( History Notes )

Canon Donohue Hall Eslin's link to Penal Days
Famine & Workhouse Gorvagh District
Mohill District Hosp & Marist Srs Reminiscences of a former Parishioner
Turlough O'Carolan
Frances Canon Donohue PP
by Tony O'Reilly
Many people who pass the Canon Donohue Memorial Hall know very little about the man to whose memory that community centre was erected. The man in question was Francis Canon Donohue, parish priest of Mohill from 1881 until his death there in July 1905.
It was he who had the present church, