The Donegal Association in Dublin was founded as a result of a tragedy – the Aranmore disaster, which occurred on the night of the 9th November 1935, when 19 islanders lost their lives on the short sea journey home from Burtonport.

As soon as the news broke a few Donegal people living in Dublin came together to offer whatever aid they could to the dependents of those who perished. A concert was arranged in the Gaiety Theatre on the 24th of November at which many entertainers gave their time freely for this worthwhile cause.

From this sprang the Donegal Association, a vibrant association with a strong membership. The Association organizes the annual Donegal Person of the Year award and in recent years has added Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh and Dr Joe Mulholland to its list of illustrious Persons of the Year. The distinction was first awarded to Fr.James McDyer in 1978.


Good people dear pray lend me an ear I’ll tell you one and all,
about a great disaster that occured off Donegal.
For the wild atlantic ocean has added to its toll,
another nineteen victims may the lord receive each soul.
Twas in the year of 35 on a black November eve,
this awful tragedy took place it caused us all to grieve.
Those cheerful lads were coming from the scottish harvest fields,
when to the stormy ocean their lives were forced to yield.
What cheerful thoughts were in their minds when sailing up Lough Foyle,
to view the hills Inishowen and land on Irish soil.
The little train came slowly through Creeslough and Gweedore,
O God who’d think theyd never reach their native Arranmore.
When they arrived in Burtonport they were met upon the pier,
they laughed and chatted with their friends all in the best of cheer.
They set out for the island but they never reached the shore,
a cloud of grief and sorrow hangs o’er homely Arranmore.
The little boat by gods will doomed across the waves did sail,
but only one of a score survived to tell the tale.
He saved two other passengers but they perished in the cold,
the highest praise must be due to this hero true and bold.
So now friends theres one request I ask from one and all,
pray for the nineteen victims who were lost off Donegal.
with Saint Patrick and Saint Bridget they dwell for evermore,
in the land where hardships are unknown far away from Arranmore.

Poem Submitted By

Michael Mallon

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