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…

Armistice Day in Donegal 11/11 1918

This post contains the text of my piece for the RTÉ Sunday Miscellany Armistice Day Special, broadcast on RTÉ Radio One on November 11th, 2018. Sean Beattie Listen back to the Sunday Miscellany broadcast: Sunday Miscellany, RTÉ Radio One, November 11th 2018  For generations, thousands of emigrants in the north west have set sail from Derry Quay on their way to the New World. Most were heading for America, never to return. But in 1917, the tide turned. Europe was…

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…

Inishowen Aviation History – Ture sea plane base

A familiar landmark on the Moville – Derry road at Ture, picture shows the bath-house, the last remaining structure of the US seaplane base. On the opposite side of the road, there is a vast concrete apron of about 2 acres and  a small cement jetty, where sea planes were taken ashore. There was no runaway as planes landed on the water supported by floats. The reinforced concrete has survived many storms in the Foyle over the last 100 years.…

WW1 Conference – the Border Counties and WW1

Brochure 2 A major cross-border conference will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel, Monaghan on Saturday 3 October on the border counties and WW1. It is organised by the Ulster Local History Trust and Monaghan County Council. Lectures will include nationalism and recruitment, Cavan’s Roll of Honour, PRONI records, the story of 7 Monaghan brothers who enlisted and the fate of Belgian refugees who fled from Europe and set up the Belbroid lace factory which thrived. There will be…

Culdaff National Volunteers 1915 – Sean Beattie

Throughout the country, the National Volunteers were being organised and by 1914 a corps was formed in Culdaff with the purpose of securing the final passing of the Home Rule Bill. Initially, the corps was unarmed but by the end of 1914, finance became available from an unusual source. A Ballyharry man, James Kelly was working in Boston and was in contact with a Carndonagh man Patrick Doherty of Churchtown. Kelly decided to hold dances to raise funds for arms…