Convoy, County Donegal
The old Convoy woolen mill
|Dáil Éireann||Donegal North–East|
|Time zone||WET (UTC+0)|
|• Summer (DST)||IST (WEST) (UTC-1)|
|Irish Grid Reference||C213015|
Convoy (Irish: Conmhaigh) is a village in the east of County Donegal, Ireland in the Finn Valley region. It is part of the county Barony of Raphoe. It is situated on the river Deele, and on the road from Stranorlar to Raphoe, from which latter parish it was separated in 1825, and formed into a distinct parish. At its north-western extremity is the mountain of Cark, 1198 feet above the level of the sea.
Convoy has a total population of 1,438 according to the 2011 census. Like many other towns in the vicinity, it has its origins in the Ulster Plantation. Convoy is home to a mixed religious community which is reflected in the schools and churches in the town. There is a Roman Catholic and a mixed primary school as well as a Roman Catholic church, a Church of Ireland and a Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster (which was opened by the founder Rev. Ian Paisley). There are no secondary schools in Convoy and local children tend to travel to Raphoe or Stranorlar for second level education.
Convoy Woollen Mill
Convoy once had a woollen mill located on the banks of the River Deele, but this closed in the early 1980s with the resultant loss of many local jobs. Most people who lived in Convoy worked in the Convoy Woollen Mill and what economy there was managed to sustain a couple of shops and the Post Office. If one did not work in the Mill or manage to get casual labouring jobs in one of the farms outside the village, one had little choice but to emigrate, to either building work in England or Scotland or to the promise of something better in America. The woollen mill is now host to a business area that has been promoted and assisted by the state development body FÁS.
The Montgomery family of Convoy is descended from Alexander Montgomery, Prebendary of Doe who died about 1658. He was brought over from Scotland by his kinsman, George Montgomery,who became first Protestant bishop of Raphoe in 1604. Alexander Montgomery of Croaghan, near Lifford, bought the Convoy estate from the Nesbitt family in 1719. Boyton House was first occupied in November 1807 by the family of Robert Montgomery of Brandrim who had inherited the estate form his cousin, Sandy Montgomery of Convoy.Sandy represented Donegal in Grattan’s parliament for thirty two years. He spent part of his youth in America and was noted for his duelling. His brothers were John of Lisbon and Richard, a general in Washington’s army who fell at the siege of Quebec in 1775. Sandywas a friend of Lord Edward Fitzgerald and a secret supporter of the United Irishmen. He voted against the Act of Union in 1800. Boyton House used to contain the letter which Washington wrote to the family on Richard’s death and receipts for meat bought by thehundred-weight in Raphoe by the Montgomery family for free distribution in Convoy during the Famine. The house passed through marriage to the Boyton family in the nineteenth century.
There are daily Bus Éireann buses serving Convoy which go to such places as Derry, Letterkenny and Strabane several times a day.
The nearest railway station is operated by Northern Ireland Railways and runs from Derry / Londonderry railway station via Coleraine to Belfast Central railway station and Belfast Great Victoria Street railway station. The strategically important Belfast-Derry railway line is to be upgraded to facilitate more frequent trains and improvements to the permanent way such as track and signalling to enable faster services.
Convoy is to be the proposed site of the Donegal GAA centre of excellence, it is set to be completed by the end of 2013. Sean Dunnion, chairman of the county board said of the centre: “The benefits that can be accrued out of it will be huge to our footballers, our hurlers, our ladies, our camogie players, our schools…the benefits to everyone will be immense.” (http://donegalnews.com/2012/12/e300000-boost-for-gaa-centre-of-excellence/)
St. Mary's G.A.A is the local G.A.A club. Founded in 1928 the club caters for players both male and female at all age levels in football. The players come from the villages of Convoy, Drumkeen and Raphoe with the pitch located in Convoy. They have a long and distinguished history having won many junior titles. (http://www.stmarysgaa.org/)
Convoy has a local amateur football team, Convoy Arsenal. The club were Donegal Junior League winners in 2003, won the Division One title in 2004 and were runners-up in the Premier Division in 2005. On the back of that success, Convoy Arsenal joined the Ulster Senior League in 2005. As well as catering for the more senior players from the area, they presently have teams in the Donegal Saturday League in the under-8, under-10, under-12, under-14 and under-16 grades. (http://homepage.eircom.net/~smarkintyler/)
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