Saturday, 31 August 2013

A Unique Diary of Ballyshannon Life in the 1840s


Some years ago, in Ballyshannon, a dusty bundle of papers was discovered inside an old piano. It was a diary, written by a young Ballyshannon woman, Mary Anne Sheil, during the years 1844 to 1848, a diary that, today, opens a window on to Ballyshannon’s living past.
Mary Anne was a daughter of Doctor Simon Sheil, land agent for the Conolly estates and holder of fishing rights on the river Erne. Her mother, Alicia O’Conor, was sister of the O’Conor Don, and lineal descendant of Roderic, last high king of Ireland. 
Life in the Big House
The diary begins in 1844 when both parents are already deceased. Mary Anne and her sisters have assumed housekeeping duties for their brother Simon who, like his father, is a doctor. The girls take turns to supervise domestic staff, keep accounts and receive visitors. However life is not all duty and so there are piano lessons with Mr. Walton Roberts from London who also teaches them to dance the polka and the waltz. Old Halloween on the 11th of November, sees the family playing parlour games. Mary Anne records: “Julia, Catherine and I put apple peels over the door. Thady Carmichael came under the first, Owen Kean, the second, and the Rev. Coyle under mine, as if to prove its veracity.”
The Circus arrives in Ballyshannon 1844
The arrival of the circus on the 1st of July 1844 throws Ballyshannon into a state of excitement. There is a circus parade and Mary Anne finds the scene in front of Sheil House “equal to Donnybrook Fair” with jugglers, tumblers, people riding on stilts, dancers,” and seven pairs of beautiful horses. An announcement that Hughes’s Modern Roman Amphitheatre of Arts is to perform next day at the circus ring on the Mall, and that the largest elephant in the world will be there, prompts Mary Anne and her sisters to bring a small boy for a sneak preview. The diary records “a peep through a keyhole” and a glimpse of the elephant which the small boy “particularly enjoys.” 
Poverty and Emigration  from the Mall Quay
However the 1840s are not only a time for circuses. A visit to the workhouse fills Mary Anne with dismay and she writes, “To the poorhouse we went. Oh! What a misery is in this world. I would pray never to die in a Poorhouse.” She is saddened too by the departure of emigrants and records:
We went to the Dungravin Hills to see the ship sailing off to America with 90 passengers from this town and neighbourhood for the Land of Liberty. They had music, which in some degrees removed the sadness of the scene, as they only played merry airs. Anne Rogers has been in floods of tears all this day after Susan Magrath who is gone.
Two Wedding Ceremonies
When a suitor enters Mary Anne’s life, she is reluctant to confide in her diary, telling us only that she “forgot to mention a remarkable event of yesterday, which was that Mr. John Allingham of Willybrook House sent us his picture to look at. Mr. J. Allingham surprised me in the garden, where we had a long walk. He said a great deal. I listened and said nothing.”
Mr. Allingham proposed marriage and Mary Anne accepted. He gave his betrothed a present of a starling in a cage and shortly afterwards they were married with two wedding ceremonies, one Catholic and one Protestant because theirs was a mixed marriage. Their four children were born during the terrible Famine years that followed and the young parents were fearful for the health of their babies, especially Alice, the youngest, who had to be vaccinated three times. 
A Window on Life in Ballyshannon in the 19th Century
Mary Anne writes less often in her diary now as family cares take precedence and eventually it comes to an end with the lines:
I should be very fond of this Journal, for often when I have set to it with a heavy heart, I have risen from it quite consoled.
And so our window on mid-nineteenth century Ballyshannon closes. 
I am ever for dear sweet Ireland in general, but Ballyshannon in particular
Mary Anne once wrote, leaving us to wonder whether she had any inkling, as she put pen to paper, that she was bequeathing a valuable historical legacy to her beloved town.
Radio Broadcast: This week's blog above contains the script of a Sunday Miscellany piece I researched  for RTE national radio a few years ago.





50% Reduction on postage for orders for this book to all destinations. Genuine special offer. 

Ideal local gift for Christmas and all special occasions. 

Contact anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com for further details and for orders of the book.

