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gjistotg ant) Antiquities; 






[Right oj reproduction resened,] 







^hc people oi 50iillnshitnnon, 






II. A. 



rJlHERE are few towns so modern or so devoid of historic interest 
as not to afford sufficient subject-matter to fill a moderate sized 
volume; but in the compilation of a local history, many difficulties arise 
m collecting reliable information, which has to be gathered from sources 
very widely scattered and often not easily attainable. 

The town of Ballyshannon, though now suffering from tho chilling 
effects of a diminished trade and a decreased population, can at least 
boast of its superior antiquity, and its many historical associations. 

To collect these scattered memorials of bygone times, and present in 
a, connected and readable form, on epitome of all that relates to our 
town, past and present, is the aim and object of the following pages. 
In their preparation no pains have been spared to obtain tho best and 
most accurate information, and I have carefully consulted mauy 
manuscripts hitherto unpublished. 

My best acknowledgements aro duo to the Very Rev. William 
Reeves, D.D., M.B., M.E.I.A., Dean of Armagh, our greatest living 
authority on Irish ecclesiastical antiquities, for his valuable aid and 
kind encouragement. Through the assistance of P. W. Joyce, Esq., 
LL.D., M.E.I.A., I have been enabled to give much interesting in- 
formation respecting the origin of onr local names, a branch of literary 
research with which his name has become famous. To Richard G. 
Byme*, Esq., F.G.S., Eoyal Geological Survey, I am indebted for tho 
particulars respecting the geology of the district. My tlianks are also 
due to W. F. Wakeman, Esq., whose pen and pencil have so often 
gracefully depicted the antiquities of Ireland. 

«anSSSrr*°r n V iSl t ''. B ^K J ' : 'l l! "" 1,J ", "*J* to"™ "w &™'tJspio™, thpngh only 

SpCjX p 0| the t< "™' h ™ tocn 8Cluttal "« '*"* p£tuw«[u« aua 




For permission to insert the copyright poems, "The Goblin Child " 
and "The Winding Banks of Erne," I am indebted to their author, 
William Allingham, whose poems, especially those relating to the Town, 
have taken a firm root in the memories of Ballyshannon people, both at 
home and abroad. 

To all those friends who have assisted me by placing at my disposal 
various hooks and papers, not otherwise obtainable, I tender my best 

The zoological notes ate the result of careful observation and inquiry, 
and the particulars respecting the Flora have been derived in most 
iustances from personal investigation -, all the doubtful species having 
been submitted for indentifieation to an experienced botanist— 
S. A. Stewart, Esq., Fellow of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, 

Though conscious of many defects and shortcomings in the execution 
of my task, I yet indulge the hope that this little book may bo tho 
means of rescuing from an undeserved oblivion, the memory of many 
persons and circumstances associated with the history of our town in 
former times ; and that throughout its pages, the stranger as well as 
the resident, may find varied items of useful informatiuii. 

II. A. 
Ballvsu.vnxon, Djkibhskb, 1S79. 



I. — Physical Features and Geology, 
II. — Early Traditionary Accounts, 
HI.— The Waterfall of Rod Hugh, and tho Early 

Christian period, - 
IV. — The Abbey of Assaroe, 
V. — The O'Donnelk in Ballyshannon, 
VI. — Capture of Ballyshannon and close of the 

O'Donnell period, - 
VII. — Confiscation and re-distribution of Lands, 
Vm. — Ballyshannon as a Corporate Town, 
IX. — The Jacobite Troubles, 
X. — Parochial History, 

XI. — Ballyshannon in tho Eighteenth Century, ■ 
XII. — Biographical and Literary Notices, 
XIII.— Trade— Past and Present, - 
XrV. — Antiqui 

XV.— Zoology and Botany, 
XVI. — Local Names, - 

General index, • 

I' \-.\\ 













i 19 





Ballybhannon an ancient town in Ulster, tho largest in the 
County Donegal, is in the baronj of TLrhugh;* it forms a portion 
of two parishes — that of Kilburron and Itvismacsaint — and lies 
close to tho frontier line dividing Tirconnell (now Ulster) from 

the "Kingdom of Connaught." 

The most prominent physical feature of tho town is the river 
Erne, which, dividing it into two portions, Bowa rapidly to the 
celebrated waterfall of Assaroe, where il discharges, it has been 
estimated, four hundred thousand tons of water per honrf 
the estuary below. 

That the site of Ballyshannon was chosen by its founders by 
reason of its possessing this joint natural attraction — river and 
waterfall — there can he little dotiht. Waterfalls we know were 
sources of especial interest to the early inhabitants of Ireland ; 
almost every fall of any consequence possesses a legend of its 
own, and the early settlers and inhabitants of onr country have 
left behind them abundant proof that they were not wanting in 
a just appreciation of what was beautiful in nature, and best 
suited to their personal comfort ami safety. 

BaUyshannon was generally called by the old annalists At&- 
trigh. Bel-atha signifies ford entrance, or month of a ford: 

1 Tlrhugh is call(-d In Irish authorities Tir'Aedha, i.e. the territory uf Arrthvr Hugb, 
kinjf of Iftkuil. « to Kummoned the rotclinmil Convention ol DruincsHt hi 573. 
I Ifesn. StftYQtuan^ Itoporton BflUj luumon Harbour, 1S31 



Seanaigh, from Seamta, who was grandson of Conal Gulban, the 
progenitor of St. Columbkill, and also of the race of theO'Donnells, 
I nil ices of Tireonnell, hence the name means ike mouth qfSeanach's 
ford. The termination on in the present name is a modern cor- 
rupt ion, and is discarded by many of the old-fashioned inhabitants, 
who still call it Ballyskamty. In theeharter granted by Janus I, 
the name is spelt Batleshannon, while Spenser in his "View of 
the state of Ireland," calls it Ball-shannon, 

The natural features of the country neighbouring the town 
are varied and interesting ; that on the north side of the river 
being pleasingly diversified by numerous hills and valleys, fre- 
quently interspersed with small lakes and streams. On the sonth 
side lies the extensive bnt broken plain (about 15 miles by 7) 
known as the Mot/, while the fine mountain range of Dartry, 
extending from Rossinver to Ben Gulban, forms the southern 
boundary of onr district. Trusl-mnre, the highest of this range, 
is 2,115 feet above sea level ; Ben Gul&an or lien Bull .en. 1.722 
feet. Looking seawards, three miles distant, is Donegal Bay, 
into which the waters of the Erne, after many bends and curves, 
make their final exit at the Bar, and mingle with the Atlantic 
waves. At Coolnargii fvnil-an-airijitj—i.e. the recess or winding 
of the silver— are extensive sandbanks; owing to the composition 
of this sand— minute particles of shells and rocks— it possesses 
little or no cohesive properties, hence it is the sport of every 
ing storm; and though the sea-reed (Pamgaarmaria) with its 
wide-spreading roots helps to keep the sand together, the hills 
within the last quarter of a century rapidly decreased in 
size, and their shape has been greatly altered. 

There is one other feature of our neighbourhood which will 
particularly strike the stranger, and that is the vast quantity of 
stones and rocks scattered about the fields, and the almost com- 
plete absence of trees and shrubs, excepting a sprinkling hero 
and there round country houses. Bereft of trees as onr district 
now is, at one time extensive forests clothed the surface of the 
country j indeed, the locality was noted for the extent of its oak 


forests, under whose umbrageous shelter, the wild boar (sua acrofo) 
and the red deer (cmmt elaphus) found a suitable refuge from 
the huntsman and his wolf-dog. In many of our local names 
of places is preserved a remembrance of the " king of trees," 
the prefix Deny (Doire or Daire), meaning oak wood, is in very 
frequent occurrence in the composition of names in our district, 
as Derrykirk—i.e. the oak wood of the boar ; Derrynweer—U. 
the oak wood of the carpenter. &c. 

The Moy at one time was an extensive forest, and trees grew 
even to the water's edge, on that now treeless wind-swept region 
of Ballymaeward and Kildoney. Near to the Bar those rugged 
rocks known as the "forest rocks" once marked the limit of treea 
whose roots must have been washed by the tidal waves. The 
climatic changes brought about by the removal of such extensive 
planting must have been considerable; among these an increased 
temperature and a diminished rainfall were probably the most 
important. Ballyshannon now enjoys a comparatively warm 
temperature, which is owing in a great measure to the heating 
influence of the Gulf Stream.* The isothermal line (or line 
of mean annual temperature) which passes .Vienna, London, 
&c., reaches its highest latitude about 80 miles north-west of 

The average yearly rainfall at Ballyshannon, of which a daily 
register has being kept since 1st January, 1874. is 41-64 inches.? 
Our district, though wetter than some places on the east coast, 
is much dryer than the southern and more western portions of 
Ireland. ^ Moreover it is in a great measure free from the cold 
easterly winds. Westerly and south- wester 1 v e urrents prevailing 
during the greater part of the year. 

The harbour or tidal portion of the river covers a superficies 
of G06 imperial acres. T he tides at springs rise about 10 or 11 

rh»™E"fk !V he htat ^'"'iinninioiwii by this ocean river, ft has been eakulated that 
mSw^". 1 ' throlv " "^ tha A'luilta by I un o'n a whiter', dLy^ould hi 

t An inch of rain represents ahoiit 100 tons per acre. 


foot (varying with tiie force of winds and other causes) and at 
low water there is about 2 feet on the Bar. The channel is 
considerably deeper, in many places being 20, and in some 30 
feet deep at springs. The harbour being situated east of t lie five 
o'clock line, the time of high water at springs may be 
approximately stated as 5.40. 

The strength of the in-coming tidal wave is sufficient for some 
hours to check the out ward progress of the great volume of fr«h 
water coming down from Longh Erne, but generally about half 
an hour before high water at the Bar, the pent up "fresh'' 
becomes too strong for the rising tide, and consequently begins 
to flow down, thus sometimes presenting a serious difficulty to 
the navigation of vessels crossing the Bar. 

The town of Ballyshannon etands on the north-west margin of 
the earbamjbrous Um<:sto7ie which forms the extensive plain known 
as the "Great Central Plain of Ireland;" but that the lowest 
rocks of the lower carboniferous period are to be found in Bally- 
shannon is not to be inferred from this statement, as a large 
fault, or series of faults (the technical term for a fracture iu a rock), 
separate the limestone from the metamorphic rocks which are to 
be found immediately north of the town. The observer has only 
to go down to the Pool, where he will see these "faults" well 
marked for a considerable distance to the west. Along the 
road leading from Ballyshannon to Pettigo is the boundary line 
which divides the two great series— the limestone and the 

The rocks of our district may be divided into two classes. I. 
The Carboniferous Limestones and their Associated Sandstones. 
II. The Metaraorphic Series. 

The rocks south of the town, consist chiefly of thin bedded 
dark cavernous limestone, with shales, resting on which are 

* The phytlcal features north and south of this road, especially in the vicinity of Cliff, 
are ■very remarkable. On the one eido we have the cold barren ratline with ttsRtmitt.l 

* The phj-cjcal features north : 
are very remarkable. On the one eido wo have tho cold barren outline with its stunted 
vegetation (»uoh is oTworvabio wherever the metamorphk reck* prewin, on th< 
inch and luxuriant erowth cluilicd with tr««, which add an additional charm to the 

nvsr Reenerv tit t.Vip Vrt\« 

liTW scenery of tin: 


dolomite or magnesian limestone. Over these are irregularly 
bedded light gray limestones, which weather rapidly, and are 
well seen sooth of Waterloo. Over these again are bluish lime 
stones and shales, which are probably the representatives of the 
"Crip" of the east of Ireland. Above these is a tolerable thickness 
of sandstones* which extend from Lennox Bridge and Mullinaleek 
Bridge to Belleek, and thence to Boa Island on Lough Erne. 
Over the (sandstones are the upper limestones, well exemplified 
m the Dartry Mountains, and at Maghoo on the south shore 
of Lough Erne. Surmounting all are the representatives of 
the Goredale series, which are composed of sandstones and 

The pahvntologieal character of the limestones about Bally- 
shannon is much the same as that of the lower limestone of the 

X, "- : " J Lv|; "" L A* thesalmon weirs, whole beds of 13 tone 

of crimids or "stone lilies," and, omens 

Of the cockle species) and some corals are 
occasionally met with. As to the thickm-ss of the carboniferous 
beds south of the town, at present it is enoiurb to say (hat the 
Geological Survey bare the district in hand, and until it is com- 
pleted, th, potion of the great east and west fault connot be 
Parted out. That such faults exist, may be assumed with 
»W<- ci-rtainty. us from examination already made, it has 
been fuim.l thai the beds of the limestone., sandstones. &c. all 
"'I' m one direction, riz., towards the south. Some of the beds 
dtp at an angle of 35°, and if this were constant wo should have 
botwe l lall non and Monnl Prospect, on the south shore 

of Lough M, h, in, such a thickness of the carboniferous series as 
would lead ns to expect coal in the Dartry Mountains. But as no 
such truce is found there (in them the upper limestone appear) 
it must he assumed that a fault, or more likely two faults, exist 
and the external features of this neighbourhood suggest two— 
-iielrom llallysliannun upLou-h Em.-, the other riii'mim* aimosl 
paraHeljv itu it from Lough Mel van to Cliffony. 

.^2u^^™ mmr V midU > l »* be "rrawtttatlveaof Sir E. Griffith-, "dip 



TIio meiamorphic series of rocks is well exemplified in the 
historic island at Inis-Samer ; also at the quay and along the 
road leading to the G as Works. These rocks run in an eastward 
ilii-1-i-iiMi.i under ihi> i-hnveli mi Mnllagbnashee, towards thai 
mountainous district north-east of Bullyshannon, of which Dhn- 
bally and Breesic. are prominent points. These rocks are for the 
most part mica schist and quartzites. Although their form has 
heeu altered as their name implies, yet as in the case of the rocks 
on the island, the foliation corresponds with the bedding. They 
were sandstones prior to their change, and the difference in time 
between their deposition and that of the superincumbent litnestones 
marks a geological period. The only other rucks which we will 
here notice are the fault rocks near the Pool : these jut composed 
of an aggregation of pieces of quartzites and schist (from the 
metamorphic series) generally bound together by a calcareous 
cement, and their origin is due either to the depression of the 
limestone, or the elevation of the quartzite. 

The river Erne which flows through Ballyshannon receives 
only the draiuage of a very small area around the town. It rises 
in Lough Gowna (the Lake of the Calf) about thirteen miles south- 
west of the town of Cavan, and at a point about 214 feet above 
the level of the sea. The meaning of the name Gowna is explained 
by a legend which describes the origin of L^udi Erne. There 
is a well in the towuland of Rathbrackan, one mile from Granard, 
in the County Longford. In this weil once lived a magical calf 
who was kept enclosed in it by means of a door which all persons 
asing the well were strictly enjoined to close after them; but one 
day a woman going to draw water, forget to shut the door, and 
the wonderful calf jumped ont, the water following lam, expanding 
its course as it went so that neither calf nor water stopped their 
race, till both leaped into the sea at Ballyshannon '. '. 

The Erne, after passing from Lough Gowna, Hows as a narrow 
river into Lough Oughter, which is 1 GO feet above sea level, from 

According to Sir It. Griffith's estimate the carboniferous limestone of the North i 
Ireland is about 2,700 feet thick. 





thence into Upper Lough Ernefl")1 feet above sea level) ami 
then into Lower Lough Erno (1-i'J feet 9 inches above sea level),* 
and in the short distance of four miles from its exit, from the 
lake proper at Belleek, it passes over numerous falls and rapids, 
descending in many places tlio cavernous limestones through which 
it flows, till it takes its final plunge over the rocks at Assaroe 
(about 16 feet high). In its course, the river Erne (for such it 
may hi- n-L'itnlc.] from its source to ita cxii ) receives the following 
tributaries — ThvAmalee from the neighbourhood of Cootehillj 
the II near BaltyconnalJ ; tho ■ at Maguire's 

Bridge; the Claddagh at Swanlinbar; the Arney from Lough 
Macnean; and the SiQeea from Derrygonneliy. 

North of Ik I !y shannon, the dra'iiage passes into the Tullymore 
(or Abbey) river which flows into the estuary at the Abbey Bay, 
A mile inn! a half south of the town, the drainage about Stormhill, 
&c, passes into the river Bradoguc (the little gorge), which flows 
into Donegal Bay at Buiuloran. 

Tho geological period known as tho "glacial period," or 
ice age of this country, is remarkably well exemplified in the 
neighbourhood of Ballyshannon. Not only have wo the erratics^ 
or block-;, carried from a distance, but where the rocks are newly 
exposed from their capping of boulder clay (the term used for 
the drift as transported), we find the polished and striated surface 
produced by the passage of glaciers over them. From this 
testimony of the rocks we have ample and satisfactory proof that 
glaciers did pass over our district, and wo have further evidence 
of the exact direction in which they travelled, nntil they finally 
passed into the sea whore they assumed the form of bergs, or 
floating ice. For good examples of transported blocks and 
boulder clay, we may point to Skegus on the north side of tho 
town, and the Doon Hill on the south side (in the townland of 
Dunmuckrum) both of which are typical examples of the hundreds 
of similar saddleback hills oi Ireland, which owe their existence 

* Summer water In the lute U 1SS feet above high B-ater at 10 fett spring tides at 





to the agency of Lee, and are nothing more than an accumulated 
mass of boulders (chiefly in our locality, limestone) and drift, 
transported thither by tluit great motive power — ice, in its 
passage from east to west. It is further noticeable that the 
direction of the axis of those hills indicates the direction of the 
flow of ice, A fine example of boulder clay or ice action, i.e. 
striation, may bo seen along the line of railway from Bally- 
shannon to Belleek. The best illustration will be found at a 
point about 200 yards west of the wooden bridge at Fortvrilliam. 
There, the railway cutting shows the boulder clay resting on the 
hed and striated roeks. The polishing and Btriation are 
peculiar, inasmuch as the rock presents a wave-like polished 
surface, the wavy appearance having been produced by the ice 
in its prog ing along the lie of the limestone beds, and 

not across them. These striations or scratches, which a casual 
observer from their distinctness might suppose to be quite recent, 
when examined by a clinometer (an instrument used to ascertain 
the angle or dip of strata), have been found to consist of two sets 
of fitrin, showing that, although the general direction of iee-a 
from east i'i west was constant, yet other and smaller currents 
from different quarters also contributed to the carving and 
scratching of the surface. 

In Ballyshaunon traces of minerals are frequent, but like many 
other parts of Ireland the mineral deposits arc but superficial, ami 
in our immediate neighbourhood we have had many proofs of the 
necessity which exists for thorough scientific knowledge In 
embarking in projects which only end in disappointment and 
pecuniary loss. Traces of lead, copper, and barytes, have been 
found at Ballystiannnn. and trials have been made at the Abbey, 
inner, and at Belleek, but none of these mines arc now in 
"juration. At Belleek, however, then; are numerous traces oS 
iron, and quantities of red hematite, and iron pyrites are to be 
found at Castlecaldwell. In Boate's "Natural History of 
Ireland," a book written more than 200 years ago. mention is 
made of extensive iron works having been in operation on the 


banks of Lough Erne, where the ore was dug up, and the 
smelting carried on hj Sir Leonard Blenerhasset. ' This industry- 
was, however, entirely npset by the Rebellion of 1041. Brick 
clay is very plentiful in tin- district, especially on the lulls about 
Asabrook, Newbrook, &&, and the presence of this Staff clay, in 
il'at l-iuLT vein of country extending from the shores of Lough 
Melvin toward- Pettigo, is ft serious obstacle to successful 

_ In the country surrounding Ballyshannon, on both sides of the 
river, are BZtensive peat bogs, which offer an inexhaustible store 
of fuel, and haw proved a beneficent compensation for the absence 
of coal in our district. These peat bogs are the mosl recent of 
our accumulations, and are still in process of development. A 
large portion of the extensive plain of the Moy, which now 
abounds in peat, was at some former period under water, 
and probably funned a portion of what is now Lough Melvin! 
Through the gradual accumulation of such plants as reeds, rn^es," 
&c., the water was dried up, and the bogs formed. Remains of 
tin' forest vegetation of former periods are abundant— birch and 
hazel, lir and oak, are found submerged at various depths in the 
peat deposits. The bark of many of the plants which compose 
our bogs is furnished with an abundance of tamun, which, when 
mixed with water, has the property of preserving from decay 
mosl kinds of animal and vegetable substances; hence it is that 
"bog butter,"! timber, &c, which are frequently dug up from a 
depth of many feet, are sound and ondecayed. 

thL fo'rmKT kaam ™ s i' ,i 'V» t " n "o t*™» *hich bare most largely contributed to 

r 1 * !' c !S!i'}f ' ,ho F huttXT " k" nemUj bean dug up in a neighbouring w. 1th 
of a clieeae-l,. ;ir .,i fne fr „ m allv rallcid (mc|1 In (orm(!I .'', iln * ft 

r.i !..„„ri,.. -.,.;. iv»d«.,i htitturdoep down In boCT.t wr. Amcu 

Uu food of the Irian, D1n!ey(Aj>. tS7ft)m«iUon« "butter mixed wtthaklnd ofirarlk-k 
5 ' " ' . ":' ■ i'Uke a provision of a high teat » tor U-nt-"- 

■ l , la<x» n (Sad Beriea), page fte. 







SoJEE of the earliest traditionary events, of which there is any 
record in the chronicles of Ireland, are associated with Bally- 
shannon, and its neighbourhood. 

The Island of Iitis-Saraer, now known as "Fish Island" is 
mentioned as having hoen for a lime the residence of Partholan, 
a Scythian chief, who was, it is said, a co-temporary of the 
patriarch Abraham, and consequently lived about three centuries 
after the deluge. According to the old chronologists, tbeBe 
adventurous explorers set sail from a country called Migdonia, 
(a part of aitrient Macedon, or Thrace), and having braved the 
seas, they at length dropped anchor at the Bay of Ken mare, on 
which coast they planted a colony; then sailing northward, they 
came into Donegal liny, and having crossed the Bar at Bally- 
shannon, landed on this little rocky island. Here Partholan 
built a house, and lived with his wife and three sons for an 
unrecorded period. The island, it is said, got its name Samer, 
from a favourite greyhound of Partholan's which was buried in 
it, and a romantic talc in which this dog appears, has been 
handed down, but as it is doubtless familiar to most readers it is 
needless to introduce it here. According to Km ting's "General 
History of Ireland" the island was also called the Dog's Isle. 
It seems however more probable tiiat its name was derived from 
the River which was called Samhair or Samer — i.s. the Morning 
Star. The Partholauians, it is recorded, at a subsequent period 
left the neighbourhood of Ballyshaunon, and settled at Howtb, 
near Dublin, where the entire colony, numbering several 
thousands, were cut off by a plague. Tiie modern village of 
Tallaght in that locality, has in its name a reference to this 
plague. It may be added that there is still to be seen, on a hill 
near the village, a remarkable collection of sepulchral tumuli, 
evidently of great antiquity. 

After the destruction of this colony, the country is said to have 
remained uninhabited for a period of thirty years, when another 



colony of Scythians, called Nemedians, arrived ami occupied it, 
until they in their turn had to succumb to a stronger and moro 
warlike race named Fomorians, natives of Africa, who, under the 
command of Conning, their chief, established their bead-quarters 
on Tory Island. This island lies some nine miles from the main- 
land, and ia a part of the barony of Kilnmeremm, in the County 
Donegal. On a cliff, at its eastern extremity, was the tower 
celebrated in the old annals as 

" The tower of the island, the island of the tower, 
The citadel of Codnaing, the son of Todaiv' 
The exploits of "Babr of the mighty blows" are still pre- 
served in the local traditions of the islanders. This Balor is 
represented as having one eye in the middle of his forehead, and 
another directly opposite, in the back of his head. This hinder 
eye was kept constantly closed, as it had a mortiferous power, 
and he only used it when ho wished to destroy an enemy. The 
accounts which tradition has handed down of this mighty chief, 
" bear a strong resemblance to some of the strange beings which 
Baron Munchausen mot with in hia voyages to the Dog Star ; 
possibly the writer of this satire on travellers' tales, who was 
said to have lived for some timo in Ireland, may have had this 
description of ''Balor of the hlows" in his mind's eye when he 
wrote his book. 

According to the old chronicles, Magh Gceidne* (the Moy), 
situate between Drobhaois (the ancient name for the Drowas 
liver) and Eirno (Lough Erne) was the scene of great oppression 
and cruel exactions, for it was here that the Fomorians of Tory 
compelled the Nemedians to pay over their annual tribute on the 
1st November, This tribute consisted of "tivo parts of their 
children, cattle, milk, butter, and wheat." A woman it is said, 
was employed as "cess collector," and this amazon, no doubt 
supported by an armed force, compelled each family to contribute 
their portion. 

Respecting these notices of the primitive history of Ireland 

Uttffk Gceidru, l.v. the Plain qf Treaty the uame originated in the above dHuinv 




which have been handed down, chiefly through the bardic 
historians, it is difficult, if not impossible, to discriminate between 
what may be accepted as a fact, and what must be relegated to 
the domain of romance ; one thing, however, is certain — thai 
Ireland was known to the inhabitants of other countries, at a 
very early date. It was known to Aristotle as Ierne (the 
western extremity), and Tacitus says "the ports and landing 
places of Hi hernia are better known than those of Britain, 
through the frequency of commerce and merchants." Ptolemy 
in his geographical writings places Ireland amongst the celebrated 
islands of the world. In his Map of Eirin he styles the river 
Erne, the Ravins, and in a very ancient manuscript, our river 
is mentioned amongst the nine rivers of Ireland. "The ancient 
streams that made the country fruitful were Lrmi, Una.-. Danne, 
Bearbh, Samer^ Sligo, Miulhorn, Muadh, and Liffee." 

The poet Spenser in his "Tiew of the State of Ireland," 
written more than two and a half centuries ago, describes the 
country as so antique " that no monument of her beginning and 
first inhabiting remains;" he also adds : " it is certain that Ireland 
hath had the use of letters very anciently, and long before 
England." The opinion of Spenser on this subject carries more 
weight with it when we remember that he was an Englishman, 
and not favourably disposed towards Ireland. 



We now reach the epoch which is assigned by the annalist 
Tighernachzs the limit to authentic Irish history; lie asserts 
that all events anterior to this are uncertain. 

More than five centuries before the Christian era + the 

sovereignty of Ireland was committed to Atdh RtutdJi (Red Hugh) 

the son of Badurn, and to Dithorba, son of Deman, and to 

Kimbath, son of Fintan, sons of three brothers, and each took 

t Book of Letnotor. 



his turn to reign for seven yeai s. Eed Hugh's turn was first, Mid 
fame round twice again, and towards the end of his third period he 
was drowned while attempting to cross the river Erne at one of 
the fords. The old king's body having been swept down the 
cataract, was recovered and buried on the summit of the hill 
overlooking the scene of the disaster, and over the grave was 
heaped up a mound sufficiently large to indicate the resting place 
of a king of Ireland. To the death and burial of Aedh Ruadfi, 
the waterfall and hill above, owe their name. The former being 
henceforth called Eos Ruadk, (now Assaroe) the latter Sidh . I 
Rw.idh (now Mullaghnashee). 

From the untimely end of the old king arose a series of events 
which culminated in the foundation of the celebrated palace of 
Eman i:i, which was the resort of tho Red Branch Knights, and 
kings of Ulster, for more than eight hundred years. King 
Bltadh left no son to succeed him on the throne of Ireland, 
bathe had a daughter — Macha of the golden-hair; a young 
lady who was as great a stickler for " women's rights " as any 
of the strong-minded sisterhood of tho nineteenth century ; 
Macha claimed her father's right to the seven years' i 
when her father's turn came round, but the other sovereigns 
refused to recognize a woman's claim to the crown, The strong- 
hearted Macha was not to be put down ; she raised an army, 
and, after a fierce contest, made good her right by force of arms, 
Dibthorba was slain, and his fivo sons banished to the wilds 
of Connaught; bat the new queen, fearing danger might be 
brought about by the outlaws, followed them herself to their 
retreat and made them all prisoners. She spared their lives, on 
condition that they should become her vassal.-;, and by her com- 
mand they f'uslructed the palace of Emana. The site of this 
celebrated resort is still to be seen in a field about two miles west 
of Armagh, Thus did our Waterfall become associated with 
some of the most important events in early Irish history. 

St. Patrick in his missionary travels also visited the Cataract 
. and it is recorded that he blessed the south side of the river, 


leaving the north side to be blessed by his successor, CoUwii CiU< , 
whose advent he foretold. At a later period. King Brian Bvru, 
in one of his annual progresses through Ireland, visited the 
Cataract. It has therefore not been inappropriately styled a 
Royal Cataract, in an old tale entitled "The Banquet of Dunagay 
and the Battle of Moira." "The clear- watered, snowy-foamed, 
ever-roaring, in-salmon- abounding, beautiful old torrent, whose 
celebrated well known name is the lofty, great, clear-landed, con- 
tentions, precipitate, load-roaring, headstrong, rapid, salmon- 
fnll, sea-monster-full, varying, in-large-Qsh-abounding, royal ami 
prosperous Cataract of Eas Ruadh" ! 1 

Rations and kingdoms have arisen, flourished, and been over- 
thrown, centuries upon centuries have passei 1 by since Red Hugh 
met his death in the rapid stream, and yet "the music of thu 
waterfall" sounds in onr ears as of old, and still rolls down, its 
ceaseless murmur mingling with the rougher hut more distant 
rumble of the Atlantic breakers. But of the regal grave, nothing 
now remains to mark the spot where the old king sleeps, the last 
vestige of the mound on Mullaghnashee having been, it is said, 
obliterated in 1798, when a star fort was constructed on the hill 
top, hence the spot is now called Fort-kilL It should be borne 
in mind that in early times, there were no dividing walls between 
the present churchyard, the paupers' burial ground, and the field 
adjoining, but that these collectively constituted Sidh Aedh 
Ruadh. The termination skee (sidh or sith) in the modern name. 
is of mythological, not historical, origin. The popular belief in 
fairies assigned to them as dwelling plucr-stlie ititeriur of "pli ■ 
hills," and from time immemorial, Mullaghnashee was regarded 
as a gentle spot. Another celebrated fairy resort was Shegus or 
Sheegy's hills (fairy hills), and close to the shore beneath, is 
Uaghnashet frog (the hill of the fairy dwellings). Besides 
these local habitations of the "gentle folk," tradition has handed 
down many marvellous accounts of their exploits, more especially 
among the sandhills, and in the 'Wardtown district; but the 
present is a dull matter-of-fact age, and the folk-lore of the good 



old times ,s fast fading away, and in a generation or two will be 
entirely obhterated. Reference has been already made to St 
Patricks visit to the Fall of Assaroe; there are besides other 
circumstances which point to the fact of the saint having been 
in our neighbourhood. 

In the name Kildoney, CiU-dornhnaigk-U 8mda» Ckurc/ h m 
have evidence that there was at one time or other a church in that 
district, which was founded by St. Patrick himself. According 
to the "Tripartite LuVJoeeBo, Fssher, &c.,afl fecWasthat 

bear the name of Domknach-or in the anglicised form, Donaeh 
or Doney-were originally founded by St. Patrick, and were so 
called because he marked out their foundations on Sunday 
(Dominica, the Lord's day). Nothing now remains to mark the 
site of this early foundation, but this is not to be wondered at 
when we remember the many centuries which have elapsed since 
"if time of St. Patrick, and the primitive and not always sub- 
stantial character of the structures erected in the early years of 
Christianity in Ireland. The existence of a hmal around in 
Kildoney, is however, interesting, as it is a satisfactory prW of fl 
< hnstain Church having been at some time standing there ^ 
Wherever old burial grounds are situated, it may be assumed 
with almost absolute certainty, that churches were originally 
attached to them, though no ruined walls appear, and though their 
rery name is lost. The graveyard of which we are speaking is 
in the towniand of Kildoney, upon the summit of a hill about 
midway between the Glebe-house and the Castle of Kilbarron 
It is not now used for interments, but has about it evidence of 
great antiquity. Near the Blackrock, at the Bar, is Pollpatrick 
(1 atnck's hole) a deep pool of water; and close to the "Pound 
Bridge, leading to the Abbey, is Toberpatrick, a well bearing 
the saint's name. 

In due time St. Gokmti Cilk ft ho dove of the churches), was 
raised up to spread the blessings of Christianity throughout the 
land. The ancient church of Kilbarron, which gave its name to 
our parish, was, according to the oldest records, founded hy 




Columb Cillc. SI. Barrain, or Bairrfionn, was appointed bit 
of this church, and bis name is commemorated in the "Jlartyr- 
ology of Donegal" at the 21st May. The ruins which now re- 
main are nor, however, those of the original church, but probably 
belong to the thirteenth or fourteenth century. 

