A Malin Head Link to the White House

President William McKinley (1897-1901) had family links to Malin Head

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 an adult he became involved in the religious and commercial life of New York. He was a founder of the Embury Church in Brooklyn. The late 1800s were not a happy place for the Irish in America. On the lowest rung of the social ladder stood the black population, who still remembered the evils of the slave industry. The Irish were just one step above. In general, the native-born Americans welcomed the Irish, especially when they acquired the right to vote and became an influential sector in the electorate by virtue of their numbers.  A minority group of fundamentalists, however, known as the Nativists harboured a deep hatred for the Irish whom they regarded as a threat to the American way of life. Their Catholicism was seen as an enemy of their Protestantism; they argued that crime levels were high among the Irish and that if they were involved in politics, they would corrupt the political system because of their numbers. Portraying the Irish as a blight on American society, the Nativists strove to limit the advance of the Irish both politically and economically. It is hard to accept these realities about life just over a century ago.

David Doyle’s achievement was that he overcame these obstacles which his fellow Irish men faced as day labourers and manual workers. It is estimated that within a ten year period after 1900, a quarter of the Irish climbed the social ladder in the worlds of business, transport, crafts, policing, the fire service, trades and office management. Doyle made his name in the world of business in New York. He opened his first trunk and leather store in the heart of the business district of Manhattan and a second in the old Astor House. His merchandising was brash, displaying his goods on the pavements to the annoyance of some politicians. He was a skilled communicator who believed in networking and over the years, he became friends with some of the great celebrities in New York.  Among his circle was Abner McKinley, a brother of the President, William McKinley (1897-1901). David Doyle was a cousin of the President. The McKinleys were originally of Scotch-Irish stock who came from Co. Antrim. It is not known if David was ever a guest in the White House, but his family links to the President provided a stepping stone into the higher echelons of American society.

McKinley is remembered today for two reasons. First, he believed in making America great and as a believer in protectionism introduced tariffs on imports to protect US trade, known as the McKinley Tariffs. The tariffs were very unpopular in Ireland where they almost destroyed the cottage industries and the Lace Schools producing home-made goods for the US markets. He is also remembered as one of four US Presidents to die in office, at the hands of an assassin.

David Doyle died on 20 January 1939, leaving a wife, Mary Jane Platt Doyle, three daughters, a son and two brothers, George in Brooklyn and John in Ireland. No plaque bears his name in Manhattan but he may be regarded as an icon for the hundreds of emigrants from Donegal and elsewhere who climbed to the top of the social and economic ladder in the New World.

Seán Beattie, Culdaff, March 2020

Destination Buncrana 1914

charles_m._schwab_cph.3b33668

Charles M Schwab, one of America’s leading arms dealers, disembarked at Buncrana pier in October 1914 on a top secret mission

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 shore. After a period of four days, two people were observed leaving the ship. It was reported that the passenger was a wealthy American who was accompanied by his valet. Their luggage was left on board. Both were on a top secret mission and the presence of German mines off Lough Swilly presented a serious threat to their safety, hence the delay in Irish waters.

Reporters who tracked the movements of the two men to London later discovered their identities. The well-dressed American was Charles M Schwab. The purpose of Schwab’s departure from the ship was to travel to London to negotiate an arms deal with the Allies. He was the head of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, which was the second largest manufacturer of steel in the US and was a supplier of armour plate and guns to the US government throughout the war.

On 3 November, the Olympic continued on its journey and was noted by Lloyds as it passed Inishtrahull.

Schwab (1862-1939) was descended from German Catholic grand-parents. He was the main figure in the supply of munitions to the US government in World War 1 – another  interesting connection between the town of Buncrana and the First World War.

Seán Beattie

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 page from the book of Armagh.

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 a bishop called Tírechán, c. 690, quite a while after the saint had passed away. Tírechán was from Connaught, born somewhere along the Moy River which flows through Ballina and is famous for its salmon. According to this source, the saint travelled around Ireland, visiting Connaught and then heading northwards before returning to the midlands. Two other texts add to the history written by Tírechán: the Book of Armagh c. 808  (in particular, the notes), and the Tripartite Life of St Patrick. These three texts provide us with a view of Ireland before the Vikings lashed our coasts.

Patrick entered Donegal through Barnesmore Gap into the Kingdom of Eoghan (often called the Cenél nÉoghain). The tribe of Éoghan would eventually rule supreme following their victory in one of the most decisive battles ever fought in the county, the Battle of Cloíteach in 789.

