In 2005, well-known Carndonagh resident Charlie Hegarty wrote down his memories of the households and the businesses around the Diamond. This is an extract from a much longer piece which covers the whole town, and has been transcribed here with the permission of his son Joe. If you have any memories or comments to add to this, feel free to write a reply in the comment box at the bottom of the page. 

The Diamond, South Side

Next was Old Bessie Kearney’s pub. McDonough & Co bought it and renovated it. I would say it was one of the first lounge bars around. They called it the Leprechaun. Tony Doherty (Mullier) from Magheramore bought it. He let it out but has sold it to a company called Murphy’s.

Next is McDonough & Co. John Reid, a commercial traveller, got married to McDonough’s daughter. They had three of a family, Mary, Patricia and James. They were a big company at one time.

Then on to Philip McLaughlin’s, another big shop. Philip and Lizzie had eight of a family. Mary, Monica, Philip, Ethna, Bernie, Theo and Vincent.

Next was the National Bank. It is now known as the AIB Bank. They had the premises rented from Canny’s Hotel which was next door.

Francis and Maggie ran the hotel which did not do much. Most of their customers were the people who worked in the bank. In later years two of their nieces came to work for them, Noreen and Maureen Reid. Francis and Maggie passed away, so Noreen looked after it most of the time. Maureen was a nurse. In later years they sold it to the A.I.B. Bank and built a new house out the Moville Road which is now vacant. Noreen and Maureen passed away.

P.J.’s was next. They had a drapery and delft store. Philip and Sarah looked after the drapery and Mary looked after the delft shop. After the P.J.s passed away the Bank of Ireland bought it and converted it into a bank. 

Next was Susie and Sarah Callaghan’s – they were known as Dorbys. They had a pub. Dorbys is now a bookmakers.

Then John Callaghan and his wife, they were known as Bubbley’s. They had a daughter Rose who got married to Robert Doherty (Coiner) from Collon. They had a family, I think, of four boys, Daniel, Vincent – I am not sure of the other boys’ names. Brian Doherty (Donagh Stores) has Bubbley’s now. He and Maura have a general shop there.

Next was Eugene Doherty (Jack). He and his wife carried on the business of a butcher’s shop. They had four sons, Sonny, John, Joe and Mickey. There were, I think, two or three girls also.

Then next was Burnett’s, Harry and Jeanie, they had a small grocery and bar. On Mondays they would have a restaurant, just on Mondays and Fair Days only. Monday was always a market day, then the first Monday of the month was a big market.

We also had four Fair Days in the year, 21st January, 21st May, 21st August and 21st November. They were the big days then. We also had what was called Boxing Day Market; that was the day after Christmas Day. People used to say it was one of  two in all Ireland – it was a big day.

Willie Crossan’s was next. Not so long ago I was told he was the first chemist in Carndonagh. He also owned a bottling store. In later years he sold the licence to Mahons of Gleneely.

Then Neal Doherty’s is next, they called it ‘Neal the Gateway’. At that time, they were general hardware merchants. Neal and his wife had two of a family, Joe and Noreen. Joe took over from his father. He went out of hardware and went into the jewellery and delft business. Joe got married to Lena; they had two boys and two girls, Neal Martin, Felix, Mary Collette (who was drowned) and Annette. They bought Crossan’s shop and in later years again renovated the whole lot, making the two shops into one big shop. It is a beautiful building now.

Next, George Doherty (Saddler) and Mamie also had a bar.

We are still in the upper side of the Diamond.

Next was Reynold’s chemist. Francis and Cassie, they had one daughter Mary. She went on to be a chemist also in later years. She sold out to Daniel McAteer, he came from Buncrana. Mary got the house next door renovated so she lives there now.

George Doherty (Saddler) had another pub. After that when Mick White started up as a solicitor he had part of that building. In later years he moved around to Chapel Street. Lynchs also lived there. They were Joe Dan, Peggy and Rhia. Dan was a mechanic; Joe worked with the Lough Swilly Railway Co. at Carndonagh as a fireman on the engines.

