Rosses Heritage

Dúchas na Rosannach

Thatch Cottage Construction 1909

I [Henry Morris] saw the founding of a new house near Dungloe about the year 1909. The bride, about nineteen years of age, had been selected, the match made, and the day of the wedding appointed. One morning, I saw an unusually large number of men building a house. These had been at the wedding early that morning, had come back to the bride’s house, where they got a good meat breakfast, washing it down with a couple of glasses of whisky. Then they tackled the house-building for the young couple. The site was a small space cleared in the heather, convenient to the road, on land belonging to the bridegroom’s father or father-in-law. In the wedding group were three or four masons for every third or fourth man in Donegal is a stone-mason! A couple of the group were carpenters, and those unskilled in either trade made up mortar and attended the masons and carpenters. I should state that the bridegroom and his friends had previously collected stones, sand, lime and some timber on the spot. The house grew like a mushroom.

An original thatch house from the mid 1800s still in use in Miullaghdubh

The carpenters had the door case and window cases ready when the masons had the walls built high enough to receive them, and when the walls had reached the eave course the “couples” and the roofing timbers were ready. When these had been set up they were covered with “scraws”, tough sods of old lea cut very thin and rolled up. This also had been done in advance. It was a short winter’s day, but before the daylight faded the shell of the house was complete. The workers then repaired again to the bride’s house and were rewarded with another good meal, and more uisge-beatha drunk to many wishes of good luck for the young couple. The bridegroom bade his bride good-bye and went home to his father’s house. During some weeks he visited the house almost every day, put in a door and window, thatched the roof with straw, prepared the floor, plastered roughly the inside of the walls, and generally made the house habitable, while the air dried the walls. Then a night was appointed for “dragging” home the bride. She was supposed to be unwilling to leave her parents’ abode. This event was attended by all the neighbours and friends of the young couple. No one attended without bringing a wedding present, all practically useful in an empty house. One brought a pot, another a kettle, a third some delph, and so on. Except a bed and a kitchen table, the bridegroom had nothing to buy in the way of furniture and equipment. The bride now entertained them all in her new house, and a very jolly night was spent, rivalling the wedding day.

Mary Sharkey knitting while her son Patrick repairs the thatch roof of their home in Mullaghdubh Mountain in the 1960s (photo by Time Magazine)

A couple of months go by, and the bridegroom goes off to Scot land, while the bride brings her sister or some other female relative to stay with her. All the summer and harvest the young fear-a’ loighe toils in Scotland, and then comes home for a few months in the winter. In this way a young pair, who perhaps had not £5 when they got married, will live and rear a family of a dozen or more children, fine hardy boys and girls, their cheeks bronzed by the air of the heather all around them. When the boys reach nine or ten years of age they hire out in the neighbourhood for herding, and then after the age of twelve or thirteen they hire out with farmers (mostly Presbyterian) in Derry and Strabane. Later they go to Scotland with their father, if he is still alive, and about the age of twenty they marry like their parents, and thus life goes on.

Author(s): Henry Morris, Seamus Ó Duilearga and Domhnall Ó Cearbhaill.  Béaloideas, Iml. 9, Uimh 2 (Dec1939), pp. 288-298

Published by: An Cumann Le Béaloideas Éireann/The Folklore of Ireland Society

Murder in the Glen; Scailpe Mharcuis

Told by Eoghan Mac Fionnghaile, Mullach Dubh, Ceann Caslach aged 86 years in 1938, Eoghan heard it from his father Domhnaill Ruadh Mac Fionnghaile (McGinley) from Mullach Dubh (Mullaghduff) in 1862.

Just the other day I have past an island in Mullaghderg lake and they call it Óilean Seán and it brought back to my memory when about 75 years ago I had passed the same island along with my father. I asked my father the reason for the foundations of a mud-cabin which had been built there and he told me the following story.

