The past lives of Gleneely and Culdaff
A new book on Gleneely and Culdaff by one of Inishowen’s most respected local historians has just been published.
Seoirse O Dochartaigh’s ‘Gleann Daoile – The Families of Gleneely and Culdaff from Early Times to 1901’ – Seoirse’s ninth publication since 2008.
It’s a stunning addition to his collection, containing illustrations, maps, photos and details of those who lived from Carthage to Ballyharry and Moneydarragh to Clonca centuries ago.
There’s also a section outlining the lives of ‘Five Creative Women in the Parish of Culdaff’, including studies on genealogist Amy Young, historian Evelyn Ruddy, historian Angela Byrne, sculptor Mary Doherty and author Hazel McIntyre.
Seoirse says Gleann Daoile [Gleneely or Glen of the Black One] is a district defined by the river Daoil.
He doesn’t consider his latest book – printed by Foyle Press in Carndonagh – to be a standard history text, but says it’s rather about the “people who have lived and toiled there on the eastern flank of the river.”
“An Daoil is indeed that same ancient ‘Black One’ that irrigated the region for millennia, and was probably navigated too because in earlier times water levels were much higher than they are today; the rivers deeper and wider.”
“People reading this book might be surprised to see their ancestors’ names mentioned and might even ponder ‘Were we famous?’. However, the fact that they and their families have lived there for generations is good enough reason for me to include them,” he says.
Mná Ghleann Daoile
There are sections on archaeological finds, poteen-making in Gleneely and Culdaff during the 18th an 19th centuries, as well as a brief history of the area through the land wars, the Great Famine [Gorta Mór] and up to the War of Independence.
“This is really a coffee table book but a book full of interesting facts about a district that is known today by two different names: Culdaff and Gleneely,” says the author.
“Bocan Parish sometimes comes up in conversations. It’s about 12 kilometres long by about 12 kilometres wide. But an awful lot of stuff has happened there from its first appearance in history books in AD 675 right up to the present day,” he adds.
Seoirse, who lives near Kinnego Bay about five or six miles from the village of Gleneely, is sure the female history section will be particularly well received.
“The ladies of the district will, I’m sure, be pleased that I have given a special platform in the book for five outstanding women of achievement – Mná Ghleann Daoile.”
The book contains all the Griffith Maps and house-holders’ names from the parish compiled in the year 1857, he further explains.
‘Gleann Daoile – The Families of Gleneely and Culdaff from Early Times to 1901’ by Seoirse O Dochartaigh is available in shops locally.