Saturday, 6 July 2013

The Banks of Culmore (Coolmore)

“The Banks of Culmore” (Coolmore) is an emigrant ballad which uses many local place names including; Rossnowlagh, Durnish, Belalt which is the name for the main beach at Rossnowlagh, The Sandhouse Hotel, Bundoran, Culbeg (Coolbeg), Reynold’s Folly,  Kilbarron Castle,The Erne and  Kildoney. John C. Mangan was a local poet in Ballintra and is reputed to have written a number of poems including “The Banks of Culmore.”

The Banks of Culmore (Coolmore)

Farewell to green Erin, far from you I go,
For to cross the wide ocean, where the stormy winds blow,
Your daisy clad hills, will I never see more,
Round the sweet cooling shades, round the banks of Culmore.

The green hills of Durnish, no more will I roam,
Or through sweet Rossnowlagh where I oft found a home,
And into the rabbit burrows where there is pleasure so grave,
Charmed by the bent banks, by the sound of each wave.

Belalt is a pretty place, down the white strand,
Where lads and gay lasses do walk hand in hand,
And into the Sandhouse, where there’s whiskey in store,
And drink to their sweethearts, on the banks of Culmore.

Bundoran for bathing is highly esteemed,
By rich and by poor for pleasure indeed,
But were it as fair as the sweet Mannon shore,
It could never be compared to the banks of Culmore.

The groves of sweet Culbeg that once bloomed in pride,
Are mould’ring in ruins since great Reynolds died,
While the notes of the mavis are lost in deplore
As she sings round the tower, on the banks of Culmore.

Kilbarron Castle on a cliff o’er the sea,
All lost in oblivion, its ruins decay,
Where lords, knights and earls resided in yore,
To crown forth its splendour, they called it Culmore.

Farewell to that pretty place that once gave me birth,
Where many’s a day I spent in sweet joy and mirth,
From the banks of Lough Erne to Kildoney shore,
All around that pleasant harbour round the banks of Culmore.

Our great Alexander is building all so,
Like the great court of Venus, far whiter than snow,
Neptune in his dolphin chariot o’er billows did soar,
Often viewed its great splendour and they called it Culmore.

Farewell to sweet Culmore, farewell thrice to thee,
And likewise my own darling sweet B… in G…,
And if ever I return with gold in great store,
I’ll wed my own darling on the banks of Culmore.

P.S. Check an earlier blog in May on the archive to Ballyshannon Musings for a ballad on Coolmore N.S. written to commemorate the centenary of the school in 1952.

Date for Your Diary

Famine Walk 5th August 2013

On Monday 5th August 2013 at 2.30 p.m. I will be conducting a Famine Walk from the Paupers' Graveyard to the Workhouse in Ballyshannon. The meeting point is the Abbey Centre in Ballyshannon and I hope you can make it as part of the Ballyshannon 400 Week. On the Famine Walk we will hear  stories from the Great Famine of the 1840s and recall the suffering endured by our ancestors in this area. All welcome. The pace will be leisurely.The workhouse at Ballyshannon housed people from:

  • The  Belleek area as far as Churchill, Devenish and Boho in County Fermanagh 
  • Kinlough, Glenade and Tullaghan areas in County Leitrim 
  • Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Ballintra and Rossnowlagh areas in CountyDonegal.     

If you know anyone from the areas above please invite them to come along to remember people from their area who are forgotten today, some of whom would be buried in the Paupers’ graveyard.  

Anthony Begley

 Upcoming Blogs July

13th July “The Kildoney Fishermen’s Case”
20th July “Local Customs for Special Days”
27th July  "Cholera, Famine and Death  in the Area "

Lots Happening for Ballyshannon 400 Gathering and Other Events

A New Local History Book suitable for those at Home and Away

A new book entitled: "Ballyshannon. Genealogy and History"  reveals newly researched history and genealogy of the town, extending as far as the Rossnowlagh, Cashelard, Corlea, Clyhore, Higginstown and Finner areas. Includes the parishes of Kilbarron and Magh Ene.

The genealogy material provides detailed guidelines for anyone tracing their roots in the area or anywhere in County Donegal or Ireland. 

The book contains 500 pages and is richly illustrated with stunning colour, aerial photography, original illustrations and rare photographs of the area not seen before.

Topics include: How to go about Tracing your Roots/The first settlers in the area/ Newly researched history of the town of Ballyshannon and the townlands in Kilbarron and Mágh Éne parishes/ Records of the first travellers and tourists to Ballyshannon, Bundoran, Belleek, Rossnowlagh and Ballintra/An aerial guide to place names along the Erne from Ballyshannon to the Bar/Flora and Fauna of the area/ A history of buildings and housing estates in the locality/Graveyard Inscriptions from the Abbey graveyard, St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s /Rolling back the years with many memories of the Great Famine, Independence struggle, hydro-electric scheme, Gaelic games, boxing, handball, Boy Scouts, soccer, mummers, characters, organisations, folklore and lots more.

Book Available from Anthony Begley West Rock Ballyshannon.  Enquiries welcome for postal and other details. Also available at The Novel Idea Bookshop Ballyshannon, Ballyshannon and District Museum, Ballyshannon Tourist Office, The Four Masters Bookshop Donegal Town.

The blogs are original and are not taken from the book above.

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people from the Ballyshannon area are enjoying the blog worldwide and the site has received thousands of hits. Please let people with an interest in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas know about this site, particularly people who are not living locally and those who are abroad. The site is called Ballyshannon Musings and there are a number of back issues available on the internet. Copy this link and it can be googled at The site can be located on the internet (or by connecting to my Facebook page). New items will be posted every week on Ballyshannon Musings during 2013the year of “The Gathering”. 

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