Local History by Seán Beattie

Books, Raphoe

Launch of Raphoe Miscellany 2

Dr John Silke has just launched his new miscellany on church history. The launch took place at the Raphoe Diocesan Archives in Letterkenny and Bishop Boyce did the honours. (He retires shortly). He referred to the large number of saints from Donegal mentioned in the book. St Buaden of Culdaff is described as a  cousin of Colmcille. His feast day is July 22 nd. Michael O’Cleary listed 40 saints from Cenel Conaill but there may be 54, and 14 of them became abbots of Iona. The diocese of Raphoe meets the diocese of Derry and Clogher at a point in Barnesmore Gap. The county had dozens of pilgrimages of which Lough Derg is now the most famous. 

There is an extensive list of bishops of Raphoe from 1150 to 1589. Bishop O’Donnell was involved with William Micks in building the mental hospital and other major projects. There is very little evidence on the attitudes of the bishops to the 1916 Rising but many had statements prepared which they did not publish. At a meeting after the Rising, they urged priests to take up places as chaplains at the front. Bishop McLaughlin was the first Derry man to be Bishop of Raphoe.

While this is largely a church history it covers many aspects of life in Donegal eg genealogy, hiring, famines, the visit of Patrick Pearse to Tory in 1906, the Marine College at Killybegs, salmon fishing, poteen making, family wills etc.This is but  a short synopsis of a really remarkable study of church history by a leading Donegal historian.  The Diocesan Archives are a major resource for anyone studying Donegal history and thanks to Dr Silke and Moira Hughes (Moville), major archival work has been completed. 

Raphoe Miscellany 2 by Dr John Silke and Mrs Moira Hughes, Letterkenny, 2015, 168 pages. Available from the Archives.

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