1720s – Mountilly, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

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George Vaughan built Buncrana Castle in 1718 on the original site of the town. Vaughan relocated the town to its present location, where he founded the present main street in 1718 and erected the Castle Bridge across the River Crana leading to his home. Mountilly was eight bays, with four of the distinctive Dutch Billy gables which were then popular in Dublin. Presumedly built in the years following the relocation of the town. Demolished in the late 1930s. The photograph during demolition shows a very interesting structure behind the facade and local-lore has it as a British barracks or armoury.

In the National Folklore Collection, UCD, The Schools’ Collection, Volume 1111, Page 185. “The house in which we are now living in is built on the site as the Mountilly barracks were long ago. It was the English barracks during the 98 rebellion and Wolfe Tone was taken there as a prisoner. It was there also that Colonel Vaughnan got word of Father Hagarty. There were no such things as windows in the house and only one door. When this old house was being tumbled down there was a man seen in one of the walls , mounted on a white horse armed as if he were for war. After the English left it, the people went and fixed it for living in. There were eight houses in the one, four on top and four on the bottom, there was one line of steps up in connection with the four houses on top. It has still got the same name.”

Dating from 1937-39, the the Schools’ Collection was a project supervised by the Irish Folklore Commission in conjunction with the Department of Education and the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. Primary School children recorded in excess of 750,000 pages of local history and oral tradition from across the 26 counties of the Irish Free State.

Published June 16, 2024