Malin Head Heritage Group

People attending a heritage evening at Malin Head Community CentreThe Malin Head Heritage Group was founded in July 2012 to collect, share and record the oral history of Malin Head. To this end we have a Social Evening in the Community Hall every second Wednesday from 7 to 9. At each social we have a short talk and discussion on some aspect of Malin Head life during the past 100 or so years and a cup of tea.

We welcome everyone and your ideas for further topics and speakers. It’s all voluntary.

Our main project is to map the household details on the 1901 and 1911 Census reports for all the townlands from Ballyhillin in Malin Head to Lagg and Glengad Mountain and to take photographs of the wallsteads or ruins of these houses where possible. We have purchased the 1906 Ordnance Survey Maps and are looking for the names of places, fields, rocks, inlets, etc. We welcome any old stories of traditions about Malin Well, Lagg, Crockalough, Cnockraw, etc.

If anyone has any research on Malin Head or any old stories or photos of Malin Head people or places we would love to record or copy them. We are also looking for information and photos regarding The Park House, Coast Guard Station, the Pier, Inistrahull, Keenagh School, McCarter’s Factory (Gortnamullin and Bree), Malin Head Ladies Club, Fr. Chesney’s Youth Club, Malin Head Old School, The Sprigging, Crocheting, Lace and Knitting Cottage industries.

If you think you can help please contact any of our committee or regular members:

  • Teresa Doherty (Mullin) [email protected]
  • John Grant [email protected]
  • Elaine Mc Daid [email protected]
  • Bernie Rudden, Jim Rudden, John O Hagan, Rosemary Gallagher, Alice Glackin, Denis Doherty (Owenie), Pat Mc Laughlin (Tommy), Brigid Mooney, Mary and Mickie Mc Laughlin (Sheosa), Desmond Doherty (Jack) and Nell Gallagher.

A group of peopleTo date we have organised two “Living History” competitions where National and Secondary School students interviewed an older relative or neighbour and recorded their memories of Malin Head in days gone by. We had 30 entries in the first competition and 21 in the second, so a very sincere thank you to everyone who participated for all their hard work. We learned a lot from them and has given us the chance to get the younger generations excited about their heritage. The main prize winners’ stories are published in our Booklets available in local shops and the rest are available to read at any of our open days.

The following is an excerpt from Volume 8 – 2015 Living History Competition Winner Mary Kate Mullin interviews John Platt, Keenagh. The full story can be read in the latest Malin Head Heritage Booklet available in local shops.

“When John was growing up, his father talked of his days in Keenagh school, it was also known as the mill school as it was owned by the Harveys of Malin who were landlords and as it was originally a mill  that was built in famine times. John showed me a slab of stone with holes in it that was used over a fire to dry out the corn before milling. The largest number of pupils that attended the school at one stage was 283. In 1852 there were 170 on the roll, 108 Catholics, 35 Presbyterians and 27 Protestants. The Principal was Mr. Cameron; the assistant teacher was Margaret Britton, John’s aunt, some teachers boarded in Platt’s house. There was a Presbyterian and Church of  Ireland service in the school, on alternative Sundays. The school also did evening classes for people who had left school unable to read or write. The school was a very basic building with a stream running under the boys and girls toilets, which meant automatic flushing!! Keenagh School closed during the second quarter of the 20th century.”

To read more of this story you can find it in our 8th heritage booklet.

We had a “Gathering” in August 2013 of members of the “Star of the Sea Youth Club” under Fr John Doherty in the early 1970s when they had the “Irish Cottage” in Bree. This event was a resounding success with over 200 people attending, some meeting up for the first time in years.

We have gathered up a large quantity of old photographs of Malin Head people and places including the John Reynolds collection.

All our research, photos, maps, and stories are displayed on our Open Days. We want everyone to come along to enjoy our fortnightly social evenings and open days, view our findings, correct our mistakes and help us build up our Census information, local field names, place names etc. so look out for details of the next one in the local papers.

Malin Head News and Heritage Booklet

In our “Malin Head News and Heritage Booklet” we document the results of our discussions and make these available to a wider audience. We have made great efforts to ensure that the information is correct, but owing to the time lapse mistakes may occur, hence we very much welcome additional information or clarification and hope that we are bringing back happy memories.

To date there have been seventeen issues of the Heritage Booklet, (back issues available in Mullin’s Shop) as follows:

Volume One – Christmas 2012


  • Memories of a Malin Head Postmistress –Monica Goodison (Doherty)
  • Northern Lights
  • Dance Halls in Malin Head and The Victory Band / Seaside Serenader’s
  • “Malin Head” – poem by Rose Collins
  • Macra na Tuaithe – Changing Times
  • Ship Wrecks
  • The Basking Shark – Ancient Species, Modern Science in Malin Head Waters

Volume Two – Easter 2013


  • The Tower at Ballyhillin
  • Houghtons Undertakers, Bree
  • Grant’s / McCarthy’s / Bree Inn
  • The Irish Cottage at Bree
  • Living History – interview with Enid Stewart (Colhoun), Knockglass
  • Spring Birds in Malin Head
  • “Fishermen of Malin Head” – poem by Paddy Crampsey

Volume Three – Summer 2013


  • Sports 15th August 1959
  • Malin Head Car Park 1962
  • Charley’s Cottage, the Curragh, Ballygorman
  • Fishing – memories from James Doherty (Buliban)
  • Paddy McLaughlin (Dearg), Blacksmith, Urblereagh
  • Living History – interview with Sadie Toland ( McLaughlin , Big Mickey)
  • “Malin Well” – poem by Laurence Glackin

Volume Four – Christmas 2013


  • The Coastguard Station
  • Fishing in the Glen
  • Mullin’s Shop
  • Old Cures
  • Barney Grants
  • Living History – interview with Patricia Mullin (McGilloway)

Volume Five – Easter 2014


  • Gallagher’s Shop
  • Malin Head Church
  • Joe Henry and the Malin Head Potato Industry
  • The Tower, Ballyhillin. Part 2
  • Malin Head Bus Service
  • Living History – interview with Patsy Mc Gilloway and Philomena (Mc Colgan) Mc Gilloway on their parents Harry and Annie (Toland) Mc Gilloway.

Volume Six – Summer 2014


  • War- local memories
  • Inistrahull Island
  • When the ESB came to Malin Head
  • Living History –interview with Michael and Mary McLoughlin (Sheosa), Ballyheeney

Volume Seven – Christmas 2014


  • Halloween
  • Malin Head Coastwatch 1939/40
  • Malin Presbyterian Church – ‘The Meeting House’
  • The Boggs Family, Bree
  • Crochet, Knitting, and Lace Making.
  • Living History – interview with Mary B Gallagher (O Donnell,Dunegard)
  • Living History – interview with Ann Kirby (Mc Laughlin, Georges)
  • “Story Teller” – poem by Laurence Glackin

Volume 8 – 2015



  • Seaview Hotel – William Glackin, Barney Grant’s, Willie Matthew and Vera Doherty (Doc’s)
  • Road Maintenance in the 1930s
  • Living History interview with John Platt