Drumfries and the Great Famine

Five town lands of the Meentiaghs had very different experiences during the Great Famine 1845-49. The townland of Ballinlough suffered the most in terms of population decrease, declining from 98 to 44 persons, a drop of more than fifty per cent. The remaining townlands of Ballintlieve (93 to 68), Carroghill ( 34 to 30), Glasmullan (77 to 71) and Meenadiff (32 to 24) suffered a smaller decline in population. The most striking change was in the number of houses that…

Killer Disease in Inishowen 1937

In the early 1900s tuberculosis was still a deadly disease in these parts. The 1937 Annual Reports from the Donegal Medical Office in 1937 make for grim reading. It was still necessary to run fortnightly clinics in Carndonagh, Letterkenny, Donegal Town and Glenties. Monthly clinics were operating in Moville, Clonmany and Muff. (Cholera killed hundreds here in 1832, the year of Duffy’s Cut). There were 30 district nurses in the county engaged in battling the disease. Clonmany clinic had 139…

Clonmany Gun Running 1914

In April 1914 Thomas McDonagh addressed a large crowd at Cruckaughrim Hill near Ballyliffin and advised his audience to get armed. Five months later in August rumours were rampant that guns were about to arrive in the peninsula. The RIC were aware of the reports and mounted checkpoints where manpower permitted. Everything that moved was searched – carts, schoolbags, even prams. The Irish National Volunteers at Culdaff, Malin, Carndonagh and Buncrana were on alert. Tension was high as Companies A…

Carrowmena Lace School

The Lace School in Carrowmena was one of many such schools established in Donegal. Locally referred to as the Crochet House, young women learned a range of skills from crochet to needlework, embroidery and knitting. Belfast agents delivered linen napkins, handkerchiefs and tablecloths and students added Celtic motifs, shamrocks and other decorations. Students learned new skills and got paid for work produced. Crochet goods were exported worldwide and there was a great demand for traditional Irish lace and crochet. The…

Cloncha Grave Stone, Culdaff

To see the Cloncha stone listed among the 100 great objects of Irish history, as devised by Fintan O’Toole, was a golden moment for our Inishowen heritage. I was puzzled by a number of elements in the article. For example, I am still trying to find out where he got the name MacMhoireasdain from when the actual name on the tombstone is clearly Magnas MacOrristin. The name of the sculptor, Fergus MacAlain (McCallion) is omitted. In the original lettering Fergus…

The Roads of Inishowen

We can thank the members of the Grand Jury for the design and structure of the roads in the peninsula. The Grand Jury was a non-elected body of landlords who met monthly in Lifford to manage the road network, built bridges and even offer bounties for the killing of otters. There was a flurry of road-making from 1750 to 1800 and the Presentment Sessions record the monies allocated usually by a length called a perch. Each year the landlords nominated…

Tiernaleague House, Carndonagh

The house was the home of the Cary family who were the landlords for the town of Carndonagh and was built by Robert Cary about 1820. Cary owned the extensive woodlands of Cnocnacoilldara. Subsequently it was acquired by Rankins. Samuel Rankin was a close friend of James Norris Thompson (where Maura Harkin lives), a prominent magistrate, diarist and proficient farmer.During the Great Famine, members of the Rankin family frequently engaged in hunting with horse and hound and returned in the…

Ballyharry Cottage 1950

This is Patrick McSheffrey’s cottage in Ballyharry in 1950. He had the nickname “Jaffas” which had some connection with oranges. He was a small farmer who had migrated to America and returned home. The cottage is in Cruckameal which is a subdivision of Ballyharry. It is a perfect clachan and is still occupied by the same families. Some holiday homes have been built. All clachan inhabitants had access to the shoreline and a look at an OS map will show…

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