born in Cavan Upper, Killygordon, in 1960. Raymond received his primary education in the nearby Cooladawson National School. A keen interest in history developed from an early age as a result of the fascinating stories which his father, Joseph, used to tell him about happenings in the locality over the years. His secondary education was obtained at the Royal and Prior Comprehensive School in Raphoe, whose headmaster at that time was Mr Cookman, who himself served as President of the County Donegal Historical Society. 

Raymond then went on to study History at Trinity College Dublin, and this course of study deepened his fascination with Irish History; it particularly stimulated his interest in the interaction between landlords and tenants in 19th century Ireland. In due course, he went on to study Theology at the Reformed Theological College in Belfast, and then served as Pastor in Galway for over 20 years, before moving to minister in Limavady in 2011.

Raymond is the author of “The Best of Frances Browne: Poems, Stories and Essays by the Blind Genius of Stranorlar.” He has also written many articles for the Donegal Annual and contributed to several other historical journals. He has a special interest in the life and career of John George Adair, the notorious landlord of Derryveagh, and has unearthed some significant new material about that colourful and controversial character.

Married to Carole (from Bangor, County Down) since 1995, he has four daughters – Eileanoir, Labhaoise, Rosaleen and Iona. In undertaking the role of President, Raymond hopes that his own enthusiasm for the history of Donegal will motivate others to get more involved in exploring the fascinating story of his native county. In the words of Lord Acton, “History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.”

Donegal Annual 2015

Cultural Tourism in Donegal in the Early 1900s Mervyn Watson   4
Hibernian Sunday Schools in Donegal 1809-1847 Seán Beattie   11
General Frederick Young 1786-1874 Rachel Macgowan   21
Beltany – Star of Gortin and Winter Solstice Ross Cooper   27
Colmcille – 1500th Anniversary of His Birth Brian Lacey   34
The Laggan Army and Land Leases 1642-65 Sam Hanna   36
Port Hall Belinda Mahaffy   42
The Dorian Letters, Fanad Rev. Raymond Blair   49
The Rose of Arranmore Eddie Ward   53
Celestial and Environmental Phenomena In Pre-Plantation Donegal Helen Meehan   59
Notes on Medieval Donegal (2) Tomás G. Ó Canann   67
Glencolmcille Rectory Memoir Donald Munro   90
Sarah Porterfield, Raphoe Myra D. Kavanagh   95
Inishowen’s Wartime Coastwatchers 1939-45 Michael Kennedy   99
The Trial of Martha Allan Frank Sweeney   105
Dialann Sheáin Uí Eochaidh Lillis Ó Laoire   109
Book Reviews  116
Donegal Bibliography Helen McNutt   123
Officers 2015  132
Schools’ Competitions Pat Shallow   133
List of Members  136
Calendar 2016  148
Volume 67 : 2015

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here

Donegal Annual 2014

Notes of Medieval Donegal Tomás G. Ó Canann   4
The Dudleys: Donegal’s “Penny Nurses”, 1903-1923 Dr. Seán Beattie   16
The War of Independence and the Laggan William Holmes   22
Excavations: Carrickabraghy Castle 2012-3 Richard Crumlish   29
Donegal and the Great War Richard Doherty   39
Mabel Colhoun Denise Henry   45
Municipal Government in Donegal Town: the Two Charters of 1612-13 Dr. Matthew Potter   50
Opposites Attract: Hugh O’Neill and Red Hugh O’Donnell Matthew McGinty   63
St. Colmcille’s Well, Ardsbeg, Co.Donegal Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire   68
Surveys and Rentals: Manor of Castlefinn 1631-1835 Terry Dolan   73
Malinmore Portal Tomb Complex René Balthasar   79
O’Mulderry Family Richard Louis Mulderrry   83
Farrells of Rossnowlagh Dr. Sam Hanna   87
1641 Depositions Patrick Maher   91
Cumann na mBan in Co. Donegal Helen Meehan   97
Famine: Magaret Heraghty’s Last Journey Dr. Frank Sweeney   106
Sugar, Sewage, Soapstone: John George Adair Rev. Ray Blair   112
Major Myles: the 1932/33 Elections Dr. Daragh Curran   116
Association Football: Donegal Players in England, 1945-2010 Dr. Conor Curran   125
Comóradh agus Céiliúradh 1912-2022 Uinsionn Ó Breisleáin   130
Cistercians in Derry and Donegal 1218-2013 Rev. Bernard J. Canning   135
Book Reviews  139
Donegal Bibliography Helen McNutt   143
Officers   150
Schools’ Competitions Pat Shallow   151
List of Members  153
Calendar/Programme 2015  161
Volume 66 : 2014

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here