Local History by Seán Beattie


Three Book Launches

I have been involved in a number of book launches recently. Last month, DONEGAL’S WILD ATLANTIC COAST  was launched by television producer and presenter Joe Mahon (LESSER SPOTTED ULSTER) at Inishowen Maritime Museum. The book is published by well-known publisher Tim Johnston with Ros Harvey, Ballagh Studios and myself as writer. It is available in Donegal bookshops or via Amazon or the publisher, cottage-publications. com.


The video below features the launch of the DONEGAL ANNUAL COLLECTION VOLUME 2 1954-59 some years ago. Proceedings are in Irish as the event took place in Gweedore and I used the occasion to resurrect my knowledge of Irish which I had at UCD in former days. My opening remarks are about some of the former editors. The second speaker was President of Donegal Historical Society at the time, Dr O’Baoighill, and he spoke about some of the writers in the collection. The third speaker was Col Declan O’Carroll. He befriended Hugh Friel of Fanad on the football fields of Donegal many years ago and Hugh kindly offered to fund the project. Dr Lillis O’Laoire, NUIG, launched the book and spoke about some writers such as Margaret Dobbs who feature in the collection. For more details see www.donegalhistory.com or contact Una McGarrigle, Hon Sec of DHS.




The third launch took place in Culdaff before Christmas 2017. The book is based on proceedings of two conferences organised by the Lands of Eoghain committee in Inishowen in 2017, one in Malin and the other in Culdaff. The editor is Rosemary Doherty, an archaeologist based in Carndonagh. Contributors include Rosemary Doherty and Denise Henry, a young archaeologist who has been active in promoting the work of Mabel Colhoun and who was involved in setting up an exhibition about Mabel in Derry Museum. Mabel was born in 1905 in Derry and worked as a teacher. She was the aunt of David Trimble, now in the House of Lords, who participated in the peace process in N. Ireland. I met David Trimble at the launch of Mabel’s book, THE HERITAGE OF INISHOWEN some years ago. He told me he often drove her around Inishowen to visit the sites in the book. He also said she would get angry when she found sites had been damaged.

Brian Lacey is an archaeologist who has worked on the DISCOVERY  programme. He befriended Mabel when he lectured in Magee College, Derry. Brian told me he is now planning to move to Donegal when family circumstances permit.

John McCarron is involved in preparing a catalogue of Mabel’s work in Derry.

Amy Young was born in Canada in 1885 and married Robert Young of Culdaff. She wrote the history of the Young family in 1929 in which she described the burning of Culdaff House on 22 May 1922. Only 100 copies were printed so the book is very rare.

Rachel Magowan is related to Amy and has access to her papers. Rachel describes a ball Amy attended in New Park, Moville organised by Bishop Henry Montgomery and his wife Maud in 1908, The ball was to celebrate the completion of training of the Bishop’s son, Bernard, later Field Mashal and a World War 2 hero.

My own modest contribution details life in Culdaff during Amy’s lifetime. For example, the Ancient Order of Hibernians was very active and Unionists were very busy in 1912 with the signing of the Covenant.

John McGrory designed the book and Neil managed sound and organised the launch with Rosemary and with Trish Murphy, secretary of the committee. Music was supplied by Roisin McGrory and her musicians. George Mills, grandson of Amy, attended the launch. He also kindly acted as guide to Culdaff House during the seminar earlier in the year. The Heritage Council financed the publication. Anne Doherty provided catering for the launch.

For more details about the book, see www.landsofeoghain.com.

Thanks for reading this and may I wish my fellow historians and archaeologists every best wish for 2018.

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