St Johnston - Carrigans     ~ Co Donegal.

THIS N THAT ABOUT THE PAST!

Candles were used in the area in times of old for light as were paraffin oil lamps.  Candles always burned away rather too quickly until it was discovered in 1820 that plaiting the wicks helped them burn more slowly and give off better light.  prior to then candle wicks were twisted. 

Before people talked about the cinema or the movies they simply talked about going to see "the pictures".  Old Mother Riley and The Three Stooges were probably shown at the pictures in St Johnston.

Holly berries were held sacred in the past because the red of the berries was said to be explained by being stained with the blood of Jesus.  Traditionally, it was considered unlucky and a sin to burn holly.  You used it for a decoration at Christmas and then left it outside to let it rot away.

Albert Galbraith, Craighadoes born 1892, was the brother of Joshie Galbraith Craighadoes.  Albert was married to Sadie Anderson from Ballintra.  Joshie was married to Violet Crawford. 

A Stye on the eye was supposedly cured by pricking it 9 times with a gooseberry thorn!  Some local people experienced that dubious cure.

St Patrick’s Day 2008 was the first known time when no St Patrick’s Mass was celebrated on that day in St Johnston.  This was because the feastday fell during Holy Week. 

Colhoun's operated a metalworks in St Johnston and made gates.  They were based near where Ray's Takeaway is currently located as of 2012.

St Baithin's Youth Band competed in the Donegal Marching Band County Championship on Sunday 12 August 1990 at Gortahork.  It took second place in the Joint Senior Section.  St Columba's Youth Band took second place in the Novice at the same event having been narrowly defeated by just one point.

There were three burnings in Ard Baithin in July 1984, Phonsie Brown, Maggie Devenney's and Charlie Toland's houses were damaged by fire.  Phonsie's house was burnt out.  Neil Duddy's house, Railway Road was burnt in June '85.  Neil was injured as he had to jump and had to go to hospital. 

There was a thatched cottage up at Hillhead where Joe McLaughlin used to live.  He had to leave the house in October '85 when the wall of his house fell in.  Joe had to live in a mobile house and then got a house in Main Street, St Johnston.

From Donegal News, 10 December 1988, "89 year old Mrs Mary Ann McGee was left deeply shocked when a fire destroyed her home at Church Street, St Johnston, just before 1pm on Sunday.  A neighbouring house was also badly damaged.  The Fire Service headquarters in Letterkenny denied that the absence of fire hydrants, or faults in existing hydrants, contributed to the extent of the damage caused by the two fires.  Mrs Patricia McBrearty, whose home was damaged in the St Johnston fire, has alleged that there were difficulties in opening the fire hydrant ducts and, that when they were opened, the water pressure was low."  Mary Ann was Mary Ann Magee.  It happened 4 December 1988.

During the Plantation of Ulster, St Johnston had corporate status granted by the Royal Charter in 1613. It had the privilege of electing two members to the Irish House of Commons.

The first recorded McClintock to come to Ireland hailed from Argyll in Scotland.  His name was Alexander and he settled in Donegal in the St Johnston area in 1623.  His son Alexander resided at Trentagh which is spelt Traintaugh in Burkes Commoners, 1835, Vol 2, p. 257.  He bought Trentagh in 1650.  His wife's name was Agnes who was born in Scotland. Alexander McClintock died in 1670.  They purchased a vault in the Church of Ireland at Taughboyne and are interred there.  They had a number of children.  The eldest, John, lived at Trentamucklagh which was spelled Treintamucklach back then.  He married Janet Lowry.  They fled to Scotland during the Siege of Derry.  They had a son called Alexander who was born in 1651 and who died in 1689 who lived at Trentagh.  He was a Lieutenant in the Irish Volunteers.

As the army of King James, the Jacobite army, retreated from the Siege of Derry they attacked the village of Carrigans because of its predominately Protestant population.  The village was pillaged and burned down to the ground.  It is thought that part of the reason for this was that William McClintock of Brocagh, St Johnston, had been involved in the defence of Derry in earlier years.  The Jacobites went to Brocagh and set attacked his home and set fire to it.  William was born in 1647 to Agnes and Alexander McClintock mentioned above.  He married Elizabeth Harvey and through this marriage he acquired Dunmore House.  He was probably good to Carrigans and had property there which was why the village was a target for the Jacobites.  We know that later in 1710 that he bought two houses and a corn-mill in Carrigans. 

The Irish War of Independence was fought in 1922.  The only local trouble during this war was from gangs who raided farmers to steal food.  At Kinnycally, a farmer fired his gun at them.  The gangs left bullet holes in his front door.  He was held prisoner with his brothers for day or so and later released unharmed.

The Sam Maguire Cup was paraded by the Donegal Team through St Johnston in 1992.  During the All Ireland Gaelic Soccer Final, Donegal won the Sam Maguire Cup that year for the first time ever.  The scores were Donegal 0-18 and Dublin 0-14.

Green Coffins Ireland Limited is based in St Johnston in the year of writing (2009) having been founded by Colin McAteer who had worked in Fanad.  It makes and supplies eco-friendly coffins to funeral directors.

Bobby McNulty, from Altaskin, St Johnston, is a member of Letterkenny and District Pipe Band.  It won the World Championship in 2009.  This band was founded in 2000 and won the Best Marching Band at the European Championships.  It won Best Band on Parade on St Patrick's Day, 2006.

Carrigans Memorial Hall was erected in memory of the soldiers who died during World War 1.  The building perished in 1971 as the result of arson.

There used to be a cottage next the gate of the Old Graveyard in St Johnston.  Rose and Eddie Carlin lived there.  There was a register of burials and their locations kept there.  This register was sadly lost when the house was destroyed by fire.

Derry Jail was demolished in 1971.  On March 19 1943, Republican Prisoners escaped through a tunnel under the jail wall.  They made their way across the border.  Some of them went to the hill near Glentown.  Eleven men were found there by the Gardai and the army just six hours after their escape from jail.  They were arrested and taken to Letterkenny but Eamon De Valera got them released later.

Mo Cheol Thú started in 1970.  It was a Radio Eireann feature that ran on Sunday mornings from 8.10 am to 9 am and had a heritage and traditional flavour.  The programme was replete with nostalgia.  It was broadcasted by Limerick man Ciarán Mac Mathúna.  It was very popular locally.  And its theme tune, The Lark in the Clear Air, was frequently hummed in this area.  In those days, people prized their radios and wirelesses.   They had to save up hard to buy them.    People listened to the programme as they prepared for 9 O' Clock Mass on Sunday mornings.