Patrick travelled northwards through the Fíd Mór (the Great Wood), which was probably in the area of Manorcunningham, now known as the Laggan, overlooking Lough Swilly.  At this time, the Inishowen peninsula was divided into three kingdoms. Fergus ruled Domnach Mór Maighe Tóchair, i.e. the area around Carndonagh. Tírechán clearly states that Patrick founded a church at Mag Tóchair (Carndonagh). Not all the inhabitants made him welcome but that is a story for another time.

Members of the Donegal Historical Society visiting the Donagh Cross. In this picture, it was situated on the opposite side of the road. Third from right is Rev Art O’Reilly, former President of Carndonagh College. 

In the 1600s, the cult of St. Patrick was very powerful in Inishowen. Hundreds made their way across the peninsula to pray at the Carndonagh Cross, one of Ireland’s greatest Patrician shrines in medieval times.

The cross features in Michael Quigley’s epic poem ‘The Friar’s Curse: A Legend of Inishowen, Or, Dreams of Fancy when the Night was Dark’ in 1870. Quigley emigrated from Inishowen after the Great Famine and worked as  a labourer, later a carpenter,  in America. His 300 page poem references many landmarks and stories from his homeland.

Where Donagh’s granite crosses gray with age,

Stand witnesses of Erin’s faith divine;

Mocking the fierce despoiler’s vandal rage,

Whose wanton fury overturned the shrine?

And broke the stone and blurr’d the sacred line,

The holy legend of the honored dead,

High on the hill above of rude design,

A lofty cairn of stone uprear’d its head,

But for what purpose rais’d tradition nothing said.

‘The Friar’s Curse: A Legend of Inishowen, Or, Dreams of Fancy when the Night was Dark’ – Michael Quigley, Milwaukee, 1870. The book is available from de Burca Rare Books in Dublin. 

The Cross is now under threat and experts who recently examined the Cross have noticed dust fragments at the base which suggest deterioration. The Lands of Eoghan group are currently taking up this matter.

The Donagh Cross under the protective canopy in its new location.

For a full account of Patrick’s visit, see the forthcoming  issue of The Donegal Annual 2020  in which Professor of Celtic, Thomas Charles-Edwards of Oxford University, an acknowledged world authority on Patrick,  will give a very comprehensive account of Patrick in Donegal and his arrival in Inishowen. Subject to conditions, it is now with the printers and will be available in July. To pre-order visit www.donegalhistory.com.

Spelling note – readers often bring spelling oddities to my attention. Please note the form above is pre-twelfth century; changes occurred later. Thanks to Lands of Eoghan, who invited Professor Charles-Edwards here last year, and especially to Max Adams, Colm O’Brien and associates who will return here in 2020 (hopefully) for their tenth visit. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all readers, on this unique chapter in our history when we are unable to celebrate our Patron’s Day in the usual fashion (17 March 2020)

– Seán Beattie, Ph. D. 

Forgotten Heritage of Carndonagh

Carndonagh Corner

  1. 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 on his horse. A campaigner against tithes (a tax), he found himself in Lifford jail for a short period. With a passion for education, he built five schools in the parish. Two letters written by him have recently come to light in a Carndonagh archive. Writing to the Board of Guardians of Carndonagh workhouse from Straid on 12 May 1847, in a letter marked “Confidential”, he launched a scathing attack on the Relieving Officers. He accused them of misrepresentation in relation to the degree of hunger in Clonmany. This resulted in some of the deserving poor being refused assistance, even though they experienced, in his words, “utter destitution”. In a second letter, he reported on a meeting of the Famine Relief Committee in Ballyliffin in which he highlighted the level of distress in the area. He was a member of the Relief Committee and donated £25 for relief of the poor – a huge sum in those days. Very few of his writings have survived so the signed letters provide a rare insight into the Great Famine in Clonmany parish.
  1. THE LANIGAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE DIARIES: The Lanigans, drapers, grocers and spirit merchants,  ran a prosperous business in the Diamond in Carndonagh. They donated their property to the church and thus an entrance was created at Donagh Café which provided access from the Diamond to the church. The site is marked by a plaque in memory of their philanthropy. James Lanigan kept notes on his activities in the War of Independence and his name is mentioned in Liam Diver’s THE DONEGAL AWAKENING (p 221). His personal accounts, in a private archive, have never been published and contain exclusive information on the history of the War of Independence in Inishowen.
  2. THE MERCY CIBORIUM: (Ciborium – a vessel for holding Communion). According to folklore from well-informed sources, dating from 1895, this Ciborium came from the friary at Donegal Town which was blown up during the Nine Years War which ended in 1603. The monks fled, taking valuable silver plate along with them, including the Ciborium, as they went into hiding. The Ciborium was on display in the Convent of Mercy, Carndonagh, until it closed down. Today, nothing is known of its whereabouts but it is probably in use in a church. Where?
  3. THE DONAGH BELL: The monastery in Carndonagh was one of the most celebrated in Donegal, having been founded by St. Patrick. At an Inquisition in Lifford in 1609, there is a reference to the Keeper of the Donagh Bell. The Donagh Bell, as used in services, was donated to the Royal Irish Academy, Dawson St., Dublin in 1853 by John C. Deane, a Relieving Officer at the workhouse. He found it in a pawnbroker’s shop in Carn, probably traded for food during the Great Famine. Later, the Museum of Science and Art, now the National Museum, placed it on exhibition. The last Keeper was Philip McColgan, who died in the 1870s. Record keeping was not as good as it is today and the Donagh Bell can no longer be traced. Where is it now? The Bell of Cloncha monastery is still retained in the parish at Culdaff. Seán Beatt