St. Colluni Cille, whose family name, was Crimthain, wa-j 
great-grandson of Conall Gulban, who was the ancestor of the 
O'Donnells, hence their territory came to be called Tirconnell 
(Conall's land). Conall got the cognomen Gulban from having 
been fostered near Benbulben (Ghilban's peak) mountain: Its 
majestic outline may well have inspired the old poet who has 
thus apostrophized it : — 

"Thou art sad to day, oh, Bin Bolbin! gentle height of 
beauteous aspect! It was pleasant, Oh, Son of Calpuin! mother 
days to be on its summit ; many were the dogs and the youths ; 
oft aroso the sound of the chase. There a tower arose; there 
dwelt a mighty hero. Oh, lofty hill of contest! many were the 
herons in the season of night, and the birds of the heath on the 
mountains, mingling their sounds with the music of the little 
bird. Twas sweet to listen to the cry of the hounds in the 
valleys, and the wonderful son of the rock.* Each of the heroes 
would be present with his beautiful dog in the slip, many were 
the lovely maids of our race who collected in the wood. I 
grew the benies of fragrant blossom j the strawberries j there 
grew the soft blushing flower of the mountain rml the tender 
cresses. There wandered the slender fair-haired daughters of 
our race ; sweet was the sound of their song. ft was a source 
of delight to behold the eagle, and listen to her lonely scream — 
to hear tho growl of the otters, and the snarling of the foxes ; 
and the blackbird singing sweet on the top of the thorn !"f 

Associated with the name of St. Columba is also the ancient 
church of Drnmholin, now the name of the parish in which 
Ballintra is situated. The west gable still remains in the grave- 
yard of Mulliuacross. The church was called Druhntuama— .-. 

• The Irish poetical name tor an who. \ This fragment Is au.-riU.-d to Osslan. 


the ridge ot long hill of Tomina {a pagan woman's name), it was 
dedicated to St. Adamuan, the biographer of St. Columba. 
Here was also the celebrated monastery of which St. Ernan was 
abbot. This monk was a disciple of St. Columba, to whom also 
ha was related; and we are told that when Columba had finished 
his great work of spreading Christianity in Scotland, and was 
peacefully breathing his latest breath in Iona, that St. Ernan, 
otherwise called Ferreolus, in his secluded monastery at Drum- 
holm, had a vision in which he saw angels gliding down from 
heaven, filling the air with heavenly music, and bearing off the 
pure soul of the saint, after it had left its earthly tenement, 
into the clouds of heaven. The monastery of Drumholm was 
one of great mark in its day, and within its precincts were 
deposited the remains of many of the most noted chiefs and 
abbots of Tirconnell. Nothing however now remains to mark 
the site of this once illustrious foundation, and even the name of 
its abbot would be forgotten, were it not perpetuated in the name 
of Mr. Hamilton's picturesque residence near the town of Donegal, 
which he has called St. Ernan's. 

We have already spoken of Tory Island as having been the 
head-quarters of the warlike tribe of Fomorians, but there are 
other and more pleasing associations connected with the island, 
for even to this wild secluded spot St. Columba found his way, 
and there founded a church and monastery. The monastery, 
according to the M Monasticon Eibernmtm" was founded in the 
year 650, and St. Ernan, son of Colman, was first abbot. This 
monastery continued to flourish through many ages down to the 
time of Queen Elizabeth, when Bingham, governor of Con- 
naught, made a raid upon the island, destroying and pillaging all 
before him. It seems, however, that the Tory islanders did not 
even then submit to English rule, for in the "treasury papers" 
(time of James I.) we find the following entry : "To Sir Henry 
Follyot, Knt., for money by him disbursed for the hire of one 
boat, two mariners, and ten sailors, that were employed by the 
fpace of five weeks at the surprising of Torrey — ,£29 Gs. 8d." 





A fine round tower, known as Clog-teadi (i.e. Bell house) is 
still standing on the island. It was contemporaneous with the 
monastery founded there by St. Columb Cille. Its doorway 
presents a fine example of the semicircular arch fofinod of a nnj 
of small stones, and is regarded as one of the earliest instances 
of the use of the arch in Ireland,* 

Besides the round tower, are pointed out by the inhabitants 
the foundations of seven little churches or cells, and a curious 
ronml stone is preserved, which, when struck, emits a sharp 
metallic sound. This is said to have been used before the in- 
troduction of bells, to summon the islanders to worship. The 
name of St, Columb Cille is also preserved in our neighbourhood 
by a well and a lake. The well is near the ono-mile-stone on 
the road to Donegal, and "stations" were formerly held there , 
the lake which boars the saint's name, lies about two miles north 
of Belleek, and is a good example of the numerous class of 
mountain tarns which are dotted here and there over our 



Before the foundation of the monastery of Assaroe, there was 
on the island of Inis-Samer a building; whether this was a 
" religious house," or a residence for the princes of Tirconnell, 
chosen by them for its quiet and seclusion in a bloodthirsty and 
turbulent age, it is difficult now to conjecture, Archdale, in bis 
"Monasticon Hibernicum," says that "there seems to have been 
a religions house on this island;" and this supposition is supported 
by a record which exists, to the effect that Flaherty O'Muldory. 
king of Tirconnell, having renounced the cares of the world and 
dedicated himself to heaven, died on this island in the year 1107. 


Tho narrow limits of Inis-Samer could not, however, afford 
sufficient space for the erection of a monastery, but it should be 
boru, in mind that long before the foundation of the abbey of 
Assaroe, there was the Cistercian abbey, " De Sa ,"hich 

was so called from Inis-Samer. Of this foundation we have nu 
records, and it is impossible to say where it may have stood. 
Bui from its name it has been supposed by some to have been 
built somewhere near the river and island from which it was 

The abbey of Ashroe. Easroe, Easruaidh, or Assaroe, v. 
according to some chronicles, founded by Roderick O'Caim 
prince of Tireonnell, in a.d. 1173. Following, however, "The 
Annals of Boyle," which account has been adopted by "The Four 
Masters," its foundation ia attributed to Flaherty O'Mulluny, 
Lord of Kicol Connell, in a.d. 1184. It was this prince who 
died on Inis-Samcr thirteen years later. The monastery of 
Assaroe was dedicated to God and St. Bernard,* and wa?, aa 
■vlII as the older abbey, "De Samario," for monks of the Cistercian 
order. O'Muklorry, the benefactor of Assaroe, who was in his day 
a great warrior, and had roigned over Tireonnell for thirty years, 
was not buried there, bnt in the older monastery of Drumlml: i. 
of which mention has been already made. 

The abbey of Assaroe was richly endowed by the successive 
princes of Tireonnell. By an "inquisition" taken in the 31st year 
of Queen Elizabeth, the abbot of Assaroe was found to lie in 
possession of the ground on which the abbey was built ; alsi 
village known as "Abbey Island," in which was a cemetery, a 
church and steeple, partly roofed with shingles (thin boards), 
and partly with thatch, the ruins of a dormitory, three other 
stone buildings, and four small cottages. There were also attach, m I 
to the monastery, fifty-three quarters of landt and the fourth 
"f half a quarter (it being near tho abbey demesne). These 

• St. Bernard nf Clairmux bora 1091, the foamier and first abbot of tho celebrated 
Uiterelan Abbey of Clairvaux in 1115. Tho abbey of Aauoa, as well a* tho other l™h 
foundaiM'' i of ih,' am order, kejit op friendly and intiroato relations with tb 

t The old townlanda were divide.) into four porta or quarters. 



quarters were Lagkye, Behy, Ardgyllew, Tullaghcorke, Erown- 
kylly, Leghdaghtan, Groghan, Musscboy, Cashill, alias Lack, 
Crevaghtartan, Downeshiragb, Ballyuageragh, Crevenionagh, 
Tawnagh, Irrcn, Killecroghan, Ardpatin Cashill Tully, Dacool- 
callows, Tullaghmore, Drumskilly, Altyn Towre, Cavan Egarre, 
the Castle of Bellyke, Ballynamannsgh, Carrowcashill, Carrow- 
corlea, Garvannagb, Carrowclough, Carrowtobber, Cloughter, 
Knader, Grange of Tawnysbyntallen (in O'Boyle's country), 
Grange of Daryragh, Grange near the mountain of Kyseure, 
Grange of Kilternan in Fermanagh, etc., etc. In this long list 
the reader will be able to identify some with, our modern names. 
The prefix Carrtnp, which occurs in several of the names, is from 
the Irish word ceathair (four or quarter) thus Carrowclough, the 
stoney quarter, Carrowtobber, the quarter of the well. It is also 
noticeable that these landed possessions appertaining to the 
abbey, were not confined to the surrounding neighbourhood, but 
some of them were at a distance, and others even in the county 
of Fermanagh. 

Besides these landed possessions, the abbot of Assaroe was 
possessed of ten weirs on the river Eme (at the time of the in- 
quisition), valued at £10 per annum. He had also the privilege 
of having two fishermen on the river Erne, and he was entitled 
to the second draught of every person fishing on the river "when 
they began to fish." Moreover he had the right of keeping a 
boat to carry salmon and other fish from the island to the sea. 
This mode of transit was doubtless often used for the purpose of 
conveying fish to Kilbarron castle, the residence of the historians 
of Tiiconnell, who were always on friendly terms with the abbot 
of Assaroe, Tithes from various Ballyboes (cow or grazing 
lands) and townlands were attached to the monastery. It will 
be seen that the princes of Tirconnell endowed the religious 
houses in their territory with no sparing hand. The Franciscan 
monastery of Donegal likewise enjoyed the right of fishing on the 
river Esk, which at that period seems to have abounded in 
salmon, as we find the monks asserting that their river "was 


ever as fishfull as the river Erne." 1 Local tradition says that 
the monks of Assaroe had a weir constructed on the abbey river 
at Catsby, for entrapping any stray fish which might chance to 
pass up the little stream, and that the "box" was so contrived 
that when a fish got in, a wire connected with a small bell in the 
refectory mado known the fact to the monks within. 

Associated with the abbey was an interesting funereal custom, 
the remembrance of which is still preserved in the names of 
Porlnamorrow, and Litgnanore, Before bridges were built in our 
neighbourhood, and when fords were in use, the dead who were 
to be buried in the cemetery of Assaroe were usually brought by 
boat, and the place of embarkation on the south side of the river 
was called Port-na-marbh, pronounced Portnamorrow, or Port- 
namorra, i.e. the port of the dead or dead person. During the 
passage across the harbour, it is said, the friends of the deceased 
were forbidden to speak, or ntter any sign of their inward grief, 
and no other sounds than the plash of oars, and the echoing 
tolls of the monastery bell were allowed to break the silence of 
the "green-hilled harbour." But when the boat touched the 
abbey shore, and was met by the monks who accompanied 
the funeral as it slowly moved up the little gorge by which 
the river flows, the people were allowed to give expression to 
their hitherto restrained grief ; hence the passage got the name 
of Lug-na-ndeor or Lugnanore, — the hollow of the tears. In 
Catsby (the steep settlement) just below the monastery, are two of 
those circular hollows in the rock, called "Mlaum" (little pools) 
which tradition says were used by the monks as baptismal fonts, 
These bullawns are found in the vicinity of churches of great 
antiquity, and are supposed to be co-eval with the earliest age of 
Christianity in Ireland. 

The monastery was doubtless in its day an extensive and im- 
posing structure ; the carved stones which seem to have been 
so freely used in the construction of the cornices, mullions, and 
arches, many fragments of which still exist, bear testimony to the 
care and skill which were expended on its erection. According 



to tin account written a little more than a centnry ago, it seems 
that the ruin retaioed considerably more of its architectural 
features than it now does; it is thus referred to: "Near Bally- 
shannon are the remains of the abbey of Ashrow; some of the 
■•'It of the cloister- is Still visible,"* 

In the ecclesiastical edifices of this period, the gothic style of 
architecture was adopted in Ireland, and our abbey, aa well as 
other monasteries of the Cistercian order, was doubtless adoraei i 
with the richly decorated door-ways, arches and windows, which 
were characteristic of this style. The little rustic bridge of two 
arches which crosses the abbey river was doubtless built by the 
monks, and may therefore be regarded aa one of the ol 
bridges still existing in the conn try. It appears that no bri 
of any importance were built in Ireland before the twelfth 
century, and many of them were wooden. The little bridge at 
the abbey seems to have been partially rebuilt, as an examination 
of one of its arches will show, and at a later period it was across 
Its narrow limits that an invading army passed to invest the 
abbey buildings. 

The following are a few of the events connected with the 
history of the monastery, as recorded in the "Annals" a.d. 1 241: 

Donnell More O'Donnell, Lord of Tirconnell, died in the 
Mstic habit, victorious over the world and the devil, and was 
interred with honour and respect in the monastery of Assaroe in 
tin: harvest time. 

Thomas O'Heraghty, abbot of Assaroe died, a.d. 1 31 9, 

Thomas, sea of Cormick O'Donaeil, abbot of Assaroe, was then 
elected to the bishopric of Raphoe, A.D. 1333. 

Hugh, son of Donnell Oge O'Donnell, Lord of Tirconnell, the 
most eminent man of his time for jurisdiction, laws, and regu- 
lations, and the chief patron of the hospitality and munificence 
of the west of Europe, died victorious over the world and the 
devil, in the habit of a monk, and was interred with great honour 
and solemnity in the monastery of Assaroe. 

* Gutiieric's G&iettccr published about 177C. 


A.d. 1377— The monastery of Assaroe (near Ballyshannon) 
w as burned, 

v.M. 1398— A great array was led by Niall Oge O'Neill, king 
of Kiuel-Owen, and the sons of Henry O'Neitl, against O'Donnell ; 
they arrived at Assaroe, and there plundered the monastery of 
nil its riches, 

a.d. 1422— Turlough, the son of Niall Garv O'Donnell, Lord 
of Tirconnell, took the habit of a monk in the monastery of 
Assaroe, after gaining victory over the present world. 

a.d. 1450— Edmond, abbot of Assaroe, died, 

A.D, 1502— Art O'Gallagher and John O'Loiste, two abbots, 
who contended for the abbacy of Assaroe, died in one day. 

<\.li. 1319— Edmond Duv O'Dwyer, abbot of Assaroe, died. 

a.m. 1550— The abbot of Assaroe (John, son of Donnell Roe 
O'Gallagher), died on the 29th of April. 

A.d. — Cosnakmaeh. O'Clery was buried under the asylum of 
God and St. Bernard, in the monastery of Assaroe. 

Prom the foregoing extracts from the "Four Masters " it will 
bo seou that the monastery did not, during its existence, enjoy 
uninterrupted prosperity, but like everything else in Ireland at 
that period, suffered from the ravages of an unsettled and war- 
like age. In the earlier period of its existence it was stormed 
and plundered by O'Neill's soldiers, and in later times, when the 
English had directed their energies to the conquest of Tirconnell, 
the monastery of Assaroe was the first place in our neighbourhood 
which the invading army surrounded and attacked. When and 
how these later attacks were made, shall bo related in their 
proper place. Its fortunes were so closely interwoven with those 
of its patrons and supporters, the G'Donnells, that when they 
fell, the monastery met with the same fate — ruin and confiscation. 

Of all the massive building which was the pride of Tirconnell — 
the treasure-honse of letters, in an unlettered age, and tie quiet 
retreat of men of peace, from the turbulence and bloodshed of 
the outside world — nothing now remains but a few shapeless 


walla, fast crumbling away, and some carved stones of the arches 
and cornices, scattered along the walls of the graveyard 
adjoining: — 

"Gray, gray is Abbey Asaroe, by Ballyshanny town, 

It has neither door nor window, tbe walls are broken down ; 

The carven stones lie scatter" d in briar and nettle-bed ; 

The only feet are those that come at burial of the dead. 

A little rocky rivulet runs murmuring to the tide, 

Singing a song of ancient days, in sorrow, not in pride; 

The elder-tree and lightsome ash across the portal grow, 

And heaven itself is now the roof of Abbey Asaroe."* 

It may be observed that the abbeys of Tirconnell, Tyrone, and 
Fermanagh, preserved their independence, and therefore their 
existence, to a much later date than the other Irish foundations; 
for although all the monasteries were formally dissolved by 
Henry VIII., yet these monasteries "were never surveyed or 
reduced into charge" but "were continually possessed by the 
religious persons " till the time of James I. 



In a.d. 1200, the O'Donnell family succeeded to the chieftain- 
ship of Tirconnell, but it was not until 1423 that their illustrious 
name became intimately connected with Ballyshannon. 

It was at the latter date that the castle of Ballyshannon was 
built by Neal Garv O'Donnell. From its close proximity to the 
rival kingdom of Connaught, and from the fact of its being a 
seaport, the place was regarded as an important military post — 
in short, as the chief gateway of Tirconnell. 

The site of the castle was chosen that it might command the 
principal ford of the river — the ford of Athseattaigh. Bridges, it 
should be remembered, are of comparatively modern introduction 

* From tho poem " Abbey Aaaroa " by William Allinehun. 


into thia country; even two and a half centuries ago they wire 
far from general in Ireland; for we find a writer of that period 
saying concerning the fords: "It is to be observed that not 
everywhere, where the highways meet with great brooks, or small 
rivers, bridges are found for to pass them, but in very many 
places one is constrained to ride through the water itself."* 
The ford of Athseanaigh lay a little above the present bridge, it 
was one of the class of artificially constructed fords, as its remains 
still testify, though it is only when the river is low of a dry 
summer that the stones now remaining, can be seen. It has been 
suggested to the writer by a gentleman of great antiquarian 
knowledge, that the large "standing stone" in the "big meadow," 
in College Lane, may have been used in former times in con- 
junction with another large stone now prostrate, near "Tom 
Pye's bridge," as a landmark of this ford; and it is worthy of 
notice, that a line drawn across the river from one stone to the 
other would exactly indicate the course of the ford. Although 
however, the "standing stone" in the big meadow might have 
been nsed as a landmark, it is not to be supposed that it was 
erected for that purpose. From its name, Ctoughnamme (CJoch- 
na-nogham), i.e. the stone of the ogums, or ogham-inscription, 
thia stone doubtless belongs to the class of "standing," or pillar 
stones, which were erected in ancient times to mark the spot on 
which some important event occurred. Upon these stones are 
frequently fonnd ogham characters (a species of rock inscriptions 
used in times of remoto antiquity), in the example of which we 
are speaking, no traces of rock writing are now observable ; 
perhaps they have been obliterated by time, or by the vandalism 
of some past generation ; or it may be that tie inscription was 
cut on the end placed m the ground. That such was sometimes 
done the following extract shows. In an account of the battle 
of Ollarba, fonght in a.d. 285, it is stated, "there is a pillar stone 
at the cairn of Fothadh, and an ognm is on the end of the pillar- 
stone which is in the earth."f W hile speaking of these cnrions 

■ Boate's Natural History of Ireland. 
t Treatise on the Kound Towers ot Ireland, by Dr. Petrle. 


pillar-stones, mention should be made of another in our district. 
On the summit of a hill overlooking the river, in the townland of 
Clovrjhore, is a tall pillar-stone. The word Cloughore means 
the stone of gobl^ and it seems probable that from this stout.' 
originated the name of the surrounding district, and that it 
received its name from the fact of gold having been buried or 

■ ered somewhere in proximity to it. The preeioua metals 
were, it should be remembered, frequently buried in (his country 

3, and to this practice many Irish local names 
1 1 leir origin. Cdoln drgit feuil-an-airgit), i.e. the recess or wiadin g 
of the silver or money, is another of our names wfiich owi 
origin to some traditional treasure which was doubl sited 

in the adjacent sand-bank. While speaking of the frequency of 
;ro trove, we may mention a curious and interesting dis- 
covery of gold in the neighbourhood of Ballyshannon, at tin 
; 61 the eighteenth century. It is thus recorded in 
"Camden's Britiania," published in 1722: — "[Near Beliishannou, 
were, not many 3'ears ago, dug up two pieees of gold, discovered 
by a method very remarkable. The bishop of Derry happening 
i" be at dinner, there came in an Irish harper, and sung an old 
■--■■ harp, BBs lordship, not understanding Irish, was at 
a loss to know the meaning of the song; but upon enquiry be 
found the subject of it to bo this, that in such a place, naming the 
very spot, a man of gigantic stature was buried, and that over his 

■ I and back were pkite-i <>/ pure rjuhl, and on his fingers rin.L'> 
of gold, so large, that an ordinary man might creep through 
them. The place was so exactly described that two persons 
there present were tempted to go in quest of the golden prize, 
which the harper's song had pointed out to them. After they 
had dug for some time, they found two pieces of gold (one of 

e gold pieces is figured in "Ware's Antiquities" it is of 
eireular form, and curiously engraved).* 

Of the castle of Ballyshaunon nothing now remains but a 
portion of one of the nulls (about 10 feet high and 5 feet thick), 

IV i Id c's catalogue of Urn Antiquities t,I Sol 4, jingo 83. 



part of which is incorporated with a grain store, and part with 
a butter shed on the north side of the market yard. The castle 
buildings doubtless occupied the whole or greater part of the 
ground now used for market purposes, and probably extended 
some way furl her up the river bank, and from its "well battle- 
■d" towers were poured many a volley of bullets and other 
missiles on the luckless enemies without. The eaetle park (;i 
still preserved in some old leases of adjacent premises) ex- 
tended almost, if not entirely to the summit of the hill northward 
oi the castle ; and long after the building was demolished, a 
quantity of human bones was discovered in a garden close to 
astJe walls; and within the past few years a further discovery 
oi bones was made upon the south hank of the river, whili 
road was being opened for the laying down of gas pipes. These 
remains doubtless belong to the period of the O'Donuells, when 
many a warrior fell in the battles of the ford. Besides tbc ford 
of Athseauaigh, there were other fords on the river which were 
occasionally used. One of these was about half a mile we 
Uelleek, the ford of Aih-cul-nni/i. There was another iV- 
down, under Laputa ; this ford was commanded by a small fortress, 
the walls of which are still standing on the south bank of the 
river, at Cherrytnount. This "keep" was built on the summit of 
an artificially constructed mound, so that the soldiers in charge 
might have better command of the river below.* Yet another 
ford, but only seldom used, owing to the difficulties and dangers 
attached to it, was Citsan-na-g-curaidk (the path of the champi 
i mined lately above the waterfall, where the old king was drowned. 
The regular military force of Tireonnell, under the command 
of O'Donncll, consisted of 1,500 foot, and 800 horse; of these, 
200 foot soldiers and 40 horsemen were usually kept in the castle 
of Ballyshannon, but their number was further augmented in 
times of need by additional detachments. The western limit of 

• This fortress seems to have fallen Into disuse before the time of Out-en Elia 
as In oil old map of that period, preserved la the Public Hecord Oflfce, Luntton, Ttua 
buJMJjw l» marked m " mi olde cartel! " mid is represented is a ruin, while itallysh 

Castle t i: use t* allien on the map ncllfl,ahange)and Bclickc Cistcll, as well as A 

Abbey, are gtreB ha their perfect proportions. 



Tireonnell was Drobkaoit, the ancient name of the river Drowas 
— « name often mentioned in Irish history as a scene of many a 
desperate conflict. It was here the " Kingdom of Connaught '' 
began, and on somo spot near the river bank (not now re- 
cognizable) stood the Casth of Btuidroos, which was built by the 
O'Conors about the same time as O'Donn ell's castle was erected 
at Ballyshannon. O'Donnell, hearing of the building of the 
former, and thinking it might be dangerous to his territory, at 
once marched his forces to the spot for the purpose of putting a 
stop to his rival's project. He was, however, unable to turn them 
from their design, and had to return to Ballyshanuon without 
success. The Carbarians (people of Carbury, in Sligo) being 
enraged by O'Donnell's interference at Bundroos, collected their 
forces, and marched to Ballyshannon, where the rival armies 
confronted each other. A battle was fought, which resulted in 
the defeat and rout of the men of Carbury, many of their officers 
being killed, and the soldiers only escaping by a hurried flight. 
Five days after this engagement, the irrepressible Connaught men 
made another raid on Ballyshannon ; this tune by stealth. A body 
of cavalry came through the Moy, and having crossed the river un- 
observed (not by the ford of Athseanaigh, but at the waterfall) late 
on a summer evening, and finding O'Donnell's sons,Donal and Xi;d, 
with their horsemen, enjoying themselves " after their wine " on 
Port-na-long (the bank of the ships), they rushed on the un- 
suspecting Tirconnellians; Donal was slain, and Nial only escaped 
by leaping from the bank and swimming out to a merchant vessel 
then at anchor in the harbour. This act of revenge (for legitimate 
warfare it could not be called) took place at what is known as 
the Fall Park, or Pool bank; and it should here be remarked that 
in former times Ballyshannon did not rejoice in the possession of 
that fashionable place of resort— the Mall. Onr forefathers were 
satisfied with the homely bnt appropriate name of Fisk Lane, 
and where it ended (at the passage up to the back Mall) the Fall 
Park began.* At its entrance was a sty le, and as there was no 

/J™ "S S^ 1 " 1 !?*- 0 ' ^opr^n* century, tho imm<s Fiih Lane, n cluuiired to Parle 
Lam. It Is Cilia desijnatorf In Pigut's Hibereiwi Diiectoiy, published fa IS84. 



road Other than a footpath, and no honses or other enclosure*, 
from the water to the summit of Mullaghnashee spread one un- 
broken reach of green sward, dotted here and there with trees. 

The castle of Bundroos" which proved such a thorn in the flesh 
to the O'Donnells, must not be confounded with the ruin which 
still exists in that neighbourhood. The tottering walls which 
wo see standing on an elevated mound near the roadside at 
Tollaghan, are the remains of the castle of Dun-cairbry (the fort 
or dan of Cairbre). It was erected in the 16th century by the 
MacClanehys, a clan who possessed the ancient district of Dartree 
or Dartry. The chief residence of these chiefs was the castle of 
Rossclogher, the picturesque reinaiDs of which are still standing 
on an island in Lough Melvin. The "Four Masters" thus refer 
to this island in the year 1421: — "Cathal O'Rourke and his sons 
made a nocturnal attack on MacClanchy on Inis&eeit, an island 
of Lough Melvin, and the guards of the lake delivered up the 
boats of the lake to them. They took young MacClanchy prisoner, 
and possessed themselves of Lough Melvin and its castle." The 
property of the MacClanchys was confiscated after the rebellion 
of 1641, but their name is still very common in the district. 

The princes of Tirconnell, like other great Irish chiefs, main- 
tained a largo retinue of followers — historians, bards, and house- 
hold officials, upon all of whom certain duties devolved, and to 
whom certain grants and privileges were accorded. Foremost 
among these were the Ollave*, or chief historians, whose residence 
was the castle of Eilbarron, Here, for many years lived the 
O'Sgingin family. One of them, Matthew O'Sgingin, was ollave, 
when Niall Garbh O'Donnell was Lord of Tirconnell. This 
O'Sgingin had no son to succeed him as hereditary historian, but 
he had an only and beautiful daughter, and at this time there 
arrived at the monastery of Assaroe a young man comely in 
appearance, and a proficient in both canon and civil laws; his 
name was Comiac O'CUry. He did not belong to the race of 

* ThLt Oiatk' seems to have fallen Into O'Doimttft hands during the vieerorship of 
Sir Henry Sidney. fteo memoir of Sir H. Sidney's Government of Ireland, year 1WU, 


Tirconnell, bis family being of the county Gatway. nnvcrth> 
the monks perceiving that the young stranger was of good morals, 
wisdom, and intellect, invited him to stay for a time at the 
monastery. It was during O'Clery's stay there that he bee 
acquainted with the old ollave of Kilbarron, and became the 
fortunate possessor of CSgingin'a handsome daughter. It was 
customary in Ireland, as well as in some other countries, that the 
husband should make a present to his wife's father. In this 
the only dower the ollave demanded, was that in the event 
son being born to them, he should be trained up in ! be knowledge 
of literature and history, so as to become a worthy successor to 
the now almost extinct race of the O'Sgiugins. In due time ;i 
sou was born to Connac and O'Sgingin's daughter, and the 
parents did not forget to carry out the wishes of the ollave. 
Thus, the family of theO'Clerys became regularly installed hi the 
office of historians of Tirconnell, and in the quiet and seclusion 
<>i'i heir rock-bound dwelling at Kilbarron, they laid the found:, 
of a literary fame, destined to survive the wreck of their castle 
and their worldly fortunes. The castle of Kilbarron has 
ui-njigly supposed by some to have belonged to a tribe of lawless 
freebooters, who chose its isolated position as being best suited 
to their plundering designs; and popular tradition still points out 
the "murdering kote," through which the bodies of hapless victims 
used to be hurled into the sea, Such a supposit ion is, however, 
entirely without foundation. As to the precise date of its erection, 
historical records do not inform us, but it. is probable that it was 
originally built by some of the O'Sgingin family in the thirteenth 
or fourteenth century. The "Annals" state that the castle of 
Kilbarron was rased to the ground by Dounell, sou of Mortogh 
O'Connor,* in 1300. It was probably afterwards re-edified by 
Cormac CClery, but the "stouo houses," the remains of which are 
now standing, were built at a subsequent period by the thrw 
sons of Teige Cam (or, the stooped) O'Clery, whose names were 

• It w»s this family of O'Connor who subsequently built Bundmos Castle already 
refercd to. 


Tuthal, Gillareagh, ami Dermot. in addition to the I 
attached to Kilbarron, O'Domiell bestowed u]>ou them several 
additional quarters of land, including "Kildonoy, Coolroniur, and 
Drumnacrin in Moy Ernie." So richly were these learned men 
endowed, that it has been calculated that the lauds held by them 
would produce at the present time a rental of more than £2,000 
per annum! Instead, therefore, of associating with Kilbarron 
a lawless and uncivilized I e riaitor, as he 

upon its weather-beaten and linchen-covered ruins, now 
the haunt of chough and rock-pigeon, remember that it was once 
the home of men uf learning and piety, who honestly and patiently 
laboured for their country's good, and who have left behind them 
in their literary works, a memorial more etidurmg than stone and 

The Macwaras, the hereditary bards of the O'Donuells, dwelt 
in the neighbouring town land of Balhjmacward (the town of 
Macward), now called Wardtown. la those literary compositl m 
of these laureates of Tircounell which are still preserved, there 
is abundant evidence that they were not wanting m poetical 
spirit and skill in versification. Even Spenser, the English poet 
and no friend to the Irish, had to acknowledge that the verses 
of the Irish bards "savour of sweet wit and good invention." 
Further on we shall have an opportunity of quoting one of 
Macward's poems. 

Attached to the household of the O'Donnells was another Im- 
portant functionary —the keeper of the Ca(luicit,or "battle book/ 
This ancient relic was handed down from the time of St. Columb 
CUle, through the line of theO'Domhnaill, orO'Donnoil family, for 
a period of 1,300 years. The Cathach, which is still preserved, 
consists of a highly ornamented silver shrine or box, enclosing a 
portion of the psalms of David, consisting of fifty-eight leaves, 
written on vellum, by St. Columb Cilie's own hand, and is regarded 
as one of the oldest and most interesting relics of the early 
Christian period in Ireland. The custodians of this- reliquary for 
many centuries were the family of Mag liobkartaiyh (Magroarty), 




and the towuland of Ballymagroarty, near Ballyshannon, was held 
by them in virtue of their office. The Cathach was carried on 
the breast of the custodian, before the array of Tirconnell, and 
three times before a battle did the keeper carry it round the 
soldiers of O'Donnell as a talisman to victory. It did not how- 
ever always ensure success, for in ] 497 Con O'Donnell was de- 
feated in a battle with MaeDennott, in the Curliew mountains, 
and the Cathach was taken by the enemy, and MacRoarty, its 
keeper, slain, Subsequently it was recovered, and remained in 
the charge of the MacRoarty family til! the close of the 17th 
century. In 1724 it was in the possession of Col. David O'Donnell, 
from whom it passed to Sir Neal O'Donnell, thence to Sir Richard 
O'Donnell, Bart., by whom it was deposited in the museum of the 
Royal Dish Academy, and can now be seen by any one who will 
visit that depositary of Irish antiquities. 

In times of peace, within the walls of the castle of Ballyshannon, 
the OTJonnells exercised that lavish hospitality which was 
characteristic of Irish chiefs, and became them as the princes of 
Tkconnell. A glimpse of their way of living is afforded by an 
account contained in the " Four Masters," of a visit paid by a 
neighbouring chief of Fermanagh. Gioltnise Maguire, having a 
grievance, determined to go and consult O'Donnell Accompanied 
by a troop of cavalry, whom he commanded to carry with them 
a supply of the choicest liquors for the journey, he at length 
arrived at the cattle of Ballyshannon. When O'Donnell heard 
that his friend Maguire, attended by his horsemen, was in the 
eastle lawn, he went out to meet him, and having affectionately 
ki&sed Giollaise, and given orders for the proper entertainment 
of his men. he bronght the Fermanagh chief into the banqueting 
hall, where the sweetest meats and best flavoured liquors were 
served up, and there they spent their time till the usual hour of 
dinner. They enjoyed their evening together, and their ears 
were delighted with the sweet sound of harp and voice. When 
sleeping time came, ODomiell escorted his friend to the "gncn 
chamber," followed by attendants carrying "sweet and delicious 


nun-ill" (;i beverage then much used in Ireland). Here it may be 
remarked that hi O'Dounell's castle was always a plentiful 
supply of the choicest wines. Irish chieftains living on the sea 
coast carried on a considerable traffic with French and Spanish 
traders, who brought them wine and other products of their 
countries, and took fish and farm produce in return. This 
exchange of commodities was carried on extensively by the 
O'Uonuells at Ballyshannou, and in a manuscript pedigree of the 
family, which was written by Sir George Carew, he observes : — 
''O'Donnell is the best lorde of fishe in Ireland, and exchange th 
fishe allwayes with foreign merchants for wyne, by which his 
call in other countryes the kinge of fishe."* 

Amongst the officials attached to an Irish chieftain's household, 
not the least curious was the "keeper of the bees," or purveyor of 
honey, an article mnch iu request for making midoil and medaib 
(mead and metheglim); also the astronomer, who was none other 
than the family doctor, who generally combined the science of 
the stars with an knowledge of the healing art. These last- 
named officials, with many others, were doubtless attached to 
O'Donnell's establishment, but being of inferior importance to 
the ollaves and bards, no particulars have been handed down 
concerning them. 

