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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.
This parish, to many, might appear to be a great curiosity; with mountains prodigiously high, some abruptly conical, and some nearly perpendicular; and with vallies of vast extent and of great richness. But to illustrate this fact more in detail; let us suppose that a man, from some of the flat districts of the interior of the kingdom, should be placed on Mamore-gap: aright before him to the north is the great Atlantic ocean, which will present a most awful picture to his view, while on his right and left, hang rocks prodigiously high and nearly perpendicular. Let him proceed a little farther, and turn to the right,
"Magnum iter intendo; sed dat mihi gloria vires."
Let him endeavour to ascend the mountain that will then present itself to his view; no doubt, when he has arrived at the summit, he will, like the wearied traveller, recline his tired limbs:-
"Come then expressive silence, muse his praise."
He will be delighted with the variety of the scenery, to the north, south, east and west. He may satiate his eyes awhile with a northern prospect, the far surrounding sea, (the" polu-phloisboio" of the ancients,) diversified with some islands; while underneath his view, between the sea and him, is a beautiful flat valley, the richness of the soil of which, is like a garden of cucumbers. To. the right is Lough Foyle, and to the left, Lough Swilly; on the latter the shipping will attract his notice for a considerable time; and underneath him, and very near, is a heap of stones, (leachd,) erected there by Fion Mc. Cuil, in memory of some of his heroes who fell there But before he leaves that mountain, let him recollect, that it was the spot where Fion Mc. Cull enacted his laws, as the name of the mountain implies, (Rachtion, the act of Fion Mc. Cuil.) If he goes to Tullagh, he may there see a chink in a rock, excavated underneath by the corroding hand of time, which, when the wind blows strong from the north, spurts up the water to, at least, 100 feet. It is most curious to observe this at the distance of three miles off, casting up the water like a huge leviathan. Let him proceed southward, he comes to Binnion-bay, and will pass Neal Dogherty's house, commonly called Neal Shane, who is the most eminent man in the parish, if we consider, that about thirty years ago, he probably was not worth £30, and now lie is worth, at least, £10,000, which he has acquired by his own cleverness. Proceeding southward still, he may take a cursory view of two white stones to the right and left of the road near the chapel. Taking the same course, he will arrive at a stone, in Maheramore, placed on pillars, which cannot be less than 2O tons weight, said to be Fion Mc. Cuil's finger-stone. It has every appearance of being placed there (being called cloch a togbhail,) if it was practicable; however, to the men of this generation it is not. Before he leaves the parish, he may see large caves in Legacherry, Binnion-hill, and Dunaff.
To the above may be added, a fall of the waters of a rivulet, which takes its rise from little springs in the west of Reachtion and Crucknakeera mountains, down a rock fifty feet perpendicular: it runs between the houses of the Rev. Dr. Chichester and John O'Donnell, Esq. and then falls into the confluence of the Clonmany and Ballyhallen. Also, an arch through one of the rocks at Leenan-head, of about 70 yards long and 5 or 6 broad, through which people pass in boats, for their amusement. These, if not objects of great curiosity, are certainly worthy of observation.
It, may not be uninteresting to mention also, that a farmer of this parish, when blasting some' rocks in one of his fields, found underneath one of them, a quernstone, which evidently had been in use. Would it not be very desirable to know, when and how it came under a great rock?
There is a man of this parish, upwards of 70 years of age, who teaches the English, Irish, French, Latin and Greek languages, can speak the first four, and can repeat, with the assistance of his memory, all the books read at school, or nearly so.
The following list, taken from the books of the First Fruits Office, shows the succession of the incumbents of this parish:
William Paton, admiss et institut. fuit 19 Jan. 1630, ad rector. de Clonmany, in Com. Donegal. Val. £16.
Johannes Bunbury, admiss et collat. fuit 2 Maii, 1636, ad R. de Clonmany, in Com. Donegal. Val. £12.
Daniel McLoughlin, institut. et indut. primo Junii, 1672, ad rector. de Clonmany, in Com. DonegaL, Val £12.
Johannes Echlin, cler. in A. M. institut fuit 8th die August 1711, ad rector. Clonmany, Com. Donegal.
The Hon John Skiffington, rector. Clonmany, 4th July l745.
Arthur Chichester, A. M. rect. Clonmany, 1Oth June 1754.
William Chichester, R Clonmany, 19th July, 1768.
Henry Thomas Preston, institued 27th April, 1791, R Clonmany.
Abraham Hamilton, collated 4th Jun, 1801, R Clonmany.
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 and their SUBDIVISIONS.
APPENDIX : TOWNLANDS, their Derivations, etc.