Signed hard back and soft back books available at special  price for postal delivery or collection. 





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. anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com  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.


Final  Blog

7th September Complete Guide to Ballyshannon Musings 2012-2013
The blog archive of Ballyshannon Musings will still be available to read on the internet.

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people connected to the Ballyshannon area enjoyed the blog worldwide and the site received thousands of hits. 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 http://ballyshannon-musings.blogspot.ie/ 

















Monday, 26 August 2013

The Gaelic Revival in Ballyshannon a Hundred Years Ago



                                       Go Mairidh ár nGaehilig Slán”  
                                    


A great drive to promote the Irish language was undertaken by the Gaelic League and they certainly added much colour and entertainment to the Ballyshannon area in the early 1900s  which we take a look at in this blog. It is interesting to see how people set about reviving a language which had been struggling, certainly in this area, and perhaps their enthusiastic approach could be replicated for other areas of life today.

Classes in the Rock Hall

Classes for Junior and senior students were given by Aodh Ó Dubthaigh (O’ Diver) with the junior classes commencing Book 1 of Craig’s series and the seniors continuing with Book 11. The principal idea was to get people speaking Irish and the teacher assured students that even after a few lessons they would be able to carry on basic conversations. Three classes were held each week with an average attendance of 30 per class. The students paid an entrance fee of one shilling or two shillings for a family. Each week they paid a penny to pay for light and heat. Junior and senior classes were taught the Módh Díreach and the income helped to pay for the teacher. Dr. Mulhern P.P. gave the Rock Hall free for the classes which ran throughout the school year.

Gaelic League Entertainments

D.V. Stephens of the well known Ballyshannon family put on Magic Lantern shows for the Gaelic League including one called “The Scenery of Ireland.” These were the forerunners of the movies which became popular in the Rock Hall in the 1920s. The Magic Lantern Show was followed by a Coirm Ceoil. Dr. Maguire a historian who wrote a history of Ballyshannon gave a lecture on “Abbey Assaroe.” followed by a short concert. Dr. Maguire was well known in Gaelic games circles as he later presented the Maguire Cup for the senior club championship. He had a brother Michael, a solicitor, living in Castle Street Ballyshannon. 

Three plays were performed in the Rock Hall on 15th April 1909: “The Building Fund” by William Boyle plus 2 farces by Seamus McManus “The Leading Road to Donegal” and back by popular demand “The Lad from Largymore.”The cast for the plays included; Ms. F. Daly, E. Lynch, M.D. Quigley, John McCormick, Ms. Celia Croal, T. Kelly, P.H. Daly, P. Croal and Ms. A. Mulhern. 

Much of the entertainment was in English but the aim was to raise funds,to create an interest in joining the Gaelic League and to instil pride in being Irish.

The First Great Féis or Aeridheacht 26 July 1908 at Rockville

Close to 2,000 people attended the first great Gaelic League gathering in the grounds at Rockville in Ballyhanna in 1908. “Go Mairidh ár nGaehilig Slán”  ( literally may Irish remain strong) this was the banner on the platform which greeted people from a wide area as they arrived to celebrate our Gaelic culture. Indeed passengers on the Great Northern Railway who had excursion tickets for Bundoran could break their journey at Ballyshannon at no extra cost. The railway station was close by and even though there was a big A.O.H. rally in Bundoran the same day the crowd was impressive. Performers and competitors came from Gaelic League branches in Glasgow, Enniskillen, Townawilly, Kilskeery, Strabane, Belleek, Bundoran and Garrison.

Guest singers and dancers provided a varied programme of entertainment for over three hours with refreshments served in Rockville House which was given with the permission of the trustees of the late Mr. Sweeney. The grounds for the Aeridheacht were kindly provided by Mr. Cassidy J.P. The days festivities included a performance by Ballyshannon Brass and Reed Band who had previously won the cup at Letterkenny Féis and under their conductor Mr. Eldon, all agreed they were first class. Bandmaster Eldon was a member of the military at Finner Camp and  his memory is still recalled by older generations of bandsmen.

