St. Connell’s Museum & Heritage Centre

History of its Foundation and Development
Compiled by Danny Boyle

As a result of a local historical study by a small group of people interested in the history, customs and traditions of the parish of Inniskeel, they were invited to present a programme on RTE’s Community Radio when it Visited Glenties in August of 1982. From that programme the idea was mooted that as there was so much local historical information available it should be preserved in a permanent way.

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Patrick MacGill

Patrick MacGill was born in 1889 in the Glen of Glenties, and was the first of eleven children. After a mere three years’ schooling, Patrick left at ten and after two years’ work on the home patch of land set out at twelve as one of a party of Donegal youngsters for the hiring fair in Strabane.

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Inniskeel Island

The Island of Inniskeel has a sacred interest in the present and the past with a long, if broken, history to commemorate its former greatness. It is still the seat of a must-frequented pilgrimage in honour of St. Connell, one of the most remarkable of Ireland’s early Saints. It contains his Church and his cell and in it repose his scared remains in the grave that had first closed over the body of his illustrious friend, St. Dallan.

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The Harvest Fair

The following is an account of Glenties Harvest Fair written and published in 1972 by the late Joe Campbell, Glenties.

In my young days and that’s not today or yesterday the Harvest Fair Day was a red-letter day in the history of the town. It was looked forward to by young and old for weeks before and remembered by many a long day afterwards. In fact, in those days it was a three-day event. First there was “the gathering” the day before; then there was the big day itself and then there was “the scattering” the following day.

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The Courthouse

Unusually for the small townships of West Donegal, Glenties has both a Market House and a Court House. The former seems to have been built about 1840 for the Marquis of Conyngham. It is a long low gabled two-storey building with two separate outside stairways giving access to the upper floor: today used as youth club, recreation room, stores and garage. In the lower storey, there is a single wide segmental arc and on either side an arched doorway: windows have been added rather miscellaneously from time to time. The quoins and dressings are of cut stone, as are the chimneys, otherwise the building is of random rubble harled over. Rather oddly, but endearingly, the upper walls are set back all round on the base furnished by the lower storey and stringcourse. The eaves of the Sables have cheerful little carved wooden brackets.

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