Cloncha Grave Stone, Culdaff

To see the Cloncha stone listed among the 100 great objects of Irish history, as devised by Fintan O’Toole, was a golden moment for our Inishowen heritage. I was puzzled by a number of elements in the article. For example, I am still trying to find out where he got the name MacMhoireasdain from when the actual name on the tombstone is clearly Magnas MacOrristin. The name of the sculptor, Fergus MacAlain (McCallion) is omitted. In the original lettering Fergus…

The Roads of Inishowen

We can thank the members of the Grand Jury for the design and structure of the roads in the peninsula. The Grand Jury was a non-elected body of landlords who met monthly in Lifford to manage the road network, built bridges and even offer bounties for the killing of otters. There was a flurry of road-making from 1750 to 1800 and the Presentment Sessions record the monies allocated usually by a length called a perch. Each year the landlords nominated…

Tiernaleague House, Carndonagh

The house was the home of the Cary family who were the landlords for the town of Carndonagh and was built by Robert Cary about 1820. Cary owned the extensive woodlands of Cnocnacoilldara. Subsequently it was acquired by Rankins. Samuel Rankin was a close friend of James Norris Thompson (where Maura Harkin lives), a prominent magistrate, diarist and proficient farmer.During the Great Famine, members of the Rankin family frequently engaged in hunting with horse and hound and returned in the…

Ballyharry Cottage 1950

This is Patrick McSheffrey’s cottage in Ballyharry in 1950. He had the nickname “Jaffas” which had some connection with oranges. He was a small farmer who had migrated to America and returned home. The cottage is in Cruckameal which is a subdivision of Ballyharry. It is a perfect clachan and is still occupied by the same families. Some holiday homes have been built. All clachan inhabitants had access to the shoreline and a look at an OS map will show…

Lough Swilly Steamboat Company

The Lough Swilly Steamboat Company provided services between Rathmullan and the pier at Fahan. It was owned by the Lough Swilly Railway Company and was designed as a support service for the Derry-Buncrana line. In the 1900s potatoes formed the bulk of the goods carried, together with agricultural produce, poultry, eggs and textiles. Farm produce was carried further to the English markets particularly Liverpool. John McFarland was the business brain behind the operation but he ran into difficulties in the…

Ballyharry School

There has been a school in Ballyharry since the mid-1800s at a place called Cnoc an Amhraic. A new school was later built along the Culdaff-Carrowmena road. Among the teachers who taught here was Master McBride, father of Judge Sean McBride. Brendan Bonner taught here also. He was an announcer on Raidio na Gaeltachta and also acted as a translator in the Dail. In the mid-1850s an inspector reported that there was only one child in the school who spoke…

Kinnego House overlooking Kinnego Bay

A member of the Nicholson family of Falmore House lived at Kinnego House over looking Kinnego Bay. The family seat was Balloo House, near Bangor. James Steele Nicholson, owner of over 6,000 acres in Inishowen , records his visits to the Glen, as people called it, in the mid-1800s. It is also likely that Bishop Montgomery, father of the Field-Marshall, was a visitor here as he was a keen hunstman and did a lot of hunting in the Kinnego Bay…

Ballyliffin “longhouse”1937

The Ballyliffin longhouse is unusual for north Donegal and is normally associated with east Ulster and in particular north Antrim. The roofing is traditional flax which is common in Inishowen. Windows are typical 6-pane in the front of the house although the side gable seems to have a larger window. With a fireplace at both ends, the kitchen is on the right and the sitting-room and bedroom are on the left. Sleeping accommodation would be available in all three rooms…

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