 

(A full account of St. Patrick’s journey through Donegal and arrival in Carndonagh will be published in Donegal Annual 2020, due in July 2020, and written by a Professor of History in Oxford University. Details later on donegalhistory.com).

Seán Beattie, Donegal Historical Society, Culdaff. Please share; for reference, cite ww.historyofdonegal.com.

 

 

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

LillisOLaoire

Dr. Lillis Ó’ Laoire, NUIG

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 are encountered.

The title of the article is “Tá cuid de na mná blasta/Some Women Are Sweet Talkers”: Representations of Women in Seán Ó hEochaidh’s Field Diaries for the Irish Folklore Commission, and was first published in the Estudios Irlandes Journal of Irish Studies in 2017 (Estudios Irlandeses, Special Issue 12.2, 2017, pp. 122-138).

In the abstract for the article, Ó Laoire states This article discusses representations of women in diaries written by  Seán Ó hEochaidh as part of his work as a field collector for the Irish Folklore Commission (1935-1971). Focusing on a number of well-described events and characters, the article reveals the collector’s attitude to women as they emerge from his writing. It also shows how women could help or hinder his collecting work. The disparities of the lives of a number of working women from Donegal during the period are also highlighted.”

To read the full text of the article, click on the link below:

https://www.estudiosirlandeses.org/2017/10/ta-cuid-de-na-mna-blastasome-women-are-sweet-talkers-representations-of-women-in-sean-o-heochaidhs-field-diaries-for-the-irish-folklore-commission/ (Estudios Irlandeses, Special Issue 12.2, 2017, pp. 122-138; copyright (c) 2017 Lillis Ó Laoire.)

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 have no idea where they came from.

Glengad Rhymers

The Christmas rhymers in the pictures appeared in the Strand Hotel, Ballyliffin, Co Donegal in December 2002. If I recall correctly, they were touring hotels as part of a fund-raising project and I happened to be in the hotel on a staff Christmas outing.  I was in touch earlier with the Folklore Commission who were doing a project on rhymers and some of the folklorists called to Glengad to record the rhymers at work. In the past, Donegal had the largest number of rhymers in the country.

History

In some parts, they are called “mummers” from the French word “mommerie”. Their history goes back to pagan times in Rome, especially the mid-winter feast of Saturnalia. In Shakespeare’s England, they performed “morality” plays.  In England, it was St George v. the Dragon but in Ireland it was St. Patrick v. St George. St Patrick always won! In each version, a combatant is wounded and a doctor is called. He is usually a comedian, carrying a brown bag with a bunch of cures. (a kind of Now-Doc!). In medieval versions, Cromwell was the baddie. (Who would it be today?). Rhymers arrived in Ireland following the Plantation but with the advent of television, they disappeared almost overnight.

On the carndonaghheritage.com website, Maura Harkin includes a diary entry by John Norris Thompson in which he recalls the arrival of the Rhymers to Bridge Cottage. A Drumfries Rhymer’s script is also reproduced, transcribed by Kevin Graham. A draft of a Rhymers’ play is also available in a recent issue of the Donegal Annual, which I edit.

Thanks to the Glengad group for the revival of the rhymers in 2002.  (All photos by Sean Beattie). 

St. Boden’s Boat, Culdaff, Inishowen

Culdaff Bridge Postcard

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 – as used in the monastery – is still held in the parish and is used on special ceremonial occasions.

