Cist Graves of Trabreaga, Malin

Seán Beattie Sixty years ago this September coming (1961), a group of Council workers were working in a quarry set in a dune landscape, 200 yards behind Lagg Presbyterian church. The quarry can still be seen today from the church grounds. Working with shovels, they came across 3 rectangular box-like stone structures covered by a large flagstone. On opening the first, they found a male skeleton lying in a crouched position; a second slab was raised to reveal a female…

Culdaff – the Tomb of the Unknown Sailor

Seán Beattie On 9 January 1918, the Beagle class destroyer, the RACOON, went down off Inishtrahull island, having ran foul of rocks off the treacherous Garvan Islands. The minesweeper ventured into Inishtrahull Sound, between the mainland and the island on its way to engage in patrol duties in Lough Swilly, having sailed from Liverpool. She was well armed, with quick firing 12-pounder guns and torpedo tubes. Of the crew of 95, 17 were buried at Rathmullan and others were interred…

Glengad and the White House

It was the great Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill who said that all politics is local. For the population of Wilmington, Delaware, USA, it is a moment of truth, as it was here that the President-elect, Joe Biden took his first steps into the political arena following a Council election in 1970.  A descendant of an Inishowen family also became involved in politics in Wilmington, a town of 70,000 people, about this time. His name was William “Bill” McLaughlin,…

Northburg (Greencastle) and a Family Feud

In 1555/6, Calvagh O’Donnell was engaged in bitter warfare with his father Manus O’Donnell over the Lordship of Donegal. It is often said that no dispute is as bitter as an internal family battle and the consequences of this particular personal squabble had long-lasting consequences. Backed by a team of “enforcers”, Calvagh sailed to Scotland to get assistance form Archibald, Fourth Earl of Argyle. It was known that he had a nice selection of modern artillery which could be acquired…

Inishtrahull Revisited 2020

This summer there has been a revival of interest in the island, thanks to the service provided by the yacht AMAZING GRACE and INISHOWEN BOATING.  The arrival of a pod of dolphins along the sea route has been an added attraction. In the records relating to the island, there are no reports of the presence of dolphins although seals have been around for many years in the vicinity of the island. Nicholas Worthington of the Inishowen Initiative is preparing an…

Culdaff Village 100 years ago

Download a PDF of Culdaff Census 1901-1911 I have uploaded the 1901 and 1911 Census for Culdaff village which shows how life in the village has changed over 100 years ago. Many names are still there. Following the very popular Facebook page OUR CULDAFF, set up by Jennifer Doherty, would readers please upload any old photos of family, friends or relations who lived in the village in 1911? Here is a summary of the occupations in 1911 – 3 shoemakers,…

Mass Rock at Tremone Bay – a silent sentinel in the landscape

The Mass Rock at Tremone Bay, Inishowen,  is a typical example of a hidden gem of our heritage that the tourist never sees. This was a sacred place for our ancestors: they came here to worship in secret and to bury their dead unbaptised children in the Reiligi on the headland above (reilig – a cemetery). Situated 200 m west of Boat Port, it is encased by a weather-beaten, gaunt arch, which has a close resemblance to the entrance of…

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…

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