Local dancers and choirs from St. Catherine’s N.S. tutored by the Sisters of Mercy and Mrs. Dick performed as did the dancing team of the Misses Stephens and McGovern, Messrs. McManus and McIntyre. The local newspaper agreed that “they could not be surpassed for grace and finish.” This was the first major aeridheacht co-ordinated by Mr. Keawell who was secretary of the local Gaelic League and acted as master of ceremonies on the day.

The Second Féis or Aeridheacht 16 July 1909

The second annual Gaelic League event was once again held at Rockville. Cecil Stephens (senior) had assumed the mantle of secretary and this gathering had many guest artistes and lots of competition to whet the appetite. Cecil Stephens was an active member of many cultural and community organisations including being  a founder of the Donegal Democrat, conductor of the town band and musical society, town clerk and much more. 

Cahal O’ Byrne from Belfast clad in the costume of an Irish chieftain entertained the crowd with songs such as “The Stuttering Lover”, “I Know my Love” and “O’ Donnell Abú.” Band Master Eldon was on hand to once again conduct the Ballyshannon Brass and Reed Band and also to play a solo selection on the war pipes. There was no shortage of entertainment with William McCusker 1st prize winner at Enniskillen Féis in splendid voice with songs like “Beautiful Isle of the Sea.” Ms. Drum from Enniskillen once again sang beautifully with songs such as “Once \More in the Dear Old Land” and “The Donovans.”

Cashelard N.S Successes

An interesting competition for children studying Irish since July 1908, resulted in a victory for Cashelard N.S with Ballyshannon Boys N.S. College Street second. In the competition for children studying Irish since October 1907, Ballyshannon Convent N.S were first with Cashelard N.S second. In a handwriting competition the winner was Miss M. Sweeney with Patrick Monaghan Ballyshannon Boys N.S, Ms. S. Sweeney and Ms. M. Breslin Convent N.S in the prize winners. Ms. K. Higgins Convent N.S. won the single reel and the same school won the 4 hand reel and performed an 8 hand reel. In the fife and drum band competition St. Patrick’s Boys Band Ballyshannon were the winners with Belleek Band second. The Belleek Band generously returned their cash prize to the Gaelic League.


Great credit is due to local people who continued with the Irish language revival for many years and it is interesting to note how the neighbouring communities particularly in County Fermanagh helped out. Gradually the influence of the Gaelic League revival was noticeable in local shops also, with an increased use of Irish manufactured goods in Ballyshannon. 






50% Reduction on postage for orders for this book to all destinations. Genuine special offer. 

Ideal local gift for Christmas and all special occasions. 

Contact anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com for further details and for orders of the book.

Signed hard back and soft back books available at special  price for postal delivery or collection. 




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. anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com  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.



Final  Blogs

31st August A Unique Diary of Ballyshannon Life in the 19th Century

7th September Complete Guide to Ballyshannon Musings 2012-2013

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people connected to the Ballyshannon area enjoyed the blog worldwide and the site received thousands of hits. 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 http://ballyshannon-musings.blogspot.ie/ 

The blog archive of Ballyshannon Musings will still be available to read on the internet.














Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ballyshannon a Market Town in Famine Times


 A directory of 1846 described the harbour at Ballyshannon where the sandbar was a hindrance for shipping and  the famous Assaroe waterfall  which was a very popular salmon leap. Ballyshannon was a prosperous market town at the outbreak of the Famine with the newly opened workhouse in 1843 serving a wide area  in Fermanagh, Leitrim and south Donegal..The directory also indicated ways in which the commercial life of the town could be improved including the provision of a canal to link with Lough Erne and a railway. A suggestion is made that the celebrated comic dramatist,George Farquhar was a native of Ballyshannon but Derry would also lay claim to this  dramatist whose work is still popular today. Further research required on his birthplace but you never know what a serious research might turn up.

A Market Town

 Ballyshannon as a market town held a weekly Friday market for grain and agricultural produce. Fairs were held on the second of each month with annual fairs on February 15th, September 18th, and December 18th. In 1841 the parish of Kilbarron had a population of 10,027;  the parish of Inismacsaint had a population of 14,693 inhabitants. and Ballyshannon town, which was partly in both parishes, had a population of 3,513 of these numbers.The Post Office in 1846 was located in the  Port where John  O’ Donnell was postmaster. 

