Archive for Donegal

The Trouble With Finding Relations In Ireland – sigh!

1857 Griffith’s Valuation Inishkeel Parish

Heads of Households O’Donnell and Dineen

Michael O’Donnell and Mary Dinneen O’Donnell came to NYC in 1863. It is possible that the Michael listed as head of household is our Michael, but then again – hummm
The families with an ** are from Mulnamin Beg, the same as Michael (Ellen, Hugh, James, Marcus, Michael).

O’Donnell’s and Dineen’s in Inishkeel Parish–

O’Donnell, Arthur, Tullycleave More

O’Donnell, Bridget, Derryloaghan

O’Donnell, Bridget, Drumnalough

O’Donnell, Bridget, Straboy

O’Donnell, Catherine, Bellanamore

O’Donnell, Catherine, Cloghercor

O’Donnell, Charles, Coolvoy

O’Donnell, Charles, Derryness

O’Donnell, Charles, Lughveen

O’Donnell, Charles, Tullycleave More

O’Donnell, Connel, Stracashel

O’Donnell, Connell, Drumconcoose

O’Donnell, Connell, Meenamalragh

O’Donnell, Connell, Mully

O’Donnell, Connell, Straboy

O’Donnell, Connell, Tully More

O’Donnell, Cornelius, Bracky

O’Donnell, Daniel, Montymeane

O’Donnell, Daniel, Summy

O’Donnell, Denis, Meenmore East

O’Donnell, Dominick, Largnalarkan

O’Donnell, Edward, Ardun

O’Donnell, Edward, Shallogan More

O’Donnell, Ellen, Mulnamin Beg**

O’Donnell, Hugh, Bracky

O’Donnell, Hugh, Derryness

O’Donnell, Hugh, Drumboghill

O’Donnell, Hugh, Edenfinfreagh

O’Donnell, Hugh, Fintown

O’Donnell, Hugh, Loughnambraddan

O’Donnell, Hugh, Lughveen

O’Donnell, Hugh, Meenmore East

O’Donnell, Hugh, Mulnamin Beg**

O’Donnell, Hugh, Tullycleave More

O’Donnell, Ignatius, Drumnasillagh

O’Donnell, Ignatius, Town of Glenties/The Rock

O’Donnell, James, Coolvoy

O’Donnell, James, Currynanerriagh

O’Donnell, James, Lerginacarha

O’Donnell, James, Mulnamin Beg**

O’Donnell, James, Shallogan More

O’Donnell, James Jr., Drumnalough

O’Donnell, James Sr., Drumnalough

O’Donnell, Jeremiah, Bellanamore

O’Donnell, Jeremiah, Fintown

O’Donnell, Jeremiah, Meenmore East

O’Donnell, Jeremiah, Montymeane

O’Donnell, John, Adderwal

O’Donnell, John, Cleengort

O’Donnell, John, Cloghercor

O’Donnell, John, Drumboghill

O’Donnell, John, Drumnalough

O’Donnell, John, Kincrum

O’Donnell, John, Letterilly

O’Donnell, John, Lughveen

O’Donnell, John, Straboy

O’Donnell, John, Summy

O’Donnell, John, Town of Glenties/Main Street

O’Donnell, John (Shaun), Cloghercor

O’Donnell, Manus, Drumnaha

O’Donnell, Marcus, Mulnamin Beg**

O’Donnell, Michael, Mulnamin Beg**

O’Donnell, Nanno, Cleengort

O’Donnell, Neal, Coolvoy

O’Donnell, Neal, Loughnambraddan

O’Donnell, Neal Jr., Shallogan More

O’Donnell, Neal Sr., Shallogan More

O’Donnell, Neale, Town of Glenties/Main Street

O’Donnell, Owen, Drumboghill

O’Donnell, Patrick, Cleengort

O’Donnell, Patrick, Currynanerriagh

O’Donnell, Patrick, Derryloaghan

O’Donnell, Patrick, Gortnamucklagh

O’Donnell, Patrick, Mulmosog Or Altnagapple

O’Donnell, Patrick, Straboy

O’Donnell, Patrick, Town of Glenties/Main Street

O’Donnell, Patrick, Tully More

O’Donnell, Peter, Meenavally

O’Donnell, Robert, Clogher West

O’Donnell, Robert, Clooney

O’Donnell, Robert, Lackaghatermon

O’Donnell, Robert, Loughfad

O’Donnell, Roger, Loughnambraddan

O’Donnell, Roger, Shallogan More

O’Donnell, Shane, Straboy

Dinneens (Dineen)

Dinneen, Bridget, Strasallagh

Dinneen, John, Meenasrone South

Dinneen, Patrick, Meenasrone South

UTM : NA37
Geographical coordinates in decimal degrees (WGS84)
Latitude : 54.849
Longitude : -8.456

