A Malin Head Link to the White House

As they look across the great blue waters of the Atlantic, tour guides visiting Malin Head are often heard to remark that the next parish is America. For hundreds of Malin Head folk that comment became a reality, as they boarded the ships of Cooke and McCorkell and the great liners for a new life. One Malin man who made that journey was David A. Doyle who left Malin Head in his childhood. His family settled in Brooklyn and as…

Destination Buncrana 1914

On 21 October 1914, the White Star liner Olympic left New York but was directed to lie at anchor in Lough Swilly. The Captain was warned about the dangers of German mines off the mouth of the Swilly and successfully sailed his ship into the Lough. Europe was at war and questions were raised in Buncrana about the purpose of the visit as the ship lay at anchor for four days. There was no communication of any kind with the…

St. Patrick in Inishowen

We are unable to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in our normal fashion in 2020, so here are some of my thoughts from my isolated base in Culdaff A page from the Book of Armagh,which has notes about the Saint’s journey.  The hagiography (biography of a saint ) of St. Patrick is considered the best guide to the political geography of Ireland in the pre-Viking Age in relation to the location of kingdoms, dynasties and churches. The principal text was written by…

Forgotten Heritage of Carndonagh

THE WATERLOO PRIEST 1779 in Cockhill, Buncrana. He was one of the most colourful clergymen who served in Inishowen. As a nephew of Bishop Charles O’Donnell, he was marked out for the priesthood. Before he was ordained, he accepted a commission in the British Army and served in the Peninsular Wars. Locals called him the “Waterloo Priest” because he was on the continent at the time of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He journeyed through the parish of Clonmany…

Article on Seán Ó’hEochaidh’s Field Diaries by Lillis Ó Laoire

Seán Ó’hEochaidh was one of Ireland’s greatest folklore collectors and he worked for the Irish Folklore Commission in Donegal. Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire, professor in Irish in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUIG, has carried out extensive research on his diaries. In this article, he highlights references to women and how they impacted on Ó hEochaidh’s work. The diaries offer a unique insight into rural life in south Donegal; there are references to local customs and interesting personalities…

Christmas Rhymers in Inishowen

As a child growing up in Carrowmena, Inishowen, I recall the visits of the Rhymers as they went from house to house in the village. They were a noisy, scary lot if you met them on the road in total darkness. To gain entry to each house, they hammered on the door with a walking stick and performed their play in the kitchen. The play ended with a collection. At the end of Christmas, they had a Rhymers’ Ball. I…

St. Boden’s Boat, Culdaff, Inishowen

St. Boden’s Boat, Culdaff The Blessing of the Fleet at Bunagee pier, Culdaff, Inishowen took place last month (August, 2019). There was a large attendance and the sun blazed in the sky. This pier has a special place in the hearts and minds of local fishermen. The patron saint of the parish is St. Boden and he promised that no harm would come to any boat launched at Bunagee. His feast day is July 22nd. The Bell of St. Boden…

From Ballyharry to Brooklyn 1882

Background The winter of 1878-9 witnessed the return of the scourge of famine along the western seaboard. There was great hardship in Inishowen and large numbers received assistance from charitable organisations such as the Duchess of Marlborough Relief Fund in Dublin. Conditions were exacerbated by social unrest arising from the activities of the Land League. Brooklyn Bridge For many families, America offered an escape from hunger. There was a great demand for labour in New York because in the 1880s,…

Carndonagh Teachers 1972

  The two pictures show staff members of Carndonagh College in the Colgan Hall, top, and Convent of Mercy, below. The photos first appeared in INIS DÚINN, 1972, when the second edition of the school magazine was published. It ran to 52 pages and included contributions by students called Paul Fiorentini (Moville) and Paddy Doherty (Dunaff ) among others. Paul is the current Principal and Paddy taught Irish for many years. John O’Kane, (Culdaff) wrote a poem called TRAMP and…

Corvish Stone – the CLOGH FAD 1834?

The OS maps reveal more information about the Corvish Stone which was discovered recently. (See earlier post) The first edition of the OS 6-inch maps 1834  shows a “Stone” here but it had disappeared in the 1900 edition. The stone with the carving is most likely the original standing stone listed 200 years ago. Clearly, it has undergone a process of recycling. Thankfully, it was not used as  a door lintel or in land drainage, as was the fate of…