REFORMATION 500

Thomas Jenner, The candle is lit, it cannot blow out (1640s). The 15 reformers are named in the picture. It sums up the determination of Luther’s followers to spread his ideas across Europe. The original print is currently on display in the British Museum. On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian friar named Martin Luther allegedly nailed 95 Theses on the door of the church of All Saints in Wittenberg and later sent them to the Archbishop of Mainz. Luther was…

The Silent Monastic Bells of Inishowen

    The ancient monasteries of Inishowen owned bells which were used in holy ritual and at times of prayer in the monasteries. Some date back to the tenth century. The Bell of St Mura remained in Fahan parish until after the Great Famine when it was sold to a John McClelland of Dungannon. He exhibited it in the Great Exhibition of 1852 in Belfast. It is made of bronze and is encased in a highly-decorated shrine. The bell was…

Carndonagh: the Marshall Monument –

This monument will feature in the Colgan Heritage Weekend in August 2018 – details later. A Recent Discovery The Donagh rectory was once a substantial landmark building commanding a spectacular view across Trabreaga Bay outside Carndonagh. The 200 year old trees are still looking healthy and vibrant but all traces of the structure have disappeared.  Fortunately, one of the rectors has left a memorial skilfully hewn on a massive, whitened whinstone on the farmland that encompasses the rectory. The memorial…

A Clonmany Rector’s Woes: Life in Inishowen in the 1820s

A remarkable insight into the life of a parish curate in the Church of Ireland has recently come to light. It is generally presumed by Irish historians that the clergy had a comfortable living, having a guaranteed income from the tithe. This was a levy on crops and produce which pre-dated the arrival of the Normans. Among tithe payers, the tax was not too popular, as it obliged all denominations to support the Established Church. Apart from such considerations, the…

THE LAST OF THE NAME – FILM REVIEW

THE LAST OF THE NAME, dvd, video. Directed by Kate and Paul McCarroll. Produced by Seamus O’Donnell and Paul McCarroll, starring Paul Kelly. Duration 60 minutes, 2017 The film is a fine example of the rich tapestry of music, folklore, heritage and culture of the Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal. It tells the story of a modest weaver called Charles McGlinchey, born shortly after the Great Famine, in Meentiagh Glen, Inishowen, who had a remarkable corpus of knowledge relating to…

W. James Doherty, Buncrana, Historian and Engineer, 1834-1898

W. James Doherty wrote ‘Inis-Owen and Tirconnell – being some account of Antiquities and Writer in the County of Donegal’ in 1895. Running to 609 pages, it contains wood engraved illustrations with information on Donegal bells, Cardinal Logue, Donegal poets, the cross of St. Boden, Seán Óg O’Dochartaigh, the Cathach, Isaac Butt, Sir George Ferguson Bowen of Bogay, Newtowncunningham, William Elder of Malin, Bernard Doherty, Josias Porter of Burt, Robert Patterson of Letterkenny and John Joseph Keane of Ballyshannon. Dictionary…

Hart of Muff County Donegal

Doe Castle. For more information on the Hart family see Henry Travers Hart, The Family History Of Hart Of Donegal, published in 1907. Only 40 copies were printed so the book is extremely rare. There is a copy in Letterkenny library. George Vaughan Hart carved his initials G.V.H on the walls of Doe Castle- a good example of historical graffiti. The main family seat was at Kilderry at Muff and they also owned a two-storey lodge on the border in the…

The Woods of Lisnagra

THE WOODS OF LISNAGRA High on the bleak moorland of Lisnagra There is a shady wood of swaying trees That creak and groan when bowed and tempest tossed. A sandy track emerges from the wood Winding o’er the moor of Lisnagra To meet the mountain boulders strewn and wild Where white marsh flowers bow before the gale. And overhead the lonely curlew flies Uttering screams that pierce the solitude And echo far o’er mountain, lake and fall. Eithne Anderson. (extract)…

Buncrana lady in Mountjoy jail

  On 9 June 1923, the newspaper ÉIRE THE IRISH NATION published a letter from an unnamed Buncrana lady who complained bitterly about conditions in Mountjoy jail, Dublin. The banner headline ran BRUTALITY TO WOMEN IN BUNCRANA. Her jailers were not British soldiers but officers of the newly-established Irish Free State, (referred to as Staters who were pro-Treaty) in the final days of the Civil War. At the time of writing, her parents lived in Buncrana but she had been…

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