Forgotten Heritage of Carndonagh

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…

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

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…

St. Boden’s Boat, Culdaff, Inishowen

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…

From Ballyharry to Brooklyn 1882

Background 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,…

REFORMATION 500

Thomas Jenner, The candle is lit, it cannot blow out (1640s). The 15 reformers are named in the picture. It sums up the determination of Luther’s followers to spread his ideas across Europe. The original print is currently on display in the British Museum. On October 31, 1517, an Augustinian friar named Martin Luther allegedly nailed 95 Theses on the door of the church of All Saints in Wittenberg and later sent them to the Archbishop of Mainz. Luther was…

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…

Carndonagh: the Marshall Monument –

This monument will feature in the Colgan Heritage Weekend in August 2018 – details later. A Recent Discovery The Donagh rectory was once a substantial landmark building commanding a spectacular view across Trabreaga Bay outside Carndonagh. The 200 year old trees are still looking healthy and vibrant but all traces of the structure have disappeared.  Fortunately, one of the rectors has left a memorial skilfully hewn on a massive, whitened whinstone on the farmland that encompasses the rectory. The memorial…

A Clonmany Rector’s Woes: Life in Inishowen in the 1820s

A remarkable insight into the life of a parish curate in the Church of Ireland has recently come to light. It is generally presumed by Irish historians that the clergy had a comfortable living, having a guaranteed income from the tithe. This was a levy on crops and produce which pre-dated the arrival of the Normans. Among tithe payers, the tax was not too popular, as it obliged all denominations to support the Established Church. Apart from such considerations, 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…