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1814 Statistical Account

No. IX. Parish of CLONMANY,

(Diocese of Derry, and County of Donegal.)

By the Rev. F. L. Molloy.

I. The Name of the Parish, Situation, Extent, etc.

CLONMANY is the modern, as we may suppose it to be the ancient name of this parish; and probably called so, from Cluain Maighnuis, Manus's retreat or residence, in like manner as Clonard is derived from Cluin Iraird: to which the tradition of the place, respecting the etymology of the word, agrees, with some little difference, which is, that Managh Morrison, being the most wealthy man in this place, and having his castle near where the church now stands, (the ruins of which were erased about twenty-five years ago for that edifice, and the wall around it,) and also the best stubbles and grass, it was instantly said, if his neighbours' cattle strayed away, they are in Managh's stubbles, (coinleach Managh,) hence Clonmany. The writer of the Statistical Account of this parish, is unable to proceed any farther in the ancient history of it, having no records to guide him; however, it may be admitted, that this is a matter more of curiosity to the antiquarian, than of use in its consequence.

*Or perhaps Cluain Managh, i.e the Monks' Retreat

This parish is situated in the barony of Ennishowen, county of Donegal*, and diocese of Derry: being from 55 13' to 55 17' N.lat. and from 7 54' to 8 2' W. longitude; bounded on the W. by part of the parish of Desertegny and the mouth of Lough-Swilly; on the N. by the Atlantic ocean; on the E. by an arm of the sea, which separates it from the parish of Cloncha; on the S.E. by the parish of Donagh; on the S. by part of the parishes of Lower Fahan, Templemore, and Desertegny, all in the diocese of Derry.

* It is generally believed, that the Danes came first to Ireland, in the reign of ( Odha Oirndeghe, (the son of Neil Frasach,) in A. D. 798: however, Mr. Flaherty says, that they came A.D. 800. Be that as it may, the native Irish called them Goill, (men of chivalry,) whence Fineghall, in the county of Dublin, and Dunnangall, the county that this parish is situated in, Donegal.

It may be asked here how it comes to pass, that the parish of Templemore borders Clonmany, when Upper and Lower Fahan intervene? The answer is, Glasmolan, Drumaneigh, Ballybrack, Ballintleva, Ballinlough, Carloughill, Meennaghmollagh, being mountain farms of the isle of Inch, in the parish of Templemore, the half of which was given to the parish of Clonmany by the Dean of Derry, as incumbent, (but at what time this was done, I have not been able to ascertain,) for doing the parochial duty no doubt; while the other half remains in statu quo: these lands are called the Bar of Inch.

The breadth of the parish N. and S. in the direction. of Buncrana, in its most extended part, is only four miles; and its length, from E. to W. in the direction of Dunree fort, about 8 miles, and may, with propriety, be called a longitudinal parish: however, for a more mathetical account of it, I beg leave to refer the reader to McCrea's map of the county of Donegal, which was lately struck off in London, by order, and for the use, of the Grand Jury of the county.

This parish is divided into twenty-three large divisions, which are, I suppose, properly called townlands; here, however, they are called quarter-lands, and why, I have not been able to ascertain. Their names are to be found in the Appendix.

It may not, perhaps, be unworthy of notice here, that each of these is subdivided, and the subdivisions do not, in every instance, border on each other; as in the townland of Dunnally, which consists of Binnion, Bunachrick, Tandragee Gaddyduff, Mindoran, Boharna; Urbol, and Addervill, there are, at least, two miles distance between the first and the last of these subdivisions: however, to put this part of my subject into as clear a light as possible, and to give the reader some idea of the comparative value of the land, I shall refer him to the Appendix, where he will find the subdivisions of this parish, extracted from the vestry-book; annexed to which, I have, to each townland, subjoined its proportion of the sum of 5O, which was to serve as a key for future applotments, from the 28th day of September, 1808.

Within the bounds of the parish, it is supposed, there are about 10,038 acres; of which 2,529 acres can be tilled; allotting to each family in the parish, two acres and an half of arable land, and eight acres of mountain tract, which is supposed to be a tolerably fair calculation, it will produce the acreable contents of the parish above stated.

In this parish there are only two rivers worthy of remark, viz. Clonmany, and Ballyhallan: the former takes its rise from Meendoran lough, in the south of the parish, and the latter river from a little spring in the west of it, which runs east for about two miles, and joins the former at the Gort, where the rector of the parish, the Rev. Abraham Hamillton, who holds along with it, the vicarage of Donegal, intends building the glebe-house in spring next: the united stream runs due north for about an English mile, and then falls into the sea at Binnion.

The shores which bound this parish, are, on the west, Leenan and Bunarohan; on the north, Dunaff, Tullagh, Binnion, Pollan, and Carrickabrahey; on the east, Ballindavoe, Lagachurry, and Feggart; making a semicircle nearly of nine miles. The arm of the sea which separates the parish from that of Cloncha, is Strabreaga, and flows the two miles into the interior of the country; to the town of Malin. About a mile from the mouth of Strabreaga, the sea undulates to the right, and peninsulates a part of the parish, known by the name of the Isle of Doagh, comprehending the townlands of Feggart, Lagachurry, Carrickabrahey, Craignacally, and Ballymacmurty.

Leenan Bay, at the mouth of Lough Swilly, between Leenan-Head and Dunree-Head, is looked upon to be a safe harbour, and is, I believe, mentioned as such in the Charts.

The peculiar production of those rivers, and some small loughs in the parish, are trouts and eels: a few salmon come up, in autumn, to spawn in those rivers.

There are some very considerable hills or mountains here, which display a grandeur better conceived than described. The principal of which are Rachtion, Bulbion, Dunaff, Crucknakeeragh, Cruckaghrim, and Binnion, which afford some kind of summer pasture to black cattle and sheep, except the first and the north side of the last, being immensely high, and nearly of perpendicular altitude.

That there have been woods in various parts of this parish, is clear from the many trees of fir and fir-blocks to be met with in the bogs: at present, however, it is very destitute of standing timber.

The bogs were once very numerous here, but now they are diminishing fast, and it is a subject that deserves serious consideration, to know what will be done for fuel in the course of twenty years hence: perhaps the ingenuity of man might find coal-mines in these huge Mountains. The people cut their turf in May, and have them winnowed in proper time: the most considerable of the bogs are Urris, Cloontagh, aud Boharna.

Notwithstanding, however, these high mountains and bogs that I have mentioned, our climate is healthy. We must admit, indeed, that during eight months of the year, we suffer, alternately, from humidity, cold and piercing breezes, and sometimes from tempestuous hurricanes; but, from the beginning of June until the beginning of October, Sol's revivifying beams repay us for our sufferings.

       I. The Name of the Parish, Situation, Extent, etc.
II. Mines, Minerals, etc.
       III. Modern Buildings, etc.
       IV. Ancient Buildings, etc.
       V. Present and former State of Population, Food, Fuel, etc
       VI. The Genius & Disposition of the Poorer Classes, etc.
       VII. The Education and Employment of Children, etc.
       VIII. State of Religious Establishment, Tithes, etc, etc.
       IX. Modes of Agriculture, Crops, etc.
       X. Of Trade, Manufactures, Commerce, etc.
       XI. Natural Curiosities, remarkable Occurrences, etc.
       XII. Suggestions for Improvement, etc.
       APPENDIX : TOWNLANDS, their Derivations, etc.

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