Scailpe Mharcuis

Once there was a man called Seán Ó Domhnaill and he lived in the townland of Baile Mhanuis or Mullagh Dubh Irish

a ruin close to the Ó Domhnaill home in Ballymanus

and that occupation was hunting and fishing.One day he was at sea fishing and his wife was at home, when who should come into the house but a beggar man looking for some help. Sean’s wife rose and gave him plenty oaten cake and some water to drink with it. The beggar said nothing but ate the bread and drank the water. Then he wished to God that she always would have plenty oaten bread and water. Seán’s wife took this prayer very highly, as it was the people’s notion at the time that whatever prayer the beggar would ask he would get from God. The beggar then left. It was not long after the beggar left when Sean came in and his wife was crying. Seán asked her the reason she had for crying but his wife did not like to tell him, but Seán said at last that he would surely kill her if she would not tell him what was wrong. So as last she told him. So after Seán took some bread and water, he rose and got on his hat, took his sword, and asked his wife, which end of the house did the beggar pass when he left. She told him he passed from the west and that meant by Kincasslagh road. So off went Seán and it is said that he came up with the beggar at a place called Cruit Strand. Sean and the beggar fought a duel there but having only a dagger, Sean got the better of the beggar and killed him there and then. Seán came home then after killing the beggar and told the wife all about what happened. Sean’s wife was grief stricken about what happened.

It was said that the beggar was a Connaught man. All the Connaught beggars at that time used [to] frequent Donegal and the Donegal beggars used [to] frequent Connaught. That was all the communication was between Donegal and Connaught. It was not long until the news went to Connaught that this beggar was killed by Seán Ó Domhnaill and Seán got word also that the Connaught men were going to have revenge on him. So Seán prepared and built a mud cabin in Oileán Sean which gave the name Oileán Seán to the island ever since that time. When the mud cabin was built Sean and his son Marcus went to live on the island. They got in contact with the Dohertys of Belcruit and the Dohertys of Meenbannad. The Dohertys of Belcruit were to watch the sea side of the island and the Dohertys of Meenbannad were to watch the mountain side of the island. If the Dohertys of Belcruit were to see the enemy coming from sea, they were to signal to Seán and his son to take the mountain side for safety. The Dohertys of Meenbannad were to signal Seán and his son to sea, if the enemy was coming from the mountain side. So when the enemy did come the Dohertys of Meenbannad waved on Sean and his son against the enemy.

Seán had a currach on the island. When he got the signal himself and his son went into the currach and made by way of Glenmore.

Glenmore today

That night the enemy saw the currach coming up the lake. They divided themselves into two squads, one party staying close to the lake and the other party farther off from the lake. So when Sean and his son landed on the shore the party nearest to him went between him and the currach for fear he would get on the lake again. Seán and his son had to run for their lives. They did run for when the enemy got Sean and killed him there and then. The son being strong and supple went farther up the glen, until he reached the second party who stopped him. Marcus the son had to make for the cross glen. Once in there he thought he was safe as there is a very high spink (cliff) in this glen.

scailpe map
The Blue line is the boundary line between Belcruit and Mullagherg Mountain Pastures. It also show the route taken by Marcus from Oileán Sean at the startof the blue line to Glenmore or Áilt Seán Ua Domhnaill

Marcus got his back to the spink and faced his enemies but none of them had the courage to come closer to him. It was then getting late in the day and they did not know how they would get him rooked (chased) out of glen. At last they thought of rolling a big stone off the top of the spink on top of Marcus.


The spink where off the Connaught men tossed the large stone over to kill Marcus

This stone killed him at once. The enemy then covered Marcus’ body with tons of stones so that they would be sure he would not rise from the dead again. And I am sure myself that it would be impossible for him to rise under the weight of stone that were built over his body. Because it is not “hear say” (rumour) with me about the stones that were built over Marcus’ body. I saw the stones hundreds of times as I used to be looking after cattle and sheep in my young days. I remember to be very many times sitting on top of the wall of stones built over Marcus, and I was not afraid that Marcus would be able to rise. The wall of stones over his body at that time was about two feet high, two feet wide and seven feet long.

There is now a public road passing over Marcus’ body. The place is now called “Scailpe Mharcuis” and the glen is now called “Áilt Seáin Uí Domhnaill.

scailpe 1
The public road  at Scailpe Mharcuis which passes over the final resting place of Marcus Ó Domhnaill

Notaí … Áilt Seáin Uí Domhnaill is a big glen situated between the townlands of Belcruit and Mullaghderg Mountains.

