Milford, Co. Donegal - Why live here ?
1. Location - nestled on the border of Mulroy Bay, close to beaches, mountains, open sea and only 15 minutes drive to Letterkenny or 45 to Derry City
2. Community - we have a vibrant community with lots of clubs and organisations offering many pastimes.
3. Schools - two high achieving secondary schools, three Primary schools (Scoil Mhuire, Drummond & Portleen) as well as the TEB with on-site Creche, two Playschools (Milford Community Playgroup & Fairy Tales at Brumbern). LYIT is just 15 minutes away
4. Shopping - Locally we have three supermarkets in town along with LIDL 500m outside town.
5. Proximity - not just to Letterkenny and Derry, but also to Golf Courses, Lake and Sea Fishing, Mountain Climbing and Natural hill, forest or coastal walks
6. Hospitals - 15 minutes to Letterkenny General Hospital and 45 to Altnagelvin in Derry
7. Housing - we have houses and sites available for sale or rent in all sites
8. Population - with just 1700 inhabitants we have a small close knit community with many available for work if required
9. Industry - Milford has Commercial and Industrial sites available to go with a keen local workforce and Grant Aid
10. Low cost of living and low cost housing allows for lower cost wages and better quality of living
11. 3 Star Hotel - Mulroy Woods Hotel on the outskirts of town
12. Two local pubs - Dusty's & The Traveller's Inn, both on Main Street
This town and area have long been associated with sport, education and industry. Those facts have helped shape Milford down the years and thankfully two of the three are still strong to this day.
When one considers the size of the town, it’s always amazing how we crammed so much into what is basically a village. The pride that exists and the achievements that we have had, give great hope for the future.
Emigration, like many towns around the country is strong at the moment and that is sad to see but on the positive side that will swing the other way like it has done before, many times.
Looking at the positive and when you gather your thoughts and consider the number of sporting greats we have had down the years, Hugo Duggan holding the Donegal and Ulster Long Jump record for 45 years, the World, Australian and British Masters in the same discipline in 1987. The fact that the Milford Volleyball Team held the All Ireland Community Games title for so many years, Paddy Marley and his great achievements culminating in managing the Irish Track & Field team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and managing the Irish Cross Country Team on numerous occasions are just some of the greats we can boast in the sports world. Brendan Boyce has qualified for 2012 London Olympics and on and on it goes. The soccer team have done us proud on many occasions. In times, before many of us can remember we had a horse racing track. In motor sport, Milford was the birthplace of Donegal Motor Club famous for bringing the Donegal International Rally to these shores and bringing with that, famous names like Vatinan, Warmbold and of late, the World Rally Champion Frenchman, Sebastien Loeb, never mind the local heroes down the years.
Here on the ground, people like Derek McMahon, Phonsie McElwee, Robert Ward and many, many more people worked tirelessly to make rallying what it is today, a multi-million pound industry. To this day 20 something years later this town is still the hub in so many ways.
Motor sport, Soccer, Gaelic, Volleyball, Basketball, Martial Arts, Angling and this is only a few who have produced heroes and all are townies.
Education, another leg of the tripod that Milford sits on, has been a strong legs in the towns development, down the years. In 1958 the Vocational School or the ‘Tech’ as it was known then opened its doors for the first time. Jim McCallum John & Sunie’s dad, was the Headmaster (Principal) with John Bradley the caretaker, Gene McGinley English teacher, Sean Friel, Irish, the stalwarts and pioneers of a different era.
In later years Cathal Greene took the helm and of course many good teachers have come and gone since. In 19?? the nuns of the Loreto order came to town and opened the Loreto Convent. During that period, we had many great people stay with us as live in students, taught by good and loyal teachers. Maybe, if we heard the nun’s side of the story, maybe they weren’t so great back after all. Those stories will probably never be told, but we can boast to have had such greats as Enya of the famous Brennan family grace our streets. Remembering also, we had many greats in all walks of life, in all parts of the world, that began their academic life in either Loreto Convent, Loreto College and now as it is known Loreto Community School, likewise Mulroy College as the ‘Tech’ is now known, and they too have gone onto become very important people in their own era and time.
