County Donegal Historical Society

Uachtarán Chumann Staire agus Seanchais Chondae Dhún na nGall.


Our President



Dr. Lochlann McGill, President, County Donegal Historical Society.



Doctor Lochlann McGill was born in 1948 in Ardara. He is a son of “Wee Paddy” McGill, who was one of the founder members of the Society in 1946, and gave the first field day in the Society’s history in Dooey in 1947 and was President of the Society from 1953-1954.

Dr Lochlann’s mother, Kay, came to Ardara from County Laois as a Jubilee Nurse. Lochlann attended a number of national schools, where his father taught. He attended St Eunan’s College in Letterkenny from 1962-1967.

He studied medicine at University College, Galway, qualifying in 1973. For a number of years, Lochlann worked in obstetrics in Ireland. After studying in London, he came to Falcarragh, for what he thought would be a year’s sabbatical from obstetrics and never left. He worked as a family doctor there from June 1976 until June 2012. As a native Gaelic speaker, he took great joy in being able to work in a Gaeltacht area all his life.

In 1972 he married his childhood sweetheart, Carmel McHugh from “Nancy’s”, Ardara. They have four daughters, Eleanor, Olivia, Genevieve and Lucienne.

Influenced by his father, Lochlann was always interested in County Donegal Historical Society and had an article published in the Donegal Annual as early as 1964. Lochlann’s main interests are archaeology and hagiography. As he says himself, he enjoys “anything that gets you to put your boots on and get out into the countryside”.

His studies culminated in his acclaimed book, In Conall’s Footsteps, which was published in 1992. It was nominated for The Irish Times Non-Fiction Award. He contributed three articles to the 1996 Golden Jubilee journal of the Society.

Being the outdoor type, he prefers field days to lectures and takes great pleasure in bringing groups of school children out to view historic sites. He hopes to increase interest in local history within schools during his time as President.




President's Chain

The County Donegal Historical Society received a Presidential Chain of office at the County House, Lifford on the 11th September 1971. The presentation was made by Mr. E. W. R. Cookman, the immediate past President, in the same room where the inaugural meeting of the Society was held on 20th December 1946. At the function, the President, Dr. J. D. Simms, was invested with the chain of office. Past Presidents or their relatives subscribed to the gift to commemorate the Silver Jubilee Year.

The silver gilt badge has the name of the Society in Irish and English. The centre piece is quartered with illustrations representing important periods in the history of the county. The stone fort of Grianan Ailigh on its elevated site recalls the pre-Christian era. There are numerous reminders of this age scattered throughout the county as court cairns, portal dolmens and other Celtic forts but the Grianan is the most notable example. The early Christian period and its missionary activity of St. Columba and others is represented by a monk seated at a writing desk. Below is the motto "Peregrinari pro Christo" - to be a traveller for Christ. The O'Donnell arms, which is primarily an arm with a cross held in the hand, was selected for the centuries when this Gaelic clan held sway over the most of the county. The last quarter depicts the well-preserved ruin of Donegal Castle on the banks of the River Eske, for the planters of the Ulster Plantation. The picturesque castle was rebuilt in 1610 and incorporated a section of the O'Donnell Castle.

The chain has gilded links with a separate link for each of the seventeen Presidents from 1946-70. This number will increase as the names of new Presidents are added. The chain was made by Weir & Sons, Dublin and the Society has taken out an insurance policy for it.                E. W. R. Cookman   1971 




Past Presidents


*1947 – Andrew Lowry, Argery, Raphoe.
*1948 – Rt. Rev. Dean Molloy, D.Ph., V.G., P.P., Dungloe.
*1949 – Capt. J. Hamilton, Ballintra.
*1950 – Sean D. MacLochlainn, Lifford.
*1951 – Rev. Dr. J. H. Bewglas, Raphoe.
*1952 – An tAth. P. MacLoinsigh, P.P., Aghyaran.
*1953 – Rev. R. Laird, The Manse, Ardstraw.
*1954 – Patrick J. McGill, N.T., F.R.S.A.I., Ardara.
*1955 – Miss C. Atkinson, Cavangarden, Ballintra.
*1956/1957 – Fr. Terence O’Donnell, O.F.M., Rossnowlagh.
*1958/1959 – Mr. J. C. T. MacDonagh, Ballybofey.
*1960 – Denis Verschoyle, Cape Town, South Africa.
*1961 - Eamonn MacLoinsigh, An Clochan, Gleann Fhinne.
*1962/1964 – P. Urr. O’Gallachair, Cluain Eois & Drom Mor.
*1965 – Harry P. Swan, Buncrana.
*1966/1967 – Rupert S. O’Cochlainn, Dublin.
*1968/1970 – E. W. R. Cookman, M.A., Raphoe.
*1971 – Dr. J. G. Simms, Dublin.
*1972/1973 – Liam MacMeanman, B.A., O.S., Fal Carrach.
*1974 – Sean Mac Loinsigh, O.S., Convoy.
*1975/1976 – Brian Walsh, F.S.M.C., Letterkenny.
*1977/1979 – J. D. Williams, Letterkenny.
*1980/1982 – Dorothy Borland, Fanad.
*1983 – Edward MacIntyre, Strabane.
*1984/1986 – Cecil King, Ballyshannon.
*1987/1988 – Liam O’Doherty, Derry.
*1989 – Arthur Spears, B.E., Lifford.
*1990/1992 – Arthur Lemon, Waterford.
*1993/1994 – Seamus Gildea, Glenties.
*1995/1996 – Mairead Dunlevy, Dublin.
1997/1998 – Patrick J. Dunleavy, Dungloe.
1999/2001 - Edward O’ Kane, Cavanacor House, Ballindrait, Lifford.
2002/2005 - Anthony Begley , Ballyshannon.
2005/2007 - Vincent O’Donnell, Inver
2007/2009 -   Helen Meehan, Inver
2009/2012 _ Col. Declan O'Carroll, Letterkenny
2012/2015 _ An Doctor Oirmh. Pádraig Ó Baoighill

(Asterisk denotes deceased)