section includes details of places close to the hearts of the McGinley
mountain, or simply Muckish as it is known by the locals (An Mhucais
in Irish), was always a very special mountain. Since very early
times it was regarded as ‘holy’ by the local tribes,
well before the Christian period. The mountain is said to resemble
a boar or pig when it is lying down. The Old Irish word muc means
a 'pig' while the suffix ais is an ancient Pictish/Celtic ending
associated with 'place'. It is easy to see why it would have been
likened to a boar or pig. The boar was an ancient Celtic warrior
symbol. The beautiful Muckish would have been visable on a daily
basis to the Mag Fhionnaile/McGinley clan as well as others in the
greater north Donegal area. Its appearance has not changed over
the centuries and it is possible to imagine what our ancestors looked
at each day. Beautiful views of Muckish can be got from Horn Head,
a little to the north. Muckish rises to a height of 666 metres.
It is the most northerly summit in the Derryveagh mountain range.
The summit has a prehistoric cairn on it. All over the top are strange
brick shaped rocks that look like they have been dropped from the
sky. There is also a small igloo like structure and a few smaller
cairns to see. Dominating the whole view is a large cross at one
end of the mountain plateau. There are traditionally two routes
to take to get to the top. The first and easiest is located at 'The
Bridge of Sorrows' at Muckish Gap to the south west of Muckish.
The more difficult route can be found close to Creeslough village
at the north eastern end.
from Inishboffin Island, Co. Donegal.
ancient church at Tullaghobegly was the main place of worship for
the people of the Tullaghobegly district and the wider Cloughaneely
area up until the early seventeenth century. This was where our
clan went for their worship. It is known, also, that people from
the Gweedore area sometimes used this church too. Today all that
is left is a ruin of a church and the old graveyard. The dead of
much of north Donegal beyond the Muckish and Errigal mountains were
buried here until Catholics were allowed to have new graveyards
at Gortahork (1789) and at Magheragallon (1765). In the year 1610
the church was taken from the Irish and put into Protestant control.
They used it as such until the roof collapsed in 1834. Even though
the Protestants took over, Catholics were still allowed to bury
their dead in the cemetry for years later. The adjacent graveyard
is said to be the oldest in the north of Donegal. Today, the church
ruin with the graveyard beside is to be found on slightly raised
ground with a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. According
to tradition, the Vikings landed at nearby Ballyness Bay and attacked
the church at Tullaghobegly attempting to steal gold and relics.
Their approach was noticed by the local people and a battle got
under way in which the Vikings were defeated. The slain Vikings
are said to have been buried at a spot near Rocktown called 'Reilig
na Lochlainn' (Graveyard of the Viking). Bearing in mind that this
occurance happened in known McGinley territory, it is possible that
ancestors of the McGinleys took part in this battle. We say ancestors,
because at this point in history the actual surname of McGinley
had not been born! Beside the church can be seen a small mound that
was used, according to local folklore, for the burial of unbaptised
children. Alternatively, the mound may be a pre-Christian site.
ancient church situated at Ray was an important place of worship
for the McGinleys and other local clans. There is a small mound
close to the ancient graveyard. Tradition has it that this part
was used for unbaptised children. This mound may have previously
been a pre-Christian site of some importance. The church here used
to be called St Fionnán's Church and tradition tells us that
St Fionnán was the founder of the church sometime in the
6th century. The church at Ray, in ruins, dates to sometime before
the late 1500's, the exact date is in doubt. Records show that it
was still in use among the native people in 1609. It was built on
the site of a much earlier church going back many centuries previously.
Here we have an ancient stone cross called Cros Cholm Cille, or
in English St Colm Cille's Cross. Tradition has it that this cross
was cut out of a solid rock on the side of holy Muckish mountain
either at Maamcross or Brocas. The cross measures 21 ft long by
7 ft wide. It fell during a terrible storm in 1750 and broke into
three parts. Local tradition tells us that the cross was originally
intended to be sighted on Tory island, but was presented to St Fionnán
by St Colm Cille after Fionnán found the misplaced holy book
of Colm Cille. However, experts date the cross a little later, to
about the late 800's or early 900's. The cross has, in recent years
been repaired and re-erected inside the church by the Irish Government.
