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The Fair of Pollan
The Fair of Pollan was held twice a year, 29th June and 10th October. The last fair was held on 29th June, 1812. It had been going on for 100 or 200 years before that. It was a cattle horse and sheep fair, and there was plenty of dancing and singing at it. Many a match and wedding was settled there.
The Cow Park was down in a place called "Garrai an Chladaigh" and the sheep were in a field behind that called "Ait an Aonaigh".
At Pollan Strand there was a public house run by a man Charles McNulty, nicknamed "Brogai" because he was a shoemaker by trade. The wallsteads are there yet. They say he watered the whiskey. He used to say, "drink your fill there's nothing in it but the blessed water from the Turns". The Turns is nearby.
Ballyliffin was a growing place by 1812 and when the Pollan Fair Day of 10th October, 1812 came around, a crowd of Ballyliffin men gathered at the Tochar and turned everybody up from going to the Green and headed them for Ballyliffin. Brogai said he would go down to clear the road to Pollan and when he did a fight started and Brogai got such abuse that he died shortly after. Brogai said if he had on man to stand behind him he would have cleared the Tochar. "Who killed Brogai?" was a question that could start a row for long after.
The Fair of Ballyliffin was then held on the same dates. Drink was for next to nothing. It was consumed in plenty and then the fighting and sledging would start. Men carried short sticks up their sleeves till the row started. The women would shout to their men "Tabhair do e".
Public Houses from Cross Carn and Buncrana could get a license for the day and put up a signboard. Nearly every house was a public house for that day. Whiskey was 1d. a glass. Later the police opened a barrack on the Fair Days, it was in the house now owned by Robert McLaughlin.
About 1880, the Fair was changed over to the Cross. The Clonmany Fair has died too, with the coming of the Mart in Carndonagh.
An outline History of Clonmany by: Patrick Kavanagh
Issued by: Clonmany Festival Committee