Going back a bit, McLaughlin Bros, Willie Tom and James bought where the Lynchs lived and turned it into a hardware store. Anna Hegarty worked a lifetime with McLaughlin Bros. They were better known as the ‘Masons’.

Then Lanigans was next, Barney, Dan and Susan. They had a grocery and drapery shop. Barney and Susan looked after the grocery; Daniel looked after the drapery department. After they all passed away they left the shop and most of their money to the Church. When the Church was built they demolished the building and made it into a new entrance to the Church.

Now I come to Whites. They were on the corner. Their premises extended around the corner into Chapel Street. In earlier years. Hubert (O’Donnell) and Johnnie White had a loan fund Bank where White and Company Solicitors have their offices at present. Hugh (McCauley) and Johnnie White also had loan fund. The farmers would get a loan of money during the spring and pay it back after the harvest.  In their time Whites sold a lot of fertilisers to the farmers. Their dwelling part of the house was on Chapel Street. M.D. White was Johnnie White’s son. It is now taken over by M.D.’s son Philip. In later years Donagh Stores (Kieran and Frances Doherty) bought it for a drapery store.

The Diamond, North Side

Then you had Butlers. Old Stephen was a photographer. I think he worked at bikes also. His son Alex also worked with him. Stephen and Madge had a family of seven boys and three girls – Stephen, Willie, Jim, Alex, Johnny, Charlie, George; girls – Dolly, Josie and Bridie.

Then next was the Northern Bank where a lot of men came and went. There was McCormack, Workman, Connelly, Cooke, Keaney, McHugh and McDonald. In later years it was demolished It was a lovely building before they took it down. It is now known as the National Irish Bank.

Next was known as Cecily the Masters. She also had a pub and grocery shop. Then again it was sold. Daniel McLaughlin (Mason) bought it. There was also a chemist next door; a man called Charles Vincent McLaughlin ran it for some years. Then James McLaughlin (Niece) took over until his death, then his sister Peg took it over until her death. Then Daniel McAteer took it over, he then bought it. Later on he also bought out Margaret Theresa Doherty’s chemist shop. She had her shop on Pound Street, then he closed two of them. He kept Reynolds’, refurbished it, then opened another shop. Daniel McLaughlin’s (Mason) wife Ann opened a drapery shop. She kept it for about 10-12 years then she closed it down. Daniel then renovated it and made it into two stores; Sean Furey Insurance has one, the other is taken by Higgins Opticians.

Then next is James and Martha Reid’s. Before they bought it, it belonged to a Dr Callaghan. He was the local doctor. All his family moved out – I think one of them was called Joe. James and Martha had no family.

The old Post Office was next, it was a lady called Maud Dever. Then Philip Doherty (Fintan) bought it. After Philip’s day his son Christy took it over; it is now known as the Sport & Shoe Shop. Philip and Susie had, I think, five boys and one daughter, Neal, Rory, Vincent, Christy and Marjorie.

Next to that was Cannys. A lady called Bridget Canny from Gragan owned it in later years it was said. Neal and Sheila Diver bought it. Neal was from Glentogher so he called it the Glen Bar. His son John runs it now.

Willie and Mary Crampseys’ bar was next. They were brother and sister. They had a sister married to a man from Malin Head. They both died young so Willie and Mary reared the family; they were Mary, Daniel, John and Josephine. Again in later years it was sold. Raymond Doherty bought it. He converted it into a bar downstairs and a hair salon upstairs. Raymond called his bar The Arch Inn.