The Boat

Boden worked on the missions in Scotland. His stone boat is preserved in Culdaff river on the north side of the bridge. It is 4 ft 9 in long by 3 ft wide, tapering to a point, and 2 ft 7 in high. Up until the early 1800s, large vessels were able to sail up the estuary as far as the bridge, so Boden berthed his boat at what may have been a crude landing place used by fishermen and traders near the site of the bridge at the heart of the village. The Culdaff boat is similar to a stone boat at Clogher Head, Co. Louth, believed to be the boat of St. Denis. Both boats are said to have carried their respective owners from Scotland, a mere 40 miles away.

Colmcille

References to stone boats as used by saints are found in early Christian histories throughout Ireland. Manus O’Donnell recorded a story in the sixteenth century about a flagstone on which Colmcille was born, almost 1,500 years ago. The flagstone was found floating on Lough Akibbon, between Letterkenny and Dunlewey, and Colmcille’s family brought it ashore. His mother Eithne gave birth on the stone, which according to tradition is still at Gartan.

Powers of Flotation

Saints are credited with the power of flotation at several places in Ireland. At Loop Head, at Kilcredan, (“the Church of the Believer”), the saint who erected the church was said to have sailed around the Head on a flagstone until it floated ashore at what is now the site of the church. In mythology, the stone boat is a common feature so it is not surprising that it appeared also in the Christian tradition. In Sweden, archaeologists discovered a stone boat some years ago.

There is a pool in Culdaff river called the Lionadh (“the reflux of the tide”, now filled in or perhaps silted) where cows came to cool themselves in hot weather. In 1890, William J. Doherty, an engineer born in Buncrana, visited the site and described three rough-hewn steps that went down to the pool where a turas (pilgrimage) was made and where St Boden is said to have regularly prayed. Rev. Edward Chichester, Rector of  Culdaff,  has a lengthy description in his writings of celebrations that took place here. This is just one of the many forgotten places of pilgrimage in Inishowen, now lost in the mists of time.

(By way of digression, I feel I must mention Ruadh, a mythical woman, who sailed across the Atlantic in a bronze boat with a tin sail, in order to seek out Badurn, who lived in south Donegal and was King of Ireland – see ATLAS OF DONEGAL, p. 390.)

Seán Beattie

P.S. A group of Americans arrived in Inishowen today (11.9. 2019) and visited Corvish, Carndonagh, having read of the Corvish stone in this blog.

 

 

From Ballyharry to Brooklyn 1882

PHOTO-2019-06-08-00-16-41Background

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, it was the location of one of the world’s greatest construction projects, namely the building of Brooklyn Bridge linking Brooklyn with Manhattan. Hundreds of workers from Donegal were employed. For example, in the Spring of 1882 alone, a total of six people emigrated from Ballyharry, Culdaff and Carrowmena. In Pat McDaid’s diary – he lived in Glebe, Culdaff – they are named as Sarah and Neil McColgan, John Lynch, Biddy McCauley, Patrick Beatty, and Catherine McKinney, Bunagee. My grandfather John was among the many emigrants who left Drumaville and worked on the Brooklyn Bridge, returning home in the mid-1880s. Most Donegal emigrants congregated in the vicinity of the old Brooklyn Navy Yard. Women found work as maids and in the textile industries. In later decades, Mary Anne Beatty, Carrowmena worked as a housemaid for a Jewish doctor throughout her 40 years in America. Wages for the bridge builders averaged two dollars a day, with engineers being the highest paid. After paying for lodgings, money was sent home to enable tenants to purchase their farms, following the passing of a series of Land Acts.

Donegal Association, Brooklyn

Many of them joined the Donegal Association in Brooklyn which thrived in the 1890s. (See James H McLaughlin, A History of Donegal Association Inc of New York, 1939-1981, 1983). The Association helped emigrants find work in the construction industry and tunnel work.  County societies supported emigrants who fell on hard times. For example, on the death of a breadwinner, the family was eligible in some cases for a grant of $250.

thumbnail_IMG_9070

Chain Reaction

Brooklyn became popular with emigrants from east Inishowen, particularly Ballyharry, Malin, Culdaff and Carrowmena. Once a family member had accommodation, others followed and so the emigration chain continued to grow. The Irish were perceived as a powerful ethnic group in Brooklyn and a backbone of the Catholic church in New York. On a recent visit to St. John’s Cemetery, Woodhaven Bvd., Brooklyn, however, where many of my relations are buried, I was surprised to find very few Irish names. The Dutch were the first to populate Brooklyn which was a working class area. Later, it attracted artists, musicians and writers, such as Walt Whitman, known as the “Poet of Brooklyn” and Carson McCullers, the famous author. Neal Diamond is a son of Brooklyn. The gentrification process continues today and Brooklyn is a vibrant cosmopolitan community.