The range of crafts and industries listed in Slater’s Directory, reveals a thriving commercial town prior to the Famine. It was to be another twenty one years before the Great Northern Railway opened in the town and brought with it mixed blessings. It did provide an opportunity to get goods transported to the markets including fish and agricultural produce. However imports of mass produced goods from the factories created by the  Industrial  Revolution  was to sound the death knell for a lot of small enterprises listed below which could not compete. 

Pioneers

James McGowan whose ship the Mayflower traded to St. John New Brunswick in Canada is listed as a timber merchant as is James Creden who was the builder of the workhouse and who had Creden's Quay named after him at the harbour. The first newspaper in County Donegal was the Ballyshannon Herald on the Mall in 1831 but by 1846 it had moved premises to Castle street with David Carter as editor. Listed amongst the physicians are Simon Sheil (senior) and his son by his first marriage John Barclay Sheil. His son by his second marriage Dr. Simon Sheil (junior) is remembered in the Sheil Hospital which he endowed. There were 25 licensed premises in the town along with Kelly's Brewery and Benison's Distillery. Lots of tailors and milliners to make and repair clothes which had to make do for a lot longer in those days.Candlemakers also provided light before the days of Miller's Gas works and  Myles' electricity.
. 
Gentry and Clergy per Slater's Directory
Allingham Edwd. Esq. J.P. Stonewald ,Allingham John, Esq. Willybrook, Allingham Robert, Esq. Willybrook Atkinson Thomas John, Esq. J.P.Cavangarden. Bloomfield John, Esq. J.P. Castlecaldwell Brady Patrick, Esq. Rockfield Cassidy Rev . Charles, Melvin Cottage Conolly Colonel Edward Michael, M.P. The Cliff Conolly William Esq. J.P. Mount Prospect Cotton Francis R. Esq. Higginstown Cullen Curnes Cross, Esq. Loughmaron House Cummins Rev. John, P.P. Kilbarron Davis Matthew, Esq. J.P. Main St. Dixon John, Esq. Tawley Dunbar Rev. John, Bundoran Dundas Mr. John, Main St. Ellis Rev. – Cockstown Erskine Wm. Esq. Ballahaney Cottage Fawsset Mrs. – Rowantree Hill Folingsby Joseph, Esq. Main St. Forde Captain – Bundoran Forde Mr. Francis, Chapel St. Franklin Lieut. Robert, College Lane Hales Rev. Edward, Mount Prospect Hamilton Abraham, Esq. BrownHall Hamilton Alexr. Esq. Cockstown Hamilton  Andrew, Esq. Ballintra Hamilton John, Esq. Cockstown Hamilton William, Esq. Cockstown Harding Captain John, Mall Johnston Capt. Jas. Kinlough House Johnston James, Esq. J.P. Magheramena House Johnston Robert, Esq. LaputaJohnston Robt. Esq. Kinlough House
Merchants
Allingham Robt. & John, Willybrook Chism Edward, Main st. Creden James, Port, and Enniskillen Green Andrew, Main St. Green John, Main St. McGowan James, Port
Milliners& Dressmakers
Gibson  Betsy, Main St. Gill Mary, College st. Gouldin  Elizabeth, Main st. Hicks Mary Ann, Rock Irvine Mary, Mall Keenan Elizabeth, Port Mc Bride Rachael, Main St. Mc Closkey Elizabeth, Port Murphy Catherine, Bachelor’s Walk
Music Teachers
Haggerty Lawrence, Chapel St. Kenny Elizabeth Johnston, Castle St.
Newspaper
Ballyshannon Herald (Friday) – Castle St – David Carter,  proprietor
Painters & Glaziers
Daly Edward, Main St. Heavy Joseph, Main St. Killen William, Main St.
Physicians& Surgeons
 Brien Edwd. Henry,  H.P. R.N. Castle St. Ivers Daniel, Castle St Kelly Edward, M.D. Main St. O’Donnell John, H. Port Shiel John Barclay, M.D. Bachelor’s Walk Shiel Simon, M.D. College Lane Thompson William, Castle St. Welsh John, M.D. Mall
Provision Merchants
Chism Edward, Main St. Green Andrew, Main St.
Public Houses
Bell William, Diamond Bidwell William, Diamond Corscaden James, Back St. Daly Francis, Bishop St. Donoghue Matthew, Main St. Edwards Robert, Bishop St. Gallaher Eliza, Port Gallaher Michael, Port Irwin Francis, Port Keenan James, Port Kelly James, Port Mc Cabe Charles, Port Mc Gowan Thomas, Market St. Mc Hughes Owen, Market St. McIntire James, Main St.
Mc Shea Daniel, Port McVitty William, Market St. Maguire Constantine, Port Maguire Philip, Port Mulhern Ann, Market St. O’Connor John, Port Sharkey Patrick, Main St. White Bryan, Diamond 