Next was Doherty’s Hotel. It was better known as Big Patrick’s. They had two of a family; Paddy  was a solicitor and Cahir who lived in Dublin. He also had a sister called Francie. He was a travel agent and he was a JP. Then the hotel changed hands. Hugh McCauley and his wife Mary took it over for a few years. Hugh came from Trenbane and his wife from Sligo. They had one daughter. They passed away early in life. Cassie Ann McLaughlin, a sister of Hugh’s, looked after him until she went away to live in Dublin. I think her name was Mary. Again it changed hands. People by the name of Slevin took it over. When Joe was a student at college, in the summer break he would work in the bar. Now I have to think who took it over after that. You have to have a good memory! Pat McClean had it for a short time then McCrossan from Buncrana. Then Tommy and Mary Margaret Tully took it over. Then James and Elizabeth McCarron took it over. They are the present owners. It was badly run down, he had to do a lot of repairs to it. They did away with the hotel end of it, they now have a restaurant and bar; they call it Trawbega. Jimmy and Elizabeth have sold it to Jackie McLaughlin’s (Grannie) son from Ballyliffin.

The shop next door was leased to a man called William Callaghan. He was in the drapery trade. That was also part of the hotel. When McCarrons took over they sold the shop to Patrick McCarroll. He later sold it to Daniel McAteer who opened another chemist in it – so that is a long story!

Where am I now? Yes, Annie Doherty (Neddy) was next. She married Tony Doherty (Arthur) from Malin Street. They had no family. After they passed away it was sold. Gabriel Doherty from the Mill Brae bought it. His wife, who was from Derry, started a shop to sell baby wear; it did not do so well. They closed it down and went to live in Derry. Again it was sold, to Sean and Teresa Doherty. They have it let out. Paddy Mooney’s daughter Sarah has a hair salon upstairs. Bernard McBride’s wife Jacqueline (Kirkland) started up a baby shop and it is doing very well.

Next is a bar. In earlier days it belonged to Willie Crossan, the same man who had the shop on the upper part of the Diamond, where Neal Martin has the shop now. This is the shop where he carried on the business of wholesale spirits. After his death the Simpson sisters took it over. The sisters’ names were May, Ida and Annie. Willie Crossan sold the wholesale licence to Mahons of Gleneely. They traded under the name of Corner Bottling Stores. After the Simpson sisters Packie and Rose Gallagher bought it. Packie and Rose had four of a family, Jeremy, Frankie, Sally and Breda. After a number of years they sold it to a man called Crossan. He worked in the oil fields in Persia. That was the name he gave it. It still has that name today. After Crossan sold it, Tony and Annie Diver took it over. I think they had seven of a family, three boys and four girls. Tony passed away so Annie still runs it.

Next is Fintans. I don’t know who had it before they came to it. All I know it was very run down so they did a big job to it. It was very derelict on the Malin St. side so they demolished it and built what was known at that time as an ice cream parlour. It was something new to the town. On a Saturday evening all the boys and girls would meet at Fintans’, you would be lucky to get in. Apart from the money it was just great, if you did not get in everyone would stand around and have a chat. They also opened up a restaurant. Bridget and Mary were the owners at that time, then Neal, a son of Packie Fintan, took it over. Later on Neal got married to Bridie, she was from Muff. They had five of a family, Desmond, Anne, Marion, Cathal and Gary. After Neal passed away Bridie carried on running the restaurant. She closed it down and she has a newspaper and confectionery shop now.

The Diamond, West Side

Next was Faulkners, it was also a grocery shop. James was his name – they always called his wife Mrs Faulkner. They had a family of three girls, Rosie, Annie and Maureen. Rosie married King O’Leary. He came to Carndonagh and worked with the P&T. In later years they went to live in Dublin. The O’Learys’ had a family, the only one I can name is Jimmy. Annie was married to a man called Connie McFadden, he was a captain in the army. He came to Carndonagh during the emergency to look after the FCA. Maureen went with Rosie to Dublin. They always tell the story about Mrs Faulkner – one night Rosie’s husband O’Leary was very drunk. He didn’t want to go into the house because she was a sharp woman. He stood outside wondering what to do. So, low and behold, what came along but a wee man called Johnny Mulhern. He was about four and a half feet tall. O’Leary looked at him and said, “Johnny, you are my saviour”. Johnny was well drunk also, so he took him into the house and right enough Mrs Faulkner went for O’Leary, and in her rage she said to O’Leary, “Jesus, who is this person,” and O’Leary said that he is the Child of Prague. O’Leary told this story himself, he was a gentleman.