The low point in the history of this holy place was the destruction
of the church and the massacre of the innocents by the English soldiers
in the 1600's. This incident is heavily etched on the memory of
the local people and is remembered as Marfach Ráithe - The
Massacre of Ray.
is the place where one of our early ancestors, Ciothruadh Mag Fhionnghail,
the noted monk and scribed, lived and worked during the year 1513
to 1514. He wrote various items for his patron Máire Mhic
Shuibhne (the wife of the Clan Chief of the MacSweeneys of Fanad)
including the Irish translation of the ‘Life of St Catherine
of Alexandria’. It was Máire who had the Priory built.
It was to be an important Carmelite House and a beacon of religious
piety for the north west of Ireland. The present structure is in
a ruined state (heavily covered in vines) in the heart of the village
and is visited by many tourists each year. It was first founded
around the year 1508 but wasnt finished until around 1516 (possibly
even later). It was still in use in 1595 when we have record of
the English leader George Bingham attacking this sacred place. He
stole the treasured Communian Plate as well as other holy relics.
After the Carmelites were kicked out, the Protestant Bishop Knox
took over the Friary and started to renovated part of it to use
as a private residence. The Rathmullan Carmelite Friary has an east
window (chancel) with a presumed figure of St Patrick carved in
stone above it.
Priory, Co. Donegal.
The Bridge of Tears
the holy mountain of Muckish in the district of Cloghaneely, there
is a small ancient stone bridge that is known locally as ‘The
Bridge of Tears’, from the Irish Gaelic Droichead na Caointe.
It is located at what is known as Muckish Gap. It was the custom,
from the start of the Plantation (1609) for departing family members
to accompany their loved ones as far as this bridge and then say
their goodbyes. The illegal Plantation of Ulster, instigated by
the English Government, caused many families to fragment. Some left
to start a new life elsewhere while many, usually the old or sick,
would stay behind. Many McGinleys, and other north Donegal families,
would have passed through this sad spot. Before the advent of the
railway and the building of modern roads, this route through Muckish
Gap was just about the only way to get to the south of Donegal and
hence to Derry for transport abroad. It was in the nineteenth century
that the bridge was most used as a ‘point of departure’.
The Great Hunger caused thousands to leave their native lands never
to return. This long walk to the bridge had all the finality of
a funeral, as most would never see their loved ones again. The town
of Derry was the destination for most. The port there could take
them to England, Scotland, America and Australia. There is a stone
memorial placed at the bridge, in Irish Gaelic. The English translation
is as follows: "Friends and relations of the person emigrating
would come this far. Here they parted. This is the Bridge of Tears".
Bridge of Tears.
The world reknowned poet, writer and artist Percy French was painting
around this area. He started up a conversation with an old woman,
according to local lore she was called McGinley or McGonigle. Her
children had all gone away and she remarked “T’ was
a lonely land to live in when the children was away”. This
sentence so captivated Percy that, on returning to his accommodation
in nearby Falcarragh, that night he composed one of his most famous
songs ‘The Irish Mother’. The world famous Donegal folk
group Clannad new of the importance of this lonely bridge. It inspired
them to record the piece called ‘The Bridge of Tears’.
It can be found on their album ‘Landmarks’.
places of interest to McGinleys are Glencolmcille. A beautiful valley
in the south west of Donegal, named after St Colm Cille. Legends
and devotions to him are widespread in the area. The area has many
McGinleys living there since around 1604 when they were displaced
from the north of the county. Also Templedouglas, near Letterkenny.
Here is the site of a medieval church, where an earlier church once
stood. This was the place where Colm Cille was baptised and educated
popular tourist destination, Mount Errigal rises to a height of
751 metres and is found to the western end of the Derryveagh mountain
range. Errigal is outwith the McGinley territory but can be seen
from much of it.
great photograph is of The Poisoned Glen and Dunlewy. It was here
that the monks of the monastery of St Colm Cille on Tory fled when
they were attacked and pillaged by English soldiers in 1595. This
was a desolate, remote place inhabited by wolves. The monks stayed
here for a few years and their Order eventually died out. Some McGinleys
may also have fled here for safety during 1603/4.
photograph shows the beauty of Donegal at sunset. The island in
the distance is Inishboffin, a very popular tourist destination.
There are many small islands dotted around the north and west Donegal
is a very dramatic photograph showing the 'wildness' of Donegal
at its best. A storm is approaching the headland at Bloody Foreland.
The meaning of the area is not clear. There may have been a battle
here in ancient times, hence the 'Bloody' part of the name. Some
say it is named after the blood red sunsets which can often be seen
around the area.