Rope& Twinemakers
 Anderson Finley, Port Joyce Michael, Main St. Mc Gloin James, Main st.
Saddlers Harness Makers
Dundas Hugh, Main St. Kirkpatrick John, Port
Salt Manufacturers
Green John, Port Teevan Andrew, Port
Straw Bonnet Makers
Mc Closkey Elizabeth Port Mc Gowan Bridget, Market St. White Bridget, Port Wilson Mary, Port
Surveyors- Land
Kelly John C. Mall Kelly Patrick, Bachelor’s Walk
Tailors
Campbell James, Castle St. Flanaghan Terence, Port Flynn William, Port Hare John, Port Higgins Edward, Market St. Irvine Henry, Mall Keane Hugh, Mall Keenan Francis, Port Matherwell Robert, Port Wilson James, Main St.
Tallow Chandlers  and Soap Boilers
Anderson Lowry, Market St. Green Finlay (and tobacco and snuff manufacturer) Main St. Maguire Bryan, Diamond Thompson George, Market St.
Tanners
Bonner John, Chapel St. Boyle John, Port Sharkey John, Main St.
Tea Dealers Wholesale
Green Andrew, Main St. Read Joseph, Main St. Stephens Hugh, Castle St.
Timber Merchants
Creden James (and slate, iron and coal), Port, and Enniskillen Green Andrew, Main St. Green John, Port McGowan Jas. (& slate & coal), Port
Wine& Spirit Merchants
Benison James & Co. (spirit, and distillers), Port Cockburn Walker, Main St. Kelly  Peter (& brewer & maltstr) Mall Stephens Hugh, Castle St.
Miscellaneous
Brown James, pawnbroker, Chapel St. Carolan John, hairdresser, Back St. Carter David, printer, bookseller andstationer, Castle street Craig Christopher, excise officer, Mall Gearon Edward, excise officer, Main St. Griffin Charles, supervisor of excise, Mall Johnston Frederick s. excise officer, Mall Kenny Robert, watch and clock maker,Castle St. McCullagh Henry, hairdresser, College St. Myles Robert, dyer, Port Sterrett Samuel, plumber, Main St. Stubbs Thomas T. bank accountant, Mall Sweeny Frances, stay maker, Main St. Walsh John, blacking manufacturer, Bishop st.
Places of Worship And their Ministers
Parish Church, Church lane –Rev. George Tredennick, rector; Rev. Henry C. Tuthill, curate. Roman Catholic Chapel, Chapel St. – Rev .John Cummins, parish priest: Rev. Daniel Coyle and Rev. John Mc Menamin, curates. Roman Catholic Chapel, Carrickboy – Rev. Bernard Kelly, parish priest: Rev. Edward Keon, curate. Presbyterian Chapel, Mall – Rev. Andrew Lowry, minister Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Mall, ministers various. Primitive Methodist Chapel, Main St.
Public Institutions 
Barrack, Barrack Hill – Thomas Weir, Barrack sergeant. Constabulary Station, Mall – Charles Haydon, sub-inspector; Charles Mc Cartney, head constable; Patrick Mc Glade, constable Custom House, Mall – Joseph Folingsby, Esq. collector, Patrick Heagney, comptroller; James E. Eccleston, locker, James Henry, tide master. Dispensary, Market St. – Simon Shiel, M.D. surgeon. Excise Office, Port – Charles Griffin, supervisor; Edward Gearom. Frederick Johnston & Christopher Craig, division officers. Revenue Police Station, Chapel St –James McFaddin, Stamp Office, Main St. John Scott, sub-distributer.
Union Workhouse, Carrickboy  Fras. Johnston,master, Mary Keenan, Matron; Edward Kelly, M.D. surgeon; Jas. Mc Gowan, jun. clerk to  guardians.
Coaches and Cars.
From Walker Cockburn’s Hotel.
 To Dublin, the Royal Mail, every day at  twelve;goes through Enniskillen,Lisnaskea, Cavan, Kells and Slane, to Drogheda, thence by Railway.
To Belfast, by the Dublin Mail, to Enniskillen, thence by the Belfast and Enniskillen Mail.
To Donegal, Mail Car, every day at ten minutes before one – also by the Mail to Londonderry.
To Enniskillen, Cars (from Bundoran) calls at Flanagan’s Hotel, Port, and at Constantine
Maguire’s, Port, every morning (Sunday excepted) at eight and nine during the bathing season –
also by the Mail to Dublin.
To Londonderry, the Royal Mail, every morning at ten;  goes through Donegal, Ballybofey,
Stranorlar, Raphoe and Johnstown.
To Sligo, the Royal  Mail (from Londonderry), every afternoon at twenty minutes past four;
goes through Bundoran.
Carriers
To Dublin, Charles and Thomas Galagher, once a  fortnight.
To Londonderry, Finlay Anderson, Terence Gallagher and John Flanagan, every Monday.





