The County Archives Collection

Introduction to the collection

Archives are the recorded or documentary heritage of a community, organisation, person or country, in whatever format that appears. Archives are part of our national and local heritage. They provide the raw material of history, as historians write the history of people and places based on preserved archival material. The Archives held by the Donegal County Council Archives Service are the written documentation that reflect the lives, progress, development, skills, language and culture of the people of Donegal.

Snap of Archive Material - Tyrone Special Constabulary 1922

Donegal County Council holds one of the most extensive local authority archive collections in the country, including archives of both public and private origin. Archives include plans, drawings, maps, letters, minutes, agendas and reports of meetings, photographs, registers, financial documentation, diaries, handwritten manuscripts, posters, rentals, oral recordings and other material.

Among the most important records held by the County Archives are the Poor Law Union archives. These include minutes of the meetings of the eight Boards of Guardians which ran Donegal’s workhouses, and indoor and outdoor registers that are scarce elsewhere in the country. The Grand Jury archives, while not complete, date back to the mid-18th century and are of great significance in demonstrating the development of the county over a century and a half.

Other now extinct public bodies well represented in the County Archives collection include the Rural District Councils, Urban District Councils and the Board of Health & Public Assistance. The County Council itself which was established in 1899, has a huge collection of archival material, from Housing and Roads to Planning and Environment (only some of which have been transferred to the Archives Service).

The Collection includes several hundred Primary School registers and rollbooks deposited in the Archives by the schools, and there are significant records relating to the railways.

Privately acquired archives include the papers of renowned Irish speaking poet, Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Father Patrick Gallagher of the Donegal Historical Society, estate records, photographs, oral history interviews, and papers of various well known families, including the Groves of Castle Grove and the Murray Stewarts of south Donegal.


The County Archives Collection: summaries of listed archives held in Donegal County Archives

Grand Jury

Grand Juries were in existence since Norman times. Landowners made up the Grand Jury itself, selected by the Sheriff of the County. Grand Juries had no corporate existence. They were discharged by the Judge of Assize. Before the assizes, presentment sessions were called in each of the six baronies of Donegal, where proposals for work to be done were considered and submitted to the Grand Jury for ratification. Services provided and paid for Snap of Achive Material from Barony of Inishowen 1849by Grand Jury Cess, a rate payable by occupiers, included making and repair of roads and bridges, construction of courthouses and levying for support of district hospitals, schools and prisons. Donegal Grand Jury, as an administrative body, was replaced by Donegal County Council under the 1898 Local Government (Ireland) Act.

Grand Jury: Records

  • Spring and Summer and Lent Assizes for following years: 1753 – 1769; 1768 – 1783; 1769 – 1778; 1793 – 1798; 1807 – 1808; 1809 – 1810; 1815 – 1857; 1831; 1840; 1841; 1844; 1845 (spring and Summer), 1847; 1848 (Spring and Summer); 1849; 1856; 1857; 1867 (spring and Summer); 1868; 1870 (Spring and Summer); 1873; 1874 (Spring and Summer), 1876 (Spring and Summer), 1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1886, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1894, 1898 (Spring), 1898- 1900 (Assizes, 1898 and First County Council Minutes, 1899 – 1900);
  • Accounts and correspondence, including correspondence with County Council, 1816 – 1901;
  • Grand Jury Map, 1801;
  • Book containing the Grand Jury Laws of Ireland by C.H. Foot;
  • Photographs of the last Grand Jury, 1899;
  • List of Grand Jury Collectors, 1816 – 1892;
  • List of Grand Jury members, 1835 – 1892.

All the Grand Jury records are open to the public.

Poor Law Union / Boards of Guardians, 1840-1923

Under the Poor Law Act of 1838 the country was divided into poor law unions, each one run by an area Board of Guardians. The principal responsibility of the boards was to supervise the running of the workhouses. Snap of Archive Material - Poor Law Union 1915

Workhouses in Donegal were in Letterkenny, Ballyshannon, Stranorlar, Dunfanaghy, Carndonagh (run by the Inishowen board), Donegal, Glenties and Milford.

There are over 800 surviving minute books, admission registers and other archival items relating to the eight Boards of Guardians in Donegal, dating from 1840 to 1923. These records consist mainly of minutes recording the meetings of each board, but there are also admission and discharge registers, statistics, dietary records, correspondence, notices, registers of deaths, a punishment book, dispensary records, a visiting committee register, photographs, and volumes of accounts.

Poor Law Unions: Records

Ballyshannon Union

  • 89 volumes of minutes and rough minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Ballyshannon Union, 1840 –1922;
  • 2 Indoor Relief Registers. Details include the date each person was admitted to or born in the workhouse, date discharged or died, name, address, age, state of health, occupation, 1906 – 1915;
  • 3 Indoor Admission and Discharge Registers, 1914 – 1918;
  • 46 Abstracts of accounts and other financial records, including a general ledger; account books, financial statements and receipt books for the Union, 1843 – 1921;
  • Separate Register of Persons admitted to and discharged from the Fever Hospital or Infirmary of the Workhouse, including members of the Royal Irish Constabulary Force and soldiers from Finner Camp, 1908 - 1924;
  • Abstracts showing the number and classification of paupers relieved, dating from 1844 – 1873;
  • Medical records, including Medical Return Books and Diet Sick books, 1913 – 1921;
  • Photographs of Ballyshannon Workhouse;
  • Combined workhouse record and statistical register relating to Ballyshannon area, 1923 – 1924.

Donegal Union

  • None of the 19th century records of Donegal Union have survived.
  • Only 14 volumes of the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Donegal Union survive, 1914 – 1923;
  • 4 Indoor Admission and Discharge Registers, 1914 – 1921;
  • Indoor Relief Register, 1918 – 1924;
  • Special Diet and Stimulant Register, 1919 – 1920.

Dunfanaghy Union

  • 66 volumes of minutes and rough minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Dunfanaghy Union, 1841 – 1922 (12 volumes are missing);
  • Medical Officers’ Report Book, 1870 – 1899;
  • Indoor Relief Register, 1891 – 1915;
  • Attendance Register of Guardians, 1902 – 1925;
  • Treasurers’ Receipt and Payment Book, 1910 – 1922;
  • Labourers’ Acts Minute Book, 1883 – 1885;
  • Letter Book, 1904 – 1933;
  • Small file of correspondence, 1914 – 1915.

Glenties Union

  • 72 volumes of minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Glenties Union, 1841 – 1922;
  • 2 Registers of persons admitted to and discharged from the workhouse, 1851 – 1866; 1884 – 1895;
  • Separate Register of Persons admitted to and discharged from the Fever Hospital, 1913 – 1922;
  • 2 Indoor Relief Registers, 1899 – 1907; 1914 – 1921;
  • Treasurers’ Pass Book, 1912 - 1921;
  • Items of correspondence relating to various issues, c.1880 – 1919.

