History and Folklore

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Rosguill was a Tuath (Territory) under the rule of an Irish Chief.
It takes it’s name from Goll Mac Morna, one of the heroes of the
Fianna. Goll is reputed to have been slain by Fionn Mac Cumhaill
after a pursuit across Glenoory to Carraig Ghoill, which is the
rock lying off the mouth of Dooey Bay

(the highest hill in lower Rosguill) is said to have taken it’s
name from Grainne who was reputed to have spent a night there
with her lover, Diarmuid. Grainne was the daughter of Cormac,
at that time King of Ireland, and was betrothed to Fionn McCumhaill,
leader of the Fianna (King’s army). She eloped with Diarmuid,
who was one of the heroes of the Fianna, and they were hunted
all around Ireland by Fionn. Eventually Fionn slew Diarmuid and
Fionn convinced Grainne that she should marry him!


There is evidence of pre-historical settlement at Rosapenna and

919 20 ships of Danes sailed up Mulroy- “Committed
no depradation”
1131 Rosguill plundered by Toirealach O Conchuir

1247 O’ Boyle, chief of the 3 Tuaths slain at Ballyshannon
by the English
1360 Last of the O’ Boyles died. O’Boyles suceeded
by the Mac Sweeney’s (Scottish, came to Ireland in the 13th century)

1600 Sir Mulmurray Mac Sweeney surrendered his lands
to Queen Elizabeth
1641 Rebellion against the English
1704 Penal laws
1795 Robert Clements created 1st Earl of Leitrim
(54,000 acres)
1800 2nd Earl opposed A
of Union in House of Commons
1804 Melmore tower built
1846 Famine
1848 8 Men drowned off Dooey in 4 curraghs
1854 3rd Earl accedes
1878 3rd Earl murdered at Cratlagh Wood by 3 of
his tenants
1880 Downings pier built
1895 Memorial erected in Carrigart to the 4th Earl
(the fair Earl)
1887-1914 Fishing boom in Herring – ended at start
of First World War with lost markets in Germany and Russia
1910 Extension to Pier built
1914-1923 Civil unrest
1924 Atlantic Drive built from Dooey past Tranarossan

1934 Beach hotel built
1952 5th Earl died
1952 McNutts founded, making hand woven tweed
1960 Memorial to the 3 tenants who murdered the
3rd Earl erected in Fanad
1962 Rosapenna hotel totally destroyed by fire