Cahir O’Doherty fights back

On August 27, 2013 by admin

Two wonderful articles were written by Eilis Haden for the local newspapers, covering this event. Please find them below the photos.

Photo Terence Coyle

Photo Terence Coyle

Drumming the beat - Marie McLaughlin. Photo Terence Coyle

Wit Elenore Lamb from Simply Music. Photo Terence Coyle

Pearse Bradley - narrating the story of Cahir. Photo Terence Coyle

Henry Docwra (Terry Tedstone) at Culmore

Cattle raid

The driving away of the cattle

Celebrating the successful raid.

Call to arms

Hold on to your helmet 1

Hold on to your helmet 2

Hold on to your helmet 3

John Óg O'Doherty in action. Andrew Garvey-Williams "This helmet needs straps"

In the midst of the battle. Photo by Trence Coyle

The death of John Óg

A rather fierce and determined John Deery

Cahir Rua and Mary Preston - Adrian Grant and Eilish Haden

Decision making Inishowen style

A worried Mary Preston. Photo Terence Coyle

A worried Mary Preston. Photo Terence Coyle


Trouble brewing - George Paulett and Cahir Rua


Cahir and Paulett

The torches are lid

The end of George Paulett at Derry

Setting Derry alight

The burning of Derry

Derry going up in flames

Settling outstanding scores

The future warriors of Inishowen


Remembering Sir Cahir

Battle Roars Across The Swilly

Last Tuesday night, the shore front in Buncrana resounded with the eerie sound of battle drums. Children in the Stone Jug stared agog at the spectacle of men dressed in Death Metal t-shirts and ladies with wide smiles on their faces beating the taut skins with a fervor that made the blood course through your veins. This was not a call to arms against fracking politicians, nor was it yet another exorcism of protest against the dreaded cuts, instead it was a rehearsal for the re-enactment of Sir Cahir O’Doherty’s rebellion, to be held in Buncrana this Saturday.
The creator of this dramatic rebellion is Terry Tedstone, a Guide at Dunree Fort and the mastermind of Briciu’s Feast, 2010. Tedstone describes O’Doherty as “An heroic figure who stood up for his honour but tragically threw his life away at the tender age of 21”. For those of you who did not read last week’s article on Heritage week, O’Doherty was the last Gaelic Chieftan who took offense when Paulett, the Governor of Derry slapped him in the face in a fit of jealousy. In an attempt to save his honour, O’Doherty took over Culmore fort, sacked and burned the city of Derry and was later apprehended and beheaded.
“This year’s pageant will be a taste of things to come.” says Terry. “What we hope to do is to bring people together to commemorate the rebellion and then, next year we will grow the event into a huge spectacle.” When asked why he chose 2013 to launch the pageant, Tedstone answers “This year Derry hosts the UK city of culture and yet Sir Cahir hardly gets a look in. His influence over the history of this city (once part of Inishowen) is huge. It may even be that the reason the walls of Derry were built so well was due to Cahir’s attack.”
And so what will we see during this Saturday’s spectacle? “I am very excited about the upcoming re-enactment.” says Tedstone. “Whilst this year, we we do not have a lot in terms of resources, we have been very lucky to have a fantastic team of volunteers who have been burning the midnight oil making props and costumes from donated materials. The Carndonagh Carnival people have also been very kind and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for their generosity.”
“On the night itself, there will be lots to enjoy in terms of vibrance and colour. The commemoration will begin with a parade through the streets leading to O’Doherty Avenue, where gifted musicians such as Elanor Lamb, her motley group of drummers and Harpist Tracey McRory will tug at our heart strings and get us fired up for battle”. As this happens, an array of six-foot model Elizabethan ships will come in to the shore, on which we will see the spectacle of the warring O’Doherty’s and O’Donnells – all part of a short play to be narrated by Pierce Bradley.”
“My invitation to the people of Inishowen” says Tedstone “is to come along and let your children learn a bit about local history whilst enjoying the veritable feast of music, dancing, blazing fires, artistic creatures, and most importantly. Rois Davis’ lovely cows!”
The route for the parade will be from the old pier at the bottom of Castle Avenue, up the main street, through to Church Street then down to the shore green. Audience members will be invited to meet us at the old pier at 6.30 and the parade itself will kick off at 7pm sharp.”
“At the moment we are  looking for people of all ages (children and adults) who want to dress up and participate in the parade. We invite those interested to meet at The Exchange on Castle Avenue at 8pm this Tuesday, and again at 6pm on Saturday where they will be given costumes. If you can’tt make Tuesday’s meeting, that’s fine, it’s okay to turn up on the night” Terry tells us. “But if you can, do make contact in advance so that we can know how many to expect.”
In addition to the pageant, West Inishowen Heritage Group will host an entire series of events as part of National Heritage Week. One of these will happen on Wednesday, at 6.30pm in Buncrana Library when Mari McLaughlin will share stories of the dastardly deeds of the mad bad Cahir. Other events include talks, walks and a family fun outing (the latter to be held at Dunree on Sunday to include a firing of the guns).


