Donegal People of the Past

Image of William Allingham Reading

The poet William Allingham was born on the Mall in Ballyshannon on the 19th of March 1824 in a house which still bears a plaque to his memory.  As a young boy, William had a good ear for music and picked up tunes from his nurses and his neighbours. His interest in literature he acquired from his... Read more.

Image of Tip O'Neill waving goodbye to Ireland

Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. born December 9, 1912 was an American politician and Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. O'Neill was an outspoken liberal Democrat and influential member of the House of Representatives, serving for 34 years and representing first the 11th and... Read more.

Image of Rory Gallagher statue, Ballyshannon

William Rory Gallagher was born on March 7th, 1948 in Ballyshannon.  He was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader.  Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste during the late 1960s.

A talented guitarist known... Read more.

Black and White image of Ray with two small children

Born on 30th March 1926 in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ray McAnally was educated at Saint Eunan’s college, Letterkenny. During his time there, he wrote, produced and staged a musical called ‘Madame Screwball’. Upon leaving, Ray entered the seminary but left again a short time after. In 1947 he joined... Read more.

Patsy Gallacher was born on the 16th March 1891 in the small town of Ramelton, Co. Donegal.  At 3 years old, his family moved to Glasgow, Scotland where he played for the school’s team at Redeemer Primary School.  Patsy held the position of captain for the team and tended to most of its... Read more.

Portrait of Mary Shelley agains a black background

Mary Shelley was born Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin in Somers Town, London, in 1797. She was the second child of the feminist philosopher, educator, and writer Mary Wollstonecraft, and the first child of the philosopher, novelist, and journalist William Godwin. Mary’s maternal grandmother Elizabeth... Read more.

Kathleen (Kay) McNulty was born in Creeslough, Co. Donegal on 12th February 1921. With the Irish War of Independence at its height, her father, James, an IRA training Officer was arrested and imprisoned on the night of her birth and served two years in Derry Gaol. On his release in October 1924... Read more.

Burt Castle

Born in Castlehill, Burt on June 9TH 1867 to Pat McLaughlin and his wife Catherine, Joseph was baptised at Burt Chapel on June 23rd, 1867. Joseph’s father worked locally as a labourer with the Swilly Railway. The young Joseph attended nearby Carrowen National School and like many of his... Read more.

Image of the painting West End Village

Born on Tory Island in 1887, James Dixon was an Irish artist and landscape painter.  He spent most of his life on the island as a fisherman and farmer, rarely leaving at all.  Unusually he began painting at quite an old age.  He began to become known when he was at the ripe old age of 72, after... Read more.

Portrait of James Buchanan

James Buchanan Senior was born in Low Cairn, Ramelton and raised at Stony Batter, Ards Little, Ramelton. In 1783 following the end of the American War of Independence, his uncle Joshua brought him to Pennsylvania. There he bought a trading post, naming it ‘Stony Batter’ after his grandparents’... Read more.