Scailpe Mharcuis  is a narrow glen which crosses the larger glen at right angles. Through this glen runs one of the roads leading from of Belcruit and Mullaghderg Mountains.

Oilean Seán an island in Mullaghderg Lake

Recorded by Pádraig Ó Domhnaill O.S (Teacher) as Béal na Cruite, Ceann Caslach for the School Folklore Collection on 30th March 1938

This story is set towards the end of the 18th century. The following are some historical facts that supports this time frame. The Dohertys came to live in Cruit Island and Belcruit around 1750, and it would be another 10 years before they would have be trusted with such an important role as ensuring the native Seán Ó Domhnaill’s safety. I say that Seán was a native, but local genealogical knowledge would show that the Seán or a generation before him would have came from one of the islands off the Rosses’ western coast.

Oaten bread was the main fare in Seán’s household. This event may have taken place in the days before the introduction of Indian Meal (Maize) to Ireland to alleviate hunger in the early years of the 19th century.

The Piper from The Rosses

Shane O’Donnell, the popular musician of the Lower Rosses, was returning home from a dance. Darkness and storm caused him to wander from the usual path. He accidentally met a still-house, where he took refuge. Anna Herrighty, a very aged woman, came with refreshments to the men, who were detained by the severity of the weather.

Lower Rosses pipers playing in Annagry

One nigh in bleak December, the air being keen and chill,

The piper he decided they all had danced their fill.

When the dance it was concluded O’Donnell felt inclined

To push his way across the moor and leave the youths behind.


He was not far upon his way when a light he did espy;

Towards it went the piper himself for to enjoy.

It was an old sod-cabin perched by the mountain road,

Where oftimes Shane O’Donnell had made it his abode.


There he got a welcome, as he often got before,

From Rodgers and his comrades, and drink he had galore.

The night was passed in merriment, with songs and pleasant lore,

When to their sad amazement a “peeler” barred the door.


The “comrades” cleared in safety, and the “bobbies” did defy,

But Shane and frail old Anna could not vanish if they’d try.

They were conveyed as prisoners, and presented at Dungloe

Before a bench of magistrates, who let old Anna go.


O’Donnell he was sentenced three months to Lifford Jail.

A Petition in his favour was fated not to fail;

The meek old piper soon came back to see his friends once more,

To be welcomed by his family in Rosses and Gweedore.

The late Den “Eoghain” Gallagher Ranafast and Calhame

This mild and modest piper was greeted far and near,

A hundred hearts rejoiced his music for to hear.

To meet the people’s fancies he always did his best,

But never to a “still-house did he go again to rest.

Heroic Sea Rescue in the 1830s

Rosses Rescue in the 1830s

Skilful and courageous act of Rutland Pilot

Here history, too, finds a stirring page,

Makes a record that engrosses,

And folklore tales do full oft engage,

The well-versed minds of the Rosses


On a day in the thirties of the last century, a barque of 1800 tons (registered at Lisbon in Portugal) was driven by a violent hurricane from the south west into Boylagh Bay. When some distance off the rough rocky coast south of Croughy Head and a little west of Traigheannagh bar at a place known as “tin house” the captain gave orders to his crew to  “let go both anchors and give her every link of available chain”. The command was instantly obeyed for too well they all knew that this offered the only possible means by which they might manage to avoid disaster. For a long time, however they were feeling anxious and uneasy lest the ship would drag her anchors or, worse still that the chains might snap under the tremendous strain. Placing their trust in God and Our Blessed Lady, each member of the crew took his brown scapular, tied it to the chains at the rail and prayed that they might be saved from their imminent danger. The anchors held fast and the chains continued to withstand the awful strain while the storm tossed vessel, battered and buffeted by the tempestuous winds and waves tugged and heaved with might and main.


Signals of distress were now sent out the unhappy barque. The coast guard officer at Portnoo on seeing this sent the following urgent message to the station at Inniscoo-“ Large ship in distress of Triennagh bar, unable to go to her assistance from here. Send pilot to her, if possible, without delay.”

