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…

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…

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…