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Charlestown Historical Society Helps Save Irish Castle

The nonprofit group donated $1,000 toward an effort to keep the ancient O'Doherty homestead from falling into the ocean.

[UPDATED Monday, 5:16 p.m. with funding information.]

The Charlestown Historical Society is helping to save an ancient castle in Ireland with a $1,000 donation made in memory of a Charlestown woman who immigrated from the country in 1928.

Submitted to the Carrickabraghy Restoration Society, the donation will help the organization prevent Carrickabraghy Castle from falling into the Atlantic Ocean, according to an announcement made by Tom Coots, president of the Charlestown Historical Society.

"Carrickabraghy Castle is located on the Isle of Doagh on County Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula and is the ancient home of the O’Doherty family and was built more than 500 years ago by the O’Dochartaigh Chieftains of Inishowen," according to the annoncement. "Urgent work is needed to prevent the collapse of the remaining structure. Once the restoration is completed, the castle will be utilized as an educational and tourism facility."

Marius Harkin, chairman of the Carrickabraghy Restoration Society, reached out to the Charlestown Historical Society, having worked with the local organization in the past.

"In 2006, when the Charlestown Historical Society was attempting to raise the necessary funds to produce the documentary film, 'The Green Square Mile,' Mr. Harkin convinced the County Donegal County Council to make a substantial financial contribution to the film’s production," according to the CHS announcement.

Harkin visited Charlestown in 2009 and made remarks in the Gaelic language at the unveiling of the “Children of the Famine Memorial” at St. Francis de Sales Cemetery.

The Irish castle is connected to Charlestown in another way, too.

“The surname Doherty has been one of the more common surnames in our community for the past 120 years," Ed Callahan, chairman of the Charlestown Historical Society's Irish Committee, said in the announcement. "The Doherty clan has been at the vanguard of emigration from Inishowen to Charlestown for generations commencing in the 1880s and have contributed enormously to every aspect of Charlestown life. We are extremely happy to make a contribution to assist in the preservation of this historic Irish property."

The funding for this donation came from proceeds generated from the sale of the Charlestown Preservation Society's documentary film, "The Green Square Mile: The Story of the Charlestown Irish," according to Callahan.

"More than six years after unveiling the film, we continue to sell copies of the DVD and the companion book. We have used previous sale revenue to erect the 'Children of the Famine Memorial' that sits in the St Francis de Sales Cemetery," Callahan said.

The donation was made in memory of late Charlestown resident Bridget Doherty, who was born in 1906 in the Townland of Magheranaul, which is located on the Isle of Doagh and "in the shadow of Carrickabraghy Castle," according to the Charlestown Historical Society announcement.

The release states: "Bridget immigrated to Charlestown in 1928 and settled in with her sister Elizabeth and her Gill cousins on Lexington Street. On Nov. 6, 1929, Bridget was crossing Bunker Hill Street attempting to board an oncoming trolley and was struck by a stolen vehicle travelling at more than 70 miles per hour and killed instantly. The stolen vehicle was driven by four teenagers who were members of the 'Charlestown Loopers.'"

Charlestown Historical Society members are hoping others in the community will want to help out with the project.

"We hope that others with ancestral roots in Ireland and in particular with roots on the Inishowen Peninsula will consider making a contribution to the Carrickabraghy Castle Restoration Project in Bridget’s memory," Callahan said.

For more information about making a donation, contact Callahan at ecall73342@msn.com.

Joseph January 14, 2013 at 07:42 PM
Wait a second here. What a feel good story, but let me get this straight. The CNC gives the Charlestown Historical Society $3819 from the Mitigation Fund, which in my understanding, the mitigation fund is to be used to benefit Charlestown Nonprofits, as well as the residents of Charlestown as a whole. Correct? And in turn, the Charlestown Historical Society decides that they don't need $1000 and they donate money supposed to be used for Charlestown, to another country? Yet, every year, they pitch their case for needing more money from the mitigation fund? How exactly does a $1000 donation to another country benefit the residents of Charlestown? Why is the CNC giving money meant for residents of Charlestown to an organization that isn't using the money here in Charlestown? A good thing to know that the Charelstown Historical Society doesn't need any future donations with all the "excess" cash lying around. Where are the checks and balances with these Mitigation Fund disbursements? Where are the receipts? Who's watching how this money is being spent? To the Board members of the CNC - Is it safe to say you won't be approving future grants to the CHS? I would think that $1000 could be used here in Charlestown, as intended, and the other 17 nonprofits would be very open to having an additional $225.
Mary Doherty January 14, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Does anyone else get a headache reading these kinds of comments?
Joseph January 14, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Truth hurts Mary, I know. You must hate how all this information is so out in the open (sort of) and exposed. No more are the public resources able to be taken and used without any oversight. Checks and Balances sweetie.
Becca Manning January 14, 2013 at 10:18 PM
To answer some reader questions, I checked with the CHS and added some details about where exactly the funding for this project came from. (See seventh and eighth paragraphs from the bottom)
Susan Doherty January 15, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Mary: All Joesph does is complain...he never has anything positive to say.

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