In 1938 booklets were issued to every school in Ireland instructing the teachers to gather information from their pupils about the history of their locality. The purpose was to record the social life of the local people. The tradition and culture was to be documented in such a way that anything and everything was recorded, no matter how insignificant it seemed. Topics including food, transport, pastimes, work and crafts were to be explored and again it was heavily emphasized that no minor point was to be excluded. Every iota of detail was to be neatly handwritten into the pupils copybook including the exact location of each place whether it be a road, a rock or a lake.

In later years this venture proved to be very successful. When all the information was assembled together, it was placed in the Department of Irish folklore, U.C.D. Still there today this unique collection can be accessed for a wealth of research on Irish history and tradition.

Part of this rare collection will be the showcase of the McGlinchey Summer School, Clonmany, Co Donegal on the 26th 27th and 28th June 1998. It will include a substantial number of manuscripts written by Clonmany schoolchildren of that time and many of those very schoolchildren will be present to tell their story in an oral tradition.

Kathleen Devlin 4th April 1938

A Nights Spinning

When the old women were through with the spinning they would sit down and have a cup of tea. Everyone would tell what they had spun that day. They had a reel set in the middle of floor and they would being to reel in the yarn. They used to put up sixty threads on every cut. The reel would crack, that was sixty threads. They called that a hank. The old women would spin three on four of them a day. They then would sit down and sing an Irish song and dance an Irish jig. They would put on a wee black pan and have another drop of tea and sit down and start to spin again. They would sing and together some nights they would have nine or ten wheels going. In one house at ten o'clock at night they would send for a fiddler and they would dance to twelve o'clock, and the last dance was the white cockade.

Cathal Doherty 25th May 1938


My Grandfather told me this story about a dog that he used to have, and it was a full bread collie dog. In the place where my Grandfather lives there is a hill, and there is a part of the hill his. In the summer time he puts his cows up to the hill to graze and in the evenings he takes them home. When he is taking them home he goes up the hill and when he is a little bit up the hill he waits at a gate and sends the dog the rest of the way to take down the cows. One evening when he went up for the cows he waited at the gate as usual and sent the dog the rest of the way for the cows. When the dog came down again he had only three cows with him and these should have been four. Then my Grandfather took the cows home and tied them in the byre and my uncle came out to milk them. When my uncle was milking them the cows he told my Grandfather to send the dog away to look for the other cow. So my grandfather sent the dog up to the hill again and it was not long after when he came back with the other cow. As soon as the dog came back he went into the byre and dipped his tail in a can of milk and he went away to the hill again. Some time after that the dog came back with a calf, and the reason for that was the cow had calfed. The dog dipped his tail in the milk because he knew that when the calf would see the milk he would try to get it, and when the dog reached the calf he started to run home and the calf followed him.

Denis McCool 5th April 1938

Father William O'Donnell.

Father William O'Donnell was born at Cockhill, Buncrana, in the year 1779. His parents did not live long in Cockhill after his birth. They went to live at Rushfield where one of his fore-fathers had been evicted years before. After receiving his first education from a local teacher Tom McColgan he entered Maynooth College in 1802. At College his health failed and in 1811, after spending many years at home he joined the British Army, as a Lieutenant. He fought all through the war between France and England from 1811 to 1815. So well did he fight and so brave were his actions that when he left the army he received a special medal from the army.

In 1818 he was ordained priest and in 1829 the year that Daniel o'Connell won Catholic Freedom he was appointed parish priest of Clonmany and went to live at Crossconnell. He lived where Mr.Neil Doherty is living now. In 1839 he was arrested for arrears of taxes. He was advised not to pay and was lodged in Lifford jail. After being in jail some-time the money was paid and he was liberated. It was he afterwards who built the tower and bell, also the aisle in Clonmany in 1843. It was he also established the first five chapels in the parish.

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