Donegal Hill, Brooklyn

In the 1930s, the Irish moved elsewhere in the city. For example, an area close to Prospect Park in Brooklyn was known as “Donegal Hill” where Gaelic speakers from west Donegal settled in large numbers. Today, Prospect Park is a beautiful green area full of strollers and dog-walkers and others seeking a break in the metropolis. Elderly Russian-speaking gentlemen play chess in quiet corners or families head to Coney Island where children play on the golden sands. Dominating Prospect Park is the Memorial Arch, a replica almost of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, an impressive monument dominated by rampant black steeds glinting in the sunlight.

The last of the Brooklyn emigrants of my generation was a friend and fellow student of the classics at St Columb’s College in Derry called Seamus Kelly from Ballyharry, who emigrated in the 1960s. Sadly he died some years ago and his wife Jeanette died recently. The Irish have left their mark in Brooklyn but little remains of their presence today, apart from a handful of names in small cemeteries and on shop fronts and in the police, fire service and the church.

Acknowledgements – Brooklyn Historical Society and  Brooklyn Public Library.  Seán Beattie – June 2019

Carndonagh Teachers 1972

Carndonagh Staff Inis Duinn 1972-min

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 Deirdre McGrory (Culdaff) wrote a poem called VOCATION. Carmel Lynott provided make-up tips. By 1972, both schools had amalgamated with a total school population of about 400. In September 1973, the two schools joined the Technical School to form Carndonagh Community School, one of the first ten established in Ireland and funded by the World Bank.

Of the college staff, four have passed away – Fr Gallagher, Fr McKenna, John O’Leary and Evelyn Beattie. Of the Convent staff, four are deceased – Helen O’Reilly, Sean McDevitt, Sister Margaret Mary McKinney and Mrs Farren.

The idea for the school magazine came from Fr McKenna in 1971. He had been a teacher in Maghera before he came to Carn College as Headmaster in 1971. Maghera had a magazine also and they included photos of all pupils and staff. Thanks to Fr McKenna, photos were published of all students thereafter except for a break in the 1980s. They can be seen today in the school corridors.

Of the College staff, Veronica McLaughlin is currently School Secretary and Fr McGoldrick is PP of Fahan. Fr Lagan became a Bishop, and was the first Guidance Counsellor in the school. John O’Leary had a great knowledge of History and English and never used text books. He came from Cork and his brother was Professor of Political Science in Queen’s University, Belfast and a published author. Jim Quigley taught Geography and was mentioned in a poem by one of his pupils who became a famous dramatist, Frank McGuinness. Andy McNelis taught mainly Irish as did Evelyn Beattie, who also taught English and Religion. Brian Gormley taught Maths and Colm Toland taught Science and Maths (and Gaelic football outside class time). I taught English, History and French (the latter for one year). In 1984, I was appointed Guidance Counsellor. Fr McKenna taught Latin for a short time before he became Principal. Fr Gallagher taught Irish.

When the two schools amalgamated in 1972, teachers had to travel between the Convent and the Colgan Hall. Fortunately, speed cameras had not been invented. In 1973, the Community School was not ready for students, so classes were still held in the old buildings. Overcrowding was so bad that some classes were taught in a Lough Swilly bus parked outside the Tech. That experiment was not a success.

In 2023, CCS will celebrate 50 years.

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 many of our standing stones. I assume the McLaughlin family recognised its importance and preserved it behind the house, where it was found. The Corvish Stone is an important part of the heritage of Carndonagh parish. 

Note the houses in Corvish in 1834 and the number of “long houses” or perhaps “house rows”, which are very unusual in Inishowen. One of the rows is still standing and another is partially in place. The existence of the corn kiln on the map is indicative of a thriving farming community here, situated along the river bank and with Trabrega Bay in the hinterland. Fishing was important here and the sea weed was a useful source for kelp and manuring land. Kelp was sold in shiploads to Scotland. It was collected by small farmers, dried on stone walls and collected by agents for export to Scotland. When the railway arrived, the kelp was exported by train. Passengers did not complain about the scent!. In the 1890s it was valued at £5 per ton – a nice sum when the total farm income was no more that £40 per annum. (Sean Beattie)

Thanks to Maura Harkin for the maps. See DONEGAL IN TRANSITION ( S. BEATTIE)  for more information on the kelp industry in Carndonagh.