St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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The Crolly Doll

Paddy Gallagher was a county councillor for the Crolly area and he donated land and it was decided that a factory would be built on it.  In 1901 the locals built the factory from stone. 

Soon the factory was making carpets and there were eighty women employed and some of them were girls as young as thirteen.  The factory was used as a barracks by the British army in the twenties.  A soldier was shot dead there and the bullet hole is still pointed out today. 

In the late 1930’s it was a factory again and soft toys began to be made.    Brigid Healy from Blacksod in Mayo spearheaded the transformation of the factory into a doll making industry.  However the factory only made the bodies of the dolls with the heads being imported from Canada.  After that the factory started making leather items of different kinds.  It had its own source of electricity.  Later it went back into the production of dolls.

In the 1950's when the factory had machinery installed to produce plastic toys that lightning struck the factory terrifying the workers in the building. 

Master Sean McBride was principal of St Baithin's School, Blueball, until he was succeeded by Master Joe McGinley.  He wrote the popular song, The Crolly Doll which follows.  He died in his house near St Johnston at Cloughfin.