Snap of Archive Material - Registry for Workhouse of the Glenties Union

Inishowen Union (Carndonagh workhouse)

  • 61 volumes of minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Inishowen Union, 1840 – 1922;
  • 2 Registers of persons admitted to and discharged from the workhouse, 1843 – 1849; 1849 – 1858;
  • 3 Indoor Relief Registers, 1899 – 1907; 1907 – 1911; 1911 – 1918;
  • Volume of Accounts, 1892 – 1925;
  • Day Book, giving date of receipt of goods, name of persons or firm supplying goods, and other particulars, 1907 – 1909;
  • Outdoor Relief Admission and Discharge Register, 1908 – 1911;
  • Some items of correspondence, c. 1840 – 1922.

Letterkenny Union

  • 92 volumes of minutes and rough minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Letterkenny Union, 1841 – 1923;
  • Volume containing minutes of the meetings of the Letterkenny Relief Committee for March - August 1847; and also rough minutes of the proceedings of the Letterkenny Board of Guardians from 2 Jan 1857 - 6 August 1858;
  • Register of Letterkenny dispensary, Letterkenny Union, 1843 – 1858;
  • Guardians’ Treasure Book: Belfast Banking Company's Branch, Letterkenny, in account with the Poor Law Union of Letterkenny, 1917 – 1923;
  • Register of persons admitted to and discharged from Letterkenny workhouse (daily register finishes in October 1864 but the last page has approximately one entry per year from 1869 - 1899.) 1855 – 1864; 1869 – 1899;
  • Register of persons admitted to and discharged from Letterkenny workhouse, 1864 – 1878;
  • Indoor Relief Register, 1910 – 1915;
  • Record of Deaths, 1910 – 1922;
  • Letterkenny Estimate and Demand book from the Union to the County Council, with three tables for each year, 1899 – 1905;
  • Other notices, petitions, agenda and correspondence, c. 1841 – 1923.

Milford Union

  • 93 volumes of the minutes and rough minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Milford Union, 1841 – 1923;
  • Report and General Observations of Visiting Committee to Milford workhouse, 1846 - 1912;
  • 2 Registers of persons admitted to and discharged from the workhouse, 1855 –1874, 1881-1897;
  • 2 Outdoor Relief Registers, 1847 – 1899; 1899 – 1917;
  • Record of Sickness and Mortality, including name of patient, age, disease, treatment, event, e.g., 'died', 'relieved', 'cured', 1853 – 1893;
  • Record of Deaths, 1899 – 1917;
  • Register of Mortgages, 1880 – 1932.
  • Punishment Register, detailing name of adult/child concerned, offence, date of offence, opinion and/or punishment ordered by Guardians, date of punishment, 1879 – 1893;
  • 2 Treasurers’ Registers, 1869 – 1879, 1918 – 1923;
  • Indoor Relief Register, 1919 – 1922.

Stranorlar Union

  • 52 volumes of the minutes and rough minutes of the meetings of the Board of Guardians of Stranorlar Union (8 missing), 1845 – 1921;
  • Letter Book (copies of letters sent), 1886 – 1921;
  • 2 Dispensary (Killygordan and Stranorlar) minute books, 1852 – 1899;
  • Notices, correspondence, accounts, petitions and lists relating to the affairs of Stranorlar Union, c. 1840 – 1921.

All the Poor Law Union records to 1923 are open to the public.


Poor Law Commissioners and Local Government Board

  • Reports of The Poor Law Commissioners: 1842 – 1872;
    Reports of the Local Government Board: 1873 - 1904.

    Annual reports of the poor law commissioners, replaced in 1873 by the Local Government Board, for administering the laws for relief of the poor in Ireland. Gives statistics for Ireland including: returns of persons relieved in unions, numbers in workhouse infirmaries, orphan or deserted children, people in receipt of indoor and outdoor relief, annual admissions to the workhouse, proceedings under the Medical Charities Act with reference to the dispensary districts. Also includes official orders and circulars relevant to the Poor Law Union.

Snap of Archive Material - Annual Report for Administering Laws for the Relief of the poor in Ireland 1872

  • Letters of the Local Government Board: Letters addressed to Donegal County Council, on related matters including: officers’ salaries; issues regarding rate, including rate collectors, arrears of rate; valuation; liaison with Rural District Councils on matters such as roads; waterworks; infirmaries ran by Council. 1899.
  • Sealed Orders of the Local Government Board. Includes Orders in Council, 22 December 1898, making rules under 1898 Local Government (Ireland) Act, General Order, County and Rural District Councillors (1899), Certificate as to Poor Rate and County Cess (1899), General Orders for Auditing RDC Accounts (1899), General Order regulating communication between County Councils and District Councils and Boards of Guardians (1899), Certificate of Road Expenditure and other regulations regarding upkeep of Roads (1899), Public Health Orders (1899), Sanitary Orders (1900), general administration (1899 - 1902), tuberculosis prevention (1909), finance (1920).

All the Poor Law Commissioners and Local Government Board records are open to the public.

Rural District Councils Snap of Archive Material - Council Map of Donegal

The Rural District Councils were set up under the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. They took over a number of functions from the Boards of Guardians, including roads, housing and sanitary services. They were abolished in 1925.

Rural District Councils: Records

The minutes of meetings of the Councils are generally indexed by function and names. The volumes include minutes of the meetings held under the Public Health Acts, because the Rural District Council acted as the Public Sanitary Authority (regarding water supply, dwellings, inspections, contagious diseases, sewerage etc); Labourers Acts; Financial minutes (re: statements of receipts - usually monthly, accounts, salaries, expenditure); and miscellaneous including bridges, rates, burial boards and liaisons with the Congested Districts Boards.

Ballyshannon Rural District Council

  • 19 volumes of minutes and quarterly minutes of the meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • Minutes of School Attendance Committee, 1918 – 1925;
  • School Attendance Committee Cash Book, 1918 – 1925;
  • Register of Applications made to the District Council, of proposed contracts, 1905.

Donegal Rural District Council

  • 11 volumes of the minutes of the meetings of the RDC, 1914 – 1925.

Dunfanaghy Rural District Council

  • 18 volumes of minutes of the meetings and Labourers’ Acts meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • 13 folders of correspondence, internally within the RDC and externally, with other organisations, 1909 – 1918;

Glenties Rural District Council

  • 14 volumes of the minutes and half yearly minutes of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • Register of Mortgages, 1908 – 1914.

Inishowen Rural District Council

  • 13 volumes of minutes of meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • Record of reports by sanitary officers of houses and farms, giving number, date, from whom report received, name of owner or occupier where nuisance exists, nature of nuisance, 1911 – 1932;
  • Book of Estimates of the Inishowen RDC, 1899 – 1910;
  • Treasurer's Receipt and Payment Book from Inishowen RDC, 1923 – 1925;
  • Material relating to water supply in Carndonagh and surrounding area, Inishowen Union, 1899 – 1930.

Letterkenny Rural District Council

  • 18 volumes of minutes and quarterly minutes of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • Minutes of the meetings of the National Benefit Committee, organising outdoor relief, 1922 – 1923;
  • Register of Mortgages, 1902 – 1946;
  • RDC Labourers' Payments of rents book, 1929 – 1962;
  • Material relating to Lough Salt Water Supply Scheme, 1908.