50% Reduction on postage for orders for this book to all destinations. Genuine special offer. 

Ideal local gift for Christmas and all special occasions. 

Contact anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com for further details and for orders of the book.

Signed hard back and soft back books available at special price for postal delivery or collection.



 


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. anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com  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.



Final Blogs 

10th August "There goes a poet if he only know it"
                    "Only you're an ass you'd let the poet pass"
    
17th August "Ballyshannon a Market Town in Famine Times."(names of merchants and craft workers etc.)

24th August The Gaelic Revival in Ballyshannon a Hundred Years Ago.

31st August A Unique Diary of Ballyshannon Life in the 19th Century

7th September Complete Guide to Ballyshannon Musings 2012-2013

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people connected to the Ballyshannon area enjoyed the blog worldwide and the site received thousands of hits. 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 http://ballyshannon-musings.blogspot.ie/ 

The blog archive of Ballyshannon Musings will still be available to read on the internet.





























Wednesday, 7 August 2013

"There goes a poet if he only know it" "Only you're an ass you'd let the poet pass"

Ballyshannon 400 is going really well and I was amazed at the attendance at my Famine Walk on Monday 5th August when up to 200 people walked around Ballyshannon in glorious sunshine. Thanks to all who supported  this local history tribute to our forgotten Famine victims and especially to my colleagues Patricia Keane and Conor Carney who added greatly to the event with their songs, poems and stories.

On Friday 9th August I will be joining Michael Daly, Editor of The Donegal Democrat in the Abbey Centre at 3 p.m. when we will be looking back at the long history of newspapers in Balllyshannon. All welcome to this free event.

On Saturday 10th Patricia Keane and I will be doing a short reflection of about 30 minutes on the local history of the south side of  the Erne in Owen Roe's at 9 pm. as part of the Rock Parish Gathering. There will be other guests All welcome to this free event.

Check Town Council site or programme listing for events which continue until Sunday 11th August.

Anthony Begley

Francie Daly and William Allingham

Francis (Francie) Daly lived in Bachelor's Walk in the town and  was not married.  Daly was a painter and artist in brass and used to do ornamental brass plates and door knockers for the well to do. He also wrote poetry. Local anecdote would claim that Daly wrote some of Allingham’s poems. No substance has ever been provided for the claim or no specific poems identified as having been written by Francie Daly. William Allingham did say that he collected ballads at the fairs and perhaps this led to the suggestion, and that is all it appears to be, that Francie Daly wrote some of his poems. The work Allingham did on completing ballads may have given rise to this impression but his poetry was, one feels, his own work. 

