Local History by Seán Beattie


Ballyharry Cottage 1950

Jaffas' Cottage, Ballyharry 1950

This is Patrick McSheffrey’s cottage in Ballyharry in 1950. He had the nickname “Jaffas” which had some connection with oranges. He was a small farmer who had migrated to America and returned home. The cottage is in Cruckameal which is a subdivision of Ballyharry. It is a perfect clachan and is still occupied by the same families. Some holiday homes have been built. All clachan inhabitants had access to the shoreline and a look at an OS map will show each landholder with a long narrow slice of land which gave him personal access to the water at high tide. This was invaluable for harvesting seaweed either for fertiliser or for sale as kelp. Kelp is dried seaweed and was exported to Scotland for iodine which was essential for infection control in hospitals. Landholders got £5 per ton and the kelp often represented ten per cent of the family income. The sea also provided seafood. Tremone sand had a high lime content so it was used on land. It was also used for building.


  1. Bridget Maguire

    Patrick could have been my great grandfather..Cassie Beatty’father who was in America and returned to Donegal. My mother was Bridget McDermott from Carrowbeg…a stones throw from Carrowmena…who must have been at the Crochet School. She was a wonderful seamstress and knitted and crocheted all her life. She talked of a lady who came to the area to teach them. She crocheted a wedding dress for someone when she was very young, I have fond memories of holidays spent in Carrowbeg and am greatly interested in the history of the area.

    • seanbeattie

      I knew both families well
      Cassie gave me a piece of crochet similar to what she worked on in
      the Lace School

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