About Creevy, the local history and our Co-operative
Creevy is situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, looking into Donegal Bay and surrounded by the Hills of Donegal, the ideal location to explore a wide and varied range of outdoor activities, including walking, surfing, golfing and angling opportunities on the rugged coastline. The rural coastal area is stepped in history lying halfway between Rossnowlagh – “The Heavenly Cove” and Ballyshannon which claims to be the oldest town in Ireland, where the mighty Erne system meets the sea. Creevy consists of seven town lands, has a dramatic coastline and a small pier.
1905 extension of Strabane – Donegal Railway to Ballyshannon put Creevy Pier on the map. It is very popular for fishing, swimming and scuba diving. The memorial is for three local fishermen who were lost at sea in 1989.
The Creevy and District Community Development Co-operative Society developed out of regular meetings throughout 1994 of 25/30 residents and now has over 60 Members from surrounding townlands.
“To develop the district as a recognised centre of excellence for Sea Angling and ancillary activities with due regard to the preservation of its natural environment and resources.”
- Development of the community by the community
- Creation of local employment opportunities & related private enterprise
- Democratic community input to the future development of the area
- Protection of the area from unsuitable development Protection of the natural environment
- Construction to be undertaken in a fashion compatible with the existing environment
- Development of a confident assertive community
- All development to have regard to the individual rights of every member of the community
- The development of all potential economic projects to be undertaken within the framework of the foregoing
- Keep the community informed of all activities that impinge on it
Creevy is on the R231 road half-way from Rossnowlagh to Ballyshannon.
Rossnowlagh is a popular surfing centre with a beautiful sandy, Blue Flag beach. This road passes close to the remains, scant as they are, of the Cistercian Abbey of the Morning Star founded in 1178. Apart from a few segments of wall held together by ivy only the cemetery has survived. In it with many others is the tomb of the O’Cleary’s, that Scholarly tribe who provided teachers to the O’Donnell’s, who ruled as Chieftains of Tyrconnell for 300 years. The most famous of this clan was Michael O’Cleary born 1575-died 1643, the learned Franciscan Lay Brother who was chief of the Four Masters and oversaw the compilations of the Annals of the Four Masters, a chronicle of Irish history dating way back in 2958 BC, 40 years before the flood, and ending AD 1616 with the death of Hugh O’Neill.
This Chief of the four Masters (christened Thady) was born at Kilbarron Castle, (his mother was Hanora McNulty) the strategic O’Cleary Fort on the shore beyond Creevy Pier, accessible from the shore walk towards Rossnowlagh. With his assistants these Master scribes compiled this magnificent history between 1632 and 1636 and dedicated it to their patron, Fergal O’Garra, prince of Coolavin. Exactly where they wrote it is uncertain, claims have been made of various locations including Lough Eske and Killymard near Donegal and Mullin-aleck on the road to Kinlough, Co Leitrim.
Adjacent to the main road just past Creevy Cross on the left as you travel from Ballyshannon are the remains of the 6th Century Church of St Barron, founder of this parish of Kilbarron, a kinsman of St Colmkille. Rathlin O’Beirne Island off Glencolmcille is in the parish of Kilbarron as the result of a wager, involving St. Barron, local folklore tells us.
Creevy’s nearest town is Ballyshannon, which claims to be the oldest town in Ireland, where the mighty Erne system empties into the sea. Once a thriving Business Centre & shipping port, emigrant ships sailed from here in Famine times. It boasted a brewery, distillery, tannery, coopers, etc until a number of ships were wrecked on the bar at the mouth of the estuary. This along with the impact of rail transport, lead to the death of the port and the subsequent decline of the town.
They are commemorated by a monument/obelisk in The Diamond, Donegal town. Again only the ruins of the Franciscan Abbey to which these brothers belonged, remain, near the Quay in Donegal, Donegal Abbey was founded by Nuala, mother of red Hugh O’Donnell and was destroyed by a gunpowder explosion in 1601. The annals, a 37 volume work covers over 16 centuries of Plagues, Battles, Invasion, Saints and Scholars. The Roman Catholic Church in Donegal is known as St. Patrick’s Church of the Four Masters.
A high court case in the 1920’s made legal history when locals won the fight to fish the “channel” for salmon in season. This victory was short lived when the ESB Power station at Cathaleen’s Falls was constructed in the late 40’s spelling the beginning of the end for this great fishery, one of the best in the world and certainly in Europe. This deprived a local community of a great source of income, which along with the decline in traditional farming, resulted in the resolve of a local group of residents in the Creevy district to form a community development Co-op to address the needs of the area.
They began to acquire leases of derelict homesteads, rebuilt these to let as 4 * self-catering traditional stone cottages with many unique features including washing/drying, bait and tackle rooms and disabled access. These premises will revert to the original owners after 21yrs.
The acquisition of a new 33ft. fully licensed and insured deep-sea boat with a 320hp engine for angling/diving/pleasure trips was next pursued which was sold in 2016. Six miles of shore walk, over farmers land has been provided with the goodwill of local landowners. It is felt vitally important to preserve the area form despoliation by the over development of holiday homes which upset the natural balance. Visitors are most welcome to stay in these cottages to fish, dive, surf, swim, walk etc at nearby Creevy Pier, at Rossnowlagh’s Blue Flag Beach, or further afield.
Creevy Co-op gratefully acknowledges the support of the following organisations and people:
- Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs – POBAL
- Donegal Local Development Co
- Tyrone Donegal Partnership
- Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd
- Peace & Reconciliation II
- Local contributions