Cockhill, County Donegal

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Where: Donegal, Ireland

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When: Unknown

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Yet another beautiful Lawrence photograph of rural Ireland at its best! Cockhill near Buncrana in County Donegal looks like a good place to take a few shots - but there may not be a lot happening around there. The river appears to be tidal at that point, yet the watermill on the left is right down on the foreshore(?)

Today's contributors point-out that, at ~2km from the sea, the river likely wasn't tidal at this point, so the seemingly low water level may have just been time of year or a recent dry spell :) It's also pointed-out that the millrace feeding the waterwheel is split from the main flow of the River Crana just a few hundred metres up river (off camera to the left). While we don't know what quite the wheel and mill building were "for", the building that now occupies the site is home to the "Old Mill Hair Salon" :) Also discussed today was the prominent church. St Mary's RC church was built in the 1840s, and replaced an earlier structure which was just to the right of shot (in the churchyard behind the white school building)...

Photographer: Robert French

Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection

Date: between c.1880-1900

NLI Ref: L_ROY_01268

You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at


Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 23406
robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection lawrencephotographicstudio glassnegative nationallibraryofireland cockhill ireland church watermill millwheel river cow hills ulster buncrana countydonegal rivercrana stmaryschurch cockhillroad oldmill lawrencephotographcollection

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    • 27/Sep/2016 07:46:46

    St. Mary's R C Church Streetview 2009:

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    • 27/Sep/2016 07:53:28

    OSI 25",635410,933819,11,9

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    Frank Fullard

    • 27/Sep/2016 07:54:51

    This is wonderful!

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    • 27/Sep/2016 09:25:11

    Cockhill Church. [opened 1847] Bishop Maginn travelled as far as London to gather money for the building of Cockhill Church. He accepted money from all creeds with equal gratitude. A loan of £1000 from the Commissioner of Public Works was the major part of his collecting efforts. It was guaranteed by Big John Granny of Glenard and one of the Kellys, and took 30 years to repay. But, it was paid out in wages to the workers at a time when they had no other means of survival. There was a policy, much favoured by the landlords to keep Catholic Churches out of towns. As we see in the case of Cockhill, the Church was built approximately one mile outside, a fairly common feature all over Ireland. And it is a pity that all traces of the older Church, which Bishop Maginn replaced, have been lost. A visible link between the Mass Rock on one side of the river and the present Church on the other would be of great interest. ... ...

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    Niall McAuley

    • 27/Sep/2016 09:32:12

    According to the NIAH: three-bay two-storey with attic level sacristy attached to the chancel gable (south-east), added c. 1870, having gable-fronted single-bay entrance porch to the north end of the south-east gable end. I think we would see the sacristy from this angle if it were present. OK, googling about the map, maybe not. I really can't tell.

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    • 27/Sep/2016 09:33:30

    I don't think the river Crana is tidal there, and I cannot work out what the water millwheel powers - it seems a bit distant from the stone building. Mr French took a couple more photos of the millwheel, so he was obviously interested -

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    Dún Laoghaire Micheál

    • 27/Sep/2016 10:51:08

    There's something almost poetic about the juxtaposition of the ridges of graves on one side of the road and the vegetable ridges on the other.

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    • 27/Sep/2016 16:53:32

    I wonder when the school (rightmost white building) was knocked? We can see it in []'s linked 25"OSI (c.1900), and indeed in the 6" OSI (c.1840; before new church). But it's obviously not there now. If we could make out the dates on the graves that replaced it, it might give an upper-bound to the range. The millrace (seemingly diverting part of the River Crana from a few hundred meters upstream) is also clearly visible on the 25" OSI. And while, as [] points-out, the waterwheel is separate from the building, the wheel and race are definitely associated with the building. (Part of the race goes up to the building itself, and has a different outflow back into the river). The building that sits at that point now is called the "Old Mill Hair Salon" :)

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 27/Sep/2016 19:07:28

    I have just added our photo "Straight On or Left or Right to Westmoreland Street Only" which I know is a firm favorite with many of you to our 100,000 Views Album. This is the 17th entry. Please see and

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    • 27/Sep/2016 20:58:35

    [] Any use ? - and (4,524 interments). I get squeamish digging around in grave sites ...

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 27/Sep/2016 22:16:42

    Thanks all! Description, map, and tags all updated. Nite!

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    • 27/Sep/2016 23:16:40

    "idyllic" tag should be added

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    • 27/Sep/2016 23:39:12

    Is it at all possible the Mill stone is from the older church. Often stone from old structures, including castles, was "recycled" to create bridges, mills, et al.

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    • 28/Sep/2016 07:54:13

    Unusually Mr French seems to have taken the photo very late in the day near the summer solstice, judging by the angle of the cross' shadow on the tower (see note). The church is also unusually aligned NNW - SSW, rather than E - W. I am not sure if the 'golden hour' applies in black and white photography, but it seems to be very effective here.

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    • 09/Oct/2016 19:12:36

    What a beautiful looking church and surrounding area, a wonderful image!