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This section contains:

Fanad Health Club District Nursing Association


Social and Cultural Study of Crofter Life on the West Donegal 


Gweedore Hotel Visitors' Registers 1842 - 1874

and Lord George Hill, Knight photograph album


Rockhill House 


Lifford Gaol (Jail) Turnkey Report, 1829 - 1831


Murray Stewart (South Donegal) Landed Estate, surveys and rentals, 1749; 1846 - 1905


Lough Veagh


Lough Veagh Deed Chambers



Conveyance: Lough Veagh, 21 Nov 1845

Parties: Daniel Chambers and Elizabeth Chambers, husband and wife; Charles Crawford and John Stewart; Property: not specified, Lough Veagh; Terms & Conditions: lands (at Lough Veagh) to be conveyed to Stewart.

Document kindly donated to Donegal County Archives

Fanad Health Club, District Nursing Association

Fanad Health Club, 1931 - 1935


 Archives of the District Nursing Association of Fanad, known as Fanad Health Club. The district nursing associations operated under the Queen's Institute of Nursing and the Lady Dudley Nursing Scheme.

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.


Fanad Health Club


Fanad Health Club Documents


Fanad Health Club newspaper cuttings


The collection, divided into three pdfs (above), includes containing correspondence, memoranda, photographs, flyers, newspaper cuttings, in relation to district nursing in Donegal and the Fanad Health Club  in particular.

 The bound volume includes:          

  • Correspondence is primarily between members of Fanad Health Club. Includes notes on the history of the Club. Includes series of pasted in letters from Sean O Deagha, County Medical Officer of Health, Coiste Slainte Dhun na nGall, (who died aged 43 following appendix operation, in summer 1935, some months after marrying Dr Attracta Halpenny, pathologist in Dublin) 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. (12 August 1931 - 16 April 1932 )
  • Letters from O Deagha to Public Health Offices, Stranorlar; and to Dept of L.G. & P.H.
  • Letters from Queen's Institute of District Nursing in Ireland to Miss Hart (8 April 1932- 22 July 1935) 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. Also pasted in is Suggested Constitution and Rules for a District Nursing Association in affiliation with the Queen's Institute.
  • Handwritten minutes of meetings and notes of events from 17 January 1932 to 24 July 1935.
  • Newspaper articles, including from Derry Journal, (29 April 1932- c. July 1935) regarding meetings of the Club, presided over by Rev. Canon Gallagher, PP; outings, events, lectures given by members, obituary to Sean O Deagha (O'Dea); reunion of Jubilee Nurses.
  • Handwritten correspondence (two letters) between Father McCaul, Frosses, and Mrs Barton, Portsalon Hotel, concerning fundraising for the association, particularly in relation to the bishop's pastoral on the subject of behaviour at dances. (25 - 29 September 1932).
  • 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 include two pasted into volume: one of unnamed groups of nurses; one of Jubilee Nurses Reunion photograph, including J.W. Fullerton, Lady Stewart, Miss Harte, Mrs C. Kelly, Mrs Boyd, Dr M. McGinley, Dr O Deagha and Mrs Colhoun and Mrs Magee.
  • Lists of collectors of funds.
  • Posters, sketches, cuttings from newspapers, invitation cards, tickets etc concerning fundraising activities, such as garden fetes, dances and carnivals for the Club.


*Digitised for Creative Ireland project 2017*



Social and Cultural Study of Crofter Life on the West Donegal Seaboard thesis by Patrick O'Neill 1940 in two volumes.

This is an original thesis in two volumes written by Patrick O'Neill, entitled 'A Social and Cultural Study of Crofter Life on the West Donegal Seaboard', 1940.


The first volume is divided into chapters. The chapters include physical features, climate, soil, agriculture (corn, manures, potatoes, crop rotation), transhumance and livestock, rundale, congestion and land tenure, home industries, fishing, curraghs, housing.