Londonderry No. 2 Rural District Council

  • 2 volumes of minutes of meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1921 (amalgamated with Letterkenny RDC in 1921);
  • Notice of Appointment of Arbitrator and Date of Inquiry in the matter of the "Londonderry No.2 Rural District Labourers (Unopposed) Order, 1908".

Milford Rural District Council

  • 26 volumes of minutes of meetings and quarterly meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • Reports from Various Electoral Divisions in Milford Rural District in relation to the building of labourers’ cottages.

Strabane No. 2 District Council

  • 15 volumes of minutes of meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1922;
  • Loans Expenditure Book Labourers Act. Details include name of person to whom payment is made; particulars of payment, details of contract, 1904 – 1917;
  • Lifford Lighting/Water & Sewerage Committee. The Committee was a sub-committee of Strabane No. 2 Rural District Council, and its main duty was the lighting of the town of Lifford and waterworks and sewerage in the town. Records include minutes of meetings, list of members of the committee, a poster and correspondence, 1911 – 1924.

Stranorlar Rural District Council

  • Stranorlar: 8 volumes of minutes and rough minutes of meetings of the RDC, 1899 – 1925;
  • Annual Estimate of Rural District Council, 1907 – 1920;
  • Correspondence, 1920 - 1921.

General material -Rural District Councils

  • Exemplifications: accounts of rural districts, printed volume outlining the methods approved by the Auditor, Local Government Board, Ireland, of maintaining the accounts of the RDCs, 1899;
  • Treasurer's Receipt and Payment Book, 1903 – 1920.

All the Rural District Council records are open to the public. 

Donegal Board of Health and Public Assistance

The Board was formed under the Local Government Act, 1925, to take over administration of public health for the county, and to assume some of the functions of the abolished Rural District Councils. Among these functions were the building of rural cottages, water supply and sewerage schemes. The Boards were abolished in 1942.

Donegal Board of Health Records

  • Minutes of Board, 1924 – 1942 (restricted access due to sensitivity of material);

The Minutes of the Board of Health and Public Assistance include:

  • Correspondence and reference to payments to medical professionals for various duties, including maternity services and dispensary attendance; applications for leave and other staff matters; requisitions for medical and surgical appliances from dispensaries; condition of dispensary premises;
  • Boarding out of children: individual cases discussed, including runaways; children reaching hiring out age;
  • District hospitals: Carndonagh; Donegal; Glenties; Letterkenny; County Hospital, Lifford;
  • General Assistance Committee, concerning unemployment assistance and other assistance to needy;
  • County Home, Stranorlar.
  • General, including regarding diet,
  • Admissions to 'extern institutions' including Dublin hospitals;
  • Children's Acts, decisions under Acts.

Minutes of Public Health and Kindred Subjects Committee of the Board, held on same dates: subjects include:

  • Water supply, e.g., Ardara; Carndonagh; Porthall etc., referring to correspondence, decisions made etc.;
  • Sewers, including difficulties acquiring land;
  • Nuisances, including Notices of abatement;
  • Milk & Dairies Act;
  • Infectious Diseases, including Diphtheria immunisation;
  • Derelict Sites (1940 Act);
  • Donegal Markets;
  • Recreation Grounds;
  • School Medical Scheme;
  • Free Milk Scheme;
  • Free Meals (School Meals Gaeltacht Acts);
  • Fire fighting equipment;
  • Inspection of slaughterhouses;
  • Monthly Report of County Medical Officer of Health: refers to fever hospitals; TB; school medical inspection and inspection of conditions of schools in county;
  • Monthly Financial statement

Minutes of Fire Fighting Services Committee.
Minutes of Burial Board for Board of Health.
Minutes of Board under Tuberculosis Acts, including monthly report of TB Officer (for each of 25 dispensaries);
Monthly Report of District Nurses, including patient visits at home and in dispensaries;
Minutes of Board held under Labourers' Acts, including letting of cottages and numbers of applicants; notices to quit, cottages' repairs; nurses' cottages; sourcing of site; includes statistics on rent collectors' accounts.

Other material of the Board of Health includes:

  • 19 Medical relief registers, 1915 – 1943;
  • Extra Diet Check Book, 1924 – 1925;
  • Medical Officer’s Report Book, Ballyshannon Dispensary, 1899 – 1944;
  • Admission Register, Ballyshannon, 1924 – 1928;
  • Glenties Fever Hospital Committee Minute Book, 1922 – 1923;
  • Letterkenny Fever Hospital Register, 1924 – 1927;
  • Day Book, County Hospital, Lifford, 1924;
  • 4 Diet Books, County Hospital, Lifford, 1924 – 1928;
  • Accounts and Minutes, Ramelton Fever Hospital, 1891 – 1914;
  • Notices of Abatements of Notices, 1927 – 1932;
  • Bye-laws, 1938;
  • Annual Reports of County Medical Officer and Medical Return Forms,
  • Vaccination Register, 1926 – 1928.
  • Abstracts of Accounts, 1932- 1942.
  • 2 Treasurers’ Pass Books, 1932 – 1942.

It should be noted that all Board of Health records are subject to restricted access due to the sensitivity of the material. Extracts can be made available to members of the public for personal reasons, research or statistical reasons. 

Donegal County Council Snap of Archive Material - OPening of New Council Office, Lifford 1930

County Councils were established under the 1898 Local Government (Ireland) Act. The Councils took over all the Grand Juries’ administrative duties. The first meeting of Donegal County Council took place in 1899. Many of the records of the Council are still held by individual Sections but the lists below give an indication of what is now held by the Archives Service.

Donegal County Council Records


  • 78 volumes of the minutes of meetings of the Council, 1899 – 1975. Some of the minutes of the Council are missing, including the revolutionary period from February 1916 to December 1923;
  • Minutes of meetings and reports of the Council’s various Committees, including the Finance Committee, Diseases of Animals Committee, Insurance Committee, School Attendance Committee, Scholarship Committee, Engineering Committee, Heavy Lorries Traffic Committee, General Purpose Committee, Fishing Committee, Housing Committee, and Sheep Dipping Committee; plus Piers and Air raid Precautions Committees (during the Second World War/Emergency period); and general committee meetings. It should be noted that there are not complete sets of minutes for each committee. 1900 – 1985;
  • County Manager’s Orders, 1949 – 1987. The County Management Act, 1940, created the position of the county manager. The County Manager creates orders on Council matters under this Act;
  • Electoral material, including Registers of Electors from the county for each electoral district and summaries of registers, 1920 – 1980’s (incomplete);

    Snap of Archive Material from the Polling District of Dunkineely
  • Information on elections, including notices of elections, correspondence, schemes of polling districts and polling places, directions for the guidance of voters, notices of polling stations, and publication of electors' and jurors' lists 1920's -1980's;
  • Local and general elections campaigning material, including flyers, posters, leaflets, dating generally from the 1970’s, late 1990’s and early twenty-first century;
  • 1926 County Council file: File of correspondence relating to the Council's activities mostly during the second half of the year 1926. Includes draft resolutions, correspondence relating to resolutions, roads, salaries, personnel, finance, housing, motor tax, legal issues.


  • Finance material including abstracts of accounts, secretary’s statements, estimates of expenses, and general ledgers, 1914 - 1967 (not complete).