Geographical coordinates in degrees minutes seconds (WGS84)
Latitude : 54 50′ 56”
Longitude : -8 27′ 20”

Places near from Inishkeel
Boylagh bay – Clogher – Clooney – Clooney lough – Doon lough – Dunmore head – Gweebarra bay – Kilclooney – Kilclooney bridge – Kiltooris lough – Lough fad – Loughfad hill – Meenagrillagh hill – Meendooish hill – Naran –

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Clan O’Donnell history

The O’Donnells have always been both numerous and eminent in Irish life. They are of course chiefly associated with Tirconnaill (Donegal) the habitat of the largest and best known O’Donnell sept; but, as the present distribution of persons of the name implies, there were quite distinct O’Donnell septs in other parts of the country, two of which require special mention, viz., that of Corcabaskin in West Clare, and another, a branch of the Ui Maine (Hy Many) in Co. Galway.

All of these descend from some ancestor Domhall (anglice Donal) and are O Domhnaill in Irish. The Donal particularized in the case of the great Tirconnaill sept, who died in 901, was himself descended from the famous Niall of the Nine Hostages.

Their predominance only dates from the thirteenth century: prior to that they were located in a comparatively restricted area around Kilmacrenan, Co. Donegal. A total of nearly 13,000 the O’Donnells are among the fifty most common names in Ireland. They have produced many illustrious figures in Irish history, as soldiers, churchmen, authors and politicians.

Red Hugh leading his army

The most famous was Hugh Roe O’Donnell (Red Hugh) (1571-1602), chief of the Name, whose escape from captivity in Dublin Castle makes an adventure story beloved of young and Old. After several brilliant victories over the English army he participated in the disaster at Kinsale and, retiring to Spain, was poisoned, it is said, by one Blake, an English agent.

Hugh Balderg O’Donnell (d.1704), Daniel O’Donnell (1666-1735), Calvagh O’Donnell (d. 1566) and Manus O Donnell (d. 1654), were other soldiers of note in Ireland and on the continent.

Rory O’Donnell, first Earl of Tyrconnell, (1575-1608), of the “Flight of the Earls” and Sir Niall Garv O’Donnell (1569-1626), whose activities in Ireland caused him to spend 27 years incarcerated in the Tower of London, were close relatives of Red Hugh, as was the adventurous Mary Stuart O’Donnell (1608-1649).

The Annals are full of the exploits of O’Donnell chiefs and military leaders in the north-west of Ireland.

In more recent times notable O’Donnells have been Frank Hugh O’Donnell, M.P. (1848-1916), John Francis O’Donnell (1837-1874), of the Nation and at least three remarkable ecclesiastics, viz. Dr. James Louis O Donnell, bishop, “the apostle of Newfoundland”, Father Hugh O’Donnell (1739-1814), first P.P. of Belfast, and Cardinal Patrick O’Donnell (1856-1927), at one time descended from our Tirconaill O’Donnells.

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Tir Chonaill: The Land of O’Domhnaill – fascinating!

Without dwelling too much on ancient history, the popular myth of Donegal’s traditional poverty must be laid to rest before we can deal with the present day.

The late medieval lordship of Tir Chonaill (Donegal) reached the height of its power during the years 1461 – 1555. The lords of Tir Chonaill became the dominant force in Gaelic Ireland for almost a century. The lordship itself was in close contact with many centres of the Renaissance in Europe. Focusing primarily on three lords or princes of Tir Chonaill – Aodh Ruadh, Aodh Dubh and Maghnus O’Domhnaill – who between them ruled from 1461 – 1533 in an almost unbroken line of direct succession, these three lords (father, son and grandson) are recorded in history as “Three of the most remarkable men ever produced in Co. Donegal”.

Able and gifted, they have been described as the great soldier-statesmen of their respective generations in Gaelic Ireland.

The rise to power of the O’Donnells after 1461 shows remarkable leadership. At the height of their power, these lords of Tir Chonaill became immediate overlords of nine North-Western counties, their power being built on the great loyalty shown to them by the inhabitants of Tir Chonaill.

Tir Chonaill was certainly not a depressed economic region in late medieval times. It’s natural resources were utilised by a relatively small population, concentrated in the fertile lowlands. The region was famous for its vast herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, as well as large unenclosed areas sewn with oats. The uplands and the rugged western coastlands were then largely uninhabited, providing the lowland inhabitants with valuable pastures, turf banks (fuel) , large woodlands and extensive reserves of wild game. Rivers and sheltered inlets were also a tremendous natural resource, giving salmon, eel, oyster and seal fisheries. Sheltered bays attracted large numbers of foreign merchants and fishermen (not much change there!) exploiting an immensely valuable salmon and herring fishery, which developed during the course of the early sixteenth century into one of the biggest of its kind in Europe.

