The story of Donegal abbey is the story of Ireland from the 15th to the 17th century. It is also the story of the O’Donnell chieftains of Tír Chonaill, who founded the abbey in 1474, and their epic struggle as one of the last strongholds against English rule in Ireland. From the Act of Suppression of 1535 by Henry VIII to long after the destruction of their abbey in 1600 the friars continued to administer to and receive support from the people of Donegal. The completion of the Annals of the Four Masters by four of their members in 1636 is further testament to this extraordinary friary.
This book, for the first time, brings together all the strands of history that have contributed to the establishment, the flourishing, and finally the destruction of this famous abbey. The multitude of characters, like Aodh Ruadh, Niall Garbh, Michael O’Cléirigh, Ineen Dubh, Lord Mountjoy and many others are brought to life as their lives and actions intertwine and impact on the historical events that shaped this period of Irish history.
This book is also about those buried in the abbey from the O’Donnell chieftains and their sub-chieftains through the turbulent times of the Plantation, the Famine and the establishment of the Irish Free State to the present day. It puts down a marker in time to record the graves and inscriptions still legible there which cries out for this remarkable monastic site to be given the due recognition it deserves and never received.