Before education became important it was right and proper that you earned a living to ‘keep bread on the table’. McMahon’s Garage, Mill and Body-shop was a big employer with many people earning a living and gaining experience in fields of expertise, unknown before this large employer came to town. Milford Bakery and Flour Mills equally a large employer brought sustenance to many households, rearing a family, educating children on good money received from good employers. Later we had ‘Fruit of the Loom’, big factory, big ideas but small on delivery. Yet in all that, there were 800 employees but alas all gone now, only the 40,000 sq foot state of the art building remains. It’s hard not to be cynical but the question has to be asked ‘what have the powers that be and the politicians done to fight the loss of so many good jobs. That said, another strong leg of the tripod.
The loss of jobs is a door opener to emigration and deprivation but had it not been for the resilience of the Milfordian, where would we be now?. Where we are, is a town and its people having pride in our lot. A lot, that has seen a village renewal scheme, finally completed in the spring of 2011, just in time for the wonderful occasion, that was ‘G-Day’.
We still have the ability to make it happen and this site and the words you read here are testament to that. It is only by working together can we achieve greatness. Work with us, input into this site in whatever way you can and only then can we spread the word.
HISTORY OF MILFORD
Milford and it’s hinterland played an important role in early Irish history, being home to Congal of Ceann Maghair, who became King of Ireland in 702 AD. King Congal lived close to Kinnaweer (Ceann Maghair in Irish), a heavily wooded area stretching from Bunlin Bridge to Cranford.
The region was then a stronghold of the Cineal Conaill, a clan descended from Conal Gulban, a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. Conal and his brother Eoghan between them ruled all of Donegal, Derry and Tyrone and were known as the Northern Ui Neill. They gave their names to the counties of Tir Chonaill
(Donegal) and Tir Eoghain (Tyrone). Their later descendants, the O’Donnells and the O’Neills, played a major role in the political life of Ireland. The famous Saint Colmcille was also a descendant of this clan.
At Cratlagh and Woodquarter, a ringfort, souterrain and enclosure site can be seen archaeological evidence of the importance of the area in early times . In the Annals of the Four Masters and the Annals of Ulster, it records Congal, son of Fergus of Fanad becoming King. In the Annals of Clonmacnoise it states “Congal reigned for nineteen years and died of a sudden sickness.” The Ceann Maghair settlement continued as an O’Donnell stronghold until the Plantation of Ireland in the 17th century.
The region was also strongly associated with the Gallowglasses from the 13th
century. It was these Scottish mercenaries who gave Milford its original Gaelic name, Baile na nGalloglach. These heavily armed, paid soldiers came to the area to fight in the service of local chieftains. Dressed in coats of chain mail and iron helmets, they carried long swords and battle-axes. The MacSuibhne Family of
Fanad were a Gallowglass family who settled in the region. A number of the
mercenaries’ families became permanent residents in Ireland after the Scottish War of Independence (1286- 1314).
The native O’Donnell were quick to recognise the value of such highly trained warriors and welcomed them to the country. They then joined forces and
overcame three local chieftains at Fanad, Doe and Bannagh. Local folk memory recalls the Gallowglasses establishing a camp along the ridge at the top of
Milford’s Main Street, which later became the local livestock mart.
The rule of the local chieftains ended in 1607 when O’Donnell, O’Neill and
almost 100 leading Ulster clansmen chose voluntary exile rather than submit to the English Crown . This became known as the Flight of the Earls, which left the local people leaderless and saw the plantation of the area with Scots and English settlers loyal to the English Crown. These events are often described as the
beginning of modem Irish history . The MacSuibhnes did not leave with the Earls as they had already made their peace with the English and went so far as to try to stop the fleeing chieftains taking wood and water aboard their outbound vessels. In the Annals of the Four Masters, it is stated that in 1608 MacSuibhne fought against Sir Cahair O’Doherty at Ceann Maghair under the leadership of Sir
Richard Winkel. The old gaelic way of life changed from the time of the
Milford today is a popular town beautifully situated on the shores of Mulroy Bay. There are many enjoyable walks which allow you to appreciate the great natural beauty of the local hinterland.