In 1889, Father M'Fadden, the priest for Gweedore, published a work called "The Present and the Past of the Agrarian Struggle in Gweedore: with letters on railway extension in Donegal". You can read more about Father James M'Fadden at websites like this one.

Anyhow, I got my hands on a copy (which I later returned) and scanned it into my computer. My desire is to reprint a handful of copies of the book. This involves more work then I initially thought.

I have a 1 meg JPG of every two pages from the book. I want to use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to get a decent copy of the book in terms of layout and words. Then I can go over it and fix up anything it missed. Then I can publish a few copies, mostly for interested relatives as my mother's parents are from Gweedore. With that done, maybe it can be put into Gutenberg ready format and sent to Project Gutenberg or something like that.

One reason to get this out there is that currently, the main source of information on 19th century Gweedore is from the book by Lord George Hill, "Facts from Gweedore", which M'Fadden said should be named "Fictions from Gweedore". I'd like this Gaelic speaking rabble rouser priest who caused headaches for the English to get his two cents into history too.

Father M'Fadden writes:
Wybrants Olphert took an important part in the war that was waged between the people and the landlords of Gweedore and Clohaueely, in THE MEMORABLE DAYS OF '58. In the conspiracy of landlords then created to appropriate and confiscate the immemorial rights of the tenants, he stood in importance next to Lord George Hill. He gave valuable evidence, from the tenants point of view, before the Committee of the House of Commons in '58. He then admitted that he had taken 2,000 acres of mountain grazing from the tenants of Keeldrum, and in extenuation of his crime, he added, "IF I HAD TAKEN 5,000 ACRES MORE FROM THEM I WOULD HAVE LEFT THEM PLENTY !" It is not surprising that men guided by such loose principles of "mine and thine" do extraordinary things. On that occasion he also said that the tenants had A COMMONAGE OF 9,000 ACRES. But he has not since recognised the existence of this com-monage. He repudiated it at the hearing of the land cases before the Court of Sub-Commission in '84, and a few weeks ago the emergency men, now in his service, drove the tenants' sheep from the same commonage to the newly constituted Pound at Ardsmore.

This is what is known historically as "the enclosure of the commons", which in this case was the theft of grazing land from the Irish in Gweedore by the English, and which M'Fadden discusses in his book.

Anyhow, a very slapdash copy of the work can be found by clicking the link below. I hope to be fixing this up soon. I may upload the JPGs I have to this page as well. If anyone is interested in making this book more readable by OCR'ing the JPGs, fixing up formatting etc. and so forth, send me an e-mail.

Click below to see a slapdash, unfinished copy of the book -

The Present and the Past of the Agrarian Struggle in Gweedore: with letters on railway extension in Donegal by James M'Fadden.