Inniscoo Island on the right ( Copyright National Library of Ireland)
Immediately on receiving this communication, on the prompt execution of which might depend the lives of the helpless and hapless crew, the officer in charge of the station got in touch with Captain Micheal O’Boyle (locally known as “Buckie” Boyle) of Rutland Island. In such dreadful conditions of wind and sea this experienced seaman knew well that if it was altogether impossible to round Croughy Head in the small craft at his disposal. But Buckie’s resource, like his daring and determined spirit, was equal to the needs of the desperate situation and enabled him to surmount all difficulties in his way. Taking with him a skiff of 23 feet long and a crew of four good tried men, he proceeded in the lee of the islands until he reached a point in the townland of Ranna Dubh, about three miles west of Dungloe.

Bartlett, William Henry; Stormbound on the Rosses, North West Donegal, Ireland; Reading Museum;
A similiar skiff from the painting named “Stormbound on the Rosses” by William Henry Bartlett (copyright Reading Museum)
Here he procured a horse and cart by which to transport the boat over the mountain road, a distance of five or six miles, very little of which could then have been anything better than a rough uneven track. On reaching the “Tin House”, these brave men were reluctantly forced to make a short delay, “waiting their chance” to launch the frail little craft for even one slight mistake during the attempt would most assuredly prove fatal to their hopes of success. At last a comparative “lull” afforded them the eagerly hoped for opportunity and soon they were “speeding” from the shore to the toilsome and dangerous errand of mercy.


It was indeed a struggle of superman, seemingly hopeless against the angry, unloosed forces of nature. Coolly and skilfully directed the work of his gallant crew, O’Boyle encouraged them to almost superhuman efforts till at last in the mercy and providence of God, they had won against such fearful odds.  The tiring, almost exhausted, oarsmen gradually inched nearer the wildly heaving, storm tossed vessel and how such a little cockle shell coracle survived in the mountainous cauldron of billows was, God be ever praised, a miracle of seamanship. All the time they were tensely watched by the anxious sailors, who offered many fervent prayers for the success of their exertions. The captain and the mate were standing together in the poop-deck watching the heroic struggle, surprise and admiration stamped on every line of their bronze and weather-beaten countenance.

Buckie never relaxed for a moment but continued with consummate skill and coolness to urge on and direct his men while all the time he stood firmly erect in the stern. Noticing his remarkable exhibition of seamanship and the steady stance the mate turned joyfully to the captain saying- “Thank God, there comes a pilot.” The the other’s anxious inquiry as to how he could be sure of this, the mate simply replied-“I known because in such a raging sea no man but a pilot could stand in a small boat like that with his hands in his pockets.”

Once aboard the ship O’Boyle lost no time in getting her under small canvas and though he had little room in which to manoeuvre or handle her properly he brought her to safe anchorage at Oilean Crona (Island Crone) off the mainland of Termon and near to Arranmore.

Some months later the vessel reached her home port where the captain made report of his dreadful experience and the wonderful exploit of pilot O’Boyle, the Irishman. The newspapers of Portugal, Spain, Holland and England paid the greatest tributes to O’Boyle for his daring act and his skilful handling of the ship in terrible conditions, “beating her tack for tack” through the dangerous shoals of Boylagh Bay and accomplishing that day what seemed to all to be impossible.


N.B. The narrator expressed regrets that he could not recall the name of the vessel though he “had heard it often enough from an old aunt” (Buckie’s daughter).

Written by a member of the Boyle family of Rutland Island and published in Donegal Democrat, Friday 23rd September, 1955.

Gunner Lanty Gallagher

Today, on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland, we remember the late Lanty Gallagher from Dunmore. The Rosses, west Donegal, Ireland who fought and survived the decisive battle.

World War I at Sea Jutland

Lanty Gallagher was born in Dunmore, Carrickfinn about 1878 to Johnny “the Sailor” and Bridget Gallagher nee Forker. After recieving a good standard of education from Richard Given, schoolmaster at the local Island and Coast funded school, he followed his family’s seafaring tradition and joined the Navy in 1898. Lanty was fishing off Gola Island when he stopped a naval vessel and asked the captain if he could join; getting approval they towed his punt into Downings.

