The Gathering Ireland 2013
BELTRA NATIONAL SCHOOL REUNION
ISLE OF DOAGH, CLONMANY
FRIDAY, 3rd AUGUST 2013, 8PM
VENUE: STRAND HOTEL, BALLYLIFFIN
What Happened to Them?
It was a beautiful autumn day on the 7 October 2012 when members of the Carrickabraghy Restoration
Society met with Clonmany Genealogy on their annual outing.
The venue was the historic 16th century O’Doherty castle situated on the Inishowen Peninsula, County Donegal on the Isle of Doagh in the townland of Carrickabraghy. A causeway connects the Isle to the mainland.
Located on a rocky promontory, Carrickabraghy Castle, known locally as “the castles” overlooks the magnificent Trawbreaga Bay with the imposing Glashedy Island in the foreground and the Atlantic Ocean stretching into the distant horizon.
The business of the day included talks by Marius Harkin, Chairman of the Carrickabraghy Restoration Society and Rosemarie Doherty, Archaeologist, on the history of the castle, the ongoing conservation programme and work to-date.
Carrickabraghy was not only significant for its historic role as the castle where Sir Cahir O’Doherty planned the ill-fated 1608 Rebellion but was also poignantly known by locals as a place where people from the Isle of Doagh would gather to catch a last glimpse of the emigrant ships and their loved ones as they sailed over the horizon to an uncertain future in America. Not all of those who left the Isle went to America, some went east to England, Scotland and further afield to the Antipodes.
When the official talks ended informal conversation turned to topics of mutual interest. Being in the company of genealogists and the significance of the location, talk eventually turned to emigration and people from the Isle of Doagh. Who left, where did they go and what happened to them? These were the principal topics for discussion and names and townlands were swapped.
“The Roll Books and the records of the old Beltra National School on the Isle will have to be consulted”, Jennifer Doherty of Clonmany Genealogy said. Since first established in 1839, Beltra National School was a noisy mansion for generations of local families –Dohertys and McLaughlins, Gordons and McGonigles, Coyles and McGeoghegans, Tolands and McDaids, Duffys and McColgans. Unfortunately, since September 1966, the schoolchildren have been bussed out of the Isle to a bigger school at Rasheeny due to the closure of small rural national schools which became Irish Government policy in the mid-1960s.
Inspired by Bord Failte’s campaign, “The Gathering 2013” and keen to find out what happened to the young scholars, particularly those who left the Isle to seek their fortunes in America and other far off places, Marius came up with the idea of a school reunion. Clonmany Genealogy’s outing provided the perfect opportunity to explore the idea. The enthusiastic response of those present was encouragement enough for the Carrickabraghy Conservation Society to plan a School Reunion and Homecoming Dance scheduled for the 2 August 2013 as part of the fundraising campaign to save Carrickabraghy castle.
If you, or any members of your family attended Beltra National School on the Isle of Doagh and you have any photographs or information about the school, please contact either Marius or Jennifer.
For further information contact:
Marius Harkin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Doherty at ClonmanyGenealogy@gmail.com
Clicking the link above will take you directly to the Gathering Ireland 2013 website with more information