Old James Faulkner had a shop also in Glengad. He also had a wee dance hall in Glengad. Back in town we had what was called Faulkner’s Hall, it was the Mecca of Carn. Any one night you could get anything from three hundred to four or five hundred at it, and not a fight, it was well run. These were the days admission was one shilling. Dancing was from 9 to 3am, Sunday nights only – they came from near and far. Then Borderland in Muff and the Plaza in Buncrana opened up so that was the end. It was good while it lasted. I for one have great memories of it.

Next house was Packie and Annie Doherty’s (Fintan). They had three of a family, two boys and one girl, Neal, PJ and Kathleen. Also in the same house was a barber shop. John Joe Gallagher was the barber, he was also a postman. In the same house was a shoe repair shop run by a man called Joe McKay.

Next was Neal J. Doherty (Saddler). He was an auctioneer. He and his wife also had drapery, grocery and pub/shop. They had a family of five boys and, I think, five girls. James Gerard was in the army. He was the Conductor of the No.1 Army Band. Willie was a shareholder in the Carndonagh Motor Co. John and Maura kept the pub for a while, John then took over the auctioneering, he and Maura run that now. They had two priests in the family, Fr. James Anthony and Fr. George. Fr. James Anthony was on the Missions, Fr George was in the Derry Diocese. Then the girls, Susan, ……, Mary Teresa and Annie. Susan was married, I think, in Cavan. Mary Teresa in Dublin, Annie in Ballyshannon. Another one of the girls was married in Buncrana. That pub was sold to John McGonagle of Bridge St, it was called the Sportmans Inn. It changed ownership after John passed away to a man called Gallagher. It still trades under the Sportmans.

Next was Mickey McEleney. I am not sure if the woman of the house was his wife or his sister. He had a small shoe shop. The story is told about Mickey – he was doing some gardening, so he wanted some manure for it. So one of the nuns from the convent was in his shop one day and Mickey knew that they kept some cattle and, as the story is told, Mickey said to the nun, would she ask the Rev Mother if she would give him a load of her short dung, for a load of his long dung!. Mickey passed away and the shop was sold. Barney McLaughlin better known as Barney’s Stores bought it. Roseanne his wife opened a drapery shop for a while. It did not go so well, so they sold it. Patsy Hirrell bought it and has a shoe repair shop and a general shoe shop.

The western side of the Diamond.

Next was a shop and pub owned by a woman called Mary Ann McGonagle. She took in a girl from Gragan called Mary Ann Farren, then Susie Farren came down. When Mary Ann McGonagle passed away, she left the place to Mary Ann Farren. She carried on the shop and pub until she passed away. Then it was sold to Brian and May Kelly. They sold the pub licence and turned it into an ice cream and sweet shop, it is known as May’s.

Now our next stop in Gillespies’, Mrs Gillespie and Victor, I can’t tell you much about them. I think there was a girl in that house also. Victor had a bicycle shop. I think his mother ran a small restaurant. This is another story about Victor – it seems he had an old clock with no works in it. So he got a card and printed on it and put it into the frame of the clock. “NO TICK HERE”. That meant anything you got you had to pay for it! Mrs Mary and Richard Marner bought the house, they moved up from Malin St. Mrs Marner opened up a restaurant, ice cream and sweet shop. In later years she closed the restaurant and kept the ice cream and sweet shop. It was a great landmark when we were all around. If you wanted to meet someone you would say, “See you at Marners’”. Everyone met at Marners’. Dick, Mrs Marner’s son kept the shop up until his death, then Dick’s wife leased it to Liam McLaughlin (Billy) for a few years. Then Liam pulled out. John McLaughlin (Crackna) Malin took over. He had it about five or six years. When he closed the shop Anne, Dick’s wife, got it renovated, she got it made into two shops. Mickey the Hatter’s son who is an optician took one of the apartments. He only stayed a few months when he got a new shop out at Bank Place. So it is now leased to Dermot and Catherine Coyle. The smaller shop is let as a fashion shop at the moment.