Besides the historical associations which have rendered the 
castle of Ballyshannon famous, the halo of romance has also been 
thrown around its walls. Within them once lived Helen 
O'Donnell, the most beautiful and accomplished young girl of her 
time; a gracoful mien, a lovely face, and a benignity of dis- 
position like hers, did not fail to attract the nobles of Ireland. 
There was one fortunate suitor — the young chieftain of Fer- 
managh, who was favoured with her regard. He had spent his 
early years in Spain, and added to a gentlemanly deportment a 
good education, and those habits of gallantry for which the 

1 Piiikertcii'a History ol Irish Commerce. 




38 Tin o' in balltshaxxon. 

Spanish court was famous. Helen's father encourged his snit, 
but the course of true love was unfortunately destined to be 
rudely and cruelly cut short. The celebrated Shane O'Neill, 
Karl of Tyrone, came on a visit to O'Donnell, for the purpose of 
arranging an attack an the English border. All the chieftains 
of Donegal belonging to the sept of O'Donnell, as well as Maguire 
of Fermanagh, assembled at Ballyshannon. The entertainments 
given on this occasion wero in keeping with that profuse 
hospitality which was characteristic of the times. The outdoor 
amusements wero divided between hunting the red deer, then 
common in the country, and shooting excursions on Lough 
Erne, and the nights were passed within the castle walls, amid 
songs and merriment; but all these diversions wero lost upon 
O'Neill, he had seen Helen O'Donuell, and had fallen madly in 
love with her. He Bpoke to her father, who informed him that 
Helen was betrothed to the chieftain of Fermanagh. O'Neill 
appeared satisfied, but in his inmost heart was kindled a deadly 
jealousy of his rival. One evening after the banquet, Maguire 
left the hall, and went to seek his intended bride in the castle 
garden. Helen came forward to meet her lover, attired in a 
little Spanish hat and feather, and a crimson scarf. "Reginald," 
she said with maidenly playfulness, "why did yon delay so long 1 ! 
come let us walk near the lake — 'twill be long ere the evening 
closes. — let us enjoy the scene." '• Let me bear your harp, Helen," 
said Reginald, as he bowed acquiescence. They walked a 
considerable distance from the castle along the river banks, and 
between music and conversation the hours stole away. At 
length they came to a verdant slope near to Belleek. The view 
was enchanting — 'twas sweet summer time, nature was decked 
in her gayest apparel, the sun had just set behind the distant 
hills, and his last rays still resting on the valley beneath them, 
threw a splendid radiance on the scene around. "Reginald,'' 
said Helen, "shall I sing yon a wild scrap I composed lately?" 
He gladly assented, and as she softly touched the strings of 
her harp, she sang: — 


"Ilail to my birthplace on high, 
Hail to the noble and free; 
Hail to my homo near the sky, 
Where the wild deer away, 
Dash thro' heather so gay; 
Oh, this is liberty ! 

Ilail to my own laud above, 
Towering so gallantly; 
Hail to the land that I love, 
Where the eaglets roam, 
Where all End a home ; 
Oh this, this is liberty ! 

Then hail to my birthplace once more, 

I shall never again quit thee ; 

But list to the waterfall's roar, 

'Tis my music so wild, 

I'm liberty's child, 

And I love, I love liberty ! 

The young maiden ceased to sing, but her fingers were still 
wandering along the strings of her harp, when Reginald started, 
saying, "Helen did you not hear a noise among the brushwood 
yonder?" Hardly had he uttered these words than Shane O'Neill, 
mad with jealousy, and attended by four of his clansmen, rushed 
from his concealment. Maguire instantly drew his sword, and 
clasping the now unconscious form of his sweetheart in his left arm, 
defended himself gallantly, but Helen was torn from his embrace, 
and the young chief, no match for his powerful opponent, soon 
lay dead at O'Neill's feet. Having horses at hand, ihu inanimate 
form of Helen O'Donnell was placed on that ridden by O'Neill, 
and the party at once, and with all speed, hastened to their own 
border. The unfortunate Helen was subsequently restored to 
her father, but the shock she had received, had so effectually 
blighted her happiness, that the rest of her days were spent in the. 
strictest seclusion. 


About tlio middle of tho 16th century, CaHogh O'Dmnell, then 
Lord of Tircoimell, seems, from prudential motives, to have sought 
and obtained English succour, to aid him in repelling the inroads 
that O'Neill was then malting on his territory. At this time the 
attention of the English was directed to the subjection of the 
" Arch rebel. Shun* O'Xall," and in 1565 a treaty was mado 
between Sir Henry Sidney, the Lord Deputy, and Callogh 
O'Donnell. By this, O'Donnell resigned certain rights and 
claims to the Queen, and in return received assistance from the 
Lord Deputy, in regaining several castles which hail been Beized 
by O'Neill. * 

Tho following account of this transaction is contained in 
"Sir Henry Sidney's memoir of bis government in Ireland,'* 
written in 1583. "By the way, I left not one castcll in the 
possession of the rebel (O'Neill), nor unrest ored to the right owner 
(O'Donnell), so marchinge on still, and passing the great water 
Assnrroo, and having tho castcll there called Balieshanrum 
(Bally shannon) delivered me, I came to the strong castell of 

Dnnyngall where I re-possessed the old exiled 

Callogh O'Donnell lords o£ it, and the Country." From this 
time down to 1587, a comparatively friendly feeling seems to have 
existed between the Q'Donnells and theEnglish government. But 
all this was shattered by Sir John Perrott's plot in kidnapping 
Hugh Boe O'Donnell. This young man was from his childhood 
tilled with a desire to secure the complete independence of his 
native Tirconnell, and making no secret of his intentions, became 
a source of no small alarm at Dublin Castle, Tlere he was 
confined for years, and the treatment ho received, served to fan 
the flame of his hatred to English rule. 

Though for a time apparently favourable to O'Donnell";; rule 
iu Tirconnell, the English government had cast their eyes upon 
the territory, and their attention was specially directed to Bally- 
shannon as an important and desirable acquisition. Besides its 
value as a seaport, possessed of a strong fortress, its relative 
position as a convenient gateway to Tirconnell and Connaujrht. 




rendered its conquest of great moment, and no expense or pains 
were considered too great to accomplish so desirable an object. 
ft was then little more tlian tUirty years after the signing of the 
treaty between Callogh O'Donnell and the Lord Deputy, that 
the first determined effort was made by the English to get 
possession of Ballyshannon, In A.d. 1507 Sir Conyers Clifford 
was sent over from England as governor of Conn aught. He 
had at his command a plentiful supply of arras, and a largo 
military force, which was supplemented by Dunougb, the son of 
Connor, and Murragh, baron of Inchiipiin, together with several 
other of the Irish nobles who had joined the English ranks, 
[hiving mustered all their forces, which consisted of twenty-two 
standards of foot, and ten of cavalry, they marched to the banks 
of the " Samaoir of blue streams " (the ancient name of our river), 
where they pitched their camp, Ou the south bank they passed 
the night, and early on the following morning prepared to cross 
the river, thinking their overwhelming numbers would strike 
terror into the hearts of O'Dounell's garrison, and that they 
would carry the place by storm. O'Donnell, however, had all 
the fords well guarded by his soldiers, so that the- invading host 
tried in vain to effect a crossing near the town. They at length 
made their way to an intricate ford called Ath-cutl-uain, about 
half a mile west of Belleek, and near Teetwmg burial ground, 
where they succeeded in crossing the river, the time being July 
and the river at its snmmcr level. Here also they were opposed 
by O'Dounell's soldiers, one of whom taking aim at the Baron 
of Inchiqnin (who was crossing on horseback, and encouraging 
his men to advance), shot him off his horse; the ball penetrating 
his mail armour, he fell into tho river and was drowned. The 
soldiers did not take time to recover the body of their fallen 
captain, but having made good their passage to the north bank of 
the river, they pressed forward, not halting till they reached the 
monastery of Assnroe, where they encamped from Saturday till 
Mi >ui lay. Ob Sum lay, whilst the besieging army was encamped at 
the Abbey, a number of vessels from Galway, laden with ordnance 




and military stores, crossed the Bar and came up to the island of 
Inis-saraer, where they landed their stipplies lor the use of the 
invaders. On the following day — Monday — the camion were 
brought off to the mainland, and placed in position before 
O'Donnell's castle ; the troops then marched from the Abbey, 
anil toiik tip their quarters on the summit oiSiiA Aodha (Mullagk- 
nashee). Having then marched down to the neighbourhood of 
the castle, they commenced their cannonade, which they kept 
up withont intermission till Wednesday. The good old fortress 
was proof however, against all their battering, and after a three 
day's siege it hold out as impregnable as over. The attack is 
thus graphically described by the "Four Masters'' — "They 
continued firing at the castle with thick flashes of tire and rod 
shot, from loud-roaring guns, and immensely large and heavy 
ordnance, which (hey planted before the fortress, so that their 
resounding and echoing reports were heard in the vaults of tho 
air, far and distant from them ; having their bodies clad with 
thick, strong iron armour, fine polished helmets on their heads, 
and completely guarded with bright round broad-bucklers aud 
shields of hard iron to protect them against tho shots of their 
enemies. O'Donnell's soldiers on their part, gallantly defeuded 
the castle, pouring down thick showers of shot upon the enemy, 
while from the battlements of the castle, they threw down heavy 
stones, beams, and other missiles upon any of their foes who came 
under tho castle walls." At length the besiegers, notwith- 
standing their great numerical strength aud extensive stores, 
perceiving that all then- efforts to take the castle were in vain, 
turned their backs upon its walls and retired to their camping- 
groond, on Mullaghnashce, receiving us they went, a parting 
salute of shot from the castle garrison. During the engage- 
ment, the besiegers lost great numbers, and many more wore 
badly wounded. Upon Mullaghnasheo a council of war was 
held by the commander and officers, their deliberations lasting 
all through the night, till break of day on Thursday, when they 
came to the deciaiun of making a precipitate retreat. Their 



plan was to descend the hill in companies, if possible unperceived 
by O'Dcmnell's soldiers, and to cross that little used and 
dangerous ford called CmrM-na-g-Cumhlh, immediately above 
the waterfall. In endeavouring to carry ont this project, many 
of their numbers were swept down the fall and drowned ; but 
the commander, officers, and all who were able, crossed over to 
the south bank of the river, from thence retreating by the Mby. 
Whenever O'Donnell's soldiers became aware of their move- 
ments, they opened fire upon them, and O'Donnell (though not 
himself within the castle during the siege), who had come to the 
rescue with additional soldiers from other parts of Tirconnell, 
at once put his men in fighting trim, and crossing the river* 
alter the enemy, followed them for a considerable distance, as 
they retreated to Sligo. The English losses were not less than 
GOO killed, besides the loss of the greater part of their baggage 
and stores, which, in their hurried flight they had left behind 
them. O'Donnell, as we have already remarked, was on friendly 
terms with the Court of Spain, and had received a couple of 
months before the siege, a cargo of storos from thence, which 
were called into requisition in this emergency. This memorable 
siege shows what can be accomplished by bravery and deter- 
mination, for the odds against O'Donnell were tremendous. The 
invading army consisted of not less than four thousand men, 
woll armed and provisioned ; whereas the garrison within the 
castle numbered only eighty men, who were commanded by a 
Scoteli captain, named Owen Crawford; six of his men were 
Spaniards, the test Irish. 

After tilings had settled down in Bally shannon to their 
acenstomed quiet, Cormac O'Clery, one of the monks of Assaroe, 
recovered, after careful search, the body of the Baron of 
Inchiquin: his remains were interred with all due solemnity in 
tho Monastery burial-ground. However, the friars of Donegal 
Abbey hearing of this, contended that the body should be buried 

* From thin memorable engagement ihe ford gut its nunc Casan-na-Cumiilh, i.e. 
the p«h of the ehunplom. 



4i THE 0'dONNEU3 IS i:.U.I.VMi\\Mi\, 

in iheir abbey, because it was in a monastery of their order 
(Franciscans) that the ancestors of the Baron were interred. 
The dispute between the two orders of monks was referred to 
O'Donneil and the Bishops of Raphoa and Derry, who decided 
in favour of the claims of the Donegal monks. The remains 
•were therefore exhumed, and being taken to Donegal were 
finally deposited in the abbey there. 
O'Donneil, not long after the siege that wo have described, 

r received intelligence from the Earl of Tyrone, that the Lord 

Justice was on the march with a powerful army to attack him. 
He immediately mustered his forces, and being joined by O'Neill, 
marched against the English, A battle was fought at a ford 
on the Avonmore, where the English were defeated. O'Donneil 
then returned to Tirconnell in triumph. After a succession of 
victories aud defeatSj this Red Hugh O'Donneil, the most 
illustrious man of his name, and one of the most extraordinary 
men that Ireland ever produced, went to the Spanisli court in 
the beginning of the year 1602, for the purpose of inducing that 
King to send an army into Ireland. There he was seized with 
sudden illness and died on the 10th of September, in the same 
year. His body was removed to Valladolid, and interred iu tho 
monastery of St. Francis, with all the state and honour the 
Spanish court could confer. The friendly intercouree between 
the Spaniards and the O'Donneil family was destined to survive 
the wreck of their supremacy in Tirconnell ; for even to the 
present day there are direct descendants of that illustrious 
family, who occupy a distinguished position in the Spanish 



Tiie absence of Red Hugh O'Donnell from his castle at 
Ballyshannon, presented an opportunity to the English govern- 
ment to make an attack on "that long desired place." Ever 
watchful of O'DonncH's movements, and being aided and abetted 
by Niall Garv O'Donnelt, a cousin of Hugh Roe, they decided 
on surprising Batlyshannon. In the spring of 1G02, a body 
of soldiers under the command of a Captain Digges, one of 
Sir Henry Doewrn's officers, marched thither, and being provided 
■with heavy ordnance, attacked the castle. Owing to the absence 
of their chief, the defences of Tirconncll had been allowed to 
fall into a weak and inefficient condition, consequently, when this 
unexpected attack was made, the few men within the castle 
walls, being without succour or reinforcements, had at once to 
surrender, and escape for their lives. Thus, in the short space 
of five years after the memorable battle related in the last 
chapter, were the fortunes of war reversed, and tlie English 
soldiers who had then to fly before O'Donnell, now found them- 
selves masters of their enemy's fortress. 

The circumstances connected with the taking of the castle are 
best told in Docwra's own words, "And now being earnestiie 
called upon for a supply of vietuelb for them at Dunnagall, I 
took up giU'rons* iu O'Doghertie's country, loaded them with 
salt and biskitt, and with one hundred beeves (cattle), went over 
the mountains, most part on foote, the waves were so rotten, 
and on the 12th day of December, brought them reliefe; and 
because I sawe that little pile reserved from the rage of fire, to 
small a greats deale to contain a large and important garrison; 
1 removed part of them, and added two companies more to lye at 
Ashrowo, an abbey ten miles further, and not above quarter of 
a mile distant from Ballyshannon; left Captaine Edward Digges, 
the Sergiaut Maior, to command there; tooke a viewe of the 

• Gan-ons, an Etse word meaning ttnng horstt. 


46 CUT :•.! I .' -IT LNNON AND 

castle; promised as soon as I came homo to send him the Berry 
cannon, which before I had taken Aiuogh withall, gave iny 
ii]iiniriii howe he should proceeds in the use of it; tooke oath 
and pledges of the chief of the inhabitants thereabouts, and so 
returned. ... I sent away the cannon as soon as I canie 
home, and on the 20th March it arrived there, and on the 25th 
(being the first day of the year I G03),* was that fang desire*! ■ 
taken by the said Captain Digges, with lessc than a tenth park' 
of that charge which would have willinglie (been) bestowed upon 
it, and the consequence thereof brought many fnrtherana 
the genera] service." 

With the unexpected death of Red Hugh O'Donnell in Spain, 
and the capture of Bally shannon castle, both happening in the 
same year, the independence of Tirconnell came practically to an 
end. For though Bory O'DonneU. on his submission to James I.. 
got the title of Earl of Tirconnell, it proved but an empty 
luiii'Hir and faint reflection of the former greatness of this re- 
in:! ftable family. Though not yet deprived of all his principality, 
Bory O'Donnell had henceforth no control over the castle of 
liiitly? Iniiiiu'ii. which was occupied by an English garrison, fn 
1G07, the Earl of Tirconnell and the Earl of Tyrone were 
suspected by the English government of being in conspiracy to 
overthrow their rule in the North, and hearing of the feeling whiidi 
existed in Dublin Castle towards them, ODoiuicll and O'Neill, 
with many of their friends and followers, having regard to their 
personal freedom and safety, resolved to quit their native shores 
and seek an asylum in a foreign land. They embarked from 
Longh Swilly. The circumstance is thus referred to in the 
"Annals:" "They embarked on the festival of the Holy Cross, in 
Autumn. This was a distinguished company; and it is certain 
that the sea has not borne, and the wind has not wafted in modern 
times, a number of persons in one ship more eminent, illustrious, 
or noble, in poii fd°gy, heroic deeds, vnlonr, feats of arm-, 

and brave arhievements than they." Amongst those who acconi- 

. 'The "old style "of the calendar lu whbh the vcar began on March 24th, coi.tmu-i 
to be used by the liii.mii till l.tiL*, when the Qregorlon inlundBrwiu adopted. 


panied the earls in their flight was Owen, Hae MacWard,ftm 
last of that family who filled the office of bard to the O'Donnalls. 
Upon tlie death of his chief, which followed quickly on the wreck 
of his fortunes, SlaeWard composed an Elegy, from which the 
following is an extract:— 

"0 woman of the piercing wail, 

Who moamest o'er you mound of clay 

With sigh and groan ; 

Would God thou wert among the Gael ! 

Thou wouldst not then from day to day 

Weep thus alone. 

'Twere long before, around a grave 

In green Tirconnell, one could find 

This loneliness ; 

Near where Beann-Boirche'e banners wavo 

Sueli grief its thine could ne'er have pined 


ft side die wave, in Donegal, 

In Antrim's glens, or fair Dromore, 

Or Killiloe, 

Or where the sunny waters fall, 

At Assaroe, near Eraa's shore, 

This could not be. 

Oh Derry's plaios — in rich Druniclieff — 

Throughout Armagh the great, renown' d 

In olden years, 

No day could pass but woman's grief 

Would ruin upon the burial-ground 

Fresh floods of tears. ! 

If on the day the Saxon boat 
Were forced to fly — a day so great 
For Ashanee* 



The chief had been untimely lost, 

Our conquering troops should moderate 

Their mirthful glee. 

There would not lack on Lifford's day, 

From Gal way, from the glens of Boyle, 

From Limerick's Towers, 

A marshalled file, a long array, 

Of mourners to bedew the soil 

"With tears in showers I 

What do I say? Ah, woe is me! 

Already we bewail in vain 

Their fatal fall ! 

And Erin, once the great and free, 

Now vainly mourns her breaklesa chain, 

And iron thra!] ! 

Then, daughter of O'Donnelll* dry 

Thine overflowing eyes, and turn 

Thy heart aside! 

For Adam's race is born to die, 

And sternly the sepulchral urn 

Mocks human pride ! 


<;osnscATios and ini-insxmBunoN op lands. 
The flight of the Earl of Tyrcomusl] was followed in due course 
by the entire confiscation of his territory. The abbey lands met 
with a like fate; and the OClerys, O'Domiell's hereditary 
historians, at Kilbarron Castle, from this date were no longer 
possessors of their rich estates. O'Donnell's lands were dis- 
tributed to the various settlers and "undertakers," who came 
into this country at the "plantation of Ulster." The castle of 


Ballyshannon was garrisoned by a strong body of English 
soldiers, under the command of Sift* Henry Fol/iotf, "Captain of 
foot at Ballishanan," who was destined from, henceforth to occupy 
a prominent position in this town and neighbourhood, and to 
become this principal landowner of the district. lie was styled 
"governor of Baliishanan," and received the order of Knight- 
hood from Robert, earl of Essex, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, on 
6th September, 1599; he was subsequently raised to the peerage 
of Ireland, under the title of Baron FoUiatt of Balliehanan, on 
--lid January, 1Q19. The first lands which lie seems to have 
been possessed of, were the abbey lands at Assaroe and lands 
at Belleek, both of which ho obtained, not by grant from the 
crown, but by purchase from the original patentees, about tlio 
year 1G 10.* In this year also an agreement was made between 
the English government and Sir Henry, that on condition of his 
keeping the castle of Ballyshannnti and that of Bundrowes in 
repair, and without charge to the ling; holding them always in a 
fit and defensible state; if trouble and rebellion should arise, ho 
should obtain a fee farm grant, as "undertaker" of the lands 
lying between the tiro castles. In addition to the lands thus 
acquired, the salmon and eel fisheries fell into his hands. 

The defences of the harbour and Lough Erne were also pro- 
vided for, and for this purpose a special corps was organized, as 
the following extract from the calendar of state papers, 1G06-8 
shows: — " 1G07, May 15th. The king to Sir Arthur Chichester: 
Captain William Cole to be continued by patent, in the place he 
has for many years held, of Captain of the king's long boats and 
targes at Ballisharmon, and Lovgh Erne, with an allowance of 
3s. 4d. for himself by the day, and 8d. a piece for ten men, &c." 
Ou tho summit of a hill overlooking the Bar, are the remains of 
a circular fort, evidently intended for the purpose of defending 
tho entrance to the harbour; this fort probably belongs to the 
English period, and may have been constructed in the time of 
James tho First. 

' Calendar of Treasury Paptr*. 



The lust of the O'Clery family ivIm held the lauds bestowed 
on Lis ancestors, was Lughaidh or Lewis O'Clery, the most 
•distinguished literary man tiien living in the north of Ireland. 
He held his lands till the close of the year 1609. Ho was 
selected as one of the " good and lawful men " of the comity, 
appointed to hold an "inquisition " into the confiscated lands of 
Tireonnell. This inquiry was held at Lifford, on September 
12th, 1G09, when the following statement respecting the parish 
ofKilbarron was made:— "The parish of Kilbarron contains 
five quarters in all, wliercof one quarter is heremwh laud, possessed 
by the sept of the O'Clerics as herenachs,* paying thereout 
yearlie to the lord bnsshopp of Eaphoe, thirteen shillings and 
four pence Irish per annum, six weathers of butter, and thirty 
fonr meathers of raeal ; and that there is one quarter named 
Kildoned, in the tenure of the said sept of the O'Cleries, free from 
any tithes to the busshopp, also that there is in the said parish, 
three quarters of Collumbkille's land, eyerie quarter conteynmga 
six balliboes, in the teuure of Lewis O'Clerie, to whom the said 
lands were sithence mortgaged for fortie pounds by the said 
late earl of Tireonnell, unto the said Lowey, who hath paid 
thereout yearly unto hU Majosfcie since the late earl's departure, 
four poundes, two muttons, and a pair of gloves, but nothing to 
the said busshopp." The O'Clery's lands being forfeited to the 
king, became the property of Sir Henry Folliot and the bishop 
of Raphoe. Peregrine (/Clay, son of Lewy, was allowed to 
bold a small portion of land in the barouy of Boylagh and 
Banagi, for which he paid a yearly rent; but it appears from 
an inquisition taken at Lifford on 25th May, 1G32, that ha 
" being a mere Irishman and not of English descent or surname,'* 
was dispossessed, and his lands forfeited to the king. The 
O'CIerys were thus reduced to poverty, but they could not be 
deprived of that noble heritago of learning, which they had 
always used for their country's good ; and now that they had 
lost their temporal possessions, they devoted themselves with 

' The Ilerenaehs were men partly ecclesiastical and partly lay ; In them were fttlgd 
the tortnon (or church) lands. SecDavies' *■ HisWricai Tracts,* page 217 et nq. 


renewed vigour to the service of literature. It was in the same 
year that they were deprived of the last of their lauds, that the 
great work known as the "Annals of the Four Masters," and 
sometimes styled the "Donegal Annals* was begun. The 
compilers were— Teige of the Mountain, O'Clery (who afterwards 
adopted the name of Michael), Maurice O'Mulconary, Fergus 
0 Mulconary, Cueogry O'Duigen, Cucogry O'Clery (also called 
Peregrine mentioned above), and Couary O'Clery, It tbaa 
appears that there were actually six persons engaged in the 
compilation of the annals, though the work is popularly known 
as the "Annals" of the Four Masters— three of the Masters 
being of the O'Clery family. The work was not strictly speaking, 
written in the monastery of Donegal^ as it had been burned to the 
ground by the English, in 1C01. An attempt was made to re- 
build the abbey, but it was never carried out. The friars of the 
abbey having fled after the destruction of their edifice, when 
:i!T:iii'5 settled clown, came out of their hiding places, and with 
the materials at their hand, built a, few cottages amongst the ruins 
/ 1 heir former abmk. In these cottages the O'CIerys and iheir 
fellow labourers found a temporary home, and it was in 
them the annals were compiled, The work was begun on 
22nd January, 1632, and finished 10th August, 1636. They 
commence with the year 2242, and end with tiie year of our 
Lord 1G16. To an Irish chief unconnected with Tirconnell* 
Fearghal O'Garikra, belongs the honour of having originated 
the idea of thus collecting tiie Records of Irish History, and 
defraying the expenses of the O'CIerys during the progress of 
the work. A striking proof of attachment to learning in the 
midst of adversity, is given by Peregrine O'Clery in his will. 
He thus bequeaths his most valued possessions : — " I bequeath 
the property most dear to me that I ever possessed in this world, 
namely my books, to my two sons, Dermot and John, Let them 
extract from them without injuring them, whatever may be 
necessary to their purpose, and lot them be equally seen and 
used by the children of my brother Cairbre as by themselves ; 


anil let thorn instruct them According to the [obliterated]. And 
I request the children of Cairbre to tench mid instruct their 
children. And I command my sous to be loving, friendly, and 
kin* I to the children of Cairbre, and to their own childreu, if they 
wish that God should befriend them in the other world, or 
prosper tlieni in this, and give them the inheritance of heaven, 1 " 
It is satisfactory to find that these solemn injunctions of the good 
man were faithfully fulfilled by his posterity. His books were 
carefully studied and presi his descendants, from gener- 

ation to generation, and at the commencement of (he pn 
century were deposited in the Royal Irish Academy, Within 
the past few years a handsome monument in the form of a ricbhj 
decorated Irish cross, with an appropriate inscription, has been 
erected in Dublin to tin" memory of the " Pour Masters;" but 
independently of this tribute of respect to their memory, (heir 
name and fame mill continue as household words, as long as the 
History of Ireland's fortunes and reverses is prexTv.l by her 


BALLYS11ANNCN AS A i iiiji-oi: am; TOWN. 

In 1613 a parliament was summoned to meet in Dublin, one 
of the objects of which was to place the "plantation" on a, lirmci 
footing, and to render absolute the distribution of the esehi 
lands of Ulster, Having ths object in view, James conferred 

grants on certain towns, which made them corporate; appointed 
fairs and markets, with other liberties, anil with the power of 
sending members In parliament. 

Ballyshanri'iu was one of the (.owns thus favoured; it was 
created a borough by Royal Charter, dated 28rd March, 1G13. 
The charter which is a very lengthy document, too much so for 
repetition here, begins thus: — "James, by the grace of God, of 
England, Scotland, France, ami Ireland, king, defender of the 
faith, to all to whom these our present letters shall come, greeting. 


Know ye that we, as well as the humble petition of the town of 
Ballcshanmui in our county of Donegal!, in our province of Ulster, 
in our kingdom of Ireland, as for the inhabiting and planting, 
according to the form of constitution nobly established in our 
kingdom of England, of those northern parts of the same oar 
kingdom of Ireland, which have been depopulated and devasta 
and fur the better progress and advancement of that new plant- 
ation lately happily begun there, .... We determine, 
ordain, anil declare by these presents, thai (la- aforesaid town or 
village of BaEeshannan, ami alland singular the castles, niessauges, 
tofts, mills, houses, edifices, st nurtures, etc., etc. .... from 
henceforth are, and for all future times shall be, one whole and 
free borough by itself, under the mime of lite borough of Balle- 

shannau And further, we will, ordain and constitute 

by these presents, that within the aforesaid borough, there shall 
be one corporate and politic body, consisting of one Provost (in 
English, portrieve), twelve free burgesses-, and a county, and that 
all the inhabitants within the said town and lands henceforth 
for ever are, ami shall be by virtue of these presents, one corporate 
and politic body, in deed, met, and name, by (lie name of the 
Provost, Free, Burgmss and County of the Bormigh ofllalleahatman:' 
The grant goes on to recite the powers conferred on the borough 
in parliamentary representation, and proceeds to appoint the first 
provost and burgesses thus — "To the intent that in future timen 
it may appear that this new incorporation is now composed of 
good and honest men, we make, constitute, and ordain Bennett 
Payne to be Hie first, and modern provost of the said borough 
■ • . • and similarly we make, constitute, and name, Henry 
Follioti .Miles, 5 William Rastell, Richard Bennett, Stephen 
Michael Richard Onuc, William Atkinson. John Connor, John 
GHasson, Hugh Allingham, John Forster, John Stephenson, and 
Francis Edmunds, to be the first and modern free burgesses X)f the 
aforesaid borough." The charter appointed a court to be held 
in Balleshannan on every Wednesday, under the presidency of the 

., *. s ir.! k>,lrj ' I' uli iott, toidisr. The ebnrttr la written in Latai. Sump autliurii: 
IBM Jldot here niuana kiitgbt. 




provost. The court was empowered to hear oases concerning 
"actions, does, agreements, ixaasgressions, detentions, contracts, 
ami personal demands whatsoever, not exceeding the sum of five 
murks* sterling." The provost and burgesses were life 
empowered to make laws "for (ho good guidance and sale 
government of the inhabitants.'' The charter also constituted ft 
"Guild of Merchants," who should have a common seal, "graven 
with such form and device as shall appear better fitted for the 
business of the borough." There were also appointed tyro Sergeants 
at Maee, and other inferior officers, to whom certain duties 
belonged; and finally, a Clerk of the Markets, who regulated the 
tolls, and saw that the marked rules were not infringed. 

In what building the Corporation of Ballyshannon first met 
for the transaction of public business, we cannot now tell, 
as it appears from an old minute book that the market house, 
which stood on the site of the present one, was not built till 
the year 17G0. Iu an entry bearing date 5th November, 1700, 
it. was said: "The Porlrieve Burgesses and Commonalty of said 
Eoronprh have resolved, that as the Market JTomsb erecting within 
said Borough, is now so far finished as to be capable for the 
■ Hon of the Corporation, that the court be held in the 
of the said market house, on Wednesday next, for the tryal of 
pleas, pursuant to Charter."' The Parliamentary privileges con- 
tested on Ballyshannon, appear to have possessed but little real 
value for the inhabitants in general, who had no voice in the 
members to represent them in the Irish parliament. 
li was what was termed a close borough, and the provost and 
burgesses (with whom the nomination of the members v 

■ r their patrons direct'- d flu A parliamentary 

D those days seems to have been a tamer affair than 

in the present age of ballot boxes. Here is an example 

taken from the borough minute book, April, 1701 — "We. the 

provost and buruo ■ liorouirh of BaHeshannan, pursmHri 

to s precept directed to Henry Major, l-'-quire, provost of said 


borough, by Richard Bateson, Esquire, high sheriff of the county 
<jf Donegal, bearing date tie 10th day of April, instant, requiring 
i lie said Henry Major to cause to be elected according to the form 
of the statute En that made and provided, two bun/esses to 
attend and serve in p ;l rlianwn1 in the city of Dublin, on the 1'jrh 
day of May next ensuing, do, with mutual assent and cement of 
I'aWs of us, makeehoiceand elect Thomas Conolly, of Castletown, 
ia the connty of KiWare, Esquire, and JEchael Clarke, of the 
city of Dublin, Esquire, to lie burgesses of our said borough, 
and to represent us hi the said parliament."— (here follows the 

The following is a complete list of the gentlemen who re- 
presented Ballysbannon, from the time it was created a borough 
till its disfranchisement in 1800: — 

1618. April 29, Powle Goare (Bart), Magheryl* 

» Edward Cherrye, Esq. 

1613. Sir Arthur Savage, Km., Kildare (vice 

Cherrye, deceased). 
1C34. June 27. Thomas Leake, Esq. 

it • Michael Stanhope^ Esq. 

1G34. Dec. 27. James Dillon, Esq. (vice Leake, retired). 
1C39. Feb. 28. Sir Robert Meredith, Ktit, Qreenhills, Kil- 
»i James Cusacke, Esq. (Cusacke was expelled 

for connexion witlt the rebellion of 1G41). 
1661. April It). John Bridges, Esq. 

n Anthony Morgan, Km. 

1661. May 2. Robert Kinge, Knt., Boyle (vice Bridges, 
m William Dill, Esq. (vice Morgan, resigned). 

1692. Sep. 22. John Folliott, Esq., Bally shannon. 

» Francis Folliott, Esq., „ 

1695. Aug. 6 Henry Folliott, Esq., „ 

n Francis Folliott, Esq., „ 



1697, May 21. Richard Warburton, Esq. (vice II. Folliott, 

created Lord Folliott). 
1703. Aug. 30. Richard Geering, Esq., Dublin. 

Richard Warburton, Esq. 
1713. Nov. 13. Major-General Owen "Wynne, SligO< 

John Rochford, Esq., Carlow. 
1713. Oct. 26. Major-General Owen Wynne. 

John Rochford, Esq. 
1727. Oct i. William G'>m>lly, Esq., Dublin, 

Thomas Pears Est;., Co. Meath. 