Tir Chonaill had long and established trading links with ports such as Bristol in the south of England, St. Malo and Morlaix in Brittany, Ayr, Wigton and Glasgow in Scotland and home ports such as Galway and Drogheda. Imports into Tir Chonaill were mainly wine, luxury clothes, modern weapons and armour, while the main exports were fish and hides.

On the continent, the lords of Tir Chonaill were famed for their wealth, increased by their skillful commercialism. While the Bretons and French supplied the O’Donnell’s with wine, salt, iron, gunpowder and firearms in exchange for fish, tallow & hides, the Spanish too were important players. Hundreds of their fishing fleet were known to frequent the west coast. Not only did the Spaniards pay tribute of between a tenth and a sixth of their catch for protection while they fished, but they also paid for onshore facilities to cure their catch. Enterprises connected with the herring fishery were concentrated in the North-West, with O’Donnell ports such as Arranmore doing an extensive trade.

The pilgrim trade between the North-West of Ireland and the continent was another important form of contact between Renaissance Europe and Tir Chonaill. St. Patrick’s Purgatory (Lough Derg) was one of the most exotic pilgrimage sites in western Europe. Many important visitors came to the site, not least Pers Yonge, Master of the Magdalen in London, who brought a letter from Aodh Dubh O’Domhnaill to Henry VIII in 1515, and the French knight who came via Scotland in 1516. Such was the hospitality received by this individual that he returned with artillery and royal soldiers from the king of Scotland, enabling Aodh Dubh to capture Sligo and three other castles. Pilgrims from the North-West in turn visited Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the holy site associated with St. James. Many of those were undoubtedly from Tir Chonaill, as Aodh Dubh in 1507 told James IV of Scotland that he had intended to visit Galicia himself, but had been otherwise advised.

Once there, Tir Chonaill pilgrims must have been impressed by the great Renaissance inspired Royal Hospice for Pilgrims built by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella.

It is evident therefore that Tir Chonaill did not depend on southern England for its links with Renaissance Europe. Much more important was the contact with lowland Scotland, Brittany and Rome, which brought the region into direct touch with centres of humanist thought.

County Donegal or Dún na nGall in Irish means ‘fort of the foreigner’. The name is said to have come from the fact that numerous Viking raids on the County were repelled in the 8th and 9th centuries.

For a full and comprehensive history of County Donegal, we recommend reading:
Donegal – History & Society, (1995) ISBN 0-906602-45-9

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Donegal Castle

Early 1900’s

Donegal – Land of the O’Donnell.

Donegal Castle, by the banks of the river Eske, was built by Hugh Roe O’Donnell in 1474. His son – the legendary Red Hugh O’Donnell – fought bravely against the English in many a battle, one of which is commemorated in the song “O’Donnell Abu”. Sadly, his last great battle was to be Kinsale in 1601 when his army marched non-stop from Donegal and were badly defeated. The tactics decided in the castle prior to the battle were to have significant ramifications for the country.

It is said that Red Hugh, aware of his imminent fate, destroyed the castle before leaving, “to prevent this fortress of the Gael becoming a fortress of the Gall”. On capture, the English were able to fortify such castles and use them as a base to attack the Irish. However, this is what happened with the castle being granted to Captain Basil Brooke in 1611. He extended the manor house to the existing tower house and is indeed claimed to be the architect responsible for the layout of Donegal Town Centre.

After passing through several generations of Brookes before falling into decay in the 18th century, the then owner (the Earl of Arran) placed the castle in the guardianship of the Office of Public Works in 1898.

Only in recent times has the castle been restored, furnished throughout with Persian rugs and French tapestries. Writing about the castle’s history, the author John M. Feehan goes as far as to suggest that the whole history of Ireland for three hundred years was decided within the castle walls before Kinsale. He recommends that we should “step up to them, touch, and say a silent prayer for the brave men who blundered so badly in those far-off days”.


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Creen- Irish surname historian, Dr. E. MacLysaght

Irish surname historian, Dr. Edward MacLysaght’s (1887-1986) history of our name:

According to MacFirbis, O’Crean and O’Cregan are synonymous, Crehan again being a variant of Crean.

In Irish Crean and Crehan are Ó Croidheáin (spelt Ó Craidhen by the Four Masters) and Creegan or Cregan is Ó Croidheagáin. These families formed a minor sept of the Cineal Eoghan belonging to Donegal, with a branch in the neighbouring county of Sligo. They are twice mentioned by the Four Masters as wealthy merchants, which is somewhat unusual in the Annals: in 1506 as of Co. Donegal: in 1572 as of Sligo.

