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…

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…

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…

Inishowen 1918 – flu, sea planes and sugar cards.

One hundred years ago, life was very different in Donegal. There was great sorrow in March over the death of John Redmond – who worked tirelessly to bring Home Rule to Ireland but failed. He urged Irishmen to join the British Army in 1914 in the belief that this gesture would be rewarded by the granting of independence! Culdaff Ancient Order of Hibernians passed a vote of sympathy at his passing. Conscription? No thanks The war was now four years…

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…

Bands and Song Collectors in Inishowen – Sean Beattie

Last night (18-3-2016) I attended the musical NUNSENSE  in Carndonagh and enjoyed a fine evening of music and song. The 7 member band under Helen Haughey did  a great job with flute, clarinet/sax, trumpet/guitar/ bass, percussion and keyboards. Today, such bands do not give themselves a name unlike the bands of the past, when there were over a dozen bands in the peninsula, a spin-off from the Celtic Revival and the Temperance Movement. The earliest date for a band in…

Inishowen Archaeological Heritage Development Colloquium.

The last week end in August brought a host of archaeological experts to Inishowen where  a series of topics were discussed. A number of artefacts discovered on recent digs in Inishowen, mainly Carrowmore are on view here: gaming counters, smoothing stones for cleaning vellum (?), bog ore etc. A full report on the weekend will be published later by the Bernician Studies group. During the week, further work will be undertaken at Cooley and Crockaughrim, a traditional meeting site during…