Category Archives: Donegal

Will Abstracts, Co. Donegal

These are some examples of abstracts of wills and deeds. The pre-1800 are taken from the abstracts made by P. Beryl Eustace from wills and deeds held in the Registry Office in Dublin. Each abstract contains the names of people and places that are mentioned. Those with post 1858 dates are from the abstract books held in the National Archives in Dublin. The wills for which the post 1858 abstracts were created were amongst those that were destroyed in the fire in the Four Courts in 1922.


Pre 1858 abstracts can be helpful even for those whose ancestors did not make wills – here we have domestic servants mentioned, there are placenames which may or may not be phonetic variations on those we find in the 1851 Townland Directory. Connections can be seen from one county to another – here, William Clinch was from Dublin, but Simon Clinch from Co. Antrim is mentioned and Christian a widow in Newcastle.

M’KLEWAINE, James of Dunclea, parish of Taboyne, Co. Donegal. Dated 15th September 1731, proved 11th of July 1732 at Raphoe.
Sons James M’Klewaine, Joseph M’Klewaine, John M’Klewaine, Thomas M’Klweaine and Joseph BREDIN. Son Mathew. Son Robert M’Klewaine to have a legacy of £20 if he returns to this Kingdom. Wife Elizabeth. Dau Martha (unmarried). Debts owing to testator by John DAVIS of Magavlin and John COWAN of Londonderry.
Executors: Sons James and Joseph M’Klewaine and John COLHOUN junior of Corncannon.
Overseer: John COLHOUN senior of Cornacannon.
Witnesses: Matthew PINKERTON, James PINKERTON, Thomas WILSON.

315 VAUGHAN, GEORGE,- Buncranagh, Co. Donegal. (Registry of Deeds abstract)
23 June 1753. Precis 1 1/2 p. 23 Nov. 1763.
Nephew Basil BROOKE, Esq., Gustavus BROOKE, nephew of testator, brother of said Basil Brooke.
George, Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland, William, Bishop of Derry, the Bishop of Clogher, the Bishop of Raphoe, Edward, Bishop of Elphin, Joseph, Bishop of Kilmore, Henry, Bishop of Meath, St. George Caulfield, Esq., Lord Chief Justice of H.M. Court of King’s Bench, Henry SINGLETON, Lord Chief Justice of H.M. Court of Common Pleas, Rev. Thos. BARNARD, clerk, rector of Magheral,
Rev. Edward GOLDING, clerk, Archdeacon of Diocese of Derry, Rev. Richard LEAKE of Londonderry, Anthony FOSTER, Dublin, Esq., and Andrew KNOX, Prehen, Co. Londonderry, Esq., trustees. His estates in Co. Fermanagh and all other lands.
Witnesses: Henry BARTLY and Thomas BARTLY both of BUNCRANAGH, smiths, George GILLASPHY, Buncranagh, wheelwright, Rev. Richard LESLIE, Londonderry, Edward GILLASPHY the younger, Buncranagh, yeoman.
Memorial witnessed by: Thos. BARTLY, Richd. COWEN, Lifford, Co. Donegal, gent.
Gustavus Brooke (seal)
221, 432, 148461

592 CALDWELL, ROBERT, Ballybogan, Co. Donegal, gent. (Registry of Deeds Abstract)
18 April 1774. Precis 3/4 p. 11 Aug. 1778.
Benjamin FENTON, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, apothecary, Richd. COWAN, Lifford, Co. Donegal, Esq., trustees
Town and lands of Legnaneil and Gortindoragh, held in fee farm in manor of Lifford, and part of Ballybogan held under See of Derry, called Cames (Camus)then in occupation of Miles McTEHER, Daniel McTEAGUE and Will. KEARNEY, and his third part of the corn mill on lands of Ballybogan aforesaid, and the holding occupied by the miller thereof.
Witnesses: Geo. LEATHERN, innkeeper, John CLARKE, parish clerk, Robt. SMITH, innkeeper, all of Lifford.
Memorial witnessed by: Robt. SMITH, Samuel SHORTT, Lifford, gent.
Richd. Cowan (seal)
319, 546, 216927

593 COGHRAN, JOHN, Edenmore, Co. Donegal, gent. (Registry of Deeds abstract)
18 Nov. 1776. Narrate 1/2 p. 22 Sept. 1770.
His brother Zacherius Cochran, exor. All his estate in Edenmore in manor of Stranorlar, Co. Donegal, and all other his real and personal estate.
Witnesses: Gust. HENDERSON, Isaac ARMSTRONG, Alexr. PURVIANCE,
all of Lifford, Co. Donegal, gents.
Memorial witnessed by: Gust. Henderson, Alexr. Purviance.
Zachs. Coghran(seal)

MURRAY, David (Administrations)
Effects Under £200
20 December 1860
Letters of Administration of the personal Effects of David Murray late of Aughahull in the County of Donegal, Farme,r a Bachelor deceased who died 12 December 1859 at same place were granted at Londonderry to Mary Anne Murray of Ramelton in said County of Donegal Spinster the Sister one of the next of kin of said deceased.