1 727. Dec 7. William Conolly, Junr.(vicc Conolly, retired). 
1737. Oct. 28. Edward Walpool, Esq. (K.15. Dublin, rice 

Pearson, deceased). 
175-1. June 28. Micliael Clarke, Esq. (vice Conolly, deceased). 
1761. April 20. Thomas Conolly, Esq., Castletown. 

„ M ichael Clarke, Esq. 

1761. Nov. 10. John G. Ilandcock, Esq.. Dublin (rice 

Conolly, resigned). 
1760. March 31. Hugh Henry Mitchell, Esq., Dublin (rice 
Sandcock, deceased). 

1768. July 2. Francis Andrews, LL.D., Dublin. 
„ Michael Clarke. 

1769. Nov. 21. William Gamble, Esq. (rice Andrews, re- 

1774. Sep. 13. Thomas Smyth, Esq.. Limerick. 
1776. May 1 1, John Staples, Esq. 

,, Sir Michael Cromie, Knt. 

1783. Aug. 7. William Ogilrie, E 

„ Sir Michael Cromie, Bart. 

1790. April 26. Thomas Dickson, Esq. 

.Sir Michael Cromie, Dan. 
1797. .1 uly -J7, Hon. Somerset Lowry Corrj . 

„ David Babington, Esq. 

The two last named, represented the borough till its disfran- 
chisement at the Union of 1800, when the Earl ofBdmore received 



the sum of £15,000 as a compensation for disfranchisement. The 
following as tract from "Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount 
Castlereagli " will tlirow some light on the position of a. 
borough, such as Ballyshannon was: "With respect to what tire 
1 "close boroughs" it is conceived this compensation (for 
of parliamentary franchise) may he given to the individuals 
possessed of the commanding interests, without regard to any clam 
from actual electors," The Earl of Belmore, having in this case, 
the " commanding interest," received this large sum, but it does 
not appear how he came to exercise such an influence over Bally- 

At the time of the "Union" there were in Ballyshannon 108 
houses paying that oppressive tax— the Hearth and Window 
Jhity* The total amount received per annum was £307. In 
addition to the charter granted to Ballyshannon in 1GI3, there 
was a subsequent one granted to Lord Folliott, dated !ltli April, 
1G22. Under this charter a Seneschal's court was established in 
this town, which was presided over by Lord Folliott as Lord of 
the manor, who now became owner of the town as well as tho 
surrounding lands on both sides of the river. Thomas, second 
Baron Folliott of Ballyshannon, was born in 1G13, and his son 
and heir, Henry, third baron died in 171o", when the title became 
extinct. The Fofliotts oi Holybrook house, of whom Col. John 
Folliott is the present representative, are descended from a 
common ancestor with Lord Folliott of Ballyshannon. 

About the middle of the 17th century there lived in Bally- 
shannon a man named Patrick Cmoll'f, He kept a small inn, which 
stood on or near to the ground now occupied by the new bank 
building. He had a sou named William who lived with hint, ami 
it happened that there came to Ballyshannon two gentlemen who 
were sen I to secure the return of members to the Drish parliament. 
They lodged at Conolly's inn, and perceiving that William was 
;IM unusually Mustrt, i lligcut hoy, thej induced him i<> follow 

• The Whitlow Tuv iiu* first Imposed l>y William III. in lr;.-,!l, f,.r Hi..- purpose of nrnking- 
good the deficiency m the coinage, ceased by the practice of eliuuiim luunev,- Harris'* 
* History ot the tjte M d Reign o[ Williiun III." 


them tip to Dublin, where they promised to havo him educated 
and started in life. Having availed himself of their gene 
offer, the young man in due time became an attorney; from this 
point he row step by step, at length becoming speaker of the 
Irish House of Commons. Ho purchased extensive estate-. 
others, the town of BaUyshiHHlon, with some property, 

from the FoUiotts. "Speaker" Conolty, who died in 172!), had 
no son, mid he left his estates to "Tom Conolly of Castletown," 
ins grand-nephew; he also was childless, and after Lady Louisa 
Conolly, his widow, enjoying the property during her life, it 
descended to her nephew, Col. Edward Michael Pakenham, who 
then took the name of Conolly, and whose son and heir, the late 
Thomas Conolly M.P,, was so well known to the people of Bally- 
shannon. In an interesting manuscript entitled, "A Description 
of Lough Erne," written hi the year 1739, which is preserved in 
the British Musoum, nud from which we have gathered some 
particulars respecting this town and neighbourhood, the following 
reference is made to the founder of the fortunes of the Conolly 
family: "The greatest honour of this town (Ballyshanuon) is its 
having given birth to the late Right Honourably William Conolly 
Esquire, whose zealous attachment to the protestant interest and 
liberties of his country, after having exposed himself to imminent 
dangers in evil times, at length raised him to the highest honours 
nf the state, to be the Commissioner of tho Revenue, Speaker of 
the House of Commons, and one of the Lords Justices for Ireland 
in which eminent stations, he acquitted himself with wisdom, in- 
tergity, and zeal for many years, till his death, and left after him 
the amiable character of an affectionate father of hk country, and 
a faithful minister to his Prince." 

Eight years after the granting of the charter, an "Inquisition" 
■was held in Ballyshanuon by order ol King James, for the purpose 
of Inquiring into the disposal of the lands and privileges escheated 
from O'Doimcll and the monasteries. 

This inquisition was ln-M on Tuesday, the 2nd January, 1621' 
when the following "good and lawful men" were examined on 




oath before the commissioners, touching the objects of the inquiry; 
"William Rastell* gent., Donell O'Sleven, gent., Gillonio 
McGumell, gent., Teige MeGilwell, gent,, Cormaek O'Callenan, 
gent., Patrick O'Daly, gent., Doanogh . . . gent., David 
McGroertie, gent., Hugh Alhgan,f gent., Hngh McAffertie, gent, 
Knogher McArt, gent., Ilryan MeTnrkgh McAluni, Pa 
Ranys, gent., Owen Oge McBrogah McTirlagh, Lowry McEwarf, 
gent." This inqiiisitiort, which is preserved b the Rolls Office» 
Dublin, contains a long and most minute description of the lands 
and rights of fishing appertaining to the monastery of Assaroeand 
some neighbouring foundations, and of the mode in which they 
were disposed of at the " plantation." Tin Fortunately, some of 
the writing in the original is obliterated. Some of the i 
above mentioned are familiar, though strangely spelt ; others have 
long ago died oat. 



From the time of James I. till the period of the Ja< 

struggle, history furnishes few details of local interest. In the 
wars between Cromwell and the Royalists, Bullyshannon for a 
time was held against the republicans, and the way was kepi 
open for the passage of the royalist troops between it and Cuu- 
nanght. Oliver Cromwell, however, never himself visited this 
part of Ireland, his military operations having been carried out 
by Sir Charles Coote, who eventually reduced the wnule of Ulsttr 
into subjection, 

From the year 1641 to 1CC1 a gap occurs in the parliamentary 
representation of our borough (see list of members) dining which 
time the Irish parliament never 

On 24th .March, 1G89, King James II. made his entry into 
Dublin, and on the following day issued a proclamation for 
parliament to sit on the 7th May. The parliament was 

* One of the Burgesses of BuHyshannon. t One of the Burge&?eg of Banph&Dnov 


the jACOitm: ti;oi «li> 

accordingly held in the King's Dins, Henrietta Street, and there 
passed the Act entitled, '-An Act for the Attainder of Divers 
i for Preserving the interests of Loyal Subjects." By 
tins Act the following persons connected with Bully shannon were, 
amongst many others, deprived of their lands and possessions 
for favouring the cause of King William— Sir James Caldwell of 
Belleek, bart.. Patrick Conolly of Belashannon, gent.,* Thomas 
Folliott of Belaslmimou, gent., Francis Earles, Belashannon, 
gent.) Francis Jennings of Belashaimon, gent., John Folliott, 
Esquire, Belashannon, Charles Caldwell of Belleek (son and heir 
of Sir James Caldwell), John Montgomery of Carriekboy, gent., 
Thomas Atkinson, senr., Belashannon, gent., Thomas Atkinson^ 
junr, Belashannon, gent., Michael llueson of Coolebegge, gent., 
John llueson of Coolebegge, gent., Robert Delapp of Belft- 
shannon, gent., Lord Folliott of Belashannon." In the same 
month in which this Act of Attainder was passed, Ballyshannon 
ivus besieged li.v u Jucjbite army. The Connaughf contingent, 
under the command of General Sarsfield, pitched their camp at 
Bundrowse, waiting their opportunity to seize Ballyshannon. 
The town was, however, strongly garrisoned, and the troops were 
under the command of Henry (afterwards third Baron Folliott). 
The Jacobite army, on the other hand, though numerically strong, 
were, ill-disciplined and hut poorly equipped. f The Castle of 
Balli/sftttmitm was still used as a military head-quarters, and con- 
tained a large number of soldiers. Folliott, however, finding 
himself beset by such a formidable army, sent to Euniskilleu for 
re-in forcemeats, and on Cth May, Col. Lloyd, in command of the 
afterwards relebrated regiment, the 27th I nniskilliners, started 
for Ballyshannon, The Jacobites, having hoard of their approach, 
marched to Belleek for the purpose of preventing them from 
reaching Ballyshannon, and having placed themselves in the most 
advantag ras position they could select, awaited the advent of 
the enemy. 

• Father of Speaker Conolly. 
t 41 1 be ifegeoiCrnmj tbetr only ordnance were two fin cannon, covered with buckram f 



At that disturbed period there were no high-roads in tho 
district, and the Jacobites held the only "pass" which existed. 
This was bounded on the mn' sUe I v t he lake, awl on the other 
by a bog. Nothwltlistniidiiig all this, Lloyd, being better ac- 
quainted with the country, siu-reeded in Hanking the enemy, who 
turned anil Bed without firing a shot. The Jacobite losses were 
19 0 horse, slain in pursuit. Most of the foot soldiers escaped 
through a bog in the May, and made good their retreat to Sligo. 
Some, however, of Sarsfield's men fled to Ballyshannon, where they 
took refuge on the inland of Inis-samor, Thaie refugees, to the 
number of sixty, were soon made prisoners, und thus ended the 
engagement, the Inniskillmexs baring only one man wounded. 
The siege was then raised, but in July, Sarsfield and his men once 
more took up their position at Tullagluui, with the view of 
gaining possession of Ballyshanuon. Tho town was, however, too 
well prepared to afford them an opportunity for attack, and the 
sharp repulse they had received a couple of months hi- fore, taught. 
them that "discretion was the better part of valour.'' On the 
' ■veiling of the day (28th July, 1689) on which Derry was relieved, 
a message was sent to Ballyshanuon, asking for help at Crom, 
which was besieged by Lord Monnteashel. The gallant officers 
in command at Baliyshannon, remembering how receutly they 
had received valuable aid from the Imiiskilliners, at once complied 
with tho request, and notwithstanding the presence of the enemy 
v miles off, between 400 and 500 men were despatched. 
Having arrived at Enniskilleu, after their loug march from 
i'allyshaimon, I hey declared themselves ready to go on without 
resting that same night,* The battle of Netvtoimibutler on the 
31st July, which resulted in the total rout of the Jacobites, 
having reached the ears of Sarsfield as he lay at TnUaghan, in- 
duced him to give np Ins design of attacking Ballyshanuon, and 
he consequently withdrew his men to Sligo. 

* A few days before a vessel had arrived at EaUrxhannou from Derry with arms and 
Ammunition for Ronlski I l./n, which \v<:rir lamled here, and lit once transmitted by Lough 
Krne to their il^l'inti.: n. Tho friKTito *' Biiiuld Ventura " also called At UallyghUDnoil to 
H-Ttiiin tho »t*te of the garrison here aiwl at Elinisklihm. 


Iii (lie "Calendar of Treasury Papers," under date 1G92, we 
find the following reference to Henry Caldwell, merchant of 
Ballyshannon — "Sir Joseph Horn, Knight, petitioned Govern- 
ment, which was certified by several of the officers who held out at 
Ballyshannon, and other adjacent garrisons in the county, for the 
Kin;i against King James, ami that there were used by the 
garrison several goods which belonged to Henry Caldwell, Esq., 
and that he was never compensated for them." From a record 
preserved in the church books, in the year 1691, it appears that 
the 27th regiment of InnisMlliners, under the command of their 
first* colonel, Zecharah Tiffin, W6S stationed at Ballyshannon 
in the beginning of that year. The following is a copy of the 
minute: — "A vestry held within ye church of Mullaghnashee 
vpon Easter Monday, 13th April (1691), bath chosen John Jones 
audi Arch. Harvy, church-wardens. Mr. Robert Delap and Mr. 
Lewis first overseers of high ways. Enacted that a petition be 
drawn and presented to Colonel Tijjin for a contribution of his 
regiment and re pur at ion of ye church." After King "William 
had established his authority in Ireland on a firm basis, the par- 
liament passed an Act "declaring all Attainders, and all other 
Acts made in a late pretended parliament" held under King James 
at Dublin, about 7th May, 1689, to be void. All the rolls, etc.* 
of that parliament were cancelled and publicly burned, ami 
the persons whom we enumerated at the heginiug of this chapter, 
as. having had their property confiscated, were reinstated in their 
titles and possessions. 

The prolonged wars which England and Holland waged with 
France, from 1GS0 to 1697, after the termination of the Jacobite 
struggle in this country, engrossed the attention of King 
William's government. In the Calendar of Treasury Papers, at 
the year 1691, wo find the following strange entry in which our 
town is mentioned : "the government bought 8,000 bushels of 
oats at Whitehaven, at a cost of £726 16s. 8d, to be sent to 
Ballyshannon, for the purpose of the army being brought into 

I'AlHJt . rilAl. IIISTOKT. G3 

Holland." From this it seems probable that the troops, witb 
their stores, embarked at Ballyshannon for the seat of war on the 
continent. It should be remembered that in those days the 
transport of troops and stores across the country was a serious 
matter, both as to time and cost, and as there was a large 
garrison hero and at Enuiskillen, advantage was taken of the 
port, by shipping them at Ballyshannon. 



The preservation of the parochial records in the Established 
Church of Ireland, was not in former times a matter of much 
consideration, and as a consequence, the earliest and probably 
most interesting chronicles of the parish of Kilbarron, in common 
with others, are irretrievably lost. The oldest documents which 
would throw light on our parish wore deposited in the episcopal 
library at Kaphoe, but these were destroyed by the Jacobite 
soldiers, when passing through that town to the siege of Derry. 
It has been asserted that the old church of Kilbarron which 
gave its name to the parish, was one of the first in Ireland in 
which the English service was used after the reformation ; we 
cannot however discover any record or evideuco to support this 
statement, and having submitted the matter to a high authority* 
on all points of ecclesiastical antiquities, his opinion will doubt- 
less be allowed to settle the question. lie thus refers to the subject 
— "I am not aware, nor do I think it likely, that Kilbarron old 
chorea bad any priority over the principal churches throughout 
Ireland in the use of our reformed prayer hook. Indeed I would 
a priori say that so wild and primitive a district as Tirconneil 
would be long hehind the churches of the "pale" in the employ- 
ment of our English service book." The old church of Kilbarron 
may possibly have been used for protestant worship during the 

• Or, Rcovc!. 



first part of the 17th century, and the English settlers may have 
occasionally attended service there, which was perhaps cond acted 
by the clergyman of the neighbouring parish of Dnunholin, 
There does not, however, appear to have been any settled minister 
in Kilbarron even as late as 1022. In the "Ulster Visitation 
Book" of that period, the nearest parish in which a clergyman 
resided was Drumholm. The inconvenient distance of the old 
church of Kilbarron from Ballyshannon would in any ease have 
prevented its having been long used for worship, and the necessity 
for a church in the town must have made itself apparent as the 
English inhabitants increased. As to the exact date of the 
erection of the first church at Mullaghnashee, we are left in 
ignorance; the first parochial vestry bonk beins lost, and other 
documents which might throw light on it, not being forthcoming. 

The oldest existing book goes back to Easter, 1691. At that 
date the church seems to have been a good while built, and in 
want of considerable repair, as the following extract from the 
vestry hook of 1G92 shows — li it was ordered that the sum of 
twenty-one pounds, should be apploded and levied off ye parish 
of Kilbarron, for the reparation of ye church and other pious 
uses." It should however be remembered that the first church 
on Mullaghnashee was not built in the substantial manner of 
more modern buildings: it was roofed with shingles. These were 
thin boards, generally of oak, and a fresh roof composed of them 
was pnt on the church in 1692, the shingles having been brought 
from Enniskillen by Louirh Erne. This method of roofing 
churches existed in Ireland from the earliest Christian period.* 

At the time of which wo are speaking, slates as well as shingles 
seem to have been simultaneously used, as the following item at 
the year 1G92-3 shows — "To 15 hundred of slates drawn from yo 
church to ye castle." The old church did not stand upon the 
same ground as the present one, but farther down and nearer to 
Hie iron gate. The west wall of the churchyard stood near to the 

■ See Petrie'a EttlcHiiisticail Architecture, pages 180-T. 



east window of the present structure; tin's wall was built round 
the churchyard hi 16*97, and in the same year trees were plan ted 
in it, and the hell which was hung in a small open belfry, sur- 
mounted by a weather-cock, was taken down and a new bell 
obtained from Dublin. The particulars connected with its 
and erection are sufficiently curious to justify reproduction 
here: — 

"To Captain Ffolliott for ye Bell ... ... .£0 02 07 

„ Bringing it from Bdtorbet ... ... oi 

„ Drawing it from Ealleeke ... ... 0 04 

„ 14 barrels of limo ... ... ... 04 08 

., Digging sand and riddling it ... ... 05 

., Horses drawing stones, and men from abbey 09 02 

„ Gads and hurdles for scaffolding ... oi 06 

„ Drawing water ... ... ... 0 0 4 

„ 39 lbs. Iron and to ye smith for working it 11 0 1 1 

„ 3 lbs led, hanging it ... ... ... 02 00" 

„ Carrying home yo scaffolds ... ... 00 04 

., Ye mason .. ... ... ... 2 0 0 

„ Michael Couolly's subn. and Thomas Lee's not 

paid ... ... ... ... 05 0 

,, Carriage of Bell from Dublin ... ... OS 0 

£10 0G Qal 

At the time of the Jacobite siege, the church appears to have 
been used for military purposes, as was frequently the case in 
troublous times. From its commanding situation, the church- 
yard was well suited for heavy ordnance, and that they were 
placed there, the following extract from the vestry book in 1G92-3 
shows — "To carrying Bombs out of yo church, one shilling. To 
John Horeoy drawing tlieso to ye castle two shillings." This 
]ast item is of historical interest, as it shows the castle of Bally- 
shannou existed at that date as a military fortress. At the year 
1694 there is a curious entry oifoar sMOinga unci sixpence, being 
the hire of three horse3 to convey the parish representatives to 



the visitation of Derry. Hotel expenses must have been very 
moderate in those days, as the charge for the parochial deputation 
for board and lodging, was only su and eitjhtpence\ Besides the 
extracts already given, the early vestry books contain many 
morsels of antiquarian and historical interest, a few of which may 
here be noted:— In the latter part of the 17tu century a labourer's 
hire was fveeptnce per day; wine 2 2d, per bottle; a lather* for 
church use, cost three mdsixpenm. lu 1 698, intramural interments 
seem to have been usual, " The said vestry have ordered that all 
persons buried within ye church, below ye pulpit, shall pay ten 
shillings for ye use of ye poore or repairing of ye church; and 
all persons buried above ye pulpit in ye chancery, \ it shall be 
left to ye discretion of their friends to pay according to their 

In the year 1700, the sum of one pound fifteen shillings, was 
paid for a baptismal font of "beweu stone" which was set in 
the west end of the first church. It now lies in the church porch, 
having been rescued by the present incumbent from a yard in the 
town, where the top portion was used a sa trough for feeding 
ducks! In 1718, a school house "for the instruction of poor 
children" was built by Archdeacon Michael Hewetson. This 
primitive structure stood upon the site of the present sexton's 
house, and was liko the church, roofed with shingles. In 1735, 
the church had fallen into such a rubious condition that it was 
deemed unsafe to use it any longer for public worship, and it 
was resolved by the parishioners that a new church should be 
built "with all convenient speed" on the lerd ground lying 
between the west wall of the church and the so<lfort,\ The new 
church which was crnciform, was of the foltowing dimensions 
— length of nave and choir, 85 feet, width 28 feet — length of 
transept, 58 feet, width, 23 feet. During the erection of this 
church, public worship was conducted in the old school house. 

Kanjr words were at this time spelt w pronounced: the word f.uMjrisstill commonly 
■ -1 > r . iittti-r. Many m. r> ■ dimples could be given of this phonetic, method of spelling 
words iu old MSS. and of theil survival in local pronunciation 
t .An old term Tor Cliititcel, from the suite root, cuaeelli, rail 
J Ihij «u the Sttt Audha ttuttidh, thores&l mound having been then in ciWcuce. 

rAnoeniAL itistort. 67 

The tower now standing on Mullaglinashee, belongs to the 
second church which was dedicated to St. Ann, and is so 
styled in the vestry minutes of that period. The present 
church, which is considerably larger than either of the earlier 
ones, was built by the ecclesiastical commissioners in 1841. 
It is solid and roomy, hut devoid of architectural beauty. The 
sum expended on its erection would have been more than 
sufficient to have added a picturesque feature to the general 
appearance of tl 

At the beginning of the present century, the old church bell 
which was put up in 1098, was stolen from the belfry by some 
young men and thrown into the pool, out of which it was sub- 
sequently fished up, and was, after the purchase of the new bell, 
put up in the school house, where it remained for many years and 
was used to summon the reluctant scholars to their task: 
eventually this ill-fated bell once more disappeared and no trace 
of its whereabouts has since been found. The present bell was 
a sweet and sufficiently powerful one till it was broken by a 
careless ringer.* 

Owing to the imperfect state of the church records, it is im- 
possible to give a complete and accurate list of the beneficed clergy 
of this parish. The following we have compiled from the 
existing vestry books, and the dates attached show the period at 
which they held office — 1691, Rev. John Forbes— 1718, Rev. 
James Forbes— 1734, Rev. George Knox — 1745, Rev. James 
OTTeil— 1809, Rev. Henry Major— 1820, Eev. Robert Ball — 
1823, Rev. Robert rakenham— 1827, Rev. George Griffithf— 
1830, Rev. George X. Tredennick (the last vicar previous to the 
disestablishment). The gift of the living was vested in the 
Cnimlly family from the time of their obtaining the property, till 
the disestablishment. 

" Itb surpri'in:; ttuvt the pufshfotters »f KUbarron should have so long allowed them- 
to he summoned to worship by a cracked tall, when for a. moderate outlay the 
tail oould do re-cast, iiud made as tuneful su at Drat. The charge for re-caiting is only 
Tim 'Wititas a cvit* 

1 Rev. Geo. Griffith discharged the duties ol Vicar for three years, hut did not bold tho 



Iti the autumn of 1831 a curious discovery was made in Hie 
churchyard. As the sexton and grave-digger were opening a 
grave in Die centre of the churchyard, they were arrested in their 
work by coming on some large flat stones, which on examination 
proved to be the roofing Bags of a anbtereaaeaa chamberrunrung 
in a north- wo U-Hy directions this unexpected "find" was thus 
described by an eye witness: "By the time the corpse (foMlie 
reception of which the grave was being made) waa brought into 
the burial ground, attended by its sorrowing friends, and while 
the- procession was slowly proceeding to the grave, it was in- 
terrupted by a voice saying "don't go there, the place is not 
safe;" the procession immediately stopped, and the affrighted 
sexton drew near to explain the cause. He said that when lie 
had removed the clay, to the depth of about time feet, the crow- 
bar ho was using to loosen the earth, suddenly disappeared all 
but about four inches, and that in endeavouring to pull up his 
bar he perceived a hole, on looking into which he saw a vault of 
considerable size. Here there was a general ejaculation '"Heaven 
preserve us." The corpse was then interred in another part of 
the yard, and a few of the bystanders cautiously approached the 
dreaded spot, and one who ventured to look in said he thought he 
smelt sulphur !! The chamber which is said to be heart-shaped 
—9 feet long by G feet wide — was subsequently closed, and it is 
to be regretted that it was not examined by some one of anti- 
quarian knowledge, as it probably formed part of that system o' 
&ouU rrains or artificial caves and passages, whose ramifications 
began in theliooley Bawnand extended up the hill of Duugravnen, 
to the summit of Mullaglmashee. This kind of cave-construction 
is believed by antiquarians to bo the oldest existing example of 
the builders' art in Ireland. 

In the churchyard of Mullaghnashee are some tombstones 
which from their age or qnaintness of inscription, possess con. 
sidcrable interest for the curious. At the period of the removal 
of the old church in 1S41, several tombstones had to be removed 
for the puqiose of clearing ths ground for the foundation of the 


present church ; it is to be regretted that some other plan was 
not devised, so as to have avoided interfering in nny way with 
the graves, which at all hazards should be held sacred. Some 
of the old tombstones are sadly weather-worn and battered, ant! 
the inscriptions almost obliterated, while others of equal age, are 
in tolerably good preservation ; those in raised letters seem to 
which through the wearing down of the surface of the stone and 
have withstood the ravages of time better than the ȣ inscriptions, 
the growth of lichens, often become very difficult to decipher. 

It will be gratifying to all who have friends buried in Mullagh- 
nashee, to know that the present incumbent, the Rev. S. G, 
Cochrane, is taking an mterest in the preservation of the tomb- 
atones and monuments, and has at his own expense had many 
of them cleaned and repaned. 

The following inscriptions are amongst the most noteworthy:— 
"Here lyes Jean Banerman, alias Forbes, who dyed September 
the seventh, 1681, aged lij." 

"Herelyes the body of Elizabeth Caldwell, wife to Francis Irvine, 
who departed this life, the 30th day of Juae, Anno Domini 1711." 

"Hero lyes the body of John Favset, who departed this life 
the forty-fourth year of his age, in July 9, 1712," 

"Here lies the body of John Delap, who departed this life the 
28th day of November, Anno Domini 1713." 

"Here lyes the body of Robert Delap, who departed this life 
the 64 year of his age, in May the first." [Year omitted but 
appears to be one of the oldest stones in the churchyard]. 

"Here lies the body of George Henderson, who departed this 
life on the 10th August, 1776, aged 56 years." 

"Beneath are deposited the remaius of Thomas Atkinson, of 
Carangarden, Esq.; he departed this life the 11th May, 1783, 
aged 70 years. Also the remains of his daughter Rebecca, who 
diod 17th January, 176S, aged 12 years." 



"Here lies the body of Hugh Finch, who died September 1, 
1782, aged 84 years. Also to the memory of his son William, 
who departed this life the 24th -Time, 1790, aged 46 years." 

"Here lies the body of Francis Forater, who died Febrnary 
14tb, 1782, aged 82 years." 

"Here lies the body of Thomas Faulkin, who departed this 
life 20th November, 1786, aged 38 years, and who for friendship, 
hospitality, and benevolence, some might equal, but few could 

"Here lycth the body of Edward Seanlan, Esq., who departed 
this life October 10th, 1789, aged 62 years." 

"Sacred to the memory of the Rev, Robert Caldwell, for many 
years dissenting minister of this place, wlio departed this life the 
28th day of November, 1790, aged 03 years." 

"lli-re lyetli the body of Margaret Loekhart, who departed 
this life 22nd November, 1 790, aged 52 years." 

"Here lyeth the body of Jane Curry, who departed this life 
(he 13th of March, 1791, aged 86 years." 

"Sacred to the memory of Francis McDonagh, who departed 
this life the 26th day of February, 1796, aged 75 years." 

"Beneath this .stone are deposited the remains of Mr. Arclul. 
Murray, who departed this life 22nd April, 1798, aged 67 years; 
also the remains of Mrs. Florinda Murray, relict of the above 
Archd. Murray, who departed this life the 1 7lh day of April, 
1799, aged 66 years." 

"Sacred to the memory of Juhn Campbell, who departed this 
life the 19th May, 1796, aged 74 years; also to that of Jane 
Campbell, his wiJfe, who changed this life for immortality, on 
the 16th March, 1800, aged 75 years. 


The heartfelt and general affliction occasioned by their deaths 
is the best record of their virtues, which were truly Christian." 
[The above were the parents of Sir Robert Campbell, BartJ] 

"In memory of Henry Thompson, who departed this life 
March 25th, 17D9, aged 4G years." 

"Sacred to the memory of Jane Brandon, wife of Mr. Edward 
Brandon, of Ballyshannon, Merchant, who died the 1st January, 
1801, aged 35 years. 

Admired when living for many domestic virtues, and sincerely 
lamented at her death by all her acquaintances." 

[The above were the parents of Rev. Wm. Brandon, who died 
in the pulpit of Fiuner church ; and the Kev. Dr. Barclay, now 
Bishop of Jerusalem, is their great-grandson], 

"Here Iieth the body of Ralph Babington, ofGreenfort, in the 
Co. of Donegal, Esq. He died in February, 1806, aged 40 years." 

"Beneath this stone are deposited the remains of Patrick 
Haly, Esq., who departed this life the 26th day of April, 1813, 
aged 03 years." 

[The Gentleman Piper of Ballyshannon], 

" Returned to his native earth, lieth all that was mortal of 
Lieut, Tuaffe M'Govern, late of Nortnuniberknd Begiment of 
Fencible Infantry. He fell in a duel on the 2nd March, 1802, 
in the 23rd year of his nge. 

If the esteem and regard of his brother officers who hate 
erected this stone to his memory could assist his soul in its flight 
to heaven, its ascent must have been rapid and its reception 

""William Urquhart, Esq., late Captain in the Loy id Essex 
Regiment of Infantry, son to the late William Urquhart of 



Meldrum, Esq ., Aberdeenshire, Scotland, died September 29, 1 798,. 
aged 42 years. This memorial was erected by his disconsolate 
widow : — 

How loved, how honoured once, avails thee not, 

To whom related or by whom begot, 

A heap of dust alone remains of thee, 

'Tis all thou art and all the great shall In-.'' 

" Sacred to the memory of John Studdart, late Major, 45' 
Regiment, who departed this life the 1st January, 1814, aged 60 
years. And also to the memory of his grandson, Thomas Studdart 
Robinson, who departed this life on the 10th of April, 1S27, aged 
10 months." 

"This tomb was erected by the officers, non-commissioned 
officers and privates of the light company of the 91 Argylesbire- 
Regiment, as a mark of their esteem and respect, in memory of 
Private David Mcintosh, who was drowned near Ballyshanaon, 
28 June, 1832, aged 38 years, after having served in the regiment 
at home and abroad, during a period of 21 years." 

" Here lies the body of William Bean, late private in the 79th T 
1st Company, who departed this life January 7th, 1801, aged 22 
years. As a token of regard for their deceased comrade, this 
stone was erected by the non-commissioned officers and prii 

of the company." 

Wo lure already spoken of Mullaghnashee Church, as having 
been used as a place of military defence at the period of the 
Jacobite disturbances. In less than a century from that time 
was originated within its walls a heal corps, which was called 
"The Loyal Ballyshannon Volunteers." In the year 1779 the 
coabt defences of England were in such a weak and unsatisfactory 
state tiiat a combined fleet of French and Spanish ships entered 
the English Channel in overwhelming force, and the "Serapis" 
man -of- war, a frigate, and several smaller vessels belonging to 
England, were captured. 

paro cheat, msTOET. 73 

This occurrence, coupled with various political agitations, 
created a great feeling of insecurity in Ireland, and was the 
•cause of the enrolment of volunteer corps throughout the country. 
On the 1st August, 1779, the following resolutions wore passed 
in Mullaghnashee Church: "We, the underneath inhabitants 
of the town and neighbourhood of Ballyshannon, having at this 
critical time, when our country is threatened with an invasion 
of the natural enemies of the present constitution (the French 
and Spaniards), formed ourselves into an independent company, 
by the style and title of the " Loyal Ballyshannon Volunteers," 
in which we are further encouraged by the countenance and 
protection of the Right Honourable Thomas Conolly, who has 
done us the honour of accepting the command, have come to the 
f. .(lowing resolutions :_ Regaumtab— each man to furnish himself 
with a scarlet cloak faced with green, white waistcoat and 
breeches, A good firelock and bayonet; cartridge box and 
belt. Resolved, that whenever the company are called upon, 
they shall pay strict obedience to their officers. Resolved, that 
the company shall attend every day at parade, until such time 
as they are expert and perfect. Any one absent from parade 
without leave, to pay a fine of sixpence. Resolved, that the 
drum and fife be paid by the treasurer the sum of three 
shillings and three pence each per week, and that thoy do regu- 
larly perform their duty of beating the drum, and playing the 
fife, at the proper hours each day. Resolved, the commanding 
■r present each parade day, be desired and empowered if 
any volunteer appear on parade, not being cleanly and properly 
dressed (his hair well powdered, himself completety accoutred 
with his arms in proper order), instantly to fine such volunteer 
any sum he shall think proper under one shilling, or in default of 
payment, to be instantly turned ont of the ranks for that day 
with disgrace." The corps used to march to church on Sundays, 
and afterwards to go on parade in an adjoining field. Henry 
Major who was agent on the Couolly estate, and at that time 
provost of Ballyshannon, was appointed captain of the volunteers. 