Motor Registration

  • Motor Tax Registers, 1903 - 1923, 1951 – 1992;
  • Registers of Annual Licences for Road Vehicles, 1970; 1974 – 1975;
  • Correspondence (16 Letters), c. 1912 – 1940.


  • Workers’ Records Insurance Cards, 1928 – 1974;
  • Staff Attendance Registers, 1900– 1912; 1935 – 1936.
    *Note: most Donegal County Council personnel records are still held by Human Resources and are confidential. 

Housing / Labourers’ Cottages Snap of Archive Material - plans for a labourers cottage

Under a series of Acts from 1883 to 1936, specifically designed to improve the living conditions of agricultural labourers, local authorities were involved in locating and compulsorily purchasing sites, building cottages and housing agricultural labourers. The Boards of Guardians, Rural District Councils, Board of Health and Public Assistance and Donegal County Council all played a role in the building of rural housing for labourers and others under these Acts and houses in urban areas under other Acts. Archival material relating to the building of houses both urban and rural are contained within the classes of records described above, and there is also a separate series of records entitled Labourers’ Cottages.

  • Labourers’ Cottages records include: 400 files/items including plans, statutory declarations that landowners had been in receipt of rents and profits of lands; abstracts of title; specifications for the erection of cottages; designs and plans of cottages, including model plans and specific plans; reports of committees appointed to select plots; conveyances; assignments and other legal deeds; correspondence between the Councils and labourers and landowners and between the Councils and the Local Government Board; architects’ reports; copies of land certificates, wills and probates; orders and notices, registers and books of reference to maps of land, correspondence, reports etc, 1890 – 1940.

    Note: While the Labourers’ Cottages collection is open and available to the public at Donegal County Archives, the majority of Donegal County Council’s Housing Application files are still held by the Housing Section.


  • Register of Dairymen. Details include name and address of dairyman; address of premises; vehicles deemed to be premises; buildings on the premises - cowshed, milk store, milk shop etc; whether milk is bottled; acreage of land in acres, roods and perches; number and nature of animals to be kept, observations; 31 March 1937 - 30 June 1994.

County Library

  • County Library archives, including reports and minutes of meetings such as the Donegal County Library Committee, the Book Selection Committee, cash receipt books, accession registers, attendance registers, manager’s orders regarding the Library Service, expenditure register, statistics register, plans and maps of libraries, 1928 – 1987.


  • Planning: applications made under the 1934 Town and Regional Planning Act, the 1963 Local Government (Planning and Development) Act and subsequent legislation. There are also Development Plans. 1934 – 1968.

    Note: Planning applications are held off site. Files must be ordered a week in advance. There is a charge for a copy of a planning decision and a charge for any copies of plans made.


Plans, drawings and maps from across the county, some deposited from old area offices. Many are as yet unlisted.

Legal Deeds

  • 200 property transactions such as leases, agreements, conveyances, deed polls, and assignments, generally between the County Council and various individuals and bodies, including railway companies, the ESB, the Boards of Guardians, landowners, RDC’s and UDC’s, mainly in relation to the acquisition of land for Council purposes- e.g., building of roads, housing, libraries, electrification, hospitals, courthouses, quarries, water supply, fire stations etc. There are also deeds relating to the disposal of land by the Council- e.g., leasing of land to individuals or organisations for a variety of reasons. Other parties in some of the legal agreements include the Commissioners for Public Works and the Land Commission.
  • 42 Legal deeds relating to harbours and piers, mainly agreements between the County Council and various organisations, including Harbour Commissioners, and individuals, on matters such as leasing part of land, or erecting a structure on harbour land. Also includes a number of harbour masters’ sureties.
  • 30 legal deeds of agreement and bond between the County Council and employees, mainly in relation to employment pay and conditions, 1905 - 1950. (Access may be restricted to some of these documents for reasons of confidentiality.)

    Note: The majority of the Donegal County Council records which have been listed and transferred to the Archives are open to the public.

However many Housing records are closed, particularly files relating to individual rented houses.

Ballyshannon Town Commissioners

  • Four volumes of the minutes of the meetings of the Commissioners, 1896 – 1963. The minutes refer to the day to day management of the Town by the Commission.
  • Register of Mortgages for Ballyshannon Town Commission. Details include date of deed; parties are BTC and Commissioners of Public Works; purpose for which mortgage was given: erection of houses for working classes under Working Classes Act 1890; amount secured by mortgage; dates when instalments received; amount of each instalment received; mode of repayment; observations; 1900 – 1938.
  • Two General Rentals of Artisans' Dwellings of Ballyshannon Town Commissioners. The areas included are Erne Street, Falgarragh Park and Cluain Bairrfinn, 1932 – 1953, 1954 - 1965. (Availability subject to confidentiality policy.

Other than the rentals, all listed Ballyshannon Town Commissioners records are open to the public.

Ballyshannon Harbour Commissioners

  • Minutes of the meetings of the Commissioners in relation to the management of the harbour, 1887 – 1962;
  • Ledger detailing Board's accounts in this period, 1888 – 1948;
  • Details of expenditure of Harbour Commissioners, including salaries, postage, income tax, plant, sundries, 1932 – 1972;
  • Receipts book: 1931 – 1967.

All listed Ballyshannon Harbour Board records are open to the public.


Buncrana Harbour Board

  • Small number of documents relating to the board, including abstracts of accounts, notice seeking tenders for lavatory, 1930, schedule of tolls, dues, licences and wharfage charges under the Buncrana Harbour Order, 1930 – 1963.
  • (Other documents relating to the board can be found in Buncrana Urban District Council archives.)

All Buncrana Harbour Board records are open to the public.

Letterkenny Urban District Council (now Town Council)

  • 26 volumes of minutes of the meetings of Council, relating to all matters concerning the management of the District, 1899 – 1995;
  • 27 volumes of Manager’s Orders, 1942 – 1991 (2 missing.);
  • 33 Rate books of the UDC, 1955 – 1991;
  • 13 Financial Statement Books for Expenditure, 1950 – 1981;
  • 9 Volumes containing lists of receipts issued by the Council, 1927 – 1981;
  • Other financial registers, including capital receipts ledger;
  • Artisans’ Dwellings, registers of rent collection, 1958 - 1993 (restricted access);
  • Other material relating to the UDC, including sanitary services and water charges.

Most listed Letterkenny Urban District Council records are open to the public, except for Housing records.

Bundoran Urban District Council (now Town Council)

  • 17 volumes of minutes of meetings of the Council, c.1914– 1963;
  • 4 volumes of Managers’ Orders, 1958 – 1971;
  • 38 Abstracts of Accounts, 1916 – 1974;
  • Clerks’ Statements, 1916 – 1936;
  • Estimates of Expenses, 1945 – 1977;
  • Rentals of Artisan’s Dwellings, 1916 – 1984;
  • Registers of Attendances of Councillors, 1915 – 1985;
  • Other records relating to water and sewerage schemes and environmental and other matters.

All listed Bundoran Urban District Council records – except for Housing- are open to the public.

