County Donegal Historical Society

Uachtarán Chumann Staire agus Seanchais Chondae Dhún na nGall.

Our President


The President of Donegal Historical Society, Seán Boner, was born in 1959 and lived on Arranmore Island until his family moved to Meenmore, Dungloe in 1973. He attended the local national schools on Arranmore and then attended a secondary school at Holy Cross College, Falcarragh as a boarder when it was with Clochair Muire Na nAingeal, a girls boarding school run by the Franciscan Nuns, part of Cloughaneely Community School. He later studied law at University College Dublin graduating in 1981 with B.C.L. (Hons). He became a solicitor having worked as an Apprentice or trainee solicitor with the firm of W. Kelly & Co (later N. Sheridan & Co), Letterkenny. He went to work with the firm of O’Donnell & Sweeney, Solicitors, Dungloe in 1985 and remained with that firm until 2006 when he established the practice of Seán Boner & Co, Dungloe. He also ran a part time office in Letterkenny for a number of years.

He joined Donegal Historical Society largely at the prompting of the Society’s accountant the late John Mc Creadie and like John Mc Creadie felt stongly that there was a need for a County wide historical society to give emphasis and expression to the rich and diverse history of the county.

His father Patrick Boner, who died in 2007, was a local historian and an active member of the Society for many years.

He is a member of Forbairt Na Rosann the local development group in Dungloe since 1997 and sees that organisation as the main provider of a community infrastructure for the old but youthful town of Dungloe. The town was laid out by the Marquis of Conyngham in 1825 as the town of his Rosses Estate. Forbairt Na Rosann with the help of state grants has provided a community infrastructure for Dungloe. It renovated the old church in Dungloe to form the Ionad Teampall Chroine Community Centre that provides space for the County Council Library, The Tourist Office, the District Court, community rooms and a cafe. It built two commercial units for letting and developed a community playing field among other things . Seán Boner remains involved with a number of other community group including, The Burtonport Railway Walk, Burtonport Development Association and the Rosses Anglers Association as well as Donegal Historical Society and sees community groups as a useful way of filling gaps in local development that might not otherwise be filled..

He has been a long time contributor of article on local historal events to the Donegal Annual and other local journals. Since he comes from an Arranmore Island and is a native speaker of Irish it is hardly surprising that he has long had an interest in the Irish language and matters pertaining to the sea.

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
2015/2016 - Dr. Lochlann McGill

(Asterisk denotes deceased)