A similar corps was organized in Killybegs, and an interesting 
lii'-mento of the local spirit and patriotism of Ballyshannon and 
K illybegs was exhibited at the Royal Irish Academy, where the 
banners of both corps formed part of the decoration of the 
building of that learned body at the conversazione given in honour 
of the British Association, which met in the Autumn of 1878 in 

Before the era of the "plantation," there seems to have been 
no ecclesiastical edifice in the town, though there were both 
churches and "chappies of ease" inthesurroundingneighbourhood. 
The one most generally resorted to by the inhabitants was doubt- 
less the "church with a steeple" which adjoined the abbey of 
Assaroe, The old church of Kilbarron, though also attached to- 
the abbey, was, owing to its isolated position, probably allowed 
to fall into disuse and decay, long before the English settlement 
was effected. The Donegal portion of the parish of Inismacsaiut 
was provided with two chapels of ease, as the following extract 
from an inquisition taken at EnniskUlen, 18th September, 1001), 
Bhows:— "they alsoe sale thatin the said parish (of Enishmissauib) 
is a chappie of ease, called Fjmnoare in Maeginey, unto which 
said chappie the viecar of the said parish is to send a curate to 
sjie divine service; and that in the said parish also is another 
chappie called Ballihanny." The first of these is Firmer church,* 
one mile distant from Bundorun, the other is probably identical 
with the ruined church at Sminver, near to the railway station at 
Ballysbannon. Though Sminver is not in the townland of Bully- 
lianna, it is contiguous to it, and some confusion in the 
boundary lines may have been made whon the inquisition was 
taken. There was also in former times, a chapel in the town lam I 
of Rathmore, not far distant from Ballysbannon. The Roman 
C ntholic Church, n o w standing i n a part of the old p ark o f O'Donnell's- 

* Since the above was written, the diMrkt has been ejcamined by Dean Reeves, who 
is of opinion that the "Chappie ot etes," caUod Fftnivoart, it not identical wit: 
mined church at Finncr, which tu U ;:■■■■ at lo bo of comparatively modem dale, isd 
that the CfcflpeUjf the inquisition, stood in ih> Turi-M'nuriiig townland of Caidrafftt (n 


derivative from CiU a Cumuli), wlusrt ii an old burial ground 


castle, was erected in 1848. It stands on the site of the old chapel, 
which was built in the year 1 795. The old building was cruciform, 
and not of such large proportions as the present edifice. The 
abbey burial ground which has been used without interruption fur 
seven centuries, was enlarged by t hi- Most Rev, Dr. MeGettigan, 
Archbishop of Armagh, daring his residence in Bally-shannon. 
The Rock chapel, situate in the adjoining parish of Inismacsaint, 
was, with the burial ground attached, consecrated in September, 

The first Presbyterian Church was in College Lane, ft 
was built in the last century, and remained in use till 1832, 
when it fell into such a ruinous condition that it was decided to 
build a new one. This was erected on the Mall in 1838, and 
rebuilt with extensive additions in 1878-1). 

Of the two Methodist chapels, that in the Main Street is much 
the oldest, having been, according to the tablet inserted in the 
wall, built in 1701. The Rer. John Wesley, the founder of 
Methodism, visited Ballyshannon on more than one occasion; and 
in 1771 preached hero. At that time, he seemed to have but 
few supporters in the town, as the following entry in his journal 
shows:— "I rode to Ballyshannon, and preached, in the Assembly- 
room. I was acquainted with some of the chief persons in the 
town; but they were ashamed to own me. Only some of them sent 
their compliments to me, properly so called." In subsequent 
years, the cause of Methodism grew and flourished in Hal ly shannon, 
and at one time there was a large number of members, which * 

however, have dwindled away with the decreased population. The 
Methodist Chapel on the Mall is a more modern structure, and 
being roomy and commodiously situated, will soon supersede the 
Main Street Chapel. 

■ Them arc 1-1 townlands comprised within Kjltmrron, which, but for a nominal ■ 
fa tha case of 7 townlands, have always been tfflw-frtt. The cause ot tbi 

tOgcnd in which a lame monk relieved the parish by walking 

bounds in ouc day ; ail t lie ground that hb; crutch touched was to be free, 

; D came to i be Ma shore and could go no further, ho Hung his crutch across to 

the IsUiid of Ratlin WHeinw, which from henceforth became a put of the parish ot 






Often as it has been said of our town that it is at a stand dill, 
"the same old place as ever," yet, were some Rip Yan Winkle, 
who had lived in Ballyshannon a century ago, to awaken from 
his slumbers, and once more revisit his old hannts, he would mUs 
many of the old landmarks ; would see many of the buildings 
which in his early days were the scene of bustle and animation 
now in ruins, and inquire in vain for the descendants of his 
former friends and acquaintances. The names as well as the 
faces of the new inhabitants would appear strange to him, and 
be at least would be slow to admit that it was " the same old 
place as ever," The following notice of Ballyshannon 13 from a 
manuscript written in 1789, from which wo have already quoted : 
— "The most southerly town iu the County (Donegal) is Bally- 
shannon, a borough and seaport, lying on the northern shore of 
the River Erne. The situation is beautiful, being washed by so 
great a river, from which the town, rising in a pretty steep 
ascent, appears to advantage ; over the river is a largo stone 
bridge, in the midst of which rises a tower with a gate, and a 
guard-room at the end of the bridge ; along the shore of the 1 i ver 
stands beautifully two very fine barracks, that on the west side 
of the street for two companies of foot, the other on the east 
for two troops of horse ; on the top of the hill over tho town 
stands a neat church; and a qnarter of a mile on the north side 
of the harbour an old abbey. Except about Ballyshannon there 
is no large flock of sheep (in Donegal) nor are there many herds 
of black cattle but what there, and at Horn Head." From 
Guthrie's New General Ga:ettcer (published about 1750), we take 
the following : — "Ballyshannon, aborough, market andpost town, 
in the County Donegal, province of Ulster, 101 miles from Dub- 
lin, having a good harbour, east of Donegal Bay. It has a 
bridge of fourteen arches over a river, which runs ont of Lough 
Erne, which river falls down a ridge of rocks about twelve feet, 
and at low water forms a most beautiful and picturesque cascade; 


it is rendered singular by being tlie principal Salmon Leap in 
Ireland. It has a barrack for one (?) company of foot ; it sends 
two members to Parliament." 

In a book entitled "A Toar in Ireland in 1775, with a map, 
and a view of the Salmon Leap at Bnllyslmnnon," the following 
description of the town is given:— "The next day I arrived at 
Ballyskaunon, and was so pleased with its beautiful situation that 
I remained (here four days. It is a small town, situated near the 
sea, with a bridge of fourteen arches over a river, which a little 
lower falls down a ridge of rocks, about twelve feet, and at low 
water forms one of the most picturesque cascades I ever saw- 
It is rendered still more singular and interesting by being the 
principal Balmon Leap in Ireland." The writer ..f this "Tour" 
seems to have paid special attention to the salmon fishery, during 
his stay in Ihdlysliniinon. After describing at length the various 
habits of salmon, he goes on to say that "every morning during 
the fishery, they are taken out by means of a staff, with a strong 

barbed iron hook, which is stuck into them They 

have often beeu shot while leaping at the fall At 

the bottom of the fall porpoises and seats disport themselves among 
the waves." The author, as the title of the book sets forth, has 
honoured our town by selecting as the subject of his frontispiece, 
"A view of the Salmon Leap at Ballyshannon." In this curious 
piato, in which the Leitrhn mountains and the sandhills are made 
to stand out as prominent features in the immediate background, 
a number of seals are represented as airing themselves on the 
rocks' below the "pool," and the atd manor mitt, with its rustic 
wheel, occupies the site of the present ruined distillery. 

There is in existence an oil painting of Ballyshannon in the 
last century. It is taken from the south side of the river, and 
shows the steeply ascending hill, with the old church on Mullagh- 
nashec, wiili iis transept facing the river. Also another painting, 
in the possession of a gentleman in the neighbourhood, which 
shows the aspect of the town a century or so back. This picture 
in the bridge with its tower in the centre, and the gateway 



which stood on the south end; also the "Port" and Rock show- 
ing the houses then standing. It must have been painted some- 
time subsequent to 1700, as the barrack which was built in that 
year appears in it. Both these pictures, which represent the town 
from different points of view, are very interesting and valuable. 

In the last century, Ballyshaunon must have been a cheap and 
desirable place of residence, as the following prices given in the 
above-mentioned book show :— Salmon, Id. per lb. or 6s. per cwt. 
Rabbits, 3d. per pair. Turkeys and geese, Is. each. Ducks or 
Fowl, 2d. or 3d. each. Potatoes, Is. per barrel (of 48 stones). 
Bat these must have been unusually low prices, as 8s. and 10». 
per barrel was the general price, and after the long frost of 
1789-40, potatoes were sold at 32s. per barrel. Whiskey was 
Is. per quart ; and of port wine, the author remarks — "I found 
the port wine better in Ireland, than any I had tasted in other 
countries ;" he also observes that one of the customs peculiar to 
Ireland, is that of having constantly boiled eggs for breakfast, 
with tea. ! After " doing " Ballyshannon, the author of the 
Tourwent on to Castlecaldwell, where lie was hospitably received, 
and lodged for a week, by Sir James Caldwell, then the owner of 
that estate. After enjoying a round of fishing and musical 
parties on the lake, he was conveyed from Castlecaldwell to 
EnuiBkillen in Sir James's sis oared barge.* 

While speaking of Castlecaldwell it may not be out ot place to 
mention some particulars respecting tliat picturesque and 
beautifully-situated residence. The Castle was, it is said, formerly 
a monastic budding, but ad particulars respecting its original 
foundation, are now unfortunately lost. Archdale, in Ids 
" Monasticon Hibernicum," makes no mention of it. Though 
that work was written nearly a century ago, even then all trace 
of many of the most ancient foundations had disappeared, and 
often the only thing left was their name. There are, however, in 
the Oaatlecaldwell building, several architecl ures, which 

* A curioun monument in the *tiupc of il stent fiddle was erected by Sir James to th* 
memory of nenis H'Cotie, Fiddler, who was drowned out of tin' " St. [Strict" Bwub, 
lath August, 1770. It wfl] be found at the south wing of the emtio. 


lead to the supposition of its having been at some former 
period an ecclesiastical structure. It was after the dissolution 
of the Irish monasteries, and when their lauds became forfeited 
to the crown, that the Cast lee aid well property came Into the 
possession of the BUimerhmaU family. In 16 11, King James 
made a grant of these lands to Sir E, Blennerhassett, and for 
many years afterwards the old monastery seems to have been 
used as a family residence, and received the name of C'ustlehaaset. 
One of thefamily — Sir Leonard BleitnerhaasM — owned and worked 
extensive iron mines on the shores of Lough Erne, where the ore 
waa smelted, and sent away in a manufactured state,* This 
industry, together with others of a similar kind, was eutirery 
upset by the rebellion of lG41.t In 1671, Sir Augustus Blenner- 
hassett sold the property to James Caldwell, who was subsequently 
created a baronet. His sou, Sir Henry, during his early lite 
carried on business as a merchant in Bally shannon, where he 
built the Custom Ilotise ; and upon the death of his father, went 
to reside on the property, which was from hence called Cajjfe- 
cakhcell. The house, which was in a rather dilapidated condition 
when it came into the hands of the Caldwells, was by them re- 
newed and partially rebuilt, though its original features seem to 
have been in ih" main, carefully preserved. The title of baronet 
in the Caldwell family descended in the following order, the two 
test named holding title only j — Sir James Caldwell, Bart.; Sir 
Henry Caldwell, Bart.; Sir John Caldwell, Bart,; Sir James 
Caldwell, Bart,; Sir John Caldwell, Bart, (grandfather to the 
present owner, John Caldwell Bloomfield, Esq.,) Sir John Cald- 
well, Bart. ; Sir Henry Caldwell, Bart., at whose death the title 
became extinct. 

At the close of 1739 this country was visited with a frost <■! 
extraordinary length and severity. It extended into the year 
17-10, lasting in all 108 days. A period of great scarcity and 

■ Bootes 1 [Tattoo*] Btot 13 "i (rdaud. 
♦There word also Iron works at Garrison, in which more than 100 men (mostly 
Entfli^li), were employed. Then were burnod down In the Autumn of tots by some of 
the neighbouring cUns, A portion of one of the Iron hammers is stiJl preserved. 


distress succeeded, and it was at that time that General Folliolt, 
the owner of Ward town, decided to hnild Wardtown Castle, 
thereby giving employment to the distressed classes of the 
neighbourhood. The remuneration they received daring the 
progress of the work was sixpence pat day, ami their food. Con- 
sidering the value of money in those days, this was a liberal 
allowance, and fully equivalent to 2s. per day at the present 
time. Before the erection of Wardtown Castle, the Folliott 
family had a residence on their property there. In a "Collection 
of Papers communicated to the Royal Society" by Thomas M"ly- 
nenx, M.D., F.R.S.E., the following passage occurs:— "In the 
year 1 G91, Major Polliott told mo, that digging for marl near the 
town Ballymacward, where he lives, not far from Ballyshamion, 
ho found buried ten foot under plain solid ground, a pair of these 
sort of horns (Megaceros), which he keeps still in his possession." 
General Folliott, the builder of Wardtown Castle, was an 
ancestor of the present Colonel John Polliott, of Holybrook 
House, Co. Sligo, who still holds a portion of the lauds of the 
old barons of Ballyshmmon, and is descended from the same stock. 
Ballyshannon was in the last century an important military 
depot. Besides the infantry barracks on the left hand side of 
the bridge, and the cavalry barracks on the opposite side of the 
road, the Rock barracks seem to have been built prior to the year 
1800, when all three were in occupation together. A detachment 
of soldiers was also stationed for a time at Fortnason. The 
cavalry barracks (which stood within the present market yard 
enclosure), was probably built with stones from O'Donn ell's castle, 
but no vestige of it now remains, the ruins having been removed 
previous to the building of the railed wall which now separates 
the market yard from the street. 

The introduction of the military element into this town upon 

such an extensive scale, though not an unmixed good, nevertheless 

afforded a great impetus to local trade and enterprise, and 

caused large sums of money to circulate in the neighbourhood. 

' The wine trade especially, became, under the patronage of the 

-^ _ 


officers, aD important and lucrative business, and large quantities 
of wiuo — port, sherry, claret, etc., etc. — were annually imported 
direct by the local merchants, who, having established their re- 
putation, carried ou a considerable trade, sending then 1 wines to 
the iii laud counties and even to the southern parts of Ireland. 
Amongst those who were wiue importers in the last century, was 
Archibald Murray, an extensive merchant whose perseverance 
and enterprise, owing to reverses in trade, did not result in an 
accumulated fortune. From one of his letter books, we glean 
some curious particulars of the way in which trade was carried 
on before the introduction of banking facilities. Money re- 
mittances were made by the purchase and transfer of bills of ex- 
change, which wore obtained by the remitter from some outside 
party, and seldom represented the exact sum required to settle 
the transaction. Consignments of wiue from Bordeaux and else- 
where, were occasionally paid for in kind by a return cargo of 
butter and grain. 

Notwithstanding the extent of the trade by sea to Ballyshannoa 
in the last century, the bar was in those days, as it still is, a 
subject of anxiety to the merchant. There is, we believe, still 
hi existence a map and survey, bearing the following title : "The 
survey and soundings of the Ship Channel from the Bar of 
Ballyshannon to Murray's Quay — taken at low water September 
23rd, 1778j by order of Archibald Murray, merchant of Bally- 
shanuon." The following note is added as explanatory of this 
survey: "The present course of the river at the bar, spreads 
nvcr a crooked stony bottom, by which the current there loses 
its force, and runs on the stony shore to the north side. It i3 
therefore humbly proposed, that a wall or battery of stones 
(which are very convenient) should be made on the dotted line, 
A. C, viz.— from the Black Rock to the South Rock, being only 
CO perches, by which the current would leave all the stones to 
the north side, run in a direct confined course through a channel 
where there ib nothing but sand for eight feet deep (proved), so 
that the water would then be as deep at the entrance of the 


harbour, as in any other pnrt of the channel above the black 
rocks, as was the case a few years since, when the current ran in 
the coarse now proposed, by uncommon great floods that winter, 
and must ever continue bo, if confined or assisted in this manner, 
from the great current of fresh water always running outwards. 
By this improvement, which could be made at a small cost of 
.£2000, large ships might trade here at all tides and seasons, as 
the tides rise about 10 to 16 feet, bo that Ballyshannon would 
very soon become a place of great trade, as well from its natural 
advantago of inland navigation of 50 miles, as from its situation 
contiguous to the fisheries, and for the export of beef, fish, butter, 
leather, and other produce. By the increase in trade, a small 
tax on shipping would very soon reimburse this inconsiderable 
expense of £2000, — (Signed) Archibald Murray." 

In the latter part of the last century, Ballyshannon possessed 
a large and well-assorted nursery — the only one in the Connty 
Donegal. The grounds were in the Kmther, or as it was then 
styled " Nadir/' and an extensive trade was done in supplying 
plants and shrubs to this neighbourhood, as well as the counties 
of Fermanagh, Lcitrim, and Sligo. "Unfortunately, the enterprise 
did not esiBt long into the present century, and the town is now 
deprived of the benefit of a local nursery.* 

In the year 1 800, "The Tyrhugh Farming Society'' wasfounded. 
The first meeting was held in the house of Mrs. Pye, in Bally- 
shannon, on the first Monday of November. A committee of 
gentlemen was appointed to promote the following laudable 
objects : — A linen market iuBallyshannon ; to encourage good 
enclosures, and qnickset hedges ; draining laud and growing 
wheat; the improvement and watering of meadow land; reclama- 
tion of bog lands j the cleanest and neatest farm houses, and 
best enclosed kitchen gardens ; best sallow gardens, &c. How 
long this society continued to exert its beneficial influence upon 

■In 1S35 there was .1 nonet; In Cv-IilJ, wliUvh wu furnished with » g>ood collscUon 
ot trees and flowering shrub.-- ; it seems, howevur, tluit the detuaud for tlido wwuet 
fiuffleieut to encourage the continuance o£ the enterprise. 


the farming operations of this neighbourhood we cannot say, 
but it is certain that a Bociety having such useful and necessary 
objects in view is much wanted in our midst at the present day, 
and the benefits which would arise from such a. local institution, 
were it intelligently conducted, cannot be over estimated. 

Ballyshannon did not suffer much by the disturbed state of the 
country in 1798. It was about that period that the Bock 
Barracks were built, and a strong military force, both cavalry and 
infantry, were stationedhere. The accommodation afforded by the 
barracks at the bridge, and those on the rock, was not sufficient, 
and soldiers were posted at Portnason, and at BelJeek. It was 
at this time that the Star Fort was constructed on Mullaghnoshee, 
mid cannon placed there. The town was regarded as a safe 
refuge from more disturbed localities, and numbers of people 
from Sligo and other parts flocked thither, where they remained 
till more peaceful times arrived. 

In October, 1798, a French frigate of 30 guns sailed into 
Donegal, where thoy intended to land, but the militia having 
been called out, and determined preparation fur resistance being 
made by the inhabitants, the vessel beat a retreat. In their haste 
the chain of the anchor snapped, and the anchor still remains 
stuck in the mud, as a memonto of this futile attempt at invasion. 



A LOCAL historical sketch would be incomplete were no particulars 
to be given of its former inhabitants. 

In the preceding chapters, mention has been incidentally made 
of several names, formerly well known in Ballyshannon. There- 
fore it is only necessary to give a short sketch of persons once 
residents of the town, who seem to call for special notice. 

Early in the last century, there lived in Ballyshannon a lady 
named Elizabeth Dixon, some of whose relatives are supposed to 
have been engaged in the wine trade, and to have resided in the 

84 mOGJiAl'IIICAL ANli liti.i;ai;t notices. 

Main Street. There was also another Dickson family living in 
the town at the same time, the descendants of whom are still in 
this neighbourhood, but the two families were in 110 way related 
to each other, though it appears from some existing documents, 
that the first named Dixon family, sometimes at least, spelled 
their name Dickson, which was the usual mode of spelling it in 
this district. Il should, however, he remembered that there have 
becu in past time, frequent instances of persons altering the 
mode of spelling their surnames, sometimes wi m one way 

and sometimes another. 

Elizabeth Dixon seems to have left Ballyshannon about the, 
middle of the last century, and to have gone over to England, 
where she married a farmer named Wollestonecraft, and they 
appear to have resided for a time in the vicinity of London, where 
on 27tU April, 1759, was born to them Maty/ Wolhto)iecr<\ft, who 
was destined to become celebrated by the brilliancy and versatility 
of her literary talents ; the many romantic circumstances 
connected with her career, and finally by her marriage with Will- 
iam Gfdwin. the Philosopher, Novelist, and Historian, and by her 
being the mother of Mary Godwin, who became the second wife 
of the poet Shelley. Amongst the many works of Mary 
Wollstonecraft. may be mentioned " Thoughts on the Education, 
of Daughters" (her first work), one on the French Revolution, 
which brought her into notoriety. " A Vindication of the Eights 
of Woman." A version of Lava ter's Physiognomy; an intercstin"' 
series of "Letters from Norway &c.'* Mary Wollslonecraft's 
daughter also inherited much of her mother's literary power, ;ml 
proved a congenial companion and suitable wife to the poel 
Shelley. Erom anything that is known of Wollstonecraft, iln- 
husband of Elizabeth DLxon, it seems probable that it was from 
the mother's side that the daughter inherited her genius. 

Amongst the names associated with the trade of Ballyshannon 
in former times, was that of the Jennings family. The English 
branch of which spelt the name Jeiti/ns. Francis Jemiing?, v. bo 
was brother of Sir John Jennings or (Jenyus), the grandfather 


of Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, came from Somersetshire and 
settled in Baltyshannon in the latter part, of the reign of Elizabeth. 
His family became connected by marriage with the Forbes, Major, 
Scanlan, and Babington families. His son, who bore the same 
christian name, was extensively engaged in the iron export trade, 
which in the reign of James I. was an important branch of 
business in Ballyshannon. In a former chapter reference was 
made to the Iron Works ol Lough Erne, which were at the period 
of which we are speaking in full operation. The supply of iron 
in England did not, at that time equal the demand, and con- 
sequently all the ore which could be supplied by this country, 
Found a ready and profitable sale in the English market. Most 
of the iron produced by Donegal, Tyrone, and Fermanagh, found 
its way to Ballyshannon, where it was bought at about £11 per 
ton; from tlieuce it was shipped to London, where it realized 
£1 7 per ton . Francis Jennings, jun r. (son of this iron merchant), 
left Ballyshannon and settled in Stockholm, where he became an 
aflluentman,andanatnralizedSwedislniobIeiuan. His son Johnre- 
ceivedm that country the title of "Knight of the Polar Star," and in 
company with his wife, visited Ballyshannon, his father's birthplace. 

Up to this very day the name continues in Sweden, the 
present representative of the family being John Gus. Ad. Mac- 
Jennings, who is connected with one of the most extensive iron 
mines of Sweden, mid is great-grandson of the Francis Jennings 
who left this town for Stockholm. 

The enormous wealth which accumulated in the family owed 
its origin, it is generally admitted, to the profits derived from 
their connexion with the iron trade in Ballyshannon and England, 
bnt owing to the wilful destruction of family papers by some in- 
terested persons, since the death of Wm. Jennings of Acton Hall 
Suffolk, who died intestate in 1708, all traces of legal identifica- 
tion between the English and Irish branches* are lost and a 
rightful owner has not been found for the stored-up wealth. 

* ^T,™ 1 , 0 ' " le d »*™<ll>n<* of the Irish branch, wh» begin their owiwr j n Ball ¥ »hairaon 
Sniriil * C * UP)r "•P"*" 1 ' 111 »DdI»auehti»I pofiUonn both lathis countrj and 





TItomta Crawford, the American sculptor, though claimed by 
our transatlantic friends as a native of New York,* was born in 
Ballyshannon. His father's name was Aaron Crawford, and his 
mother's Alary Gibson. At an early age he accompanied his 
parents to America, but he ever cherished a fond remembrance of 
bis birthplace, and looked forward to the pleasure of revisiting it 

He showed an early turn for art, and learned to draw and to 
carve in wood. In his nineteenth year he was placed with a firm 
of monumental sculptors in New York, At the age of twenty, he 
went to Rome, and became a pupil oF the famous Danish sculptor, 
Thorawaldsen. The first work that brought him into general 
notice was Ms "Orpheus" (1839); after which he produced 
"The Babes in the Wood," " Flora," "Sappho," "Yesta," « The 
Dancers," "The Hunter," etc. His bust of Josiah Quincy, is in 
the Boston AtheMeumj his equestrian statue of George Wash- 
ington, at Richmond, Virginia; his statue of Beethoven, in the 
Boston concert room; and he also did busts of Channin" and 
Henry Clay, and a large number of bas-reliefs of scriptural 
subjects. For the capitol at Washington, Crawford executed 
the colossal figure of "Armed Liberty"; also figures for the 
pediments, and the bronze doors. He went to reside in Rome 
for a time, where his studio was a place of great attraction and 
revisited America in 1844, in which year he married Miss Ward, 
an American banker's daughter. In 1840 and in is -if. he was 
attacked by a tumour on his brain, which caused at last the loss 
of his sight; lie sought relief in Paris, but in vain; and coming 
to London for the same purpose, he died there on the 10th of 
October, 1857. His works are especially noticeable for invention 
and freshness. 

Another Ballyshannon man worthy of notice is Sir Robert 
Campbell^ Bart., who was born on the Rock, towards the close of 
the last century. His father, Air. John Campbell, occupied a 
respectable position in this town, wher e he acquired some 

• According to the American icttunla, ho was Irani st Now York. March 22nd isu 
The Bbo»o account of bis birth hM been confirmed bv liis relatives here m well ™ hi 
the published statement of the wolptort mother ««"><* uin., is wea as by 


property which still remains in the futility. ilis son Robert left 
Kiik'-iKiiiiKin when young, and wen.1 out to India, where be 
became connected with the East India Company, of which he was 
subsequently appointed a director. In 1831 he was created a 
baronet, in recognition of his services in the promotion of Indian 
commerce. He spent the latter part of his life in London, and 
re-visited his native town, which, amid all his prosperity lie was 
never ashamed to own; and daring his public career in London, 
he always showed a disposition to lend a friendly hand to all his 
fellow-townsmen, whom he had the opportunity of advancing. 
He died in England at a ripe age, respected and beloved by all 
who knew liiin. 

A well-known personage in Ballyshannon was Tom Patten, a 
pensioner of the 28th Regiment, who died not very many years 
ago. The recollection of his tall gaunt, figure and shambling 
gait, is stdl fresh in the memory of many, but the exploit by 
which he distinguished himself while in active service, in the 
Peninsular War, is worthy of being recorded. 

When the regiment was on duty in Spain, and during the 
■■■i- ■ ■mil in i.f Inutilities, al the barrier between the Knglisli and 
French forces, was a rivulet, and our soldiers had established an 
underhand traffic in tobacco and brandy with the French, in the 
following manner; — a large stone was placed in that part of the 
rivulet screened by the wood, opposite to a French sentry, on 
which our soldiers used to put a canteen with a quarter dollar, 
for which it was very soon filled with brandy. One afternoon, 
about dusk, Tom Fatten had put down his canteen with the 
nsual money in it, and retired; bnt though he returned several 
times no cmilceii was there. Be waited till the moon rose, bnt 
still found nothing on the stone. When it was near morning, 
Tom thought he saw the same sentry there, who was on duty 
when he put his canteen down; so he sprang across the stream, 
seized the unfortunate Frenchman, wrested his firelock from him, 
and actually shaking liim out of bis accoutrements, recrossod, 
vowing he would keep them till he got his brandy. Two or three 



hours afterwards, a flag of truce was displayed on the French side 
of the barrier, and an officer of the regiment having gone down,, 
found the officer of the French picquet in a state of great alarm,, 
saying that a most extraordinary circumstance had occurred 
(relating the adventure), and stating that if the sentry's arms 
were not immediately returned, his own commission would be 
forfeited, as well as the life of the poor sentry. A sergeant 
at once sent to the picquet-house to search for the articles, when 
Tom Patten came up, scratching his head and saying "he had 
them in pawn, for a canteen of brandy, and a quarter dollar!" 
The arms were at once given up to the French officer, who was 
delighted to get them back so easily. The Frenchman, stepping 
behind, put two five-franc pieces into Patten's hand. Tom how- 
ever was not to be bribed by an enemy, and returned the money. 
He was then put into confinement) and tried by court martial, 
which sentenced him to receive three hundred lashes. When the 
time came for the carrying out of the punishment, Tom was 
brought out, and his sentence read in presence of the assembled 
regiments ; the General remarked upon the nature of the offence, 
and the possible consequence of Patten's imprudence, but he said 
that, having taken into consideration the gallantry of the offender 
on former occasions, at the passage of the Douro, and Talavera, 
he was resolved to remit his sentence. On Tom's release he got 
three hearty cheers from his company for his good fortunv. 

In the last century, and even at the beginning of the present 
one, duels were of frequent occurrence. A slight dispute was 
often followed by a challenge, which was always accepted, and in 
some quiet corner, attended by their seconds, the combatants 
settled their "affairs of honour," too often with deadly result. 

At the beginning of the present century theatrical performances, 
which were largely patronized by the military, were frequently 
given in Hallyshaimoii ; and Lady Mmyan, then a young girl, 
accompanied by her father Owenson, performed in the town. 
After one of these entertainments in the spring of 1802, a dispute 
arose between Lieut. McGovcrn, of the Northumberland Regiment 


of Infantry, then stationed here, and Geo. Henderson, an attorney. 
The quarrel resulted in a challenge, and early on the morning of 
the 2nd March, the two combatants, attended by their seconds, 
met in a field on the riverside at Lapnta. The signal was given 
(the dropping of a handkerchief), and Henderson's shot took 
deadly effect— Lieut. McGovern was killed. The duel was 
witnessed by many bystanders, and henceforth the field was known 
as McGovern's Meadow. 

The body of the fallen man was bronght to Ballyshannon, and 
buried with military honours in AinUagtinashee. He was a 
favourite in his regiment and great sorrow was felt amongst his 
<i unrades for his untimely end. The anger of the soldiers against 
Henderson waxed so hot that they attacked his honso in Castle 
Street, and lie had to escape from his dwelling to avoid summary 
vengeance being wreaked upon him, 

A tombstone, with a curious epitaph,* was placed over the 
grave of McGoveru by his brother officers. 

Another duel was fonght on the island of Inissamer, but 
neither party was wounded ; and a duel with stoords was fought 
in the town, but was brought to art abrupt termination through 
the intervention of a lady, who appeared on the scene and dis- 
armed (lie belligerents. 

In the last century flourished the "Ballyshaimou Union Hunt," 
and an interesting memento of its existence is still preserved in 
a large punch jug of elegant shape, upon which are portrayed 
scenes from the hunting field, and the initials F. G. (Francis 
Gillespie, who was master of the hounds, and lived at Dauby). 
This jug was specially made in China, and was brought over from 
that rounir-y at a time when the Chinese ports were closed to 
European commerce. While speaking of hunts, mention should 
be made of the exploit of a gentleman formerly well-known here 
— Kit Allingham. One day in the winter time, while hunting a fox 
tn the Knather district, reynard bent his course towards the 
river, a little below Laputa; the hounds and riders followed for 

• Sue Chapter gn Parochial Ekturj . 



awliile, bat Kit Allingharu pressed forward his horse, breasted 
the stream and crossed over to the opposite bank. 

A little below- this point of tlie river was the scene of another 
curious equestrian exploit. In the Knather, not far from the 
main road, lived, towards the close of the eighteenth century, 
a tall swarthy woman who was locally known as Kathleen 
Bioee, i.e., Yellow Kathleen; she dwelt aloue in a small cottage, 
lier only companions being a white mare, and a conple of large 
dogs, all of whom attended her in her rambles abroad. Kathleen 
rode (without side saddle) and bareback; and one day, wanting 
to get her mare shod, and the smithy being on the other side of 
tlie water, she crossed the river a little above the rapids, hence 
they have since borne the name "Kathleen's Fall.'" 

Another feminine name associated with our river, but of a very 
different class, is that of "O'More's Fair Daughter," or "The 
Hawk of Ballyshannon." This is the title of a song written and 
composed by Carol an. the great Irish musician. It was finely 
translated into English by Thomas Furlong; tho ode, which 
contains seventy-one lines, is too long for insertion here, but as a 
specimen, we may quote the following: — 
"Kejolee ! rejoice ! with harp aud voice, 

For the Hawk of Erne is near us ; 

She comes with a smile our cares to beguile 

She comes with a glance to cheer us : 

Not loved and lovely alone is she, 

But bounteous as high-born dames should he. 

On she moves, while the eyes of all 

11. iil tlie ■_;]-. .1111.1 where hai footstep* udl ; 

Sweet are her tones as the measur'd store, 

"Which the weary weary bee 

Culls from the flowers he lingers o'er 

When he wanders far aud free. 

Sweeter far than the cuckoo's lay 

That rings on the ear on a summer's day ; 

But come, let this the rest declare 

In the bumper flowing o'er, 

We pledge the fairest of all the fair 

The daughter of Old O'More." * 

•See fUrdinuiu's Irish Minstrelsy, vol, 1. 


The tune of Carol's "Hawk of .tlullyslmnnon" is a fine 
stirring air, with the genuine Irish ring in it, A composition, 
entitled the Donegal Pvlka, which introduces Carolan's original, 
was published by Mr. Oliver, while bandmaster of the Donegal 

The following poem, the original of which is in Spanish, was 
written by Dr. D. Joaquin Lorenzo Yilhumcvu, chaplain to the 
King of Spain, and Knight of the Royal and Distinguished Order 
of Carlos III, Viilanueva left Spain owing to the political 
troubles of the period, and lived for some time hi Ireland. He 
wrote and published wtflfl in this country a work on Irish history, 
also a volume of Spanish poetry, which was printed by sub- 
scription in Dublin, in 1833. 

