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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.

VI. The Genius & Disposition of the Poorer Classes, etc.

The genius of the people turns on an agricultural axis, although there are some expert craftsmen in the parish, such as, shoemakers, weavers, carpenters, coopers. wheelwrights, etc.: they are remarkably sober, regular and attentive to business; spirited, warlike, and courageous, yet not by any means quarrelsome; they are charitable to the poor, and a kind good-natured peasantry as ever I knew.

The vernacular language is what is used by the people in common, although they are acquiring a tolerable knowledge of the English now, since their ideas were whetted by a commercial intercourse in the neighbouring fairs and markets. It may be right to remark here, that some of the old men in this parish have a genius for reading the Irish language, in Irish characters and there is one old man, upwards of 80 years of age, who can write it tolerably well. There are some old poems on Fion Mc. Cuil, and many fragments of what they call Ossian's poems; there is also an Irish manuscript, on theological subjects, by a priest, A. D. 1715.

The titular saint, or as some express it, the guardian saint, of this parish, is Columbkill. The 9th of June is his festival day, and is observed most ceremoniously by some of the old people in the parish: on that day they circumambulate certain places, repeating certain prayers; deified, as it were, by him. They formerly drove down their cattle to the beach, on that day, and swam them, in that part of the sea, into which runs the water of St. Columb's well, which is thereby made holywater; but this custom, of late, has not been practised. There is also a traditional story told here, that the earth of a little hillock (tempo desh,) on the right of the road leading from the chapel to the church, formerly expelled all mice and rats, until the earth or it was vended, when its expelling powers ceased; still, however, they carry all their dead around it, as being an ancient custom. There is a circular flat stone in the centre of the churchyard, about 14 inches in diameter, on which are two round little hollow places, which they say are prints of Columb's knees. On that day mass used to be celebrated, but of late, I believe, it has been discontinued.

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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