Buncrana Urban District Council (now Town Council)

  • One volume of the minutes of meetings of Buncrana Town Commissioners, 1913 – 1914;
  • 18 volumes of the minutes of the meetings of Buncrana District Council, c.1930 – 1970;
  • Managers’ Orders, 1947 – 1995;
  • Legal Deeds: 65 copies or original assignments, wills, agreements, conveyances, letters of administration, mortgages, releases, orders in High Court, searches, declarations and bonds, relating to the town of Buncrana, some with the Buncrana Urban District Council,. Some deeds are copies dating back to decades before Buncrana Town Commissioners came into existence; 1812 – 1978;
  • Agendas, notices of meetings, and resolutions of the Town Commissioners and the Urban District Council, 1914 - 1983;
  • 29 Estimates of Expenses, 1914 – 1969 (some gaps);
  • 77 Abstracts of Accounts, 1915 – 1996;
  • Planning Application files, 1947 – 1973;
  • Rate books, rate files and valuations, 1913 – 1c.1970.

All listed Buncrana Urban District Council records are open to the public.  

County Committee of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture & Technical InstructionSnap of Archive Material - Letter recommeding tress to be planted at Finner camp


23 Volumes of correspondence, 1901 – 1913. In bound volume format, the letters are addressed to Donegal County Committee of Agriculture, and are described as 're: Live stock, agricultural and technical schemes'. The letters include subjects such as:

  • Developing instruction in and training of teachers in 'experimental science', 'sprigging', embroidery, cookery, laundry work, dressmaking, etc in schools and providing grants for same; and providing instruction in Veterinary hygiene;
  • County Donegal Poultry Scheme;
  • Flax Shows/ schemes; individual towns' home industries' societies' shows; livestock and other agricultural annual schemes, e.g., cattle breeding scheme, horse breeding scheme: funds for and prizes for improvement; cottage garden and farm prize schemes etc.

Files include letters sanctioning payments for above schemes and prizes; including schedules of payments, including names of 'payee', for each of above schemes. Some correspondence and memoranda from local organisations are included in volumes, e.g., North West of Ireland Agricultural Society; Ballyshannon Co-operative Home Industries Society; merchants etc.

All listed County Donegal Committee of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture & Technical Instruction records are open to the public.  

Court Records: Petty Sessions


20 volumes of Petty Sessions records, mainly Ballyshannon, 1828 – 1856.

Snap of Archive Material - Petty Sessions

  • Registry of Criminal Proceedings at Ballyshannon Petty Sessions.
    Details include date; informant's name and address; name and residence of person charged; offence (e.g., 'waylaying and assault', 'entering his orchard and stealing apples', 'stealing three bricks'); witnesses sworn; and determination (e.g., 'fined', 'committed to gaol'), 1828 –1848; 1849 – 1851; 1851 – 1853;
  • Registry of Criminal Proceedings at Manorcunningham Petty Sessions, 1830's;
  • Registry of Civil Proceedings at Ballyshannon Petty Sessions
    Details include date; complainant’s name and address; defendant’s name; complaint (e.g., ‘non payment of county cess,’ 'having a quantity of flax on the public road', 'wilfully driving your mare into his grazing land’,) witnesses sworn; adjudication (e.g., 'dismissed', 'no appearance', 'postponed', 'settled', 'fined'), 1828 – 1848; 1848 - 1850; 1851- 1856;
  • Registry of Summons issued from Ballyshannon Petty Sessions
    Details include name and address of complainant; name of person summoned; date; offence (e.g., 'assault and forcibly carrying away turf’, 'house breaking'); and decision (e.g., 'dismissed', 'no jurisdiction', 'conviction', 'fined'), 1828 - 33; 1831 - 1839; 1833 - 1837; 1844 - 1848; 1848 – 1850.

All the above Petty Sessions records are open to the public.

Legal deeds

Approximately 100 items, including wills, probates, leases, assignments and agreements from c. 1767 – 1978.

The majority of legal deeds are open to the public, unless they relate to private agreements with individuals and are less than 60 years old.
Snap of Archive Material - Legal Deeds 1909

Ordnance Survey Maps

Second edition Ordnance Survey maps of Donegal: six inch and one inch maps, including:

  • Index to the Townland Survey: Complete map of the county of Donegal with certain areas marked in red. Includes table of areas: west and east Inishowen; Banagh; Raphoe north and south; Kilmacrenan; Boylagh; and Tirhugh; plus summary, 1867/1874;
  • Ordnance Survey Map of Ireland showing the top half of Ireland. Gives the administrative counties and boundaries and also county boroughs, Urban Rural and Dispensary Districts and District Electoral Divisions, 1913;
  • 24 one Inch signed maps (second edition) of various areas of the county of Donegal, surveyed in 1836 – 26, signed 1855 - 1925;
  • 69 six inch signed maps of various areas of the county of Donegal, 1852 – 1880. Some revised in 1846 - 49.

All the above Ordnance Survey maps are open to the public.

Valuation Records:

  • Griffith Valuation Surveys: 52 small volumes. Griffith’s Survey records are the handwritten booklets of the topographical survey of the parishes of Donegal. Each parish is subdivided into townlands and the townland is further subdivided into plots. The surveys are of properties worth over £5 only and include descriptions of quantity of land; rate per statute acre; amount (value) of land; number of houses. If there are no houses worth over £5, there is a comment that 'there are no houses in this townland worth £5 a year'. An overall description of the land includes drainage, relief and soil quality. The collection also includes correspondence, summaries and accounts, 1833 – 1840;
  • General Valuation: 400 volumes for most areas of Donegal, 1889 – c. 1980. General Valuation Records for the electoral divisions of Donegal showing how much each household had to pay in rates. It is subdivided into townlands and gives the name of the head of each household. The General Valuation is based on Griffith's Valuation or the Tenement Valuation and the value of the property was updated on a yearly basis. As a result of this, corrections were made to the valuation books, these normally were in a different colour of ink with the year of the revision marked in.

Snap of Archive Material - Abstract of Valuation of Townlands

All the above Valuation records are open to the public.  

School Roll Books, Registers and other records:

Primary School records

Primary schools have been depositing their records for safekeeping in the County Archives since 2001. The main classes of records deposited in the Archives are:

  • School roll books: give names and number of pupils and class, date of birth of pupils;
  • Attendance books: gives number of classes, number of pupils on roll, and number absent;
  • Registers: gives date of entrance of pupil to school, pupil's name in full, pupil's date of birth and residence, occupation of parent/guardian, place where pupil last attended school. Gives details of attendances during each school year. There are some indexes to pupils' names;
  • District Inspector Report books: inspections of schools carried out;
  • General items, including correspondence, Departmental and local circulars, photographs.