During his residence in Ireland, he must have visited Bally- 
shannon, and the view from the summit of Sheegus Hill, its sides 
shining wiih the town, and "the river-tide," 

separating tins "mountainous slope" from the great Darby 
range beyond, seems to have suggested 

"Ballyshannon, flowery village, 
Flowery village, once my home 1 
Peaceful rest among thy mountains, 
That afar off see me roam. 
Left my little flock for ever — 
Never by the river- tide 
Shall I tend tho merry kidling 
Leaping by its mother's side ; 
On the upland pasture never 
Pass the glowing noon away. 
Shaded 'neath the wavering wild rose 
Looking o'er the dreary bay. 
Bear I these alone for dower — 
Flowery village, once my homo ! — 
Sweet old times and songs of childhood 
In my breast, where'er I roam, 

• Translated from the Spanish by Dr. George Styrrsvn, Dubtm, to whom vre are in- 
debted Cor tbe above particulars rasrivctijijr Vlllatiueva. 


On this mountain slope above thee, 
Where I spent my happy time, 
'Mid the fruit my hands had planted 
Gladdened by thy distant chime, 
Hero, ere leaving thee for ever, 
Hero 1 light a fire— tbe last, 
'Mid my oot's down -broken ruins 
And the ruins of the past. 
Nought remains of all my labour — 
Nought but broom and nettles rank, 
Thistle, gorse, and wild weed cluster 
Over meadow, field, and bank, 
Burst in flames dry wood and bramble. 
Light the ruins of my home, 
And the sad steps of its master, 
Who afar off now must roam. 

Seeking some fair spot of safety, 
O'er the hills my path shall lie. 
Sleeping, mayhaps, in their bosoms, 
'Neath the vigil of the sky- 
Sleeping, may haps, by the fireside, 
Of some shepherd, rough and kind. 
With my heart gone back in slumber 
To the land I left behind ; 
Or it may be in tho valleys, 
Wander through the gentle spring, 
Tilling 'mid the lowland gardens, 
When green leaves are opening ; 
Or upon the moving waters, 
Seek the good gifts of the sea, 
Till another tempest coming, 
Drive me off, as now from thee. 

But amid the cities never, 
Never shall my pathway lie, 
Where great walls shut out the mountains, 
And dark smoke the holy sky, 
Ballyshannon, flowery village, 
"Flowery village once my home. 
Peaceful rest among thy mountains, 
That afar off see me roam. " 



In by-gone (lays there lived a race of musicians in Ireland, 
which have become extinct. For such there was always an open 
door and a hearty welcome. They were received and treated as 
honoured guests, and in return, charmed the ears of the company 
with their performance on the pipes or harp. Mauhnnett, a 
famous Irish piper, lived in great style, and kept servants, grooms, 
and hunters, etc. His pipes were small, and of ivory, tipped with 
silver and gold. One day there was a large dinner party in 
Cork, and Maedonnell was sent for to play for the company 
during dinner; a table and chair were placed for him on the 
landing outside the room, a bottle of claret and a glass on the 
table, and a servant waiting behind the chair designed for him, 
the door left wide open. He made his appearance, took a rapid 
survey of the preparation for him, filled his glass, stepped to the 
dining-room door, looked into the room and said, "Mr. Grant, 
your health and company!" drank it off, threw half -a-crown on 
his table, saying to the servant, " There, my lad, is two shillings 
for my bottle of wine, and keep the sixpence for yourself." He 
ran out of the house, mounted his hnnter and galloped off, followed 
by his groom!! Of this race of musicians, was Patrick Hahj, 
the srentleinan piper of Bailyshannon, a skilful performer, who 
was much songht after, in the society of the neighbourhood, in the 
latter part of the last century. Haly was a burgess of the cor- 
poration of Bailyshannon. He was born in 1748, and died in 
1813. *H;ily, like others of his class, was a jovial fellow and 
fund of good living. He was a frequent visitor at Castle- 
caldwell, and the sound of his pipes often enlivened the musical 
parties which Sir James Caldwell gave in the " St. Patrick" 
barge on Lough Erne, Some local rhymater has perpetuated 
the remembrance of Haly's visits to Castiecaldwell in a "song' 
which was at one time a great favourite, but is now almost for- 
gotten. The following verse will be sufficient to show the 
character of the composition: — 

• An Interesting portrait In oil« of IMj- 1b atill In distance, 
as playing the (piitar. 

In it lie is represented 


" Willi his pipes and songs 
And chanter longs, 
Hi.' sits in high decorum. 
And at Lis ase* he snuffs and plays, 
And pushes about the jorum. 
Amongst the officers quartered in the old barrack at the bridge, 
in the hist century, was the Hon, Robert Stewart, afterwards 
Lord Castlereagh. An officer's wife, known as the " Green Lady" 
(from the colour of her dress), was said to have fallen by the hand 
of her husband, while in this barrack, and many strange stories 
were whispered abont the house being haunted. Whether or not 
Lord Castlereagh bad his imagination excited by these rumours, 
we know not, but it is certain he related several strange circum- 
stances many years after, at a dinner party in Paris, one of those 
present being Sir Walter Scott, who afterwards referred to it in 
his writings. 

The circumstance is graphically described in a poem entitled 
the "Goblin Child of Ballyshannon," by William Allingnam:— 
" A Kegiment, filing row by row, 
One evening ninety years ago, 
As wintry dusk was drawing late. 
Through Bally shannon's old bridge.gate. 
Changed pass-words with the pacing guard, 
Li:[!-k1u'.Ji.'i1 into the barrack-yard, 
And halted willingly— for tired 
The men wore, drooping, soaked, and mirad ; 
And ev'e the highest in command, 
With trembling knee and fevered haDd, 
Felt on his horse almost as jaded 
And glad to end the march aa they did. 

No wonder then that he withdrew 
Betimes to bed ; and though 'twas true, 
His quarters here proved strange enough ; 
Suntched as they seemed, with trimming rough, 
From long disuse ; yet in a pile 
Heaped on the hearth in good old style, 

* The local way of sounding the word cave. 




Bogwood and tnrf with jovial roar 
Threw ruddy blaze on wall and floor, 
And tbe new-comer thought he might, 
On such a fagged November night, 
Ev'n in a rougher place have found 
A door to sleep's Enchanted Ground. 

Yet when ho tried, he tried in vain, 

A dim, fantastic, endless train 

Of stirring fancies vexed bis brain ; 

Till as tbe weary hours went by 

He ever grew, ho knew not why, 

More anxious, and his heart was sick. 

And the pulse in his pillowed ear beat thick. 

The wide half-furnished barrack-room 

Was full of heavy midnight gloom, 

Save when the sinking coals gave birth 

To smouldering flashes on tbe hearth, 

And from the single darkness mailo 

A thousand ghostly forms of shade, 

On which the waker gazed and gazed 

Until his thoughts grew mazed and mazed, 

And down at length his aching lids wore weighed. 

When suddenly— Oh Heaven 1 —the fire 
Leaped up into a dazzling pyre, 
And boldly from the brightened hearth 
A Naked Child stepped forth. 

"With a total, frozen start, 
•A bound— a pausing of the heart, 
He saw. It came across the floor, 
Its size increasing more and more 
At every step, until a dread 
Gigantic Form stood by bis bed. 

Glaring for some seconds' space 

Down into his rigid face — 

Back it drew, with steadfast look, 

Dwindling every step it took, 

Till the Naked Child returned 

To the fire, which brightly burned 

To greet it : then black sudden gloom 



Sunk upon tho silent room, 
Silent, save the monotone 
Of the river flowing down 
Through the arches of the bridge, 
And beneath hia casement ledge. 

This happened when our island still 
Had nests of gobline left, to 611 
Each mouldy nook and corner close, 
Likc^spiders in an ancient bouse. 
And this one lead within tho face 
Intruding on its dwelling-place, 
Linea of woe, despair, and blood, 
By spirits only understood ; 
As mortals now can read the same 
In the letters of his name, 
Who in that haunted chamber lay, 
"When we call him— Castlereagh," * 



In a former chapter reference has been made to the extensive 
trade carried on in the importation of wine and the exportation 
of fish and iron from this port. 

Notwithstanding the serious obstacle which the Bar presented 
to the successful carrying on of the shipping business, the port 
of Ballyshannon was, from its proximity to Lough Erne, in for- 
mer times the channel of supply for the largo inland districts of 
Fermanagh and Cuvan. [is material advantages foi such have 
been well expressed by a writer in the » Gazateer of Ireland." 
"Ballyshannon is favourably situated for trade: it occupies the 
position, of the capital of a considerable extent of rich agricul- 
tural country; it stands at the junction of the sea with a water- 
line which descends from a great distance inland, and has very 
ar ge lacustrine expansions and comm unications by still-water 

• lioO.-Tlie rjom is st,U known as Lord Cattlereagh't Chamier. 



navigation with a great portion of the north of Ireland; and it 
overlooks the grand sea-path to America, and seems to court 
much of the commerce arising from the inter-communication of 
that great continent with Europe." 

For more than a hundred years past, various schemes have 
been proposed for deepening and otherwise improving the Bar., 
In (lie spring of 1785, a survey and report of the Bar was made 
by Richard Evans, an engineer of eminence in his day. His 
proposal was to direct the course of the river to the south side of 
the rocks, by which plan he expected to have from eight to ten 
feet at low water, on the Bar. The entire cost of his specification, 
including the necessary breakwater, was £2,080. He also pro- 
posed the construction of a canal between the harbour and Lough 
Erne, and this part of his proposal was attempted, for in 1789, 
a company was formed under the style of the " Lough Erne and 
Ballyghannon Navigation Company," aud a sum of money was 
granted by government for the purpose, but the rebellion of 
1798 put as end to the project, and a solitary lock and some 
rongh cuttings at Belleek are all that remain of the enterprise. 

In 1832, Robert Stevenson and Son, the eminent engineers 
were employed to make a survey of our Bar and Harbour, with 
a view to tha improvement of the port, and the construction of a 
tramway to Belleek. Their plan was simply the deepening of 
the Bar aud "Patch," to the extent of three feet, and the removal 
of a portion of the Black Rock. The estimated cost of this work 
was £5,5 Gl 2s. The cost of extension of the quay was esti- 
mated at £397 2s. The tramway by which they proposed to 
connect the harbour with Lough Erne, was to commence with a 
deep cutting upon leaving the harbour. It was then, by means 
of a small bridge or tunnel of GO feet in length, to pass under 
the Main Street, immediately above the Barracks, and follow the 
north side of the river, crossing it at the Mullans by a bridge of 
four arches, and terminating at the quay of Belleek. The esti- 
mated coat of this work was £18,133 4s. 9d. Following up 
Messrs , Stephenson's proposals, an effort wa8 made by those 



interested in the trade of the town to obtain a grant from govern- 
ment; this however was refused, and Colonel Cmml!//, with that 
libei . ■tcristie of his family, expended from his private 

resources upwards of £'i,OQ0 m removing rocks and stones from 
the Bar mouth. Many thousand tons of stone were blasted ami 
taken off the "Patch," which was therefore considerably deepened, 
and a permanent iinproremmi did certainly result from this ex- 
penditure, but unfortunately the requisite funds were not forth- 
coming for the completion of the scheme. 
At present the following are the soundings on I ho Bar: — 
Low water at springs, 3.1 feet ; high water at springs, I3J to 
14 feet. 
Low water at neaps, 4 feet; high water at neaps, 9 feet 
In 1852, by order of the Board of Public Works, a fresh 
survey of the Bar and Ilarbour was made by Mr. William 
Forsyth, C.E. This gentleman's proposal was the erection of a 
circular pier, faced with cut stone, on the South Rock, of 40 feet 
average diameter, and rising 10 feet in height above the level of 
ordinary spring tides, and to connect this pier with the Black 
Bock by a mole of rough blocks of atone. This plan would do 
away with the north entrance, and render the south entrance deep 
enough to admit vessels of 14 or 15 feet draught. The esti- 
mated cost of this work was £10,000; and besides, it was re- 
commended that a small Lighthouse should be put on the round 
pier head, for the guidance of vessels entering the port at night. 
The necessity for this will at once appear when it is remembered 
that the time of high water at spring tides being six o'clock, in 
winter it is dark at the very time vessels can cross the Bar. The 
construction of a protecting breakwater on the south side of tho 
entrance was also proposed, and there is little doubt that had 
Mr. Forsyth's plans been carried out by the Board of Trade, and 
supplemented by a small tug steamer, Ballyshannon would now 
occupy an nnportaut position amongst tho seaport towns of 
Ireland, instead of having in a great measure to draw its supplies 
from Derry, Dundalk, etc. 

TKAUK— PAST AMI ri: i;-[-.vr. 99 

Amongst the trades and occupations formerly carried on in 
Baliyshannon, the fallowing have fallen into disuse — fish salters, 
bacon cnrers, salt manufacturers, brewers, distillers, soap boilers, 
gun makers, confectioners, nurserymen, breeches makers, dyers, 
weavers, linen dealers, iron exporters, direct wine, merchants, and 
tobacco and snuff manufacturers. To a decreased population, 
and an inereascd facility of communication with the largo manu- 
i'uet uring centres, tins decay of trades is mainly owing, bat sb am 
and improved machinery have also abolished many of the old 

In the last century there was a distillery at the head of the 
town (at the foot of the "Kiln Well" lane), some of the ruins 
still remain. Owing to its distance from the water it was ill 
adapted for its purpose, and fell into disuse. 

The Old Manor Mill stood on the south side of the fall, and 
it was here that tenants were obliged by their leases, according 
to ancient usage, to bring their corn to be ground. Upon the 
site of this mill, was erected by the "Baliyshannon Distillery 
Company " a large bnihliug, now a rootless ruin, and in it was 
carried on an extensive trade. The distillery began to work in 
1827, and ceased in 1852. While in full operation, upwards of 
100,000 gallon* of whiskey were manufactured annually. 

Formerly Baliyshannon possessed a large Custom House staff, 
whose head quarters were in the house built by Sir IT. Caldwell, 
in the 17th century. In those days of timber and sngar duties 
the customs tariff was so extensive that the shipping trade of the 
town n-ave abundant employment to these officials. A I muse 
stood below the gas works, in the "Boat House hole," in which 
sugar and other commodities were bonded, and the approach to 
thfs was formerly called the "Dirty Causeway." The " bonding 
yards" and stores on the Mall all testify to the shipping enter- 
prises of by-gone days. In 1831, 61 coasting, and 12 foreign 
vessels entered the port, in all 5,G00 tons. 

The following, amongst other articles, were then imported:— 
Now York, pot ashes; Barilla, oak bark; coals— Liverpool, 



Kendal, Scotch, and Malting; coffee, dye stuffs, logwood, madder, 
abumac, corned herrings; Swedish, Russian, and British iron ; 
lead, oils, pitch, rosin, slates, sugar, Menial timber, American 
timber, oak, mahogany, tallow, tar, tobacco. Besides these, 
extensive importations of Norway timber were occasionally made. 

In the summer of 1832, the terrible plague of cholera broke 
out in this town and neighbourhood. It first appeared at 
Bnndoran, and it was supposed the disease was carried there by 
a smack from Liverpool which called to take in salmon. The 
mortality of BallyshannoD during that dreadful visitation was 
small, compared with many neighbouring towns, bnt the panic 
which prevailed at that time, gave a serious check to the trade 
of the town. The total number of deaths from cholera itr 
Ballyslmnnon was 93; recoveries, 1.V2. 

In 1835, the exports were 10,704 quarters of oats, value, 
XI 1,1 30, and the imports amounted to .£9,524. 

The salmon and eel fisheries have been from the time of the 
ODonnells down to the present, of great local importance. 
From the time "Speaker" Conolly purchased the property from 
the Folliot family, the Erne fisheries remained in the possession 
of tlic OonoHys ■■<* landlords till their recent sale, Amongst 
those who worked them were Mr. Major (Provost of Batly- 
ehannon): Mr. Daniel; The Bight Hon. Thomas Conolly; 
Messrs, Richardson and Little; Lady Louisa Conolly; Mr. 
Edmonds; Dr. P. Shcil; and lastly S. Sheil, Esq., M.D., who held 
them till the fisheries were sold in the Landed Estates Court to 
the present owners Messrs. Moore and Alexander. 

Before the days of railways and steamers, most of the salmon- 
were salted and enred before being exported to England am] the 
Mediterranean ; in later times when the ice-pacling system was 
introduced, they were shipped in smacks for England, some of 
which made the run from Ballysliannon to Liverpool in two cloys 
and the eels were transmitted thence in well boats, a kind of 
lighter containing large tanks or wells, for the preservation of 
the eels, and when railway communication reached Enniskillen^ 









































cart3 laden with boxes used to start every day from the fish 
house to catch ttie earliest train for Dmulalk — the point of ship- 
ment. The following is the weight of salmon caught half a 

This shows the average annual weight of fish taken, for the seven 
years enumerated, to be about sixty tons, As many as 2,000 
fish have been taken in one day, and 400 in a single haul. The 
average weight is about 9 lbs> \>ul many much heavier fish are 
often caught. From time immemorial Ballyshannon has been a 
favourite resort of gentlemen fond of the "gentle art" of Isaac 
Walton, and no inconsiderable sum is circulated in the town 
through their annual visits. Sir Humphrey Davy, who more than 
once enjoyed the pleasure of angling on our river, thus mentions it 
in \\\-i Salnumia — L 'I should place the Erne, at Bnllyshannon, as 
now tho first river for salmon fishing from the banks with a rod, in 
the British dominions; and the excellent proprietor of it, Dr. SheiJy 
id liberal and courteous to all gentlemen fly fishers. ... I 
have taken in the Erne two or three large salmon in the morning." 
In another part of his book, Sir Humphrey describes the peculi- 
arities of tho Gillaroo trout, and mentions having caught them at 
Longh Melvin. Tho I rede of fly-tying has always been profitably 
followed in Ballyshannon, and thetown has always possessed 
persons well skilled iu the mysteries of the art ; indeed without 
the assistance of sach experts, who know every curve and pool 
in the river, and who watch the atmospheric changes with as 
much assiduity as the staff of the Meteorological office, it would 
be impossible for strangers to obtain good sport, 




102 tkade— pai-t .\sv tttxtsart. 

In former times, the m annr act flW of salt was carried on hem, 
both at Portnason ant! Milltown. The nit water used in the 
process, was brought from the Hnriu large boats constructed for 
the purpose, and it was no uncommon thing to see one of these 
lumbering crafts towed canal-fash i<m toPortnasom by a horse, 
who walked or waded on the edge of the sands. The imp- >rtul ion 
of English salt, long ago put an end to this local industry. 

The weaver's loom and the housewife's spinning wheel, once so 
common in our n ei gh bo urh ood, have become scarce, and in a fi<w 
years more, the spinning wheel, once regarded as a necessary pi 
of furniture in the country house, will be regarded as an anti- 
quarian relic. In the early part of the present century a linen 
market was in existence here, and the weavers bronchi I 
webs to the market which was presided over by an inspector and 
stamper, both of whom were appointed by the "Hoard of Trustees 
of the linen and hempen manufacturers." These officials were 
for the purpose of preventing frauds, such as "fine laps," "short 
lengths," "thick selvages," and "uneven cloth," and the market 
stamp was impressed on perfect pieces only, as the stampers !t:id 
to allow compensation whenever their seal was found on the 
defective pieces. In 1828 this Board was dissolved, and the. 
trade appears to have dwindled away afterwards. More than 
twenty years ago a scheme was set on foot for the establishment 
of a spinning mill on a large scale at Laputu, and a considerable 
sum was expended in the erection of a suitable building, which 
however was never completed, and the building has since b 
tenanted by a body of rooks, who alone disturb the silence of 
this gloomy-looking structure. It is much to be regretted that 
some one of capital and enterprise has not taken this building, 
and ntdised the vast water power, second to none in the country, 
which has so long been allowed to ran waste. The building 
would be leased for ever, we understand, for little or nothing to 
anyone undertaking to establish a factory iu it; and considering 
the small outlay which would be requisite to complete the edifice 
and water course, and its close proximity to both railway and 


seaport, the success of such an enterprise, if undertaken by com- 
petent hands, would be certain, and ihe benefit to the surrounding 
neighbourhood substantial. 

The manufacture of help, a substance formerly much used in 
gloss-making and soap-boiling, bot HOW chiefly used for the 
production of iodine, is curried on about our snores, and is ex- 
ported annually from Bally shannon. The marine plants from 
which the kelp is made, are collected and dried in the open air; 
they are then thrown into a kelp kiln (a kind of grave-like ex- 
cavation, lined with large stones), and burned. The melted 
alkali accumulates in the bottom, and when cold, forms the hard 
bluish mass called kelp. 

In the first half of the present century Bally shannon was in 
direct and frequent communication with America and Norway, 
as well as other foreign countries, and many of the vessels which 
plied this trade were owned by Ballyshannon merchants. The 
brisk demand for building materials which then existed, gave a. 
great impetus to local enterprise, and large consignments of 
timber from Russia, Norway, and Canada, were frequently being 
received. Ballyshaimon, it should be remembered, was at that 
time the chief emporium for Fermanagh and the neighbouring 
counties. One important result of this direct communication 
with America was the facilities it offered for emigration; and 
many were the persons who left their native place, and sought 
a home in the new world. In 1831 the brig "Mayflower," 
belonging to Mr. James MeGowan, an enterprising merchant of 
Ballyshannon, made two trips to America, conveying a number 
of passengers. On one of these occasions she accomplished the 
run in eighteen days. The " Josephine " also brought away a 
large number of emigrants in 1S34. 

In the spring of 1836, the brig "Jane" left our port for 
Quebec, with 100 passengers, all of whom were industrious 
farmers and mechauics. She was comfortably berthed and 
provided. The brigs " Hope " and " Charlotte " (the latter 400 
tons), both bound for St. John's, N. B. also left our shores the 





same year with many passengers. In the following year th& 
"Samuel Freeman" and the "Elizabeth" sailed from tin's port 
to St. John's with passengers. 

The tide of emigration swept from our midst many of our 
ablest artisans and labourers, and made a serious reduction in 
the population. In 1831, the census of the town was close on 
4,000. In 1841, 4,307. In 1831, the population of the Kilbarron 
section was 2,385, and in 1841, the same portion contained, 
2,423. It is a carious fact that though the figures are larger iti 
1841 than in 1831, the town contained fewer houses, when the 
number of inhabitants was at its highest point. In 1831, there 
were 597 houses; in 1841, 409 houses.* Since 1841, the popu- 
lation steadily decreased. In 18Gl,it was 3,197; while in 1871, 
the date of the I , it had fallen to 2,969. 

The merchants and those interested in the progress of the town 
had long felt the want of banking facilities and Hie difficulty of 
transacting business without such an establishment; and in 1834, 
a numerous and influential meeting was held "for the purpose of 
adopting such as might appear essential for the for- 

mat ion of a bank in Baltyshannon." A committee iraa formed for 
the purpose of arranging with the Bank of Ireland or Provincial 
Bank for the establishment of a local branch, and the following 
resolution, amongst others, was carried: — "That the want of a 
banking establishment in this extensive and populous district has 
been productive of much injury and inconvenience to trade, and 
is daily becoming more so. That Ballyshannon being by much 
the largest town in the county of Donegal, having a considerable 
import and export trade, in the midst of an extensive and populoas 
district, where auBlerons fairs are hold, and the principal inter- 
course between Comiauglit, and the north takes place; having & 
Custom Ilouse, an Excise Office, an extensive Distillery, and 
being an important Military Station, it lias decided advantaged 
(even at present), over any other town in the county for the 
forming of such an establishment." 

* Gaseteer ul Iruiand. 


The result of this meeting was that the Directors of the 
Provincial Bank of Ireland established a branch in the following 
year, which has since that time contributed ranch to the pros- 
perity and well-being of the town and surrounding district. 
The bank commenced its operations on the Mall, but soon re- 
moved to the more centra] and commodious premises which it 
still occupies. In 1809, a branch of the Belfast Bank was also 
opened in Ballyshannon, and its business is now conducted in the 
handsome structure which that company has recently er ■■■ 
The clock-tower, facing north and south, i* a conspicuous object, 
and the bell on which the hoars are struck, can bu heard at a 
considerable distance outside the town. 

The prices obtained for market produce in Ballyshannon forty 
years ago, offer a great contrast to present rates. 

In May, 1S33, the following are a few examples of the prices 
of commodities: — 

Potatoes (old), Id. per stone; new potatoes, 3d.; beef and 
mutton, 5d, and 5^d. per lb.; lamb, '-'s. Gd. per quarter; firkin 
batter, 8d. per lb.; fresh butter (18 ounces) Gd. per lb.; Bally- 
shannon whiskey, 7s. 8d. per imperial gallon. 

The prices of coals, both English and Scotch, were about the 
same as at present. Tea and sugar were considerably dearer, 
and consequently but little used iu comparison with present con- 

Iu olden times there were not so many fairs held in the town; 
four only in the year, viz., on April 4th; the Tuesday before 
JunelHh; September 18th; and Tuesday before November 11th. 
The fair held on September 18 th was, as it still remains, the great 
event of the year, and in former times was much larger than it 
now is . It began on the 1 8th, and was continued for the following 
days. The first day was principally devoted to cattle sales, and 
the following ones to lighter merchandise; pedlars and hawkers 
used to bring their goods from all parts of Ireland, and con- 
siderable sales were made at this gala time. The great crowda 


TtiAIil: IM-iT AN'1> PRESENT. 

which used to congregate at the harvest fair, often made it diffi- 
cult to preserve the peace of the town, for it should be remem- 
bered that Bally shannon was nut, even half a century ago, the 
peaceable lair-abiding place it now is. ( )n more than one occasion 
a detachment of soldiers had to be called into requisition to quell 
the, riotous mob fit the fair; and in the 1939 fair, the police were 
attacked by a ''mob of idlers" who took their bayonets from them 
and beat them desperately. 

Education ami enlightenment have done much during the past 
fifty years, to smooth down what was rugged and uncouth, and 
as they become more widely diffused in our midst, a further im- 
provement will lie sure to follow, 

Before the era of steam, the Dublin mail did not arrive till 
late hi the afternoon. In 1824, the postal arrangements were 
as follows: — 

Arrival of Dublin mail every day {except Monday), 3 minutes 
' in the evening. Dispatch every morning (except Friday), 
at G. 

Office hours. 7 in the morning till 1! at night. 

Reference having been made to various branches of industry 
which have become extinct in our district, it is only proper to 
mention those still in Operation around us, besides the ordinary 
haadi ittnon to every town, These are, flour milling, meal 

grinding, flax scutching, brick making, limo burning, &c, &c. 
The only mill ; >t BaUyshflOlMH] which is worked by the vast water 
power of the Brae, is that of Mr. Neely, who supplies the town 
and surrsBndrag Bsighbonrhood with flour and meal, and has 
■bo, on the same premises, improved machinery for sawing all 
kinds of timber. There are also some small mills at the abbey 
which are kept busily going; and though not belonging to the 
town, the porcelain works of Messrs. D, McBirney and Co. of 
Be I leek, deserve special mention, as the first and only establish- 
ment of the, kind in Ireland. 

works have been erected at an ennrmous outlay, and 
have turned out work second to none in the kingdom. The- 

AVTKjUmES. 107 

merits of tlieir manufacture have been acknowledged in England, 
Prance, and America, to all of which consignments are being 
sent, and it is to be hoped that the proprietors may reap a rich 
harvest of profit, iu return for their spirit and enterprise. Much 
of the raw material for the lielleek ware is imported to Bally- 
shannon, where the proprietors have a quay and depot. 

The general aspect of the town has of late years decidedly 
improved; the shipping has increased;* the markets are larger 
than formerly; more money is being circulated throughout the 
country. With these indications, we may fairiy indulge the hope 
that the ebb-tide of our prosperity has turned ; that coming years 
may bring fresh capital and enterprise to our depopulated town ; 
and that the ruined houses (unfit for human habitation), which 
now mar the appearance of the streets, may be superseded by 
respectable, and substantial huuse-s, the existence of which would 
induce new comers to take np their permanent abode in our midst. 



Those who are interested in the relics of the past ages of Ireland, 
will find in our neighbourhood many existing memorials of pre- 
lii.-iuric and early Christian times. Those of greatest antiquity 
belong to the class of sepulchral monuments. In ancient times the 
remains of the dead were disposed of by inhumation, or burying 
the body whole, and by cremation or urn-burial, which existed 
extensively in the North of Ireland. 

Of cromlechs^ (supposed to be derived from a Celtic word 
crow, i.e. crooked — bowed or bending — lech a stone), our district 

• The imports by sea are now over 3,000 tous annually, 
i The term Cromlech, a* applied to tliiji class of Iri^h AntUiniiiex, la not an old Irish 
word nod la not found in any of the old Writings. Indued 11 is not a|.|>ri'iiriate, u» it is 
believed that these eyelbpean tomb* were not coitKtmctcd wkh $t&pinff roof*, but that 
the incline which il> s generally show la duo to the jinking of Hie ground 

beneath diem. 

108 AsnyrmBi. 

presents some wry interest bag examples. These monomeiits when 
pert' ■ or more unhewn Btones, ly ao 

placed as to form a small enclosure, over which a large fiat .■■ 
is laid. The position of the cow-ring stone is generally si-. 
and to this drooinBta&oe the first part of the name probably 
refers. Owing to the (;• ■!' their being found to uontam 

cinerary urns holding portions oi calcined bones, and sometimes 
human skeletons, it is believed they were constructed for tanbt, 
and monuments of distinguished persons. Indeed, the popular 
appelation of "Ginuts' Graves," which country pft I hem, 

accords with this theory, and though they may not contain the 
remains of giants in stature, they were doubtless erected as rudo 
memorials of men of mighty end heroic ch 

A line und perfect example of the cromlech jrae, We regret to 
Bay, deprived of its roof a few years ago bJ 0 - bum. The owner 
of the field in which it wns standing, became possessed of the 
idea that treasure was concealed within it, and rested not till he 
bad removed the gigantic routing-flag, and began bis search 
within. He was, it is said, interrupted in the work by the 
crowing of a cock on Li; housetop, which was believed to be a 
warning not to be slighted; the march was therefore relinquished, 
and the stones replaced in the centre of the enclosure; the 
roofing-flag however, being too heavy to restore to its original 
position, remains prostrate. Another fine example will be found 
in Corker, not far from EuJbarron old Church, Here ii an 
nnnsually large cromlech which retains its roof entire. About 
half-a-mile north of the O'Cler/s Castle, is another giant's grave 
of colossal proportions. The visitor to these memorials of a 
by-gone age may well be struck with wonder at the labour which 
must have been expended on these cyclopoau works, some of the 
stones of which are several tous weight. In the townfand of 
Ballymagrarly Irish is also a scries of these grave stones 1- 
enough to contain many human remains. Two cromleobj stood 
on the high ground near RouaniriehiS and Rockficld; 
nearest Bolleek, was of very large proportions, hut of these relics, 




only just enough remains to mark their position, and prevent 
their name from being altogether blotted out. The owner of 
the land on which the largest of these cromlechs stood, is said 
to have broken up the flags (which were limestone) and filled a 
limekiln with the fragments, bat tradition says that " no power 
on earth could burn one of them," This giant's grave as well as 
the Coolmore one, was supposed to contain treasure, and it is 
related that two men who went to search the enclosure had 
hardly struck their spades iuto the sacred ground when they 
fount! their feet miraculously fastened to their spade shafts ! In 
the cromlech which stood at the back of Eowantreehill was 
found, a good many years ago, a cinerary uru containing ashes 
and several hones of largo size. Nearer Ballyshannon, and close 
to, are the remains of a cromlech which preserves in 
its Irish name Leaba-an-laeich, (pronounced Labbinleo) a 
remembrance of the object for which it was erected — the word 
signifying the bed, or grave of the hero. 

In Fiuner Warren are three examples, one of which was 
unroofed some years ago and found to contain an urn full of 
burnt human bones. In the same locality is also a stone circle, 
and a chambered caim, which was discovered by some labourers 
while engaged in building a wall in the warren. In this 
sepulchral cave which is artificially constructed, were found 
portions of several human skeletons, the teeth in somo of the 
skulls being in good preservation. Iu this case there was no 
evidence of cremation having been used. This form of cairn 
burial is supposed to be of great antiquity. 

The earliest form of human habitation, examples of which are 
to be found in our district, arc artificial caves or gouierrains. As 
the inhabitants increased in numbers, the woods could not ;i 
them the necessary shelter; and the construction of artificial cs 
partly for hiding treasure in, and partly as dwelling places, 
naturally suggested itself. The best example we possess of I 
rude dwellings is at the "Bully Bawn," where the sides of these 

coves," as they are generally styled, are formed of rough nags 


110 AXTlyUTIM. 

net mi edge, over which two or three feet of soil was thrown. 
Tin- entrance to this cave, in common with all of its class, is much 
narrower than it* internal dimensions, mid it is believed thai 
this cave may bars been ;it one time connected with thestibter- 
rancnn chamber discovered in Blullaghnashee (reference to which 
has been already made), the passage running up by Dungrarcncn, 
the hill overlooking the "now road." If this was the case, and 
the el i" point to that conclusion, we have 

here tin.- nmoftu of a system of early cave-construction, both 

asrraasdii , Sometimestheseunclerground dwellings 

occur iti connection with earthen fortt or roths, and of this also 
we have an example at Bahttn, Le. Utile fort, on the BeHeefe road, 

than h mil.' from Ballvsbannon. Here in n seriee of earthen 
eJrcnmvaSations, in the centre of which is a chamber formed in 
the manner already described. Outside Kilbarron old church is 
another of these artificial oaves. If is of small dimensions, and 

utram-e is bow stopped up. The sides am constructed of 
small stones lmili in (lie form of ft wall, the roof is covered in the 
usual manner with Hags. It does not appear to have been in 
any way o aneoted with the church, and although that uti iiiitniili 
is of great antiquity, this eeva probably belongs to a still more 
remote period. 

