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Dún na nGall - Donegal


DONEGAL, a sea-port, market and post-town, and parish (formerly an incorporated parliamentary borough), in the barony of TYRHUGH, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 24 miles (S. W.) from Lifford, and 113 (N. W.) from Dublin; containing 6260 inhabitants, of which number, 830 are in the town. In 1150 Murtogh O'Loghlen burnt this town and devastated the surrounding country. A castle was built here by the O'Donells about the 12th century; and a monastery for Franciscan friars of the Observantine order was founded in 1474, by Hugh Roe, son of O'Donell, Prince of Tyrconnell, and by his wife, Fiongala, daughter of O'Brien, Prince of Thomond. O'Donell, in 1587, bade defiance to the English government and refused to admit any sheriff into his district. The council at Dublin not having sufficient troops to compel his submission, Sir John Perrot, lord-deputy, proposed either to entrap him or his son. He accomplished his object by sending a ship freighted with Spanish wines to Donegal, the captain of which entertained all who would partake of his liberality. Young O'Donell and two of his companions accepted his invitation, and when intoxicated were made prisoners and conveyed to Dublin as hostages for the chief of Tyrconnell. After remaining a prisoner in the castle for a considerable time, he, in company with several other hostages, effected his escape and returned to Donegal, where he was invested with the chieftaincy of Tyrconnell, and married a daughter of O'Nial, chief of Tyrone. In 1592, an English force under Captains Willis and Convill took possession of the convent and the surrounding country, but were quickly expelled by the young Hugh Roe O'Donell, with the loss of their baggage. In 1600, O'Nial met O'Donell and the Spanish emissary, Oviedo, here, on the arrival of supplies from Spain at Killybegs, to concert the plan of a rebellion. Shortly after this, the English, taking advantage of O'Donell's absence in Connaught, marched a strong party to Donegal, and took possession of the monastery, which was unsuccessfully assaulted by O'Donell; and the debarkation of the Spaniards at Kinsale, about this time, occasioned him to go to their assistance, leaving the English in undisturbed possession. In 1C31, the annals of Donegal, generally called the "Annals of the Four Masters," were compiled in the convent: the original of the first part of this work is in the Duke of Buckingham's library at Stowe, and of the second in the collection of the Royal Irish Academy; part of these interesting annals have been published by Dr. O'Conor, under the title of " Rerum Hibernicarum Scriptores." The castle was taken, in 1651, by the Marquess of Clanricarde, who was, however, soon obliged to surrender it to a superior force. On the 15th of October, 1798, a French frigate of 30 guns anchored close to the town, and two more appeared in the bay; but the militia and inhabitants of the town and neighbourhood showing a determination to resist a landing, they left the harbour.

The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance' survey, 23,260 statute acres, including 503 1/4 in Lough Esk and 214 3/4 in small lakes : 23,089 acres are applotted under the tithe act, besides which there are about 900 acres of bog and a large tract of mountain land, in which is the beautiful lake of Lough Esk, at the upper end of which is the romantic and picturesque place called Ardnamona, the property of G. C. Wray. Esq., and from which the river Esk descends southward to its estuary, in the inmost recess of the bay of Donegal. About a quarter of the cultivated land is arable, the remainder pasture. The living is a vicarage, in the diocese of Raphoe, and in the patronage of the Bishop; the rectory is impropriate in Col. Conolly. The tithes amount to £338. 9. 2 1/2., of which £107. 13. 10 1/4. is payable to the impropriator, and the remainder to the vicar. The glebe-house was rebuilt by aid of a gift of £100, from the late Board of First Fruits in 1816; and there is a glebe of 38 acres. The church is a handsome structure, built in 1825, by aid of a donation of £100 from John Hamilton, Esq., and a loan of £1300 from the same Board. The R. C. parish is co-extensive with that of the Established Church, and has a chapel at Donegal and one at Townawilly. There is a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the third class, and one connected with the Seceding Synod, of the second class; also two places of worship for Independents and one for Wesleyan Methodists. The parochial school was built on land given by the Earl of Arran. There are also a school on Erasmus Smith's foundation, one supported by Mrs. Hamilton, and nine others aided by different Societies and subscriptions. In these are about 600 children, and there are three Sunday schools. About the close of the last century, Col. Robertson, son of a clergyman of this town, bequeathed a sum of money, out of the interest of which, £15 per annum was to be paid to each of the parishes in the diocese of Raphoe, for the support of a school-master to instruct children of all religious denominations. This fund has so much increased as to enable the trustees to grant £40 to each parish, for the erection of a school-house, provided an acre of land on a perpetually renewable lease be obtained for a site. There is a dispensary in the town, supported in the customary manner. Manganese is found in the demesne of Lough Esk, the residence of Thomas Brooke, Esq. Pearls, some of great beauty, have been found on the river Esk. The remains of the monastery are still visible at a short distance from the town : the cloister is composed of small arches supported by coupled pillars on a basement; in one part of it are two narrow passages, one over the other, about four feet wide, ten long, and seven high, which were probably intended as depositories for valuables in times of danger. A considerable part of the castle remains, and forms an interesting feature in the beautiful view of the bay; although it and the other property granted to the patentee, at a rent of 13s. 4d. per annum, have passed into other families, one of his descendants still pays a rent to the crown for it. Within three miles of the town is The Hall, the residence of the Conyngham family. Donegal gives the titles of Marquess and Earl to the Chichester family.


(Extract from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837)



Last Updated 19 Jun 2020   

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Aghlem   234
Ardatowel   134
Ardchicken   61
Ardeevin   96
Ardeskin   44
Ardinawark   324
Ardlenagh   64
Ardnableask   152
Birchhill   207
Carnbeagh North   89
Carnbeagh South   60
Clarcam   245
Clarcarricknagun   123
Clardrumbarren   81
Clardrumnagahan   39
Clarlougheask   204
Clogher   1,281
Cornaveagh   155
Corracramph   168
Corveen   231
Craigroe   112
Cullion Boy   1,650
Donegal   133
Donegal Town    
Drumadoney   102
Drumbar   144
Drumbarren   66
Drumcroagh   148
Drumgowan   269
Druminardagh   242
Druminnin   308
Drumlaght   91
Drumlonagher   136
Drummenny Lower   162
Drummenny Middle   152
Drummenny Upper   196
Drumnagahan   66
Drumnahoul   141
Drumrat   149
Finnabanes   188
Finnadoos   236
Friarsbush   33
Garvagh   183
Glebe   76
Goladoo   217
Gregstown   86
Keadew Lower   119
Keadew Upper   2,342
Keeldrum   110
Leghawny   643
Loughcuill   408
Loughkip   112
Lurganboy   86
Meenabrock   918
Meenadreen   805
Milltown   98
Muckros   62
Mullanalamphry   186
O'Donnell's Island   1
Raforker   93
Rarooey   105
Spierstown   103
Tawnagh   120
Tawnaghgorm   173
Tawnaghlahan   126
Tawnalary   66
Tawnawully Mountains   6,053
Tinnycahil   113
Tullaghcullion   66
Tully   195
Tullyloskan   128
Whitehill   58



Lindel Buckley

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