BOYLE, Neal
6th February 1860
Letters of Administration (with the will annexed) of the Personal Estate of Neal Boyle late of Minnimore in the County of Donegal, Farmer, deceased who died 28th November 1859 at same place were granted at Londonderry to Mary Boyle of Minnimore aforesaid Widow the principal Legatee.

TORRENS, David. (34) 18th March 1896
Letters of Administration of the Personal Estate of David Torrens, late of Trainbeg, Co. Donegal. Farmer, who died 25 May 1894 were granted at Londonderry to Fanny Torrens of Trainbeg, the Widow. Effects £109.18s.9d.

TORRENS, John (277) 4th December 1900
Letters of Administration (with the will) of the Personal Estate of John Torrens, late of Dooen’s Glebe, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Farmer, who died 8th March 1900 were granted at Londonderry to Richard Torrens and Francis Torrens, Farmers. Effects £584

TORRENS, Thomas (659) 18th October 1907
Probate of the Will of Thomas Torrens late of the Grove, Co. Donegal, Farmer, who died 14th July 1907, at the Infirmary, Omagh, Co. Tyrone were granted at Dublin to John Quigg, Solicitor and James Quigg, Schoolteacher. Effects £1,650.13s.2d.

TORRENS, Moses (98) 20th February 1911
Probate of the Will of Moses Torrens late of Glenleary, Ramelton, Co. Donegal Farmer, who died 13th November 1910, were granted at Dublin to Georgiana S. Torrens and Margaret F. Torrens, Spinsters. Effects £890.18s.4d.

The Star of Donegal

One evening fair to take the air, alone I chanced to stray,
Down by a lucid, silvery stream that ran along my way,
I spied two lovers talking, seated by an ancient ruined hall,
And the fair one’s name was Mary Orr, the Star of Donegal.


He pressed her hand, and then began, “my darling I must go
Unto the land of stars and stripes where peace and plenty flow,
But I want your faithful promise that you’ll wed none at all,
Until I do return to the Star of Donegal.”

She blushed and sighed and thus replied; “it grieves my heart full sore,
To think that you’re compelled to go and leave your native shore,
Here is my hand, you have my heart, I own the gift is small,
So stay at home and do not roam from matchless Donegal.”

The young man said: “my charming maid, at home I cannot stay,
To the Californian gold-fields I am bound to cross the sea,
To accumulate a fortune and to build a splendid hall,
To elevate to rank and state the Star of Donegal.”

She raised her lily white hand and said: “this castle in its day,
With all its plains and large domains from Lifford to the sea,
Belonged to my ancestors with many a splendid hall,
And if my father had his rights, he’s Lord of Donegal.”

The young man said: “my charming maid, the time is drawing near,
When the Irish will return home after their long career,
Our lovely land, by God’s command, the fairest of them all,
And heaven will see old Erin free, bright Star of Donegal.”

She raised her hand and thus she said: “God grant that I may see
Saint Patrick’s lovely Isle of Saints, great, glorious and free,
If that was so there’s none would go to New York or Montreal,
But cultivate and decorate the lands of Donegal.”

He clasped her in his arms, and, “My darling,” he did say,
“You know I love you dearly although I’m going away.
Let us get wed without fear or dread, that puts an end to all,
And then I’ll have my darling girl, the Star of Donegal.”

She gave consent and off they went to the house of Father Hugh,
Where he joined their hands in wedlock’s bands without any more to-do.
They sailed away from Derry Quay, and bade farewell to all,
And now they are in America, far, far from Donegal.

On the Bromielaw Quay

November’s wind tonight is raw
And whips the Clyde to foam;
I watch here on the Bromielaw
The harvester’s go home.


Oh! Luck is theirs, and blest are they
Who cross the sea of Moyle;
To see again the dawning grey
The waters of the Foyle.

To-morrow night on starlit ways
They’ll go to a loved door,
And sit with kin by hearths ablaze
In Rosses or Gweedore.

No welcome warm, no lighted pane,
Now waits for me in the West;
And sorrow keener than the rain
Lies heavy on my breast.

Yet longings often draw me where
The boats for Ireland start;
They take an unseen passenger –
My homeless Irish heart.

Like wild geese in their homing flight
These toilers homeward draw,
And leave me lonely in the night
Upon the Bromielaw.