Snap of Archive Material - Ramelton National School Register

Primary Schools (mainly rolls and registers) collected to date:
c.1855 – 1990’s (dates and volume and types of records held vary considerably):

  • Scoil Mhuire (Creeslough)
  • Kildarrach
  • Mas-an-Eas
  • Dunfanaghy
  • Faugher
  • Glassan
  • Glendowan
  • Stramore
  • Creevy
  • Ellestrin
  • Gortnacart
  • Lifford Endowed Schools
  • Ray (Raphoe)
  • Creevy
  • Ellistrin
  • Gortnacart, Ardara
  • Thorr, Gweedore
  • Dore, Gweedore, NS
  • Dunlewy NS
  • Scoil Phadraig, Bunbeg
  • Scoil Naomh Fiachra, Kilmacrenan
  • Scoil Michael O'Cleirigh (Ballyshannon)
  • Coolmore NS (Ballyshannon)
  • Scoil Carraig Na hCorna (2) NS (Ballyshannon)
  • Scoil Bearaic (Ballyshannon)
  • Castlefinn (2) National School
  • Donaghmore NS (Liscooley)
  • Scoil Cholmcille (Fintown)
  • Shallogans / An tSealgain (Fintown)
  • Beal-an-Ath-Moir (Fintown)
  • Glenleigham / Gleann-Leitin (Fintown)
  • Ceann Garb (Fintown)
  • Glenmaquin (Lurgybrack) NS
  • Dumhaigh / Dumhai (Lettermacaward)
  • Lettermacaward
  • Croagh / Cruac NS (Dunkineely)
  • Calhaim / Ceallseim NS (Dunkineely)
  • Dunkineely National School
  • Min Beannaid (Burtonport)
  • Acres / Na hAcrai / Ailt an Corrain (Burtonport)
  • Meenmore (Burtonport)
  • Ardbane NS (Mountcharles)
  • Glencoagh NS (Mountcharles)
  • Naomh Peadar NS (Mountcharles)
  • Muintir Naois (Mountcharles)
  • Lettermore NS (Inver)
  • Scoil Iosagain NS (Buncrana)
  • Naomh Colmcille NS (Buncrana)
  • An Croi Ro-Naofa/ Sacred Heart Convent School (Buncrana)
  • Cockhill Boys NS (Buncrana)
  • Tullydish / Naomh Baoithin (Buncrana) NS
  • Scoil Mhuire/ St. Mary's (Ramelton)
  • Killycreen/ Na Coilleadh Crine (Ramelton)
  • Cruachan N.S (Ramelton)
  • Tank / Ramelton No. 2 (Ramelton)
  • Castleshanaghan
  • Droimin (Ramelton)
  • Donegal NS, The Glebe
  • Cill na mBaird/Killymard (Donegal)
  • Clar Robertson (Donegal)
  • Tulaig Sneachta (Donegal)
  • Naomh Mura Fahan
  • Fahan Mura Iochtar and Uachtar
  • Carrowreagh (Fahan)
  • Dooey National School
  • Drumoghill National School
  • Caiseal Mhuire NS (Fanad)
  • Ballymichael NS (Fanad)
  • Scoil Bhrid (Fanad)
  • Ballymore C. of I. NS (Creeslough)
  • Newtowncunningham NS
  • Doochary NS
  • Dungloe NS
  • Kincasslagh NS
  • Ballyraine NS (Letterkenny)
  • Termon NS
  • Scoil Aodh Rua agus Nuala (Donegal Town)

Post-primary Schools:

Lifford Endowed Schools: collection includes rollbooks, registers, financial records, correspondence.

St Eunans’ College: Three photographs from 1920’s.

Snap of Archive Material - St Eunans Students in 1921-22
The majority of school records acquired in the County Archives are open to the public, once listed, and by agreement with the school. However if there are any which are recent and of a sensitive nature, restricted access rules will apply.


  • Letterkenny and Lough Swilly railway records: letters of complaint, telegrams, Snap of Archive Material - Bundoran Expresscorrespondence, daily activity dockets, receipts, invoices, accounts and personnel documents (with restricted access; should be requested at least a week in advance.)
  • West Donegal Railway Drawings (1880)
  • Finn Valley Railway plans (1860)
  • Prints of Great Northern Railway Company (1956 – 60)
  • Prints of Lough Swilly Railway trains (1951 – 59)
  • Prints of Letterkenny and Burtonport Extension Railway (1951 – 59)
  • Prints of trains, stations and lines of Co. Donegal Railways Joint Committee (1951 – 61)
  • Bye-laws, accounts, legal documents, timetables, leaflets and tickets, 1880 – 1960;
  • Posters and flyers relating to railways, c. 1900 – 1950.


Most listed railway records are available to the public. However, some of the Letterkenny & Lough Swilly railway records are of a private nature and of recent origin, and are therefore not open to the public. However selected extracts can be made available, but on a restricted access basis.


Some posters, notices, bye-laws,. Approximately 10 items; also information on fishing contained in the minutes of the County Council including its Fisheries Committee, c.1850- 1910.

All fisheries records are open to the public.

Private records

Donegal County Archives Service holds a number of significant collections from private sources and has a proactive acquisition policy.
The County Archives acquires archival material which reflects Donegal’s political, social, cultural and economic history and development; provides suitable secure and safe accommodation and preservation facilities for acquisitions, and list the acquired material according to its annual plans, thus encouraging use of the acquisitions by researchers of various interests and backgrounds, including genealogists, family and local historians, sociologists, journalists, political scientists, academics and students.

Note: The privately acquired archives described on this website are only the highlights of the collection, for inquiries as to the complete list of private archives, please contact the Archives Service.

Literary collections/papers Snap of Archive Material - Letter from Patrick MacGill

  • Cathal Ó Searcaigh: The largest and most significant collection of private papers is the collection of the renowned Irish speaking poet and includes a vast variety of material, such as draft poems, stories, plays and prose, notes, interviews, business and personal correspondence, newspaper articles, speeches, photographs, postcards, casual diaries, collections of works sent by other aspiring and known writers to Mr Ó Searcaigh, etc., 1960 –1990;
  • Patrick MacGill: four letters and one draft poem, one drawing, 1917 – 1935;
  • Poems by other local authors.

Estate papers

  • Horatio Granville Murray Stewart and family, estate papers: 15 items, mainly volumes of rentals with details of tenants and amounts of rent paid and maps, Killybegs, Kilcar, Killaghatee, and other areas of South Donegal, 1749 – 1880.
  • Captain Ernest Cochrane and family, Redcastle, Inishowen, estate papers: items include maps, letters and a journal, 1865 – c.1950.
  • Edward H. Harvey, estate papers: 2 maps and 1 rental, Ballyliffin, Clonmany; and Inch, Inishowen, c. 1900.
  • Sir Arthur Chichester: rental and particulars of Sale of estates held from the Marquis of Donegal, in Moville, Inishowen, 20 Dec 1951.
  • Jane Doherty: Notice to Quit issued by [Richard] and Jane Doherty giving tenants six months notice of eviction, Donagh, Moville, 1866 – 68.
  • Hamiltons, rentals etc of the estate of John and Abraham Hamilton and other members of the family, in Ballinamore and Fintown, 3 items, 1818 – 1849. Snap of Archive Material - Family Recipe
  • Groves of Castle Grove House, Letterkenny: included are photograph albums of family members; judicial rent cases; letters including letters from James R. W. Grove while serving in the Indian army during World War One; family recipe books from early 19th century; postcards; booklets; farm account books and other material, c.1820 - 1920.
  • Montgomerys and Boytons of Convoy House, acquired in March 2005. Included are farm accounts (1920’s), rentals (1890’s); bundle of files (1920’s); and notebooks, 1890 – 1920’s.
  • Alexander Stewart of Ards: Trustee Account of the will of Alexander Stewart (1873); and Agreement ledger comprising agreements between Stewart and his tenants, 1856- 1896.
  • Captain Humfrey: rental of estate and expenditure account for repairs and work done to Cavanacor House and estate, 1822 – 1835.
  • Lord Leitrim: a small number of items including a copy of a book of maps of Leitrim’s lands in the barony of Kilmacrenan, 1779; a handwritten letter -order- from Lord Leitrim, addressed to two tenants, 1865; a Grant in Perpetuity, 1870; and a map of Lord Leitrim's holdings in Carrigart 1874.