Lanty served on the corvette HMS Champion in 1895/96
During his naval career he sailed the seven seas on the corvette HMS Champion and in the Mediterranean aboard the flagship HMS Queen. He also served on the pre-dreadnought battleships HMS Resolution and HMS Russell as well as the cruiser HMS Galatea and the King Alfred before joining the new state of the art battleship HMS Lion when it was commissioned on June 4th 1912. HMS Lion became flagship of the Grand Fleet during World War One under the command of Vice Admiral David Beatty.

hms Lion_001672
HMS Lion
Promoted to the rank of gunner, Lanty was to the fore at the first battle in modern naval warfare at Heligoland Bight in August 1914 and Battle of Dogger Bank in January 1915. At the decisive Battle of Jutland that began onMay 31st 1916, he was responsible for firing the first shots from the Lion’s new 13.5 inch guns. During this battle HMS Lion suffered a serious propellant fire that could have destroyed the ship had it not been for the bravery of the turret commander, who posthumously received the Victoria Cross having ordered the magazine to be flooded. Lanty saw out the remainder of the war aboard the Lion; retiring in July 1918 after a long and successful career. Both his brothers also served in the Navy but they weren’t as fortunate. Michael Gallagher also known as Buckie died after contracting malaria from one of his naval voyages and his brother Dan was last seen rounding the Cape of Good Hope on board a merchant navy ship during World War One. Shortly after Lanty’s retirement, he married Margaret Gallagher from Crolly Bridge, and raised their family in his native Dunmore.

Lanty (in uniform) with his wife Maggie, family and friends outside his home in the 1930s (copyright: The Gallagher family)
He died on July 6th 1957 and is buried in the family plot in Annagry cemetery.

Biddy Duirín (1862-1933)

The National Education System finally came to Carrickfinn in 1898. The building which housed this school was recorded in the Ordnance Survey of 1835 and was inhabited by Edward Sweeney at the time of the Griffiths Valuation of 1858. The first teacher was Mrs Bridget Diver, known locally as Biddy Duirín. Biddy nee Durning was born in Bunbeg in the neighbouring Parish of Gweedore where her father James worked as a shoemaker. After her marriage to John Diver (Tharlaigh Mhicí), she taught in the National School in his native Gola Island. John died early in life as did their two young daughters. Heartbroken, she left for a new life in Canada. Soon after arriving, she found that life there didn’t suit her there, so she returned home to Bunbeg.

Biddy got the Head Mistress position in the new Carrickfinn National School which opened on May 5thth 1898. She rowed her currach across the narrow but hazardous estuary that separates Carrickfinn and Gweedore.

Carickfinn School 1898
First day roll call at Carrickfinn N.S 5th May 1898

When the days were short and inclement she stayed in Carrickfinn where she is recorded in the 1911 census in Tammy Alcorn’s household.

April 2012 ...A Carrickfin Farm with Gola Island in the background
Tammy Alcorn’s home where Biddy was recorded in the 1911 census.  Her former home in Gola Island in the background



Mrs Diver a well qualified and experienced teacher had children coming from surrounding areas to avail of her tuition. She taught only in the medium of English and one of her sayings was “who owns these rags” while holding a pupil’s coat up with a stick.

There were eleven boys and seven girls recorded on the first roll call on this historic day. The oldest pupil was Patrick Doherty (Phádraig Airt) a fourteen year from the neighbouring island of Inis Shionnaigh while five years old John Boyle (Mhicí) from Carrickfinn was the youngest.

Boyle, Ed, Cecilia, Patrick, Jimmy, Kate
Two first day pupils Edward and Jimmy Boyle (with dark ties) pictured with their brother and sisters in St Louis, Missouri, USA in the 1920s. Photo kindly given by their relative Diane Hurd McBride

When Mrs Diver was off on sick leave in 1915, a young teacher who had just graduated temporarily filled the position. His name was Jimmy “Fhéimidh” Greene from Ranafast who later was to become the most famous Gaelic novelist of the twentieth century under the penname Máire or Seamus Ó Grianna.