The second volume includes hand drawn statistical maps of Donegal, including of structural features of a sea curragh. Also includes sketch of 'crofter's lime kiln', drawings of spools and pot for holding yarn and house types along 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, Altnagoire (Ranafast),  Drumeen, Rann na Gille, Teelin- Seamus O h-E[ ], Bunbeg, and also Norway.


Thesis was submitted to Queens University Belfast and is also available in the college library.


Social & Cultural Study of Crofter Life on the West Donegal Seaboard


Social & Cultural Study of Crofter Life on the West Donegal Seaboard 2





Gweedore Hotel & Lord George Hill, Cassandra and Louisa Knight photo album

Gweedore Hotel Visitors' Books 19th Century Digitised and Conserved and Online


Two visitors' books for Gweedore Hotel, a hotel owned by reforming land owner Lord George Hill, brother of the Earl of Downshire in the mid 19th century.


The 19th century Gweedore Hotel was hugely popular with wealthy tourists from Ireland and abroad. The hotel was owned by Lord George Hill, brother of the Marquess of Downshire. Hill acquired much land in the north west of Donegal in the early and middle years of the 19th century. By some, Hill was regarded as a 'good' reforming landlord though there was plenty of local opposition to his reforms, particularly when he brought in tenants from Scotland for the purpose of large scale sheep grazing. This escalated into the famous 'sheep war' of Gweedore.


Conservation and rebinding of two leather-bound Gweedore Hotel visitors’ registers dating from 1842 – 1874


Creative Ireland project (2017)


The Gweedore Hotel is famous in County Donegal’s history. Owned by controversial landowner Lord George Hill during the 19th century, the hotel was hugely popular with wealthy tourists from Ireland and abroad.  Hill acquired much land in the north west of Donegal  and was regarded by some people as a good reforming landlord, though there was plenty of local opposition to his reforms.


Both hotel books were donated to Donegal County Archives a number of years ago and were digitised and the digitised images placed online on the Donegal County Council Cultural Services Archives website. The two visitors’ books are unlike most visitors’ books you will encounter. They are an extremely significant source for social, economic and political history. They contain vivid handwritten comments by visitors on all the controversies of the day. There are stories, poems, treatises, sketches, opinion pieces and drawings relating to the hotel itself and to life in rural Gweedore, including relating to Lord George Hill’s dealings with his tenants. Themes include poverty and the Great Famine, farming, the rundale system, land reform, tenant rights,  landscape, emigration, politics, illegal distillation of whiskey, and tourism. Visitors include the rich and famous of the time, such as Robert William Wilde, Sir James Dombrain, Thomas Carlyle, John Mitchel, Thomas Emerson Headlam and the Marchioness of Londonderry.


Donegal County Archives holds two hotel visitors’ books, covering the above dates. The books were both in extremely fragile physical condition, with almost all the pages torn or damaged and the spines broken. Both bound volumes could not be handled by the public, and needed urgent conservation work to the covers, binding and to the pages themselves. The Ox Bindery in Co. Sligo ( has done a wonderful job of painstakingly repairing the bound volumes. This was a huge undertaking and included manual repair of pages, ‘leafcasting’ (filling in missing parts of pages), trimming, sewing textblock, adding spine lining, adding new cloth endpaper joint and new flyleaves, reattaching boards, creating a leather tone to match with the original, new leather re-back, pasting back the original leather, corner repairs, reshaping warped boards and creating a custom made phase box for storage. Some of this extensive work can be seen from the images.


The conservation project comes under Pillar 2 Enabling Creativity in every Community, and promote the preservation and conservation of and access to our cultural heritage. The conservation work was funded by Creative Ireland and Donegal County Council.




