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

Copies of this Annual are available for sale here