Private organisations/businesses

  • Gweedore Hotel Visitors’ Book. The volume contains detailed entries and comments from guests who stayed at the Gweedore Hotel. Lord George Hill (1801 - 1879) owned the hotel and the visitors’ book has some very detailed descriptions of the landlord, the area and the overall situation in Gweedore from 1842 - 1859. It contains references to subjects such as the local estate and tenants, emigration and the famine. The many notable visitors included: various members of the Downshire family; Thomas Campbell Foster; Sir James Dombrain; Thomas Carlyle; Thomas Emerson Headlam; Rev. Dr. Henry Cooke; and Dr. William Robert Wilde. There were also many visitors from the surrounding counties whose remarks on the changes they had witnessed are perhaps of even greater significance. 1842 – 1859.
  • Lough Swilly Hotel Visitors Book, with names of visitors, residence, observations and date of visit. Some comments in 'observations' column but limited. 1890 – 1903.
  • Ballybofey & Stranorlar Co-operative Society, minutes of the meetings of the society, 1917 – 1922.
  • Accounts of the Templecrone Co-operative Agricultural Society Limited, Hosiery Manufacturers, Dungloe. Details names and addresses of clients, quantities of oatmeal, maize and other items sold, and costs. Some written annotations on back of some pages. Entries are not always complete. 1923 – 1945.
  • District Nursing Associations:
    • Fanad Health Club: collection, c.1930 – 1937, relating to district nursing in Donegal and the Fanad Health Club in particular. Fanad Health Club was set up to allow district nurses operate in the area. Members paid a subscription to avail of its services. Similar Health Clubs were set up around the county. Material in the collection includes:
      • Volume of Correspondence, including: a series of letters from Sean Ó Deagha, County Medical Officer of Health, (who died aged 43 following appendix operation, in 1935) to Miss E. R. C. Hart, Carrablagh, Portsalon (became secretary and later president of the Club), on the setting up of the association, employment of district nurses, nurses' salary, providing accommodation (e.g., building cottages in the area) for each nurse, nurses' performances, subsidies for Club from Dept of Local Government and Public Health, fundraising etc. Also includes letters from Dr Ó Deagha to Public Health Offices, Stranorlar; and letters from the Queen's Institute of District Nursing in Ireland to Miss Hart on matters such as affiliation with the Institute and recommendations regarding nurses' qualifications and salaries and pension needs. Also letters from the Institute's Irish Branch (1930’s);
      • 1935 Annual Report and other correspondence from Donegal County Committee of District Nursing Association and Donegal County Nursing Association;
      • Correspondence from the Benevolent Society of St Patrick, also called the Irish Peasantry Society, regarding grants towards the association (7 July 1932- 3 August 1933);
      • Photographs of nurses and members of the club, including a Jubilee Nurses Reunion photograph of JW Fullerton, Lady Stewart, Miss Hart, Mrs C Kelly, Mrs Boyd, Dr M McGinley, Dr Ó Deagha and Mrs Colhoun and Mrs Magee.
      • Lists of collectors of funds.
      • Posters, sketches, cuttings from newspapers, invitation cards, fliers, tickets, concerning fundraising activities.
    • Newtowncunningham, Burt & Killea District Nursing Association; 1960 – 1974. This collection includes:
      • Four volumes of minutes of the meetings of the Association, 1945 – 1974;
      • Reports and financial statements presented at the annual meeting of subscribers. Chairmen were Dr. W.K. Bigger (1952 - 1964); Rev. Fr. A. Arnold (1965 - 1967); Rev. J. R. Watt (1968 - 1969); Rev. Fr. P. Muldoon (1970 1972). Reports include statement of accounts, number of visits (including ante-natal visits) by nurses during previous year; collection areas and nurses;
      • Annual Reports of Lady Dudley's Scheme for District Nurses associations. The scheme was established in 1902 by the Countess of Dudley, for poorer parts of Ireland (absorbed into health boards in 1974), "in affiliation with the Queen's Institute of District Nursing in Ireland". Reports give the total number of visits, cases and patients' contribution for the year, treasurer's report, accounts, lists of subscriptions and special collections.
  • Andrews Linen Mills: 31 items relating to the business and its dealings with other companies including flax mills in Donegal and elsewhere. Material includes: volumes of accounts containing invoices and receipts for: flax, yarns, coal, stationary, supplies, machinery, repairs, rail transport on the Belfast and Co. Down Railway Company and Great Northern Railway, poor rate demands and receipts for payment of the poor rates. Includes flax from Carrigans, Stranorlar, Letterkenny, Ardara and Strabane. 1894 – 1955.
  • Jim Watters & Co., Estate Agents, Milford. Collection includes: 15 Auction books, detailing sales, with names of purchasers, townland, article auctioned (e.g., horse, land etc), approximate area (e.g., acre, rood, perch), correct area, price amount in pounds, shillings and pence, fees, date of payment, by whom paid, and account details. The collection also includes correspondence, notes and financial statements. There is one accounts book, dating from 1894 – 1896. The auction books date from 1930 – 1967.
  • Irish Medical Association: (Donegal branch). Minutes of the meeting of the association: Dr Carre was appointed first chairman. Issues discussed include immunisation, payment and improvement of salaries, fees and travelling expenses to medical officers, remuneration of Royal Irish Constabulary medical officers, General Medical Council, accounts, tuberculosis, dispensaries, supporting medical candidate to Senate (1925), leave, insurance certificates, need for an association, mental health certification, etc. Includes inserts, such as a 1919 list of RIC medical officers. 1903 – 1977.
  • Parish of Clonmany manuscript. Manuscript volume with historical and biographical and topographical notes on the history of the parish of Clonmany, County Donegal. Written by J. J. Brady. Quarto ms book, 19th c.
  • Ards Bounty Blanket: Small collection of papers of Protestant charity which distributed blankets to needy people during the winter months. 1871 - 1908.

