WIGGANS

DECEMBER 10, 1875

About Gweedore

 

Gweedore is a Gaeltacht, or Gaelic speaking region, located on the North West Coast of Donegal, Ireland. The name Gaoth Dobhair is comprised of the two Gaelic words "Gaoth" which refers to an inlet of the sea at the mouth of the Crolly River, and "Dobhair" which means water. "Gaoth Dobhair" therefore translates roughly to aqueous estuary.

Margaret and Manus O'Donnell emmigrated from Gweedore, Ireland.  The O'Donnell family is one of the largest Donegal clan names.

Gweedore is overlooked by Errigal (the tallest Mountain in Donegal at 2466 ft) and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. It benefits from more than its' fare share of breathtaking views. The world famous Bloody Foreland Coastline is not to be missed and both Glenveigh National Park and Ards Forest Park are just a stones throw away. Walking and hiking to destinations such as Slí an Earagail  (80 km ), and on Tory Island (Slí an Thoraí - 8 km) and Gola Island (Slí an Ghabhla - 4 km).

Gweedore is a popular destination for visitors during the summer months.  It is known for great pubs, traditional music and ceilí dancing. Coastal cruises and Tory Island ferries regularly run from Bunbeg Harbour and Magheroarty during the summer.  Golfing and fishing in Donegal's rivers, lakes, and sea are favorite pastimes.

 

 

 

 

The History of the O'Donnell Clan
 
The O'Donnells are a proud Irish clan, indeed.
 
Until about the tenth century, surnames were not in use in Ireland. The O'Donnells take their name from Domhnaill, son of Eighneachain (d. 905).  They are sometimes called Clann Dalaigh from Eighneachain's father (d. 874).

The O'Donnells were a leading branch of Cineal Conaill (race of Conall), formed by Conall Gublan who established the Kingdom of Tir Conaill (the county of Conaill). This almost corresponds to the present county of Donegal. Conall Gublan was known as such because of his fosterage (a type of schooling) at Binn Gublan (now Ben Bulben) in County Sligo. He was a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Niall of the Nine Hostages was the High King of Ireland in the fifth century.

Niall of the Nine Hostages was one of the last pagan High Kings of Ireland. It was Niall who on one of his foreign military expeditions captured, brought back to Irish soil and sold as a slave a young boy who became famous.  This lad grew up to be St.Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland. Niall was an ancestor of eight of the most illustrious families in Ireland and of the most powerful and longest lasting Irish dynasty. His descendants shared the High Kingship. The Cineall Conaill had ten High Kings up to the time of the Anglo-Norman invasion in the twelfth century.

St. Colmcille belonged to the Cineall Conaill.  These were the same family as the O'Donnells.  Colmcille was close in line for the High Kingship. Some other distinguished members of the Cineall Conaill were the O'Cannon's, the Maeldory's, the O'Boyles, the O'Doherty's and the O'Gallagher's.

As the head members of the Cineal Conaill, the O'Donnells were quite highly regarded in other countries, as well as Ireland. They were accorded the designation of Princes, Chiefs and Kings of Tir Conaill by the rulers of England, Scotland, France and Spain. They are sometimes referenced as "The Princes of Donegal".

The Irish historian, Keating, describes the inauguration ceremony of the O'Donnells as follows - 'the ceremony of inauguration of the Kings of Tir Conaill was thus : The King, being seated on an eminence, surrounded by the nobility and gentry of his own country, one of the chief nobles stood before him, with a straight, white wand in his hand: and on presenting it to the King of Tir Conaill, used to desire him: "To receive the sovereignty of his country, and to preserve equal and impartial justice in every part of his dominions." The reason that the wand was straight and white was to put him in mind that he should be unbiased in his judgment, and pure and upright in all his actions.'

Such was the legacy of the O'Donnell Clan.