There are no records for the rate of the teacher’s pay but it could have be less than the £17 13s 8d per quarter, the principal of the two teacher Annagry National School received.

On July 19th 1904 an indenture was signed by Victor George Henry Francis Marquis of Conyngham of Slane Castle, Connell Gallagher Tenant and the Most Rev Patrick O’Donnell Bishop of Raphoe. The contract was start of a process which would see Carrickfinn Island getting the first purpose built National School.

The school was built on a site given by Connell Gallagher, a tenant of local Conyngham Estate and was supervised by Rev James Walker, Parish Priest of Lower Templecrone in which Carrickfinn Island was a part. The cost of the building was £228 stg, a grant £152 stg was given by Westminster to the Commissioners of Public Works while the remainder was raised within the Parish. Hughie McCole from the Hills was the stonemason that built the new school.

1-School painting original
Carrickfinn School 1905-1968 Artist: Kim Sharkey

Biddy and her pupils left the old school on the opening of the new building on March 28th 1906. She continued to teach there until the end of term in 1923, when she retired after 45 years of service. She was replaced by Seán McColgan who had assisted her from 1916. She spent her retirement with her sister in Rathmullan where she died on 26th March 1933.

Written by Jimmy Duffy 15th May 2016

Pilot Charles O’Boyle


One stormy night in winter, when the sea rolled mountains high,

A barque with all sails spread O’Boyle, the pilot did descry

“To the boat, my men,” his order was, and hurried be ye all,

And try and save this distressed ship of the Coast of Donegal.

north island queen 1900s
North Island Queen moored near Rutland Island copyright National Library of Ireland


The men complied with willingness; O’Boyle his skill did show,

By guiding his boat o’er shoals and reefs while his men did ably row

The barque she flew her signal-distress it did proclaim-

And O’Boyle cried to his oarsmen “You are worthy of your fame.”


The barque was reached in safety; O’Boyle on deck he sprung,

The captain warmly greeted him saying, “your work it is well done.

“This barque I give you in command, to guide her safe to port,

“You’ll save our lives and cargo, if our ship you’ll keep afloat.”


O’Boyle he quick assented to the captain he did say,

“Your barque will be in harbour safe by dawning of the day;

“And for my risky labour and that of all my men

“You’ll pay in golden guineas a modest eight pounds ten.”


The captain smiled vexatiously, and of a trap thought he,

Saying “O’Boyle, for breaking pilot rules, my prisoner you must be;

“This rope in your possession is from my barque Mary Anne,

“Taken without permission, so your trial you must stand.”


As prisoner to Lifford Court the law did O’Boyle compel,

That brave and skilful pilot whom his neighbours loved so well;

The Judge he heard the accuser, and the jury to a man

Agreed that the pilot was a very guilty man.


The sentence it was heavy, shocking people far and near.

Banishment from home and kin and land he loved so dear.

To far off Van Diemen’s Land seven years he had to go-

The pride of Rutland Island, ‘twas a sad and cruel blow.

Author unknown


The Gauger from Gweedore

The Excise Officer resident in Gweedore in the 1890s, when on a visit to the townland of Lettercaugh in the Upper Rosses, accidentally came across a still-house in the townland of Meendernasloe in the Lower Rosses. He was seized and confined in an unoccupied house until the poteen fully manufactured had been safely removed, and he was the liberated. He at once went to the Royal Irish Constabulary (Police) Barracks, Annagry, where he recounted his adventure of the night, and gave a description of the poteen-makers. The following come-all-ya was written in the 1930s.

Constable M. Walsh RIC while stationed in Annagry circa 1900  copyright Bridget Sharkey McGlynn

In a deep and lonely mountain vale convenient to Dungloe

Poteen was a-making some forty years ago.

Patrick Rodgers was the maker on a dull November day,

When the Gauger from Gweedore he chanced to pass that way.


To an empty house he was consigned until the dawn next day,

Then he had permission to pass upon his way.

To Annagry, snug village, in haste he did repair,

And in the Barrack day-room his adventure did declare.


The constables in eagerness searched town-lands short and tall,

From Bunaman to Meenaleck, and on to Meenascawl.

Ranafast was not forgot-nor neglected Loughanure,

But gone were the poteen makers across the lonely moor.