Sacking, Pillaging & Burning – A Good Night Out in Inishowen


Five years ago, the late, legendary Peter Gurrie, and his motley group of supporters set up a local history group with the purpose of protecting and conserving the heritage of West Inishowen.  Now more than forty-strong, this dynamic organisation has staged a continuous stream of events which include parades in full period-dress, bright and vibrant festivals, dramatic street pageants, the rumbling of cannons at Dunree, re-enactments of battle scenes and the burning of a city on Buncrana’s shore front.
“So far this has been a great year for West Inishowen History & Heritage Group.” says local Historian Mari McLaughlin  “but the next 12 months will be even better. 2013 saw the launching of The Amazing Grace Festival which combined excellent musical performances and historical tales, as well as the more recent ‘Cahir O’Doherty Fights Back’ where we staged Sir Cahir’s rebellion on the shore green.  Our plan is to expand both of these as well as our Summer School so that next year is really action packed.”
When asked why we need to bother ourselves with history, Mari responds “A person’s worth as an individual relies heavily on where they are rooted.  How can you value yourself if you believe you came from nowhere?   When I was growing up in Buncrana there was no mention of Inishowen in the history books even though it was central to the plantation of Ulster and the high kingship of Ireland.  West Inishowen History & Heritage Group is determined to uncover the true value of Inishowen as a location to be born in, to thrive in, to be proud of, and, let’s face it our very future depends on how this story is told to school children and visitors.  The value of this place goes way beyond its scenic beauty, and its tourist industry can only be enhanced by the promotion of its rich heritage.  In a time when we are on our knees financially this has to be a good thing.
Over the past weeks many of you will have seen or participated in Cahir O’Doherty Fights Back which was the brainchild of Terry Tedstone from Dunree Fort.  Both Terry and Mari are quick to assert that the event would never have happened without the generosity of spirit, time and labour of numerous people from across the Inishowen peninsula. “We had the idea for the pageant shortly before Donegal Heritage Week” Terry tells us “and so there was not much time for maneuver.  In addition, we had absolutely no funding and so had to beg, borrow and design our own costumes and props and as you can imagine, there was much burning of midnight oil.
Our plan is to spend this coming winter and spring working towards next year’s events so that they will be bigger, brighter and even better. We would love to hear from local businesses who might be interested in giving us any kind of support, and welcome volunteers both new and old.  Of course we realise that people lead busy lives and so are grateful for whatever time they can offer.”  “There is an incredible richness of talent and skill across Inishowen” says Mari “and pageants like this offer those starting out the opportunity to develop their knowledge and learn new things.  They are also a great outlet for having a bit of craic and making new friends.”  If you are interested in finding out more, contact us through our website; or call down to The Exchange on Castle Avenue, Buncrana.”
As well as being extremely grateful to all those who attended the 2013 events to date, West Inishowen History & Heritage Group would like to thank the following people.

Terry Tedstone
John Deery
Mari McLaughlin
Fearghal Barber
Ciaran McKinney
Kristy Little
Karlis Naudins
Rois Deeny-Davis
Elanor Lamb
Caroline Kuyper
Dennis Doherty
John McCallion
Patricia McMahon
Helen Dowling
Tracey McRory
Dermot Quigley
Tom Byrne
Eilis Ni hEadain
Sarah McLaughlin
John McLaughlin
Ruth Garvey-Williams
Andrew Garvey-Williams
Sinead Barber
Aine Barber
Lukas Barber
Cathal Barber
Denise Gallanagh-Wood
The Men’s Shed
Tony Grant
George Friel
John Barr
John O’Donnell
Peter Deeney Jnr
Eddie Doherty Roe
HML Plant Hire
John J. Hegarty
Inishowen Carnival Group
Buncrana Accordion Band
Buncrana Pantomime Society
Kevin & Darragh O’Neill
Riverside Sound Systems

Betting Linke
Adam Porter Photography
Andrea Ni Lochlainn
Badh Ni Dhin
Seoirse O’Dochartaigh
Terry & John Coyle of Neds Point Fortification
Liam & Suzanne McLochlainn
Adrian Grant
Lisa Henderson
Dunree Fort Museum
James Woods
Mike Herron
Jess McSparran
Aaron Cutliffe
Buncrana Community Library
David Doherty
Sean of the Dead
Kenny Davis
Kaye Tedstone
Maureen McLaughlin
Pearse Bradley
Flanagan’s of Buncrana
Hegarty’s of Buncrana
Dennis Kelly & Clare McDaid from Don’t Fear The Natives

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