Our district contains a vast number of Itaths, These are 
popularly known u "iJmitrt /■'■.•.'•■.'" Formerly it wascusfcomary, 
even for antiquarian writers, to asi nrh remains to the 

period of t lie Dmiish invasion, and litis impression still lingers 
hi onr local traditions. It is, however, now well known dint 
these raths existed in Ireland long prior to the arrival of the 
Danes ; moreover these antique dwelling-places are found dis- 
tributed all over the country, inland us well as seaboard, though 
it is known that the Danes confined their settlements to places 
bordering on the coast. That the Danes had a settlement in our 
neighbourhood, there can be no doubt ; the very name of our 
county — Donegal, Dtm-tui-n Gall. i.e. >!<>■ fortress of the foreigner* — 
preserves a remembrance of this. There is, however, more direct 


evidence afforded of the presence of the Danes in this county, by 
a poem written by Flan Mac Lotsan, the Tireonnellian bard. 
This composition, which was written at the commencement of tin. 
tenth century, relates that Egneaehan, the father of Donnell, from 
whom came the O'Dtmwlte, gave his three beautiful daughters in 
marriage to three Danish princes, for the purpose of securing 
their Friendship, and these marriages were, according to the 
p." -in, solemnized at Donegal. Where this "Dim" or " fortress- 
of the stranger " was situated cannot be pointed out, but it was 
in all probability an earthen fort * or rath, and it is likely the 
Danes may have utilized these fortifications which they found 
already made. 

The raths of our district are so numerous, that it is unnecessary 
here to specify them, '1 hough differing in size, they are all 
circular in form. O'Donovan mentions that Li the Irish kings 
and chieftains lived in ,v.». 637 in the great earthen raths or Hsses, 
the ruins of which are still so numerous in Irelaud," The fort 
of IMhmore, i.e. great fort (ptonounced Kamoro) near Bally- 
shannon, and in the territory of Magh Cedne, occupies a fine 
commanding position, and is of very large proportions, being more 
than 1000 feet in circumference. 

In the townland of Glasbolie (only an hour's drive from 
Ballyshannon), is a spot of extreme interest and antiquity— the 
fort Ard Fothndh. Here it was that Domhnall, son of Aedh.t 
son of Aiiiuiiiv, king of all Ireland, had his residence in the 
seventh century. His death is thus noted in the Foter Masters: — 
a.]>. 639— "After Domhnall, son of Aedli, son of Aiuraire, had 
been 1G years in the sovereignty of Ireland, he died at Ard 
Pothadh, in Tir Aedha (Tir Hugh), after the victory of penance,, 
for he was a year in his mortal sickness; and he used to receive 
the body of Christ every Sunday." In the Tripartite Life of 

•The term Rath, Lis, ana Dud, are applied to these earthen torts. Rath it is sup- 
F«*d relet.- to the cnclownff raui|iarl, lit u, tho place enclosed, and Dun to the 
central moond within the Rath. All three tortus occur as profljte. in names ot places 
iu our district. , , 

t Aodh or Hugh wo* of tho race of Conul Guitan, and from him *« derived tho titlo- 
Tir Aedha or Tir 1 1 a 




112 .AKrKjfixnss. 

to in this neighbonr- 

■ his very spot, upon which be purposed to build a 

it was however mfcacolon known to him that 

was nut destined for a sacred boose, but for a rojal 

litli in due time was to be occupied by king Doadmall. 

This kingly fort, which I- La good pn , has 

'% and its diameter toaida the 
ndoaan ia 230 feet. Upon the summit (not in the centre, but 
towards the north side), is a curious heehi re-shaped mound 
(I'M feet in circumference), covered with sods, but built of stone, 
and containing a chamber, tbi \ is now closed. 

s it is thought were generally used us Rturehouses- 
Ard Fotliadh is upon the farm of Mr. James WGouigfe, and is 
known to all the surrounding country us " tU forth." It at once 
strikes the observer as something more than, and altogether 
different f rom, the usual class of raths, scattered over the country. 
The stone forts or catseals were not so frequent in our neighbour- 
hood. These were also circular in form, and a good example 
exists a little to the north of the lane leading bo Bunatroohan. 
in the circumference of I -t], are the remains of a 

phi ill underground chamber. The towulands of Cashd, i.e. stone 
tort, and Caihdapd, of the hills or height, derive 

names from the existence of this kiud of fortress to their 
In Corker, on the summit of a hill close to the "giantfi 
grave " already mentioned, is another lino cashol of groat circum- 
ference ; within it are the remains of a chamber. 

CranaotfU, or lake-dwellings, in Ireland wero used from an 
early period down to the sixteenth century, and perhaps later. 
They were nsually rude habitations, tault on artificially con- 
structed islands in deep lakes. During tlio wars with the English, 
the Irish chiefs often took refuge in thorn. At JJcrnacranno^e^ 
i.e. the oak wood of I lg8) not f. i: - Ero na \i 

deep lake, in which one of these lake dwellings onco existed. 
Specimens of implements belonging to both thestoneand bronze 



periods have been found in our district.* Silver coins, mostly 
English (from the Edwards to James I.), have been fmiud in 
considerable numbers ; several Scotch coins (king David), have- 
been unearthed at Kilbarron castle. 

A remembrance of the industries of our ancestors is preserved 
in the names Garrickrtaronfa and Lugalustran, both names re- 
ferring to the preparation and manufacture of corn into meat. 
On the shore below Wardtown are a series of sandstono rocks, 
their name, Carrie k-na-mbrointe, i.e. ih? rock of. the milt stones, 
shows that it was here the querns or ancient Irish hond-mirls 
of the district were obtained. Not long ago the Upper stone of a 
quern was found in the vicinity of these rocks, and as it is only 
partially shaped, it is evident that it must have been cnt whore it 
was quarried, and left by its maker in an unfinished state. In 
former times it was customary for families to grind their own 
corn in these primitive mills, which were similar to the Eastern 
onea, and the practice has only recently died out in some hack- 
ward parts of the country. The owners of water mills regarded; 
querns with great aversion, and in (heir interest the nse of querns 
was prohibited by law, In 1794, the proprietor of Kesh mills, 
in the neighbouring county of Fermanagh, gave orders to hiB 
miller to break all the querns he could find ; and the only pair 
left untouched used to be secretly lent about and concealed from 
the miller, with as much care as if it were a "still." Lii<jahi-itran t > 
i.e. the hollow of the burnt corn, is a place not far from the 
41 Rock." It was here that corn used to be burned in the ear to, 
prepare it for the querns. This process of removing the hu^ka, 
continued in operation in sonic parts of the country a century 
ago, and was prohibited by parliament. 

In former chapters rofereneo has been made to the castles 
which belonged to our district, and to the interesting associate ns 
connected with their history. It is only necessary here to ei - 
nmeratc those remains of former strongholds which have not 
been already described. ___^__ : 

■ A Ine stone bitohtf of the Otolithic period hm recently been found it WaKH if u, 
vtd some jews atfo a brotae axe ni discovered la tho neighbourhood. 



The castk of Belivk, some remains of which still exist, was 
•situated on the north bank of the river Erne. In the time of 
.James I. the land upon which this castle stood was called 
CasteUane; the locality is now called Back Lane. The name of 
the founder of Belleek Castle is unknown, but it seems to have 
teen in the possession of the abbot of Assaroe in Queen Eliz- 
abeth's time : — la an inquisition taken in the 31st year of her 
reign, " The castle of Bellyke " is mentioned as a part of the 
abbot's property. 

The most interesting rain of its class in our district is that of 
KHharron Caslle, whose shattered and weather worn walls still 
remain as silent memorials of the old Olla ves of Tirconnell:— 
" Broad, blue, and deep the Bay of Donegal 
Spreads north and south, and far a-west before 
The beetling cliffs, sublime and shattered wall 
Where the O'Clerys' name 13 heard no more."* 
The cliff on which the castle stood, is circular in shape, and 
tho wall facing the sea was butlt upon the extreme edge of the 
precipice; below, at a distance of nearly a hundred feet, roil 
the Atlantic breakers. Besides its romantic and beautiful 
situation, the spot was eminently fitted for tho erection of a forti- 
fied dwelling, as from the sea below, DO enemy could efTed a 
landing, and the land side was easily secured from incursions by 
the outer castle wall, which was of great, thickness, and extended 
from edge to edge of tho narrow isthmus which connects tbe 
cliff on which "the castle stood, with the mainland. Iu tha 
centre of the building, was a small open space or court-yard. 
Within the "£«/»" or northern wing, are traces of a gu&ten&MOR 
passage, which is now stopped up with stones. Nothing is known 
of its extent or design, but it was open and used for di»tilter>f 
purposes within the past century. The portion of the building 
which comprises the two chambers next the cliff-edge, seems to 
be older than the other walls, and is probably co-cval with the 
first foundation of the castle. The walls of this portion are of 

•T. Dwej- Mtfjee, 



immense thickness and solidity, and were probably capped by a 
storm roof. Through the outside wall facing the sea was ati 
oblong passage of chimney-like shape, whose mouth (a small 
square opening) may still be seen from the adjacent shore. It 
is difficult to conjecture how the masons of Kilbarron Castle 
built the wall on this dizzy height. The tradition of the castle 
having once been the abode of "pirates and freebooters," who 
first robbed, and then threw their victims down "the murdering 
hole," has now almost faded away before the clearer light of 
history, which has been tbrowu on the castle and its occupants, 
by the writings of Drs. Petrie, O'Donovan, and others on Irish 

Of ecclesiastical antiquities, the old church of Kilbarron, 
about half a mile distant from the castle, is perhaps one of the 
most interesting in our neighbourhood, a church having been 
established there by St. Coluuicille.* The present ruin is not, 
however, of that early period, but belongs to medieval times. 
The building is massive, but destitute of ornamentation :— the 
following are the dimensions — length 30 feet, width 21 feet 4 
inches, thickness of wall 2 feet U inches. The materials are 
sandstone, procured from the neighbouring shore, cemented to- 
gether with a grouting of coarse shelly mortar, with which 
substance the inside of the building seems to have been roughly 
covered. There are two doorways (one in either eidewall) with 
■" pointed " tops, the arch being formed of two well-cut convergent 
stones. This pointed style of doorway is much later than the 
horizontal stone lintel, and semicircular arch, and characterizes 
the present ruin as not earlier than the end of the tliirteeuth or 
beginning of the fourteenth century. In the western gable is a 
narrow splayed light ; in the east gable next the road, was a 
larger window, but all trace of its shape has disappeared along 
with the roof, which was doubtless constructed of oak shingles. 
Around the church was a cemetery of considerable dimensions, 
and on the north side are a series of small plots of ground, each 

• Svo chapter III. 



separated by low dividing walls. These enclosures seem to have 
been made for the purpose of keeping apart family burial-places 
from the other portions of the graveyard. There are many 
headstones still remaining, but hidden from view by long grass 
and brambles. 

At Parkhill, is the site of Kilcarhenj church, nothing beyond 
the name has been preserved of this foundation. Carbery was 
of the race of Conal Gulban, and from him, doubtless, the church 
derived its name. 

In the townland of Balfymagroarty — Irish, overlooking the 
road lead inn; from Ballyshannon to Btvllintra, is a hill called Raeoo. 
Upon the summit of this hill St. Patrick founded the church of 
Hathcunga. In the Tripartite Life, it is stated that the saint 
having passed through that portion of TirconneU which lay 
between E:*s Euadh (Ballysntuifloa) and the ocean, came to a 
place called Rathcnugn, and there built a church from the founda- 
tion. The church which was doubtless built of w.iitlew, and 
roofed with shingles, has long since disappeared, but the rath- 
shaped moand with many headstones, still remain to mark the 
spot. Such circular enclosures, whether composed of earth 
or stome, are characteristic of, and peculiar to the earliest 
ecclesiastical establishments in Ireland.* Tin's ancieut cemetery 
has of late years been only used for the interment of unbaptised 

Another of the ecclesiastical raths or Ksses still exists in the' 
Kinder townland, though sadly broken down and obliterated. 
Here was a church in the sixth century, which has been identified 
as Cnedam (pronounced Noden) by Dean Reeves, who is of 
opinion that the modern name of the district Knatker is a trans- 
formation or corruption of the old one. In the early part of the 
present century much of the rath existed, but was subsequently 
leTelled for agricultural purposes, and a- sufficient quantity of 
human bote* were discovered to show that it was once used as 
a burial ground. 

• Pctrio'a ScdcMMMcsJ ArcMMMure, page «6. 



In chapter III. wo have spoken of Kihfonaj as being one of 
the favoured districts where St. Patrick founded a church • it 
may here be added that the disused graveyard of Kildoney 
possesses some remains of earth-works of the rath kind, and its 
name ReiUg (from the Latin reb'quje), is an uncommon name for 
ft graveyard, and could only be attached to a place of remote 

The church of Domhnnijh-Mor, the site of which is now un- 
fortunately unknown, was founded in our district by St. Patrick, 
li sttnnl somewhere in the Moy, between (in: towaiaads of 
Ballyinunterhiggen (Higginstown) and Drumachrin, and St. 
Neimidhiits was abbot and bishop of it. The foundation of tins 
early church is thus mentioned in the Tripartite Life of St. 
Patrick — "Patrick weut afterwards past Druini-cliabh (Drum- 
cliff) from Oaisel-Iwa, by the Rosses eastwards, along Magh- 
Eni (the Moy), and founded Domlmagh-mor of Magls-Eni." 
Attempts have been made to identify Domhnagh-mor with 
Teetunny, a small burial place ill the towiiland of Clougbore, in it 
there are no grounds for this supposition, and it is certain from 
some old inquisitions in which Uomnagh-mor is mentioned, that 
it lay more to the west than Cioughore. The name Ttetaam 
(Ttgli-ni Thonaigb) t house oi OTony. The OTony or 

Q'Tuny family were of the stock of the O'Dounells of Tirconnell, 
and had a stronghold here, closo to the bank of the river; and 
the circular shape of the graveyard, leads to the supposition 
that it was originally a rath orjbrL A little to the north of the 
graveyard, and nearer to the river's edge, is the site of Teetwuny 
(7ni)r/i. k bich belonged to the abbey of Assaroe, and was probably 
a " Chapel of Ease," built for the use of those living on the ex- 
treme edge of the parish of Kilbarron. Half a coutnry ago, a 
11 of the walls of this little church were standing, but have 
since been removed to provide materials for building the wall 
which now surrounds the graveyard. Before this wall was built, 
a circular earthen enclosure existed, which was probably part 
of the original earthwork of QTony's dwelling, 



In Ballymagroarty-Irish, is the site of the monastery or church 
of Bnilemegrabhartazch,* which was founded by St. Ooltunba, and 
in which the celebrated reliqne of that saint called the Qaihach^ 
was deposited by the keepers of the " Battle Book " — the Mac- 
Eoarlij family. Half a century ago, there were sufficient remains 
of the building to indicate its shape and position (the building 
was east and west); now there is literally nothing but traces of 
the foundations. A heap of stones lying in a hay Geld, and a 
number of massive blocks and quoins, now incorporated with the 
wall enclosing the field, are all that remain of the venerable pile. 
It is worthy of note that the stones used ifi Its <•< instruction were 
not of the kind found in the locality, but must have been brought 
from a distance, and that these are of audi a size as to show 
that the building was of an exceedingly massive character; the 
mortar used (a good deal of which is still attached to the stones) 
is a coarse shelly kind, as hard as the stones it held together. 

Within a mile of the village of Garrison, and close to the shores 
of Loiitrh Alclvin, are the remains of the abbey church of Bosinbkir 
(now Rossinver, i.e. the peninsula of the river's month). Its 
foundation dates from the sixth century, and its patron was St. 
Moedoc, or St, Hogue, whose memory is still kept in the district. 
A good deal of the walls still remain, which are gradually being 
undermined by the thick growth of ivy. The architectural 
features still rciuiiining, show that the pile was rebuiltduring the 
middle ages. A local tradition exists that the church was built by 
angels in one night. 

" In smiling vale of silver streams (the ruins still respeeted), 
St. Moeg's holy abbey gleams, by angel hands erected." 

All persons were cautioned against looking out of their houses, 
but a certain woman overcome by curiosity, peeped out, and the 
building was therefore left unfinished. lit the churchyard are 
many carious and interesting tombstones. Near the gate is a 

• In an In<|ul»Ulon taken tit BaJlynhannon in 1A21 , thla monastery is thus referral to 
— ** All those three qutrtorBluld el half of lands of BaUirftwtrtir, parcel of the IttteEvbLoy 
or religious house of St. ColmeWU of Deny, alttitate, iylujf mid being In the Wony of 
Tinthu in the countye of Dotinegiil] , w 

tSee chapter IV, 



leac, or headstone, without inscription, but bearing on its face an 
ancient Irish cross.* The existence of this one stone, cut probably 
i turn 1,000 years ago, is sufficient evidence of the great 
antiquity of this graveyard. 

About three miles distant from Garrison, in tho townland of 
Killybeg (Cattle Bega, little eltareh), was another church founded 
by St. Moedoe. Here, according to Colgan, quoted by Rev. 
Dr. Reeves, was a " miraculous stone " called Lac-MaodIwc y or 
Maedoc's stono. No trace of this now remains, but there are & 
series of "giants' graves, "' now in a ruined state, and a dallan, 
or "standing stone," known amongst the country people as 
"Fiou MacCuinhars finger stone." 

On a small island in Lough Melvin, called Inishtemple, are the 
remains of an old church, and in a neighbouring one, the site of 
the " Friars' Garden " is still pointed out. Did space permit, 
many additional details might be noted of remarkable places in 
the immediate neighbourhood of Bally shannon. What hits been 
said is sufficient to show tho richness of our district in historical 
associations, and objects of antiquarian interest. 



Respecting the fanna of our district it would ho impossible hero 
to give a detailed or exhaustive description; it will therefore 
suffice to mention those animals which are regarded with most 
general interest. Su b j omed are a f e w notes resp ecting the se veral 

Mammalia, — To this class belongs the hedgehogs (Erinaceus 
Europmts) which are often met with. This harmless quadruped 
has been wrongfully suspected of sucking cows. The common 
bat (vespertiUo pipiatrdhis) is plentiful, and it is probable that one 
or two other speciea occasionally occur, but these have not been 

* Another ancient cross oi rude workmanship stands at TuliaghaJi, In a Beld over- 
looking the coach-way to Sllgo. This relic was found on the miigbbuiiriuu seashore, 
aud erected here in 177S. 



recorded. The black rat (mis rattits) has been observed, also tho 
Norway rat; the common brown species is unfortunately too 
common. Of the hare family, both the red and brown species 
are plentiful. Foxes, though occasionally met with, are fast 
disappearing. The stoat (ynuslela erminea) is common, and is 
nana Ik mistaken for the weasel, which, according to Thompson's 
"Natural History of Ireland," is not known in this country. 
Tlit^ badge* (mefe* toots) k occasionally met with. The rabbit 
Hepas cum'ctrfus) ocelli's iu very large numbers in the warrens on 
either side of the river; and throughout the country ; a black 
variety is also met with. Large numbers are exported annually 
to England, Ferrets and wire snares are used in their capture. 
The otter (Intra vulgaris) is frequently captured in our streams, 
being regarded as a formidable enemy to salmon. The falloic- 
are still preserved in our neighbourhood. At Castlecaldwell 
there may bo seen a goodly herd ; there was in former times, a 
large deer-part att&ebed to Wardtown Castle. 

The Aquatic Mammalia are represented by the pliocklee, (seal 
family) which often visit the estuary, coming up close to the 
Fall in search of fish. The seals frequent the numerous caves 
along the coast of Donegal Bay, from whence they make ex- 
cursions to the neighbouring rivers. Porpoises aro often seen 
airing themselves in Hi" vicinity of Kilbarrou Castle and Cool- 
more, and whales are frequently seen in Donegal Bay. Iu the 
summer of lC91,a sperm whale (cehts dcntalus% which measured 
seveuty-oue feet in length, was captured close to Ballyshannon 
Bar. Iu the last century, whales were so numerous in the bay 
that a scheme was set on foot in 173C for establishing a whale 
fishery. Boats were built upon the Greenland model, and 
furnished with harpoons, and other instruments, and a grant of 
£."jOO was made by the Irish parliament. The enterprise was, 
however, unsuccessful, as it was found that the general roughness 
of the sea, compa rei 1 w iili the smooth water at Greenland, rendered 
the capture of the whales (though many were seen) next to 
impossible. The company who carried on these operations ex- 


pended f 3,000 in the undertaking, when they abandoned it. 
Subsequently, a novel plan wafl contrived by Mr. Nesbitt, who 
discharged the harpoons from a swivel gun, thus giving moob 
greater power to the weapons. TSy this method he killed three 
whales in 17G2, and in the following year, two of very large 
dimensions, when the Irish parliament granted him an aid of 
£ 1,500. No attempt has been made of late years to capture 
whales in the bay. 

Extinct Species. — The red deer (cervus dopfcws), though onee 
plentiful in this part of Ireland, has long since disappeared. A 
perfect antler and a portion of another, together with some bones 
of this noble species, have recently been discovered at the sand- 
hills. In the sixteenth century the red deer was so plentiful in 
the north of Ireland that they could be bought for lialf-a-crown 
eaibh* la prehistoric times, the great Irish elk, or " big horn " 
). moved his stately form through the dense 
Is and thickets that clothed the river's sides. In 1601 a 
pair of these gigantic antlers was discovered hy Major Folliott at 
Wardtown. They were buried at a depth of ten feet from the 
surface of the ground.j The wild boar (m ncrafa) once roamed 
through the woods of Magh Ohio. The remembrance of these 
formidable animals is preserved in our district by the name of 
Derryhirk, i.e. the oak wood of the boar. 

Aves.—TUc binls (especially those of the sea) ocenpy a con- 
spicuous place iu the natural history of our district. Owing to the 
comparative absence of trees, many birds, generally distributed, 
are but seldom noticed near the town. 

Amongst the natatores (swimming birds), the white-fronted 
goose is occasionally seen in flocks; they at- 

tract attention by their peculiar v-shaped flight and clamorous 
call, in consequence of which they are sometimes called the 
-me. The wild swan {cygvm JkwickX) is occasionally 
observed in the winter. The shell-drakes (t ndurna mlptuttcr), 

•Payne 1 * "Brief Dt mrljitluu ul ltitail. 
t Boato and Holjnesrai Natural History of Ireland, 




a showy and elegantly marked species, frequent the sand bills, 
where they rear their young; hence they are sometimes called 
the burrow-drake. The wild duck (amis boschas) and its young, 
which are commonly called "flappers" are very plentiful. The 
n (anas penelopi), the teal (anus crecca) arc also frequent. 
The red-throated diver (cohptibus septentrionatis) is a regular 
winter visitant to our shores; and the great northern diver 
(colymbus gladalu) is occasionally observed The common 
guillemot (una troile), the razor hill (alca tarda), and the 
puffin, or sea parrot (fratercitla arctica) frequent the r 
of Kilbarron. The cormorant (pJtalacracorax earbo) is plentiful 
in the estuary, and is easily distinguishable from other swimming 
birds by its long upright neck and immersed body. The green 
cormorant, or shag (p. cnstahis) though much rarer than the 
common variety, has been observed here. The gannet or solan 
goose (svla laszami), a large species of white plumage, is oc- 
casionally seen in Donegal Bay. The common tern (sterna 
hiriiii(bi\aw\ the arclii U n , < t "sea swallow,'-' ;itnt several species 
of guild, are plentiful. The lesser black-bucked gul 1 1 !e 
a ruiv .-]>nir-. Ii;is Iteen slmt near Lough Melvin. The tippit 
grebe (podiceps crisfatus) bus been frequently met with, na 
little grebe (p. luimir) nre common on Lough Erne and elsewhere, 
and are popularly bnl erroneously known as puffins. The great 
skua (lesiris vntitrrhacfen) is a frequent winter visitant, and the 
pomarine skua (Lpomamms), another interesting bird, has been 
often met with. 

Amongst the (Availing birds), represented in our 

locality, is the heron (ardea cuterea), commonly but wrongly 
called the crane. Differing from almost all the birds of its class; 
the heron selects a tree for its breeding place. Like the rooks, 
they breed ill communities, and a long-established heronry exists 
at Camlin. They frequent the river banks and shores 
estuary. The common, and the ttfMmbrd, or 

• The flesh c.f the heron ili'-D^lj bow deaptmd, vns lit ft former poriod reserved l"r tbo 
tAblcs of kind's. At ii : ■ ■ |.y Uoury 11. in Dublin, to the Irish kings, heroni- 

fleah was fUuohg the ehief U '■ 



curlew," visits us In the spring but does uot brood here. The 
lapwing or green plover (wtidlus cristatus) occurs in flocks ; and 
the ring plover, or sand lark, is seen in company with the dunlin, 
or Mint, and other birds, on oar strands at low water. The water 
hcii {fjaUinula chlimqntif), water rail (ra ticus), and bald- 

coot '/((), also oeeQr. The snipe (scolopax ijallmago), 

abounds in suitable localities. 

Amongst the in sessores (percfeng birds), are the chough or sen 
crow (Jregihis graeuluB)-, this graceful bird is occasionally observed 
at the cliffs of Kilbarron, and the Fairy bridge. The nests are 
built in the most inaccessible parts of the cliffs. The hooded 
crow (corona comix) is common; it is this species that frequent 
our shores, from a single pair to five or six, in search of food 
loft by the receding tide. The rooks ( ( v) are seen 

all over the country hi large hocks. In the evening may be seen 
''the blackening trains of crows to their repose" hastening to 
the shelter of their rookeries in the neighbourhood. The jackdaw 
and magpie are too well known to require any note; and the h'nij- 
Jbker {aicedo i&pida), the most beautiful of oar native birds, is 
often seen on the hanks of the river, and occasionally at the 
estuary. The brown hawk or marsh harrier (eirau osrugm 
peregrine falcon (Jhlco / ) occur, and the golden eagle 

(aqiiilti f/u-i/:<:iin.i), has been shot at Wardtown and Glenade. 

Of the rasoii ■ birds), the nick pigeon (cohtmba U 

is plentiful about the cliffs at Kilbarron and (Joolmore, aud the 
woodquest (columba palumbm) is a constant resident in the 
neighbouring woods. 

Amongst the smaller birds may be noticed the most beautiful 
of the finches — the goldfinch (cardutSs elegant), which is 
plentiful; theliuliliii «) less common; the snow 

bunting ( , ; is occasionally seen in winter. The 

creeper (c&ihta famiUarui) in wood plantations. The wren 
(troglodyt* us) is worthy of note, not because of its rarity, 

for it a everywhere common, but. by reason of the cruel per- 
secution to which it is often subjected. Though esteemed a 




favourite in England and elsewhere, here it ia locally known as 
" the deviFs ford," and while the red breast ia held sacred from 
molestation, the wren ia hunted down. It is to be hoped that 
this traditionary dislike to a harmless and interesting bird may 
be speedily forgotten. 

Pisces. — The various species of fish which abound in our waters, 
both tidal and inland, form a prominent feature in tbe natural 
history of onr district. 

01 ganoid fishes, which are allied to tbe sharks, and are tho living 
representatives of the fish-remains found in the older geological 
formations, the sturgeon (adpenser sturio) is occasionally met 
with in the estnary. 

Amongst osseous fishes is the perch (perca jlimatilia) which 
abounds in our lakes. Specimens of 3Ibs. weight have been 
caught. The red gurnard (trigla oueithu), and the gray gurnard 
(7 T . ffur/iai-dua) or " crooner," so called from the croaking noise 
they make, are plentiful in the bay. Tbe sea-bream (tpaem 
a urates.) is caught in the summer. The mackerel (scomber vul$ 
is taken in the autumn in large quantities. The scad or horse 
mackerel (scomier tracharug\ is also frequently eanght, but not 
in the same numbers as the common kind. This fish is locally 
known as tbe "crake-hern." It is generally a larger and coarser 
fish than its relative, and may be recognized by the row of spines 
for a considerable distance on each side from the tail. Tbe spines, 
which are of a horn-like substance, fall back, and arelancet-sbaped. 
The John Dory (setts faber), is sometimes taken, and is much 
esteemed by epicures. The gray mullet (inugil capita) and the 
thick-lipped grey mullet (m, chvlo), also occur. The herring 
(clupea hwejtgas), is caught in vast, quantities in the bay, and 
occasionally comes into the estuary. The sprat (dapta spratlus) 
is, in its season, very plentiful. The common eod Qiadm marrhna), 
forms the principal item of our winter fish supply, but its more 
delicate relative the haddock (#, atglefiiws), occurs in but small 
numbers, and seems to be getting scarcer. The whiting (vter- 
lan-jun vitf<jaris) is abundant; as also is the coal fbh(m, uarbona- 


ritts), which in the autumn months, swarm in the estuary. These 
fish when young are locally known as " sheans," and when fully 
grown are called " glassan."* 

The common hake (gatlua merlucivs), and the ling (hi 
are also common. Of the family of jloi fish, are the plaice 
Kd mifyaria), the flounder or (lake {p. fiesta), both of which 
occur in our estuary. Large specimens of theholibut(fo|)£w;fo«sMs 
vulgaris}, arc i Kscarionally taken in the bay. The tiirbot (rhombus 
fflOBdiw), and the sole (■■ ram), are plentiful. Of eels, 

the conger (aagtdlkt conger), are sometimes met with of largo 
size, often measuring over six feet in length. They are said to 
be used in England in the manufacture of moot turtle soup, but 
here they are not esteemed. The common eel (a. aeutirostrh), 
is taken in our river in vast quantities, as much as ten tons having 
teen cangni in me night. There are altogether seven vreire on 
the river, five of which are attached to "the several Erne 
fisheries," one worked by Mr. D. Johnston, Belleek, and one of 
late, by the Marquis of Kly.t 

The sun-fish (orthagorifiottsmola) is occasionally met with in the 
bay. They occur in the summer, and the oil from their livers is 
of some value. Specimens of dog-fiah, skate, and other prei I ■ 
fish, are also often met with. 

The pollan or fresh Wtttar-herrfng (coregoraa poUtoty, has been 
taken in the estuary, where they have doubtless come from 
Lough Erne. The number of these fish in Lough Melvin has, 
Bj greatly increased of late. Their size is from 9 to 13 
inches long, and they are most abundant in the months of 
November and December; these fish belong to the genus 
salnw, by far the most interesting and important fieh in our 
waters, and the name of our town has always been associated 
far and near with salmon. As a paradise for anglers of 

•Tbese fob though not staini^r in uur waters any great aLzu, ipootauma Inive bum 

i Erne, in tin powwiB it tho tbfot at iauoe. So frr W 

Stte reisn of Elizabeth, cob, K*un to have been held in esteem, u «i«i™ the 
pasted for then* protection. 




high and low degree, Ballyahannon has ever been esteemed. 
"In the whole of Ireland {says a tvriter in Hie l Field'), there is 
probably no place so central for a fishing station throughout 
the entire year as Ballyshannon, situated on the river Erne, in 
tiie south-west of the comity Donegal. Lake, river, and sea- 
fishing in abundance, and the variety wonderful." The following 
species occur in our waters.— The salmon (salmo salary, The 
bull trout (salmo erioz), a specimen was lately caught in the 
estuary which weighed 241bs. Sea trout (salmo trntta), common 
trout (sal/no fario), great lake trout (salmo ferox), the gillaroo 
tsaat (salmo stomaclticm). In Lough Melvin, the char and mtttmw 
abound; and in Lough Erne and iu some of the small lakes in the 
neighbourhood there are plenty of pike (<.w luetic). This fish 
does not occur in Lough Melvin. 

Crustacea. — The common lobster (astacus mar inns) is plentiful, 
and largo numbers are caught at Bunatroohan and Bundoran, 
and fetch a good price both in this country and England, The 
craj'-fish (A. ji has been found in a small stream in the 

touiikiuJ of Keenaghau, about Ave miles east of Ballyshannon. 
The common crab (cancer pw/nms) is also a source of profit to 
fishermen who capture them in "lobster pots," and sell them in 
the local market. The hermit crab, (pagtirw bernfmrdas); 
dwelling in the shells of whelks and other molnsca, and other 
species of crabs, also abound. 

The orangons or shrimps. The true shrimps (erangoa vi'f 
oceur in small numbers in the sand, hut are seldom caught. 
The prawns which are very numerous, though not of very large 
size, are easily distinguishable from the shrimps by their 
red colour, and satv-like prolongation of the head. YV< 
terrains and P. sqiu'lla are found in oar rocky pools, both in the 
estuary, and at Bundoran. Of the echinidew or sea-ui chin family, 
the echinus lividus may be found in thousands, making iis cup- 
like nest in the soft limestone rocks at Bondoran. The curious 
egg-like amphidoUis <x»-datw, a species of heart-urchin, is often 
found on our strands at Tullan and elsewhere. 