Rodgers, with Herrighty, they crossed th’ Atlantic foam

To seek far off comforts they were denied at home.

Sweeney went to Scotland, but a prisoner home was brought,

His trial he stood in patience-his destiny was wrought.


A servitude in prison away from his friends so dear,

His wife and lonely children bewailed with many a tear.

Rodgers by accident returned to Erin’s shore,

But was not long in residence-he crossed to Arranmore.

ss sligo
Steam Ship Sligo copyright Sligo Library

Thence on the steamer Sligo he sailed to Glasgow town,

And so returned in safety, while the law did on him frown.

God grant him health and plenty on the far Columbia’s shore,

The man who tricked the constables and the Gauger from Gweedore.

Rosses & Gweedore Sinn Féin meet in 1919

From an article that appeared in the Derry People in April 25th 1919

Easter Sunday in Gweedore;  Sinn Féin Demonstration

Surpassing in enthusiasm and numbers even the largest of the fateful gatherings during the Plan of Campaign in Gweedore a great Sinn Féin demonstration was held in Derrybeg on Easter Sunday. Bunbeg cross-roads was the trysting place, and there at 10.30 the Local Volunteers and Cumann na mBan,

Gweedore and Rosses Cumann na mBan companies (c) Vincent O’Donnell


headed by the Father MacFadden S.F. Band,met the Mullaghduff, Annagry, and Ranafast Volunteers with their bands and banners.

The Father MacFadden Band Derrybeg in 1927

An immense procession, almost a mile long, was formed, and headed by the Annagry band, proceeded to St Mary’s Church, Derrybeg, for Mass. The accommodation in the spacious church was severely taxed, though the energetic and popular curate, Father Carr, did much to relieve the congestion.

Annagry Band just after the troubles (c) Óglaigh na Rosann


After Mass and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, the huge procession formed up once more, and bearing aloft the beautiful banner of Father MacFadden, encircled the church, while the narrow glen rang with the music of bagpipe and fife. Among the elder members of the congregation many an eye was dimmed with tears as it fell for the first time on the life-like image of their beloved patriot priest. In memory he was with them again at the historic church, Pictures of the Flood of 1880 rose before their minds.

Tim Rodgers from Bunaman, volunteer and member of the Mullaghduff Sinn Féin Band during War of Independence (c) Irish News Archive

Passing from the chapel yard the Mullaghduff band led the vast procession to Derrybeg, where a meeting was held, with Father O’Donnell presiding. The chairman extended to the Rosses contingents a hearty céad mile fáilthe to Gweedore.

The Bun a Leaca Band with a banner commemorating Fr. O’Donnell (c) Story of Gweedore

He congratulated the Sinn Féin organisation of Gweedore and the Rosses on their fine display in honour of men on the purity of whose motives and the nobility of whose aims even their worse enemies dare not cast a doubt. He exhorted them to remain faithful to the ideals of Tone, Emmet and Pearse, and said the long-watched day of Irish Independence was already breaking. Mr O’Boyle Rutland, dwelt on the willful destruction of Irish trade and commerce and the falling away of the Irish population by one half in the last half century of English rule. He wished to know from their political opponents why, if it was right to glory in the fighting of Emmet and Tone, if ’98 and ’67 were hallowed, it was not right to fight in these our days, and he dwelt on the different treatment accorded to the Ulster rebels and to the “mere” Irish” rebels. Messrs. Gallagher, Crolly; MacNulty, Gortahork; P. Sharkey, Annagry; E. O’Boyle and P. O’Boyle,Gweedore, also addressed the meeting.

Mullaghduff Sinn Féin Band during the War of Independence (C) Vincent O’Donnell

The procession formed again about five o’clock and visited in turn the residence of the three parish priests, where the bands discoursed selections of Irish airs. The Rosses contingents then headed for home. They were escorted on their way as far as Knockastolar by the Father MacFadden Club and Cumann na mBan.

A letter of apology was read from Father O’Flanagan, who said he was delighted with the invitation from Gweedore, but a prior engagement forbade him to visit that historic spot.

with kind permission from Irish Newspaper Archive

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