Local History by Seán Beattie


St.Buadan’s Bell Cloncha, Culdaff

The Bell of St. Buadan is under the care of the parish priest of Culdaff. A relic of the monastery of Culdaff, it dates from around 1,000 AD and is made of bronze. It is one of the few bells now in private hands. In monastic times, it was in the care of the O’Duffy family and when they died out the O’Doherty’s of Cashel. Every monastery had lay guardians called erenaghs who were held in high esteem in society and owned their share of glebe land. Catherine O’Doherty, O’Doherty Solicitors, Carndonagh claim to be the legal owners and have pressed their ownership rights in family wills. It is not used in everyday church services but is rung on special occasions such as centenaries. 

It is similar to the bell of Armagh in shape and is unornamented. Most Inishowen bells are lost, having been sold in famine times for a few shillings. The Donagh Bell was sent to the National Museum in the 1890s but it is not clear if it is still there. The Bell of St. Finian has been sold. The only Inishowen bell on public display is in the Wallace Collection, Hertford House off Oxford St., London. The Bell of St. Conall, Glenties, is in the British Museum in London.

As the Year of the Gathering approches in 2013, now is the time to stake our claim for the return to the county of our ancient manuscripts, artefacts and gold that have stolen, looted or taken by irregular means. This comment in no way undermines the excellent care lavished on our heritage objects by the curators of museums and collections both here and abroad, not to mention insurance costs.


  1. Very true these relics should return to their mother country.But don’t hold your breath.The Elgin marbles,In addition Auld Alba,s Stone of destiny spring to mind!!!

  2. It is truly right and just that these relics return to their mother country.However don’t hold your breath.The Eligin Marbles spring to mind Last but not least Auld Alba,s stone of destiny!!!

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