Mollitsca. — The lover of conchology will find on the shores of 
lhmdorau ami Coolmore, mauy interesting specimen!'. The 
following amongst others occur -. — Blunt gaper shell (mija 
ntn); otter shell (lutruria uttiptica), this is plentiful on 
Tulhvn Strand ; porcelain shell (teltina tennis) % convex telien 
(7*. soliduIa)i common wedge shell (tfonar, anatinw); polished 
(radge-aheU (IX pofitm); radiated trough-shell 'nltoriuit); 

elliptic*] trongh-shell (M.el/lpiica); blunt do. (M. truncata); edible 
cockle (cardim edttle); red-nosed do. (rusiicwn); banded do.. 
(0. fascktiitm). The edible mussel (tayft'fttt eduHs) is largely used 
as an article of food. A variety of the horse mu; -/«), 

is occasionally met with. Allied to these, is the fresh water 
pearl shell (witomar$aritife>w), which abounds in t be Donegal 
I liver. The average size is 5 inches long by 2 broad. So far 
back as the 17lb century, these shells have been sought for tbe 
pearls they contain, and at that period, one was sold at £30 ; 
tbey are not however now of mneli value, and can k > 
purchased for a few shillings a piece. Various species ol the 
pwten or scallops are found. Tiie common limpet (patella 

the horse limpet (/'. aUZetico}} and t lie smooth In 
( P. ft Oat ida ). a small tariety of j colour, with a series 

of blue radiating lines. Tbe eh "sk shell I 

e)iia/k). Top shells, the largest of which is ( ,'.■ , 
and T. ihiminii'i, arc found at Buudoruu; the only 
... i he la1 1 ar has been observed. The viol 

il /it at is the wide Atlantic, is sometimes drifted 
to our shores, sad has been picked up at Bundoran. The wi 
trap (tea '■■ and 

the common whelk Qmcciiwn undatum), also occur. * 

A group of microscopic organisms, known as F> (on 

account of the numerous holes in their beautiful shells), 
been found in the sands at Coolmore ; these are well worthy the 
attention of microscopists. 

• For figunsaml detattsol tlieseaaoUs, see Wood's '.' Common Shells ol theSw Shore," 
nr any wort on British conchology. 



Botany. — The flora of our district is extensive and interesting-. 
To Hie botanist, the extensive coast line, as well as the country 
inland, offers a wide field for investigation; while the diver- 
sified geological features of the neighbourhood (limestone and 
metamorphic), possess plants characteristic of each. The relation 
between geological strata and the plants growing upon their 
superincumbent soils, has long been recognized in tho scientific 
world. For instance, the Blood geranium or crauesbill (jr. mn- 
guiueum\ is a plant almost peculiar to limestone and magnesian 
soils, where ifc is sometimes observed growing in great luxuriance. 
Upon the limestone rocks in Carrickboy, this beautiful plant grows 
in profusion, while on the metamoij>kw rocks on the north side of 
the river, it never occurs. This is not a solitary instance of the 
connection which exists between the vegetable and mineral 
kingdoms, for hundreds of familiar plants might be pointed out 
with similar peculiarities of habitat. 

The Dartry Mountains, extending from Rossinver to Ben- 
Bulben, may be regarded as the extreme southern limit of our 
district. Upon these mountains, at various altitudes, are foand 
plants of great rarity, while in the woods and lowlands, flourish 
flowering plants, ferns and mosses of sufficient diversity to rejoice 
the heart of the collector, or lover of nature. 

Within our narrow limits, it is impossible to offer a complete 
list of our native plants (even were they ascertained). The 
following particulars may serve as a contribution to a local flora. 
— Alpine meadow me (titaliclriuii alpinum); Ben>Bulben (a very 
rare plant); wood anemone (a. nemorosa), freqnent. The [oRowfeg 
species of crowfoot (ranunculus), occur : — common water R., small 
spearwort, great spearwort, ptlewort crowfoot, wood crowfoot, 
celery-leaved do,, upright meadow do., creeping do., bulbous do. 
Marsh marigold (ca.'tha paJustrit); white water lily (nymp'l 
alba) is abundant, and. the yellow water lily (fiuphar htteim) also 
occurs, but less frequently. The common red poppy { p'tpaver 
rhaas) is common in fields, and the wcish poppy (meamopsis 
cambriai), a rare and beautiful yellow flower, grows ou Ben 



Bulben, at an altitude of from 800 to 1,000 foot. The fumitary 
(fiiiihivia officinalis) a hunihle relative of the favourite garden 
fewer, i/ii.vuti'n sqpeetabilfa, is very common. 

Of cruciferous plants we have many representatives. — A![ 
rock areas , a rare plant, and the hairy rock cress 

(</. hirsuto), grows on Ben Bnlbeu. A, cilkua occurs near the 
town. Watercress (nagturtiwn offimtmle}, is widely distributed in 
ditches and rivulets. The creeping yellow crews (h. ■•■■//I >:esire), 
has been found on the banks of Lough Erne. Scurvy grass 
(cocklearia officinalis), is common on our shores, and occurs cm the 
summit of Ben Bulben. Whitlow grass {<!, ), is found 

on walls near the town, and the twisted podded species (d. incamr), 
grows on Ben Bullion at an altitude of 1,200 feet. Sea rocket 
(cafa/e miir/iima) grows on Tullun Strand. Sea cabbage (brumca 
oleracen) the progenitor of the garden variety, a rare plant in 
the north of Ireland, grows on the Xew Road. Wild mignonette 
(reseda luteo/a), occurs in a couple of places in the neighbourhood. 
Dog violet (■». ciiniiut), is very common, also the wild pansy (viola 
tricolor); the variety arrstisii, has been found at Mullaghumre. 

Of the family droaeracecr,, a British representative of the curious 
class of carnivorous plants, two species occur, the rouud-ieaved 
sunde W (d. rntmtdi folio ), an d thespathulate leaved do, (d. Umgij 
Tim beautiful Grass of Parnassus (p. palust, -is) is abundant in 
marshy places. Milk wort (polygala vulgaris), with bluo flowers, 
is common ; specimens with piidc flowers also occur. A sub- 
species (grandijlora) with large dark blue flowers, occurs on Ben 
Bulben. Moss campion (silent acmdu) a rare Alpine plant, grows 
on Ben Bulben. Bladder campion (*. iifpatQ) is very common. 
Meadow lychnis (l.fios-cucu!i)&Ti<\ the red campion are common; 
the white campion (/. vetptrtina) grows near the bar. This 
species is fragrant in the evening. Corn cockle (ctgrostemma githago) 
occurs in fields. Small poarlwori I I ; sea poarlwort 

(s. mm-itiiH'O and the knotted pearl wort (s. nodosa) also abound. 
Sea purslane (honclieni/a peplouks) grows at the bar. Fringed 
sand-wort (armaria ciliata), a mountain plant of middle Europe, 



130 1 AND ROT ANY. 

which does not occur elsewhere in Britain, grows in abundance 
on Ben Bui ben. This rare plant seems to bo peculiar to the 
Dartry range. Great stitchwort (stellaria htibistea) and 1 1 
leaved species (s. gramiitea) are frequent. Common mallow 
(malva sylsestris) is plentiful, and the Tree mallow (lamtera 
arborea) is not truly wild, but is occasionally seen growing in 
gardens in the neighbourhood ; this is a sea-side shrub. The 
square-stalked St. John's wort (kyperioimi quadrawjuluni), as well 
as some other species, occur. Of the geraniums or cranesbills, 
welmvethe beautiful Blood Cranesbil I (g. mnfpuneum) a rare plant 
already referred to. Shining cranesbill (y. lucidum), stinking do. 
(ff. robevttanum), doves foot c. {,?. molU). Hemlock stork's bill, 
(erodhtm ciaiktritim), musky do, (<>, mtrschatitni). The wood sorrel 
(o.mlis acdoselhc), asserted by some writers to bo the true Irish 
shamrock, is general in shady places. Furze (iilex Europaus) is 
very plentiful. Broom (saro&aamas scopariiis) occurs in a few- 
places in the neighbourhood. The kidney vetch (ardhglli* nd. 
neraria), purple trofoil (i. protease), hares-foot do. (iarvense), birds 
foot do. (lotus comicutaf'ua), narrow leaved do. (I. major), tufted 
vetch (ricia cmeca), and the yellow meadow vetch (lath 
proteose), all occur. 

The Mountain Avens (dryas octopetat<t)a. rare plant, grows on 
Ben Bulben, and is said to grow " on rocks at Bally shannon," * 
but we have never met with it. Marsh-cinque foil (comorunt 
pnlii.stre), and the strawberry-leaved cinque- foil (pokidilUt 
frarptriastrum), occur, as also Lady's mantle (akhemUbt mdgt 
and alpine do. (a. alpina) on Ben Bulben. Common agrimony 
(a. eupatoria), frequent. Burnet-Ieaved rose (r. spitmissima), dog 
rose (j*. canina), common crab apple (pyrm mains) occasional; and 
the white beam tree {pyrus aria), on the cliffs of Ben Bulben. 
Mountain ash or rowan tree (p. aucaparia), rose bay willow herb 
(epilobium ai/ffiisti/olium), small flowered do. («, panijlomm), and 
others ore frequent, alpine nightshade (circacm alpina), on Ben 
Bulben. Purple loosestrife (I. eaHama\ common sandwort- 

• FIqi* o( Ulster, j*ge 35. 


sparry (s. marina), grows on rocks at Fairy Bridge. Wall 
pennywort (cotyledon umb&cua), English stonecrop (seefim 
angticum), biting do. (s. acre) occur. Alpine saxifrage (s. nivalin), 
the purple mountain do. (« oppoaitifoiia), and the yellow mountain 
do. (s. amides), all rare plants, occnr on Ben Bulben. The white- 
rot (/ j, common in marshes. Bishop's weed 
(wgopodium podagrarid), a plant formerly held in repute as a 
remedy for gout, and introduced by the monks, grows plentifully 
aboutthe town. Hemlock (ooniwa macutattmk occurs occasionally, 
but is often confused with other umbelliferous plants. Shepherds 
needle (scandix pecten) is occasional. Common elder (sambwtu 
nigra), and honeysuckle (hnirmt), common bedstraw (galium 
verum), smooth heath do. (g. saj:atite),\white water do. (g, palitstre), 
leaved do, (g. bormle). Goose grass do. (g. sparine) occur ; 
Blue field madder (skerardia arvensis), sweet woodruff (azperula 
odorata), and great wild valerian (V. officinalis), frequent. Scabious 
(a, succisa), common (a white variety has also been found). The 
hairy hawkweed (Jueradvm lasiophy/b/m), a very rare plant, occurs 
on Ben Bulbeu. Black knapweed (centaurea nif/ra), mugwort 
(artmiaia vulgaris). Hemp agdmony (eti^atorkmamnabiiwmif, 
mountain everlasting (antemaria dioica\ marsh cudweed 
{iptriphaliinii uligtnoswi). Butterbur (petasifes vulgaris), a plaid 
with large rhubtin M&S /raves, sea aster or starwort (osier fripolium) 
Feverfew (mairicaria cluimomilla), sneezewort milfoil, as well as 
many other common composite plants, occur. The bilberry 
('■"c ;iliis)iii frequent. Cross-leaved heath (erica tetmtix) 
and the common ling (sometimes with white flowers), are plentiful. 
Common centuary (erythraea centanrium), field gentian (g. 
camp&irU), buckbeaa (menyanthea trifoliato). Hooded bindweed 
(ocdystegia senium). Sea-side bindweed (soldanella), gromwell 
(lithospemum officinale), eomfrey (Symphytum officinale), occur. 
The ivy-leaved toad flax (linaria cymbalaria), this interesting 
plant which is an alien, has established itself in profusion on old 
walls round the town. The large flowered hemp nettle (yaleopsis 
versicolor) and the calamint (c, officinalis), a rare plant, occurs at 
the abbey. 





Common batterwort ( pmgmada vulgaris) is frequent, and the 
pale species { />. Insitauica) also occurs ; those as well as the 
smi'ii >'■■, are u) plants. The cowslip (primula team), a 

rare plant in Ulster, grows in profusion at Wardtown. Yellow 
pimpernel i ,nrum), scarlet p. (wiagailisarveiwig) and 

leg p. i a. im, Ha) are general. Sea pink or thrift (urmeria vu),/, 
sea-side plaintaifi ( ''uumion. Mercury goosefoot 

(eltent'potUttm bonus hmricut), a plant cultivated in some parts of 
England as a vegetable, occurs at Bundoran. Prickly saltwort 
(>WWi kali) grows on Tullan Strand, Common bistort 
in liistwta). Knot grass (/). aticuttire), sput fed p. 
(j>. perStcarid) fceqaant. The Alpine bistort ( jfc wttrtparutw) and 
mountain sorrel («. r . both rare plants have boon found 

on Ben Bullteu. Portland zpimje occurs at the bar, and snn 
spurge {iiiphnrbia hrlii#ct>pin\ lueally known as " the seven 
sisters,'' and a cure for warts, is oo inmon. Sweet gale, or bog 
myrtle, abounds in the bogs; and tim alder {nl>. ..,■«) is 

frequent;/«irwif ln'/li the hill of alders, atKildoney) derives its name 
from this tree. Broad-leaved garlic {allium nmiimni) and bog 
asphodel ( inirthecimn oteifragum). Cuckoo-pint (arum maeufattm) 
Cotton (j nun (erioph >\iwui. 8e&-3roe3 ( jMrnxmawmarea) 

clothes the sandhills, and with its wide spreading roots protects 
the sand Prone Hie action of the winds. The American wator 
thymi hem introduced into County Down 

about 1836, from wbimce it rapidly spread throughout Ireland; 
it has proved very injurious to salmon fisheries, and to riTer 
j iav i Ration; it is abundant in the Erne. 

Filictfi.— The fmnily of ferns are welt represented iu our 
neurlibourhuod. The following species, besides many others 
well known, occur:— Scaly spleeuwort (cn-tmwh effi 
polypody ( p. mdgarm), Alpine holly fern (iapiditm toncftttw), 
prickly shield fern {<t. rrcW^f™). angular leaved s. (a. angnlarc) 
male fern (a.jtlt'x miis) broad prickly s. (a. eMUUattim). Brittle 
bladder fern (cij*(opre>ixjhi ; iili.<\ wall rue (a.<ptem'nm rntii-mnraria\ 
common spleenwort fa. trkhsmtaMt), green do. (a. virkle) sea do. 





(a.marinum).* Black spleenwortfoAWum nigrum), lady fern {filix 
'■>a\ hart's tongue (seolopendrhimmlfjare\ northern hard fern 
(blechmm loreatc), royal fern {psmwtda regalis),f 



Jx preceding chapters, the moaning of names of places which 
have incidentally occurred, have in most instances been appended. 
Here it is only necessary to speak of certain names in our 
district, which seem to deserve especial notice. The researches 
of Dr. Joyce into the subject of "Irish Names of Places,^ have 
thrown fresh light upon the past habits and customs of the Irish 
people, and show what a mine of historical and traditional lore 
lies concealed beneath local names, in constant daily use, but 
too often conveying no intelligible moaning to those who speak 


Of names occurring within the limits of the town, a few 
particulars will suffice.— The port or purt (a hank) from its 
proximity to the river. Milhoion, from the old manor mill which 
stood on the site of the distillery. . the bank or landing 

place of the ramparts ; the name seems to be derived from some 
artifici al earth-work defence which has no w disappeared. Ota 
bog (cjiiTu ig Ijuidho). The yellow rock : this name may be dori red 
from the proximity of the ford and waterfall, the term "yellow' 
being often applied to fords, etc. Cattle Street, from O'Donnell's 
castle. College Law,, from a Roman Catholic seminary which 
formerly existed there. Glochan, the ford of the stepping stones, 
which led across the little stream which flows there. Can 
the roek of the vat or caldron, reforring to the deep "pool " in its 
proximity. Bulhjbaimi (buaile ban), whitish booly, an enclosed 

beautiful ton growa in profusion rilon? the rocka iu tho estuary. 

4-The botanical names arc horc dveii to facilitate reforenco to any of tho numerous 
works on IiritiHh Botany. 

I To those roluDH of Dr, Jovco, which contain a vaat accumulation of valuable and 
Inten-rtinc information, the remler m referred. 





place where cattle used to bo fed and milked in. Why the word 
white was here applied, remains unexplained. Carricievlin, the rock 
at the foot of the Mall, derives its uamo from a woman, moaning 
Eveken's rock; the most ancient form of the name is Eblin. Gibby 
or Oiibag/i, moaning a rugged place, is the name of the sharp rock 
which projects into the water at the Bullybawns, 

In the townlnnd of Ballymactmrd is a roek at the shore called 
Catrkknadaiiti/, i.e. the rock of the dam or poems. This name 
may owe its origin to having been owned by the Macwarcta, who 
were the hereditary bards of the O'Donnells, and held the town- 
land in which the rock is situated. 

The following names occnr inour district — Ardeelan, the height 
of the sea-gulls. BuUintru, the town of the strand, Baifyiia- 
ciurwk, the town of the rock. Bdllynamuddagh, the town of the 
bodat&s, or churls. Behy, btrehland,. BeUeek (Bel-leice), the 
ford mouth of the flagstone. Bmidoran, the mouth of the Doran 
or Dobliar (Utile water), supposed to be the ancient name of the 
Bradoge. Camlin^ crooked line (referring to the course of the 
river). Ckmghbolie, stony booley or dairy place. CatfeUackm, 
stouey cashei. Carricknahorna, tko rock of the barley. Clontyt 
the meadow of tho carpenter. -ray round hill. Oroc 

cajtple, the hill of the horses. Con -..-A, the monks' weir 

(this is near Cliff). Dttrnislt, oak island. Derrghillagh, the oak 
wood abounding in sallows. Denyiudrinch, the oak wood of the 
river-meadow. Derri/naseer, the oak-wood of the carpenter or 
builder. Boon is the name of a hill and lake in the townland of 
Dnuninckrnm; it is another form of dim, a fort or rath, and owes 
its origin to some such structure having been erected there. 

2)oofta%,blacktown. FarrctTicasridy; tho O'Cassidys wore phy- 
sicians to the Maguircs of Fermanagh, and held these lamb in 
virtue of their office. Fiiuter, a whitish place (from the prevalence 
of sand). Fartagh, a place of graves (this is a word of pagan 
origin). Fasagh (Faussagh), an uncultivated place. Lough 
Mehin was called in the annals, Loeh-Meilgho, from Meileghe, 
kiug of Ireland in a,ji, 4C78. Lough Erne was called Loch 



Efrne, from the ErntU, a tribe of Firbolgs who dwelt on the 
plain now covered by the lake. The ancient manuscripts contain 
traditions of the sadden ernptions of almost all the principal 
lakes of Ireland. Lough Unshin (the sourco of the "abbey 
river," and the name by which that stream was anciontly known), 
means the lake of the ash trees. Lmtghnamanjm (the small circular 
lough in Wardtown), the lake of the white or fair-haired woman. 

Near the fair-green was the Tyburn, or gallowshill of Balty- 
shannon; upon the snmmit of a steep rock which still retains 
its distinctive name, Carriek-na*crogherif, i.e. the hangman's 
rock, once stood the gallows, where doubtless many a culprit 
was executed in the "good old times." Prom various passages 
in Irish antiquities it appears that criminals were executed both 
by hanging and decapitation, and various names of places in 
Ireland still preserve the remembrance of such modes of punish- 
ment. In our district are several names which owe their origin 
to the introduction of the English element. For example the 
well called Tdbertuma&sormgh, i.e. the well of the Saxon, on the 
north side of the town, derived its name from being dug or used 
by the English settlers. The word "Camp" which is the name 
Of a email townland near the town, owe3 its origin to its having 
been the site of an English encampment, probably during the 
period of the O'Donnells. "Park," a name which occurs more 
than once, is another of these "borrowed" words,* The village 
of Gairismi on the shores of Longh Melvin, owes its name to its 
selection as a military station in the disturbances which took 
place towards the middle of the 17th century, and not only is 
this circumstance preserved in the name of the village, but by 
vestiges of the old military barrack, and by the name "bairack 
street" where the building stood. At "the Garrison" (as it was 
styled in a letter printed in 1G43), were iron works,f carried on 
by English settlers, and it was regarded, from its close proximity to 
the " kingdom of Connanght," as a pass worthy of being gu;i 

Many of the local names in common use two centuries back 

• Sve Joyce's "Irish Namos of Plows," Buti scriw Clinpter III, t See note page, 7S. 




liave now disappeared. For example, Ballymmamafh, i.e., the 
town of the monks, a district comprising several towtilands on 
the south bank of the Erne, was so known here in the 17th and 
18th centuries, as it is frequently referred to in the ehnrch books 
of that period. Another name now lost is Donnogkmore; this 
"quarter of land" is mentioned in an inquisition taken in the year 
1621. In this townland, which probably lay somewhere between 
Enllymunterhiggen and Draraachrin, was the Patrician founda- 
tion of Domhnagh-Mor.* In the neighbourhood of the abbey of 
Assaroe, was a place called the Desert or Disert, a name now 
unknown there ; the- word is from the latin desertum, and means 
a sequestered place. In the Irish MSS. it is generally used in 
an ecclesiastical sense to denote a hermitage, or place of retire- 
ment, such as the early Irish saints nsed as dwellings.! The 
only plaeo at the abbey which from its situation seems likely to 
have been selected for such a purpose is Catsby. The name 
catsby means catfs dwclting which may be a translation of tiie 
Irish name of tlie cave, such as Bonnagat, Coosnagat, Daren 
or Pollnagat, all of which would moan cat's cavc^ or Catsby. The 
name is at all ovonts comparatively modern, and the existence of 
a circular hole or bnllan cut in the rock, is evidence that the 
place was used for ecclesiastical purposes at a very early period. 
There are many other local names occurring in our district 
whose origin is botli curious and interesting, but of these we 
must not now speak. We cannot, however, bring these pages 
to a close without expressing the hope that Ballyshannon of the 
present, as well as future generations, may strive to imitate tiio 
good example set them by the old inhabitants, of industry, 
enterprise (notwithstanding many obstacles), and un% of effort 
in promoting the welfare of the town; that sotting aside sectarian 
and political differences, all may be ready to work together for 
the common good, remembering that " unity is strength," and 
that in helping on any well-devised scheme for the prosperity of 
the community, each individual member will reap advantage. 

• Seo Clwp Xlv. f Jujw's Irish Names ol Plates, lit aeries, page SS3. 



Since 1831* many hundreds of persons bavo left onr town for 
America and other foreign countries, some few have returned, 
luit by far the greater number have found new homos across 
the seas. However great their success, they seldom forget the 
old town of their early days or 


Adieu to Bally shanny ! where I was bred and born ; 
i to whore I may, I'll think of you, as auro as night and morn, 
The kindly spot, the friendly town, where every oao Is known, 
And not n fnco in all the place but partly seems my own ; 
Thero'a not a house or window, there's not a field or hill. 
But, east or weat, in foreign lands, I'll recollect them still. 
I leave ray warm heart with you, though my back I'm forced to 

turn — 
So adieu to Ballyshanny, and the winding banks of Erne ! 

No more on pleasant evenings we'll Batrater down the Mall, 
When the trout is rising to the fly, the salmon to the fall. 
The boat comes straining on lior net, and heavily she creeps, 
Caat off, caat off 1— abo feels the oars, and to her berth she sweeps; 
Now fore and aft keep hauling, and gathering up tho clue, 
Till a silver wave of salmon rolls ia among the crew. 
Then they may ait, with pipes a-lit, and many a joke and 'yarn';— 
Adieu to liallysnauuy, and the winding banks of Erne ! 

Tho music of tho waterfall, tho mirror of the tido, 
When all the green-hlll'd harbour is full from side to aide — 
From Portnasun to Enlliebawns, and round the Abbey liz\-, 
From rocky Iuis Saimer to Cuulnargit sandhills grey ; 
Whilo far upon tho southern line, to guard it like a wall, 
The Leitrim mountains clothed in blue gaze calmly over alL 
Anil watch the ship sail up or down, the red flag at her stern ;— 
Adieu to these, adieu to all tho winding banks of Erne ! 

Farewell to yon, Kildoney lads, and them that pull an oar, 
A lag-sail sot, or haul a net, from tho 1'oint to ilullaghmoro ; 

I imp. XII., page 103. 
♦ Or, " Tho Emigrant's Adieu to Balljshiuiiij." (Akwl bnUad), bjr William Alltaghim.' 



From Killybegs to bold Sliera-Leaguo, that ocean-mountain steep, 
Six hundred yards in air aloft, six hundred in the deep ; 
From Dooran to the Fairy Bridge, and round by TuIIen strand, 
Level and long, and white with waves, where gull and curlew 

stand ; — 
Head out to sea when on yonr lea the braakers yon discern ! — 
Adieu to all the billowy coast, and winding banks of Erne 1 

Farewell Coohnorc, — Bundoran ! and yonr summer crowds that run 
From inland homes to sec witli joy th' Atlantic-setting sun ; 
To broatho the buoyant salted air, and sport among the wares ; 
To gather shells on sandy bench, and tempt tho gloomy caves ; 
To watch tho flowing, ebbing tide, the boats, tho crabs, the fish ; 
Young men and maids to meet and smile, and form a tender wish ; 
The sick and old in search of health, for all things have their turn — 
And I must quit my native shore, and the winding banks of Erne ! 

Farewell to every white cascade from tho Harbour to Bollock, 
And every pool where fins may rest, and ivy-shaded creek ; 
Tho sloping fields, the lofty rocks, where ash and holly grow, 
The one split yew tree gazing on tho curving flood below ; 
The Lough, that winds through islands under Turaw mountain 

green ; 
And Castlo Caldwell's stretching woods, with tranquil hays bet ween; 
And Brocsio Hill, and many a pond among the heath and fern, — 
For I must say adieu — adieu to the winding banks of Erne ! 

The thrash will call through Camlin groves tho livelong summer 

The waters run by mossy cliff, and bank with wild flowers gay ; 
Tho girls will bring their work and sing beneath a twisted thorn, 
Or stray with sweethearts down the path among tho growing com ; 
Along tho river side they go, where I have often been, — 
O' never shall I sec again the days that I have seen [ 
A thousand chances are to one I never may return, — 
Adieu to Ballyskanny, and the winding banks of Erne 1 

Adieu to evening dances, when merry neighbours meet, 
And tho fiddle says to boys and girls, " Get up and shako your 

feet ! " 
To " shanachns* " and wise old talk of Erin's days gone by — 
" " Slianachus," old stories,— hlatorra, Ecnealo^los, 




Who trcnch'd tho rath on such a hill, and where the bones may lie 
Of saint, or king, or warrior chief ; with tales of fairy power, 
And tender ditties sweetly sung to pass the twilight hour i 
Tho mournful song of exile is now for me to learn — 
Adieu, my dear companions on the winding banks of Erne ! 

Now measure from the Commons down to each end of tho Purt, 
Round the Abbey, Moy, and Knather, — I wish no one any hurt ; 
Tho Main Street, Back Street, College Lauo, the Mall and 

If any Iocs of mine are thero, I pardon every one. 
I hope that man and womankind will do tho same by me ; 
For my heart is sore and heavy at voyaging the sea. 
My loving friends I'll bear in mind, and often fondly turn 
To think of Bally shinny, and tho winding banks of Erne. 

If over I'm a money'd man, I moan, please God, to east 
My golden anchor in tho place where youthful years were pass'tl; 
Though heads that now are block and brown must meanwhile gather 

New faces rise by every hearth, and old ones drop away — 

Yet dearer still that Irish hill than all the world beside ; 

It's home, sweet borne, where'er I roam, through lands and waters 

And if the Iiord allows me, I surely will roturu 
To my native Ballyshaauy, and tho winding banks of Emc. 

Tim Eni». 


Printed by Huaipiikey & Akmouh, Letterpress & Lithographic Printers, 
01, Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, 



AedhRuadh 1G 

Architecture of Abbey, ... 22 

ArdFotkadb, ... ■■• HI 

Assaroe, Abbey of ... 22 

Athseanaigh, 5, 28 

"Attainder of Divere Rebels," 60 

Aquatic Mammalia, ■■• 120 

Area, 121 

Ballymacward, 7 

Barrain Saint, 

Bards, hereditary ... 
Ballymagroarty, ... 3G, 

Bar, projects for improve- 
ment of ... 
Banks, establishment of ... 
Benbulben, ... 
Bernard, Saint ... ... 

Beneficed Clergy, 

Beliek, Castle of 

Birds of the Neighbourhood, 

Bogs, peat 


Brian Boru, King 

Bnllawus, , 

Burgesses, the first 
Buadroos, Castle o£ 

, 35 















Carboniferous Limestone, 8 

Castlecaldwell 12, 78 

Castle of Rallvslianuon, ... 30 

CalAacai "Battle Book," 35, 118 

Campbell, Sir Robert ... 86 

Carolan, W 

Castlereagh, Lord 8* 

Canal to Bally shannon, ... 97 

Caves, artificial 109 

Caiseals, ... 113 

Churches in and near Bally - 

shannon, ... ... 74 

Church of Mullaghuashee, 64 

Cholera, 100 

Charter of Ballyshannon, ... 52 

" Clerk of Markets," ... 54 

Onodain, ■■■ H6 

Columbkill, Saint ... 6, 19, 118 


Conolly, "Speaker," ... 58 

Do., Colonel 08 

Crinoids, 9 

Crawford, Thomas ... SO 

Cromlechs, ... 107 

Crannoges, ... H2 

Croflfl, anuient Irish ... 119 

Crustacea, I 26 

Davy, Sir Humphrey 

De. Sttmario, 

Deacriptionsof Ballyshannon 
in last Century, 

Dixon, Elizabeth 

Digges, Captain, 


DoewiS) Sir Heury 



Elegy by Mac ward, 
Emania, Palace of . 
Erne Fishery, 
Extiact Species, . 






cexebai, rerun. 


Fairs formerly held, ... 105 

Farewell, the Shepherd's... 91 

,, the Emigrant's ... 137 

Ferns of tho district, ... 132 

Fish, O'Donnell'a traffic in 37 

"Fish Island," 14 

Fishing, Abbot's right of ... 24 

Fomorians, ... ... ... 15 

Folliott, Baron, of Bally- 

shannon, ... *... 49 
Follyot, Sir Henry ...21,4!) 

Foraminifcra, , 127 

Fords, 2[i 

Frost, great 79 

Geological Survey, ... 9 

Gillaroo Trout, 101 

Glacial Period, 9 

Gowraa Lough, ... ., 10 
"Goblin Child of Bally- 

shannon," 04 

*' Great Central Plain of 

Ireland," 8 

" Guild of Merchants," ... 64 

Gulf Stream, inilaeuce of ... 7 


Ilalv " l'n<l,1y," , 


" Hawk (if BaUythaiiwjii," 


Ice Age, 




Implements, Stone and 

Bronze ... 



10, 14 

Inquisition held at Bally- 



Uintrt," 27th 


Inscriptions on Tombs, 


Industries, local ... 




Iron Works, ... ... 












James II 

Jacobite attempt on Bally 

Jennings family, 


Ktlbarron Castle, ... 

,, Old Church, 
Kilcnrbcry „ 
Kildoney ,, 

King's "Long Boats and 

Barges," the 49 

Killybog, 1J9 

Knathor, ... H6 

•laodhot, 119 

Linen Market, |iij 

"Loyal Ballyshannon 

Volunteers," ... .. 73 

Lugnauore, 25 

Jtfag Gccidne, 15 

Hacha 17 

Macwards, 35 

Magroartys, 35 

Market Prices, lofl 

Mammalia, ... „ .. jjg 

M 'Govern, Lieut S3 

Mi to morphk Jiocks, ... 8 

Minerals, ... ... ... ]2 

Military force of Tiroonnell, 3 1 
Military Depot, Bally- 
shannon ... „. so 

Mollusca, „ 127 

Morgan, Lady .. ., 88 

Moy, The 6 

" Moitattimn Hibemkam" 78 

Mnllinaoross, ... ... 20 

Mallaghuasheo, ... _. 17 





Karnes (local), Explained, 


Salmon, quantity of 


^emciUann, ... 


Siege of Ballyshannon, 
Shegns or Sheegys hill, ., 
Shelley the Poet, 




Spenser's " View of 

6, 16 

O'Clery familj' 

33, 50 

Subterranean Chamber, .. 


O'Donnella, the 
O'Donnell, Helen 


Sydney, Sir Henry 


O'Neill, Shane 


O'Sgingin family, 



Oughter Longh, 





Tides at Bally shannon, .. 




Patrick, Saint 17, 112, 116, 1IT 

Partholan, 14 

Parliamentary privileges, ... 54 
,, Representa- 


Tory Island, 

Trades formerly existing, 

Treasure, disco very of 


15, 21 



tives, list of 


Patten, "Tom" 







Price* of provisions, 


"Union Hunt, Bally- 


Products, (fossil) ... 




Vestry Book, the oldest 





Villanucva, I>. J. L. 


It I 





Batlin O'Beirne (note), 


Waterfall, The 




Ward town, 

IN, 80 



Weirs attached to Assaroe 







" WintlitiglBanis of Erne, 

Rivers flowing into Erne, .. 


The n 


Hossinver, .. 


Wollstonocraft, Mary 



Page 7, line 24, for "being" 

„ 10, „ 28, for "forget" 

„ 17, „ 25, for"Dibthorba"„ 

„ 17, „ 30, for " Emana " „ 

„ 20, „ for "Crinitbain" „ 

„ 23, „ 3, for "bom" „ 

„ 35, „ for " lhiebea " ,, 

„ 36, „ 15, for "depositary" „ 

,. 61, footnote, read " BonaTentura." 

„ 60, read line 8 before line 7. 

„ 79, Note, read "Jfatnral History oF Ireland 

read " been." 
„ " forgot." 
« Dithorba." 
" Emania." 
" Crimtban." 
" borne." 
" depository."