Next is Hirrels. That house belongs to Marners also but Hirrells have been there a lifetime. Paddy Hirrell had a shoe repair shop – that was where my father learned his trade. Paddy also had a taxi run. Paddy and his wife, I think her name was Mary, had seven of a family, Kathleen, Peadar, Eileen, Marie, Una, Tony and Liam. In later years they closed the boot shop. Then Liam opened up a shop selling all household items such as fridges, gas cookers and all things for the house.

Next is Brodbins. They were bacon curers. As far as I know they came from Scotland. The father and mother’s name I do not know. They had four girls and one boy. Annie was married to John Kelly from the Millbrae. Patricia was married to James Quigley of Malin St. Then there was one of them married to Sean Duddy of Church Road, he came from Derry. Molly lived at home, she was not married. Joe lived in Culdaff.  After Molly passed away, a man called Gillespie took it over for a chemist shop. He did not stay long. Then Hugh McCauley from Trenbane who worked for McDonoughs opened up a drapery shop. To rent the shop Hugh had to take Sean Duddy on as a partner as he was married to one of the Brodbins – that was the only way he could get the shop. In later years old Duddy passed away so then Hugh bought it. They called it the Donagh Stores. Kieran Doherty from Glenkeen, out at Carrowmore, was serving his time with Hugh. Sometime later Hugh passed away, so Kieran and his brother Brian bought it. Sometime later Brian moved out and started a supermarket, so Kieran and his wife Frances with their son John still run it. They also had three daughters, Mary, Susan and …..

O’Donnells’ is next, Hubert and Winnie, they also had a drapery, grocery and pub down Bridge St. The shop up at the corner was a shoe shop. In earlier years. Hubert and Johnnie White had a loan fund Bank where White and Company Solicitors have their offices at present.. Getting back to O’Donnells’, Hubert and Winnie’s family was two boys and I think one girl, Jim who was a doctor and Bertie who worked in the shop on the corner, the boot shop. Dr Jim, as he was known, worked in Derry, he got married to Patricia Reid, the people who owned McDonough’s big shop. The girl in the O’Donnell family was called Teresa O’Donnell, she was also a doctor. She worked in Ballina, Co Mayo, she got married to a doctor called Burke in Ballina. I do not know what family they had, but one of their daughters who was called Dr Mary Robinson became President of Ireland. Bertie got married to Mrs Barnett’s daughter from the Millbrae. They went to Canada for a number of years after Bertie closed the shop. When they came back he had an agency for Goodbody’s Sacks. He gave it up and went to live in Dublin. John White took it over for a time, then it closed down. They had one daughter, her name was Mary, she lives in Dublin. Mary’s mother lives in a new housing estate in Carndonagh, Ballyloskey called Millbrae Meadows. After, Bertie sold the shop to a man called Owen Gordon. It is now called Gordon’s. I am not sure of their family, the only one I know is called Marie. She is married to Paddy Shortall. He was an agricultural inspector over potatoes. He is now a property contractor. Owen passed away so Marie looks after the shop for her mother. Shortalls lived in a flat on Bridge Street until they moved to what was known as Tiernaleague House.

– Charlie Hegarty, 2005


3 Replies to “Charlie Hegarty’s ‘Diamond’ People”

  1. I know there was another girl in that O’ Donnell family who was an aunt of Mary Robinson.. She was married to Dr Ernest Mc Laughlin. He was a G.P. In Springburn, Glasgow. His fatherDr Michael Mc Laughlin started the practise in Springburn and he came from Ballybreen, Gleneely. Just a snippet of information. Interesting article. Good that Charlie Hegarty wrote it all down.

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