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The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking


Who and When

Lough Eske, north of Donegal town

Lough Eske, north of Donegal town

Charles McGlinchey was a tailor and weaver from Inishowen in Donegal. The Inishowen Peninsula is on the very northern tip of the island of Ireland. Charles lived from 1861 to 1954 and witnessed Ireland changing from a very divided society where the native Irish were mostly backward and rural to a very divided society where the native Irish were mostly backward and rural.

Although his own lot did not change in this time, the fortunes of his country saw great changes, which were reflected in the passing of many aspects of native Irish culture. From language down to superstitious practices Ireland began to shed its past as its people began to realise they had inherited their country. In his late eighties, McGlinchey set down on paper, with the assistance of Patrick Kavanagh, his local schoolmaster, his memories and those passed down to him of this old land.

These were tough times of famine, brutal faction fights and retaliatory violence from the authorities and landlords. In the midst of all this the prevailing morals brought about the end of what seems to have been an ancient practice.



The practice in question was called “fuadach” (pronounced “foo-ah-dock”) and translates into English as somewhere between rape and kidnap, or a bit of both really.

It involved a band of men going hunting for the future bride of one of their number. They would sneak into another townland, seize the target of their “affections” and make off. Presumably a hasty wedding would seal the deal and the young lady would not return.

McGlinchey tells the story of Betty and Katie Barr. Betty was widely considered top-totty whereas her sister probably had a wonderful personality. Anyway one night a band of men sneaked up and peered through the sisters’ window. They saw Katie spinning wool and Betty at the hearth. By the time the young go-getters entered the house the sisters had moved from these positions. In their haste the men took the wrong woman. after they left the glen their mistake came to light. Katie was dropped like a hot snot.

The Last of the Name, Charles McGlinchey, The Black Staff Press, 1986

This article was posted by on Thursday, April 23rd, 2009 at 03:48.
It is archived in Culture, History, Ireland, Irish Women, Legal and tagged , , , , , , .

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