Local History by Seán Beattie


Gospel Halls in Donegal

The Plymouth Brethern in Donegal trace their origins back to the late 1800s. Founded in 1829 in Plymouth, their places of worship are commonly called Gospel Halls in this county but they are officially known as Christian Assemblies. The Bible is the supreme authority and there are no clergy involved. The Brethern first came into existence when a group of Anglicans expressed dissatisfaction with their own church and sought a form of worship that brought them closer to God.

Christian Ammemblies can be found at three locations in Donegal- Laghey, Magheracorran near Drumkeen and Letterkenny. The Laghey community owes its origins to Alex Scott of Carricknahorna and was founded in 1915. The Letterkenny community, with its hall in Church Lane, dates from 1890. The first worshippers met in a tent and were led by a Dr. Matthews. A group of worshippers walked from here in 1892 and established a hall at Magheracorran. More information on the halls throughout Ireland can be found in a new book by Wynnfield Hooke and David Boyd called A HISTORY OF SOME CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES IN IRELAND.


  1. raymond blair

    Growing up as a boy in Donegal in the 1970’s I heard the Brethren being referred to by the nickname “The Dippers” arising from their practice of immersing their followers in water as a sign of their commitment.

  2. David Lowe

    In fact the Plymouth Brethren, contrary to the name, is an Irish sect and was founded in Dublin by a group of Protestants and some Catholics who were disillusioned with ‘High Church’. The movement eventually spread to Plymouth, where it had a particularly successful uptake, and the name Plymouth Brethren stuck. In truth, it all began in Dublin and is thus effectively an Irish religion. More here at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Brethren

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