The Notorious WASP and Moville

    The Wasp has gone down in history as one of the most infamous British gunboats that ever entered Irish waters. It was lost off the coast of Tory in September 1884 on a mission to collect a few pounds of arrears in rent from islanders on Inistrahull. It was the era of the Land War, when the Land League was in control and led a campaign of non-payment of rent. It was also a decade which saw the…

Montgomery Bible 1845

Rev Samuel Montgomery was an uncle of Field Marshal Montgomery of Alamein. The family lived at New Park, Moville and the house is still standing beside the Protestant Church but the short path linking church and rectory no longer exists. Generations of the Montgomerys carved their names on the tree outside the main door and this tree was felled to make way for a small housing development. The tree-lined road leading to the rectory has been widened while the former…

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…

Three Book Launches

I have been involved in a number of book launches recently. Last month, DONEGAL’S WILD ATLANTIC COAST  was launched by television producer and presenter Joe Mahon (LESSER SPOTTED ULSTER) at Inishowen Maritime Museum. The book is published by well-known publisher Tim Johnston with Ros Harvey, Ballagh Studios and myself as writer. It is available in Donegal bookshops or via Amazon or the publisher, cottage-publications. com.   The video below features the launch of the DONEGAL ANNUAL COLLECTION VOLUME 2 1954-59 some…

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…

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…

Excavations at Carrowmore and Cloncha 2011-2016

The link below contains an update on the surveys and excavation works carried out at Carowmore and Cloncha over recent years by the Bernician Studies Group, as published in the Ulster Journal of Archaeology, Vol 72, 2013–14. All works on the sites have government approval under licence.  Download the document here: Cloncha and Carrowmore Update Dec. 2016 There are also maps of Inishowen showing key sites involved and examples of material excavated under licence.  It is hoped the group will continue…

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