Local lore  suggests that Francis Daly was walking down the Mall one day and as he passed William Allingham’s house, a voice from an upstairs window said: “There goes a poet if he only know it”. Daly turned around but couldn’t see anyone and replied: “Only you’re an ass you’d let the poet pass!”

An Erratic Genius

John Downey editor of  The Donegal Democrat described him as “an erratic genius and very few recognised the talent hidden by the somewhat peculiar exterior”. He composed a number of pieces of poetry few of which were ever published.He was a simple, unassuming person who was a familiar sight on the streets of Ballyshannon for many years. As an old man he read his poems and sung his own compositions to local youth in his home at Bachelor’s Walk.  Francie Daly died circa 1919.

Hallow-Eve Nights Dream


The following is an extract from a poem entitled, “Hallow Eves Night Dream” by Francie Daly . The background to the poem is believed to be, that in 1885 Daly was infatuated with Lily Harris a tightrope walker from “West Bromwich” and in the poem he talks of waking up in the morning and seeing the track a snail makes on a wall-it had made the initials L.H.  Lily Harris had been touring the country with a theatrical company and performed in Ballyshannon where Daly saw her as a young man and she remained the girl of his dreams. The poem makes use of placenames which gives it a local flavour and the artist referred to is Daly himself as he was a house-painter and sculptor of a kind. Daly’s Fort on the Hills of Tullymore was where the Daly family resided before coming to live in town.


 
In eighteen hundred and eighty-five, the date being true and right,
Many colleens fair and young played “tricks” on Hallow Eve Night,
Twas gathering weeds round corn-stacks that many took a turn,
Pulling the yarrow, throwing reels, and more had nuts to burn.
There was one among them who was both fair and tall,
She says,” Now each has played a trick, but I played none at all,
I have two nuts here in my hand from yonder hazel line
I shall burn them in my lovers name to see if hell be mine.”

They only saw her when she spoke and at her they did gaze,
A blazing brand she lifted up, and set the nuts to blaze,
She watched the flames as they did unite, and to them there she said,
A ring I see in the ruddy glow, my trick is truly played,
I must away my love to see, he rests by some bright stream,
And place these nuts beneath his head, perhaps on me hell dream,”
She quickly turned away from them, these maidens all in fright,
Saying fare ye well, I wish you joy, and “A Merry Hallow Eve Night.”

They all followed with their eyes, but she soon left their view,
Not knowing where she came from, nor where she was going too.
Says one on to another, “Ive seen her once before,
She was coming down from Dalys Fort on the hills of Tullymore.”

A bedroom door was on the lock; a fire was in the grate,
The artist he lay fast asleep when Morpheus showed his fate,
For a vision bright, all clad in white, and ornaments so rare,
With red-rose cheeks, coral lips, and yellow-golden hair,
She glided up to his bedside, and oer him she did stand,
The gold ring off her finger she held it in her hand,
She says, “This is our marriage token I truly tell to thee,
                                    For when we are two in one you must come with me.




50% Reduction on postage for orders for this book to all destinations. Genuine special offer. 

Ideal local gift for Christmas and all special occasions. 

Contact anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com for further details and for orders of the book.

Signed hard back and soft back books available at special price for postal delivery or collection. 

 









 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. anthonyrbegley@hotmail.com  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.



Final Blogs 

10th August "There goes a poet if he only know it"
                    "Only you're an ass you'd let the poet pass"
    
17th August "Ballyshannon a Market Town in Famine Times."(names of merchants and craft workers etc.)

24th August The Gaelic Revival in Ballyshannon a Hundred Years Ago.

31st August A Unique Diary of Ballyshannon Life in the 19th Century

7th September Complete Guide to Ballyshannon Musings 2012-2013

Ballyshannon Musings:  Good to hear that people connected to the Ballyshannon area enjoyed the blog worldwide and the site received thousands of hits. 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 http://ballyshannon-musings.blogspot.ie/ 

The blog archive of Ballyshannon Musings will still be available to read on the internet.