Uachtarán Chumann Staire agus Seanchais Chondae Dhún na nGall.
President of the County Donegal Historical and Folklore Society.
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.”