Parish Church of Glencolmkille, Co Donegal
This inscription on the church tower reads;
This tower was erected by Henry Musgrave
The surviving member of the Musgrave family, owners of the Glencolmkille Estate since 1867"
Church of Ireland Parish Church of Glencolmkille, Co Donegal
Part of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) Diocese of Derry and Raphoe, belonging to the Ardara, Glencolumbkille, Glenties, Inniskeel and Lettermacaward grouping
Glencolmcille or Glencolumbkille (official name: Gleann Cholm Cille) is a coastal town located on the southwest Gaeltacht tip of County Donegal, Ireland. While Gleann Cholm Cille is still an Irish-speaking community, English has been steadily replacing it as the predominant language in recent years.
The name translates into English as the Valley of Saint Columba. Saint Columba (Irish: Colm Cille) is one of Ireland's three patron saints (along with Saint Patrick and Saint Brigid). Colm Cille and his followers lived in the valley and the ruins of several of their churches can still be seen there. Following a dispute with the church about the right to copy religious manuscripts, Colm Cille went into exile on the isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland.
Between 4000 and 3000 B.C., farming people settled in the area. Excellently preserved examples of their court tombs can be seen at Mainnéar na Mortlaidh and An Clochán Mór. Examples of the less-elaborate portal tombs, dating from about 2000 BC can also be seen at Málainn Mhóir.
The town was once famous as being the parish of controversial Fr. James McDyer (1910-1987), who championed the rights of rural people and helped establish community-based industries in the area. Father McDyer's business methods were sometimes considered far-fetched and conducive to poor management. As a matter of fact, many business ventures were failures, often for fundamental reasons. The more successful ventures were the folk village and shop and the hotel in nearby Malin Mor.
Glencolmcille is home to well known Dublin-born artist Kenneth King, whose works depict naval and merchant shipping, coastline and lighthouses.
British composer Sir Arnold Bax made many extended visits there between 1904 and the early 1930s. Apparently, Bax composed much of his music and wrote many of his poems and stories while staying there.
Many natural beauties lie nearby, such as the Slieve League (Irish: Sliabh Liag) cliffs, the Silver Strand (Irish: An Tráigh Bhán) at Malin Beg (Irish: Málainn Bhig), and Glen Head (Irish: Cionn Ghlinne) itself.
At the centre of one of the largest Gaeltacht areas, the town is well-known as the home of Oideas Gael, an Irish language learning institute established in 1984 to promote the Irish language and culture. The town also has a petrol station, grocer, post office, folk village, woollen mill, hill walking and accommodation centre, restaurant, new "village cafe" and three pubs (with great fiddle music often to be found in Roarty's or Biddy's). The coast road across to Malin Mor (Irish: Málainn Mhór) is majestic and is where Áras Ghleann Cholm Cille is located.