Dear Old Donegal by Steve Graham

It seems like only yesterday
I sailed from out of Cork.
A wanderer from old Erin’s isle,
I landed in New York.
There wasn’t a soul to greet me there,
A stranger on your shore,
But Irish luck was with me here,
And riches came galore.
And now that I’m going back again
To dear old Erin’s isle,
My friends will meet me on the pier
And greet me with a smile.
Their faces, sure, I’ve almost forgot,
I’ve been so long away,
But me mother will introduce them all
And this to me will say


Shake hands with your Uncle Mike, me boy,
And here’s your sister, Kate.
And sure there’s the girl you used to swing
Down by the garden gate.
Shake hands with all your neighbours,
And kiss the colleens all
You’re as welcome as the flowers in May
To dear old Donegal.

They’ll line the roads for miles and miles
They’ll come from near and far.
And they’ll give a party when I go home,
With Irish jauntin’ cars.
The spirits’ll flow and we’ll be gay,
We’ll fill your hearts with joy.
And the piper will play an Irish reel
To greet the Yankee boy.
We’ll dance and sing the whole night long,
Such fun as never was seen.
The lads’ll be decked in corduroy,
The colleens wearin’ green.
There’ll be thousands there that I never saw,
I’ve been so long away,
But me mother will introduce them all
And this to me will say:

Shake hands with your Uncle Mike, me boy,
And here’s your sister, Kate.
And sure there’s the girl you used to swing
Down by the garden gate.
Shake hands with all your neighbours,
And kiss the colleens all
You’re as welcome as the flowers in May
To dear old Donegal.

Meet Branigan, Fannigan, Milligan, Gilligan,
Duffy, McCuffy, Malachy, Mahone,
Rafferty, Lafferty, Donnelly, Connelly,
Dooley, O’Hooley, Muldowney, Malone,
Madigan, Cadigan, Lanihan, Flanihan,
Fagan, O’Hagan, O’Hoolihan, Flynn,
Shanihan, Manihan, Fogarty, Hogarty,
Kelly, O’Kelly, McGuinness, McGuinn.

Shake hands with your Uncle Mike, me boy,
And here’s your sister, Kate.
And sure there’s the girl you used to swing
Down by the garden gate.
Shake hands with all your neighbours,
And kiss the colleens all
You’re as welcome as the flowers in May
To dear old Donegal.

Inishowen by Charles Gavan Duffy

God bless the gray mountains of dark Donegal,
God bless the Royal Aileach, the pride of them all;
For she sits evermore like a Queen on her throne,
And smiles on the valleys of Green Inishowen.
And fair are the valleys of Green Inishowen
And hardly the fishers that call them their own –
A race that nor traitor nor coward have known
Enjoy the fair valleys of Green Inishowen.


O! simple and bold are the bosoms they bear,
Like the hills that with silence and nature they share;
For our God who hath planted their home near his own,
Breathed his spirit abroad upon fair Inishowen.
Then praise to our Father for wild Inishowen,
Where fiercely forever the surges are thrown –
Now weather nor fortune a tempest hath blown
Could shake the strong bosoms of brave Inishowen.

See the bountiful Couldah careering along –
A type of their manhood so stately and strong –
On the weary forever its tide is bestown,
So they share with the stranger in fair Inishowen.
God guard the kind homesteads of fair Inishowen,
Which manhood and virtue have chosen for their own;
Not long shall that nation in slavery grown,
That reads the tall peasants of fair Inishowen.

Lie that oak of St. Bride which nor Devil nor Dane
Nor Saxon nor Dutchman could rend from her fane,
They have clung by the cred and the cause of their own
That rears the tall peasants of fair Inishowen.
Then shout for the glories of old Inishowen,
The stronghold that foemen have never o’erthrown –
The soul and the spirit, the blood and the bone,
That guard the green valleys of true Inishowen.

Nor purer of old was the tongue of the Gael,
When the charging ‘aboo’ made the foreigner quail;
Than it gladdens the stranger in welcome’s soft tone,
In the home-loving cabins of kind Inishowen.
O! flourish, ye homesteads of kind Inishowen,
Where seeds of a people’s redemption are sown;
Right soon shall the fruit of that sowing have grown,
To bless the kind homesteads of green Inishowen.

When they tell us the tale of a spell-stricken band
All entranced, with their bridles and broadswords in hand,
Who await but the word to give Erin her own,
Through the midnight of danger in true Inishowen.
Hurrah for the Spaemen of proud Inishowen!
Long live the wild Seers of proud Inishowen!
May Mary, our mother be deaf to their moan
Who love not the promise of proud Inishowen.