Gweedore Hotel Visitors' Book 1

Digitised version of the Gweedore Hotel Book, 1842 - 1859


Gweedore Hotel book 2

Digitised version of the Gweedore Hotel Book, 1856 - 1874


Gweedore Hotel Conservation Report

Conservation Report from Mr Benjamin Van de Wetering of The Ox Bindery


Gweedore Hotel Books quotes

Information and quotes from the visitors to the Gweedore Hotel during the 19th century



Photograph Album, Lord George Hill, Cassandra (Knight) Hill and Louisa (Knight ) Hill and families & Miniature portrait of Cassandra Knight


  • PDF of the pages of the 19th century photograph album of the family and friends of Lord George Hill, landowner in Gweedore, and his family including his first wife, Cassandra Knight and Louisa Knight, his second wife, both daughters of Edward Knight, brother of Jane Austen, and Elizabeth Bridges. The album and miniature portrait of Cassandra Hill (Knight) were acquired by Donegal County Archives in 2020.


Lord George Hill and Knight families album


  • Description of Album


Lord George Hill & Knight Album Descriptive List


  • Miniature portrait of Cassandra Knight, Lady Cassandra Hill (Below). Painted by Hugh Ross.Hugh Ross (1800–1873) was the younger brother of the more famous painter Sir William Charles Ross, and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1814 to 1845.



 Lady Cassandra Hill, formerly Knight, niece of Jane Austen

Rockhill House

Rockhill House


Bound volume containing the transcribed letters of Robert Rankin Robinson, land steward of Rockhill House, Letterkenny; and Ards Estates; to General Charles Stewart, relating to the day to day management of the Letterkenny estate.

Lifford Gaol Turnkey Report 1829 - 1831


Lifford Gaol (Jail) Turnkey's Report: handwritten register which details life for ordinary prisoners in Lifford Gaol. The distribution and collection of hammers to prisoners for yard breaking work is reported daily as is the result of inspections of all cells and 'apartments' in the gaol. The duties of turnkeys and wardsmen are outlined in detail.

Reports include punishments meted out to prisoners for infractions including: disruptive behaviour, fighting with other prisoners, having dirty clothing, threatening officers or disobeying orders, cells not being kept clean or tidy, even for speaking Irish.

Punishments included time spent in solitary confinement and deprivation of certain supplies especially milk.

 Lifford Gaol Turnkey Report part 1

Lifford Gaol Turnkey Report part 2

Lifford Gaol Turnkey Report Part 3



First minutes of the meetings of Donegal County Council, and last minutes of Donegal Grand Jury







Last minutes of the meetings of Donegal Grand Jury 1898 & first minutes of Donegal County Council, 1899

**These were digitised from the microfilms of the originals, so quality does vary. Originals available to view at the Archives research room.


Donegal Co Council first minutes



Murray Stewart South Donegal estate survey and rentals, 1749, 1846 - 1905

George Murray of Broughton, in South West Scotland was one of a group of Scotsmen who received much of the land in the South west of the county. By 1618, however, these were forfeit, and the Baronies of Banagh and Boylagh were granted to a relation of his, John Murray from Cockpool, created Earl of Annandale in 1624. The Murrays of Broughton got the land back in the 1660s, after a long running and complex legal dispute. The Murrays of Broughton or Murray Stewart Estate, between Donegal, Ardara and Killybegs covered large parts of the parishes of Killaghtee, Killymard, Killybegs, Kilcar and Inishkeel, and totalled about 65,000 statute acres.
The Murray Broughtons owned the land around Killybegs/Kilcar in south Donegal from the plantation era (1609 -).  Horatio Granville Murray Stewart who took over the estates apparently did not do this until 1845 when Alexander Murray who was childless and the last of the Murrays of Broughton died. According to an article in the Donegal Annual journal, Granville Stewart was in 1845 'a boy of nine who was not even a descendant of the Murrays of Brougton.....the great-grandnephew of Alexander Murray's mother.'


The collection includes a survey of the estate, 1749 and Rentals from 1846 - 1905:


Murray Stewart estate South Donegal 1749

Murray Stewart Rental 1846

Murray Stewart Rental, south Donegal 1852

Murray Stewart rental south Donegal estate 1862

Murray Stewart Rental 1865

Murray Stewart Rental 1870

Murray Stewart rental 1876

Murray Stewart rental 1880

Murray Stewart Rental 1885 - 86

Murray Stewart Rental 1891

Murray Stewart Rental 1896 - 1904

Murray Stewart Rental 1905