The Clongowes manuscript “The State of Ireland in 1598” gives them a higher status: the then head of the family was John O’Crean of Ballynegare, and in another place in the manuscript O’Crean of Annagh is stated to have been one of the leading families of Co. Sligo in the sixteenth century. According to the “Annals of Loch Cé” the Bishop of Elphin in 1582 was an O’Crean, but he was “removed” in 1584. Father Daniel O’Crean (d. c. 1616) of Holy Cross, Sligo, was Provincial of the Dominican order in a period of intensive persecution.

The form Crehan is usual in Co. Galway; in Co. Mayo these are called Crean, Grehan and even Graham. Creegan alone of these variants can be said to belong now to Co. Sligo. Crean is mostly found to-day in south-west Munster, but families of the name in Kerry and Cork are in most cases Creen, recte Curreen, i.e. Ó Corraidhín.

A further complication in regard to the name Crean arises from the fact that Ó Corráin, normally Curran in English, has become Crean in some places. The arms illustrated in Plate VI are those of O’Crean of Donegal and Sligo and do not belong to the Creans of Munster.

“The Annals of the Four Masters” is a compilation of the oral histories of Irish kings recorded from ancient times to 1616AD. This valuable history was archived between 1632-1636 by Franciscan monks, headed up by Michael O’Clery.

Following are the full references MacLysaght cited above. These were extracted from John O’Donovan’s English translation of “The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Four Masters” Vol. 5, published in Dublin 1848-51.
1506 – Donnell O’Craidhen O’Crean, a pious and conscientious merchant, died, while hearing mass in Donegal.

1572 – Henry O’Craidhen, a rich and affluent merchant of Lower Connaught, died.
“The Annals of Loch Cé” is an account of Irish records dating from 1014AD to 1590. It was transcribed by William M. Hennesy and published 1871 in London by Longman & Co.

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Donegal Town

Donegal Town is over 2000 years old, making it one of the oldest towns in Ireland. Strolling around its streets in the present day, with it’s hotels, restaurants, craft, souvenir and book shops, it is hard to imagine you’re actually walking through millenniums of history and culture. You could almost compare it to modern-day Rome or Athens (less sunshine of course!) in that, like those two great ancient cities, Donegal Town was also destroyed by barbarians from the east – the NEAR east.

In 1608, the British ransacked the town, and burned its priceless library of manuscripts. Luckily however, some of the monks escaped, brought their notes with them, and from these notes compiled the world-famous Annals of the Four Masters. These monks of ingenuity were Michael and Peregrine Ó Cleary, Peregrine Ó Duignean and Fearfeasa Ó Maolconry. Today, they are commemorated by the Church of the Four Masters (built in 1935) and by an imposing obelisk in the Diamond (the local name for Donegal Town Centre).

For photo’s of Donegal Town see O’Donnell or Irish in the photo section

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The Battle of Kinsale – O’Donnell

Red Hugh O’Donnell and his colleague Hugh O’Neill believed they could never drive the British out of Ireland without help from abroad. They sought this help from England’s enemy, King Philip III of Spain, who was quick to see the advantages of helping the Irish. A united Ireland would give him an excellent base from which to invade England. He prepared and dispatched an expeditionary force, but the decision to land at Kinsale was the height of stupidity, caused in fact by the interference of the Archbishop of Dublin.

Had the Spanish continued on and landed somewhere near Donegal, the united force of two armies, Irish and Spanish, would have been strong enough to defeat the English. Needless to say, when the Spaniards arrived at Kinsale they were surrounded by British, while their Irish allies were still in Donegal. However, O’Neill and O’Donnell could not leave the Spanish without help so, in the depth of winter, they marched their armies the 250 miles to Kinsale.

O’Donnell’s march is now reckoned to be one of the greatest marches in history. Indeed, the British commander Carew described it as “The greatest march that has ever been heard of”.

At Kinsale, the Irish surrounded the British and here again another huge blunder was made. The English could have been starved into surrender in a few weeks had the Irish waited. Instead, they decided to attack. The plan to attack was betrayed: the English were waiting. In the skirmish that followed, the Irish lost 1000 men and the English, only a few.

Now, the great question: Why did the Irish not regroup their forces and continue the siege?

To this, there is no satisfactory answer. Instead, they marched home to Donegal, their morale broken.

Mountjoy had his victory and shortly after, Don Juan del Águila surrendered the town. The Irish decided to send Red Hugh to Spain for further help, and he sailed from Castlehaven on 6 January 1602. He was received by King Philip with great honour and promised another force, but he fell suddenly ill at Simancas and died there on 10 September 1602.

In a letter from Carew to Mountjoy, it seems clear that he was poisoned by one James Blake of Galway, with the cognisance of Carew (if not at his instigation). His body was buried by command of King Philip, with royal honours, in the church of the Franciscan monastery at Valladolid, but no trace of the church now remains.

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