Donegal Historical Society

Founded by J.C.T. MacDonagh on the 20th December 1946, The Donegal Historical Society with its objective to preserve and promote the history and heritage of the county. With the help of Fr Terence O’Donnell, also a well known historian, the society opened a museum on Easter Sunday, less than ten years later,  in 1954.  The museum is at the Friary in Rossnowlagh - a site generously donated by Franciscan monks, who recognised had a "long and honoured connection with the history of Donegal” (Frank Aiken)

Husband and wife team, Lucius and Kathleen Emerson were instrumental in the success of the Donegal Historical Society.  With their love and devotion to local history, they worked tirelessly to develop the society and make it one of the largest in Ireland. Kathleen had been the secretary for 44 years up until her death in 2004.  Her husband Lucius was a founder member and curator of the museum who died shortly after in 2005. 

During the course of any one year the Society publishes the "Donegal Annual", organises a schools' competition, holds several field days, has a coach outing and two lecture evenings. The society is a member of the Federation of Ulster Local Studies and the Museum at Rossnowlagh has now grown to house over 500 artefacts, ranging a time span from Stone Age Ireland up until more recent history such as the civil was.  The items include flint arrowheads, a Spanish Armada Anchor, two famine pots and a copy of the Annals of the Four Masters.

The Donegal Historical Society organises regular lectures and ever popular field trips.  There are currently over 800 members and numbers are continuing to grow! 

The Donegal Historical Society welcomes new members and an application form may be obtained via the website. All members receive the Annual in the post.

Please feel free to contact us either by leaving a message on the "Guest book"  page of our website or to:

Honorary Secretary, Mrs. Una McGarrigle, Parkhill, Ballyshannon (