Individual collections

  • Father Patrick Gallagher; documents, notes, essays, correspondence, articles, newspaper cuttings and photographs particularly relating to the County Donegal Historical Society. Other subjects include genealogy; the O’Donnell clan, families including the Shiels and Sweeneys of Ballyshannon, the Montgomery estate in Convoy, Hugh Allingham, the Finn Valley; and many other records; c. 1940 – 1980.
  • Dr Maureen Wall: Papers mainly relating to the Penal Laws, handwritten and typescript notes.
  • Clarke family, Porthall, Lifford: papers include newspaper cuttings relating to deaths of various members of family, including James Clarke, Deputy Lieutenant of county Donegal, member of Grand Jury and Chairman of Donegal County Council, Andrew Clarke and Charlotte Clarke, and of Captain William Harnett Wagentreiber, Inchenagh, Lifford, principal of firm of John Clarke and Co Ltd, wholesale wine and spirit merchants, Strabane and Ballindrait, 1870 - early c. 20th.
  • Sylvia Boyd, Lifford: postcards, newspaper cuttings, songs and poems, 10 items, c.1930 – 1960.
  • William and Hugh Allingham and Sarah Lipsetts, photographs and diaries; notes relating to the poet and other friends and relations.
  • Letters from emigrant James Keown of Michigan Bluff, USA. Includes letter, c.1870, from Glencolumbkille Hotel, Carrick, County Donegal.
  • Fr James McFadden, papers relating to a famous nineteenth century Donegal murder case; 1889.
  • Daniel O’Doherty: 107 envelopes containing newspaper clippings, 46 loose newspaper items and 92 letters and telegrams, the majority related to matters of Irish interest or Irish/American activities. The letters are also mainly to and from politicians, including Robert and John F. Kennedy and General Charles de Gaulle.
  • Family letters of Dolan family, Rathglass, Bundoran. Includes letters to a family member on board a British Ship during the First World War. Snap of Archive Material - Cottage being Thatched
  • 'A Social and Cultural Study of Crofter Life on the West Donegal Seaboard', original thesis in two volumes written by Patrick O'Neill. Chapters include on physical features, climate, soil, agriculture, transhumance and livestock, rundale, congestion and land tenure, home industries, fishing, curraghs, and housing. The second volume includes hand drawn statistical maps of Donegal, including of structural features of a sea curragh. The thesis also includes a sketch of 'crofter's lime kiln', drawings of spools and a pot for holding yarn and house types along the western seaboard plus older types of 'crofter dwelling'. Black and white photographs include of Upper Finn Valley, and houses and cottages in Knockfola, Traweenagh Bay, Gibbstown, Co Meath, Ballyroarty, Stranocloc (Owenea Valley), Sthraboy, Teelin, Ranafast, Drumeen, Rann na Gille, Bunbeg, and also Norway. 1940.
  • Photograph album of the Royal Irish Rifles at various locations, before and during the First World War, 1910 – 1916. The photographs were mainly taken at Finner Camp, County Donegal. Photographs include Rockport 1910, Ballyferris 1913, Fancy Dress Social, Halloweve, 1913, relay race team, 1914, Tullymore Park, Easter 1914, Bryansford Camp, Easter 1914, Foley bridge, 1914, Orlock Hill, 1914. Includes 12 photographs of Finner Camp 1914-1916. Also includes photograph of 14th battalion, Royal Irish Rifles. Randalstown, 1915, 'Scoutmasters having tea at Knockmagory 1916, Easter Camp 1916. Names mentioned include H. Anderson, A. S. Hanna, G. T. McFall, H.E. Keown. Names in Finner include: W. Cameron, Major Gunning, 'officers at Finner', J. Hayes (Randalstown), also 'WC and BB showing equipment, Randalstown 1915'.


  • 70 Photographs/prints: of different views of Tory Island and its inhabitants, with one photo of Owey Island. Taken by A. M. Davies. 1965.
  • Small collections or individual photographs of various towns, villages, places, areas and events in Donegal.
  • Various photographs contained in individual collections.
  • Photographs of Ballyshannon, Bundoran and area donated by Joe O’Loughlin. Photographs include of GAA members, a drama festival in Bundoran in 1946, a parade through Ballyshannon, unidentified people, rural scenes, prints of Pettigo. There is a photograph of actor John Wayne with local priest Fr Little. C.1930 – c.1980. Photograph of Old Building from Ballyshannon / Bundoran
  • 53 Photographs/items of Ballybofey/Stranorlar and other areas donated by Jim Hannigan. Includes photographs of the Stranorlar Players, GAA games, school children, town events. Other items include a programme from a Gaelic football match between Donegal and Kerry, 22nd of April 1956 and from Stranorlar Horse Show (1914). 1914 – c.1947.
  • Photographs of Inishowen donated by Sean Beattie: 30 items. The photographs are mainly of archaeological sites in Inishowen, for example, the Cross of St Boden, the Temple of Deen, and also Grianán Ailigh. Also photographs of events such as visits to the peninsula by John Bruton and John Hume. Photographs were taken from c. 1990- 2003.

Oral History

  • Interviews with Donegal people regarding 20th century rural life – farm, fisheries, hiring fairs, migration, leisure, church, education etc. Interviewed by Anne McMenamin. Interviews held in 2000.
  • Islands Pilot Oral History project. Interviews conducted in 2003 by independent producer, Mary Phelan. The aim of the project was to gather as much of the oral history of Donegal’s depopulated islands. Contains between 15 and 20 hours of interviews conducted on Gola, Inishcaoire, Owey, Rutland and Inishboffin. The collection contains a synopsis of each interview conducted, correspondence relating to the setting up of the project, 14 disks of interviews and 2 mini-disk recorder/players with headphones (no batteries). Themes include life on the islands, emigration, migration etc.
  • The Rabble: Hiring Fairs of Donegal: Recordings taken by Mary Phelan of interviews with older people from around the county, who were either hired out as young people, or whose family was involved in hiring people. Name of project is The Rabble. Eleven interviews and four Highland Radio programmes. 2007.
  • Home from Home: recordings taken by Mary Phelan with older people relating to life at home in Donegal. Interviews taken in 2006.

16th -17th Century Ireland

The County Archives has acquired copies and microfilms of papers relating to the period leading up to and including the Flight of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell from Ireland. Included are:

  • Carew Papers: Microfilms of the papers of Sir George Carew (1555-1629) who worked in Ireland in the service of Queen Elizabeth 1 and became President of Munster in 1599. These papers are the property of Lambeth Palace Library.
  • Bacon papers: Microfilms of the papers of Anthony Bacon (1558-1601) who in 1583 entered the service of the Earl of Essex and became his private secretary for foreign affairs. Papers detail the Earl of Essex’s life, including in Ireland during this crucial period in Irish history. These papers are the property of Lambeth Palace Library.
  • The State Papers relating to Ireland held in the National Archives in London date from 1558 to 1782. The microfilms consist mostly of letters to and from the Secretaries of State, including many from the Lords Lieutenant, and a number of royal letters. The collection also contains a selection of letters from leading Irish Lords and dignitaries to the Lord Deputy and Council and the English Sovereign. The microfilmed collection in the County Archives date from January 1592 to December 1607 (SP63/163 - SP63/222), covering a turbulent time in Irish history leading up to the Flight of the Earls in September 1607.
  • Calendars of State Papers: Calendars (transcriptions and summaries) of the above State papers are available in the archives for the following years:
    • 1586-1588
    • 1588-1592
    • 1598-1599
    • Mar-Oct 1600
    • 1600-1601
    • 1606-1608

All the above privately acquired records, once fully listed, are accessible to the public.

Donegal Annual

The Archives holds an almost complete set of the Donegal Annual, journal of the County Donegal Historical Society, and it is available for consultation in the Archives.