Clondavaddog (Donegal) County Donegal

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St. Columba’s Church, Massmount, Fanad
St. Columba’s Church, Massmount, Fanad

St. Columba’s Church, Massmount, Fanad  

St Columba's Church - A stunningly beautiful Church & graveyard, built back in 1785 in one of the most photogenic locations alongside the shores of Mulroy Bay on Donegal's Wild Atlantic Way. 


LOCATION MAPS: St Columba's Church, Tawny, County Donegal 


WEBSITE PAGE: - St Columbas Church 


FACEBOOK PAGES: St. Mary's Fanavolty & St. Columba’s Massmount 


IMAGES & PICTURES: St. Columba's Church, Massmount, Fanad 



In the late 1700’s, while the Penal Laws were still being enforced, a liberal member of the Patton family transfered land in which the Catholics could rightfully bury their dead, because a Protestant rector of Rossnakill had refused burial to a Catholic man, at the time. A Church was later built at Massmount and is still in use today. (St Columba's Church). 

The Church’s greatest problem, however, was limited resources in a period of rapid demographic expansion. In the first three decades of the century, there was often only a single priest ministering to Fánaid’s seven to eight thousand Catholics. Massmount was still the only chapel in the parish and while the priest read additional masses at scáthláin, ‘wretched sheds’ that half-covered rough altars, congregations were small, particularly in poor weather. 

According to a return made by Dean Peter Gallagher, the parish priest, only 1,000 of Fánaid’s 8157 Catholics attended Sunday mass in 1834; even if this figure excluded attendance at scáthláin, it was low and had clearly been lower. By then, however, a more efficient and assertive church administration was taking shape. There were normally two curates in the parish from 1830 and, with the appointment of Fr Daniel O’Donnell as parish priest in 1835, the church had a firmer hand at the tiller and a clearer sense of direction.  

Although elderly, O’Donnell was an energetic modernizer. He oversaw the erection of the parish’s second chapel at Fanavolty (18351838); extended, re-roofed and ornamented Massmount with a bell-tower (1843); introduced a ‘Register of Births, Marriages and Funerals’ (before 1847); and enthusiastically promoted temperance. 


- A Brief extract from "The Outer Edge of Ulster: A Memoir of Social Life in Nineteenth-Century Donegal" 

 by Hugh Dorian*, edited by Breandán Mac Suibhne and Hugh Dorain. 

*Hugh Dorian (1834-1914), born into a small- holding Catholic family in Cashel Glebe at the western end of Kindrum Lake where he was living in the 1850's. Hugh records his years in Fanáid, a region near Lough Swilly at Ulster's outer edge and apparently "beyond the frontier of respectability.  


INTERESTING WEBPAGES: - Mass Times and Churches - St Columbas Roman Catholic Church, Croaghan, Rosnakill, Donegal 


Beautiful Photo of St. Columba’s Church - courtesy of Scenes of Donegal / 

Shared on IrelandXO by: S.Callaghan (Kerrykeel) 


GENEALOGICAL INTERESTS: 1847 - 1870 Church Register -   

1847 - 1870 Church Register ( - Free)                        

1847 - 1870 Church Register ( - Available Records for RC Parish of Clondavaddog - (select) Donegal + Tamney or Fanavolty - Columba's Church - Graveyard Search - Massmount Church 


Civil Parishes throughout County Donegal (IrelandXO Links)  CLICK HERE 



Diocese of Raphoe Website - Ireland VIEW SOURCE
Official Facebook Page Ireland VIEW SOURCE

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  • thanks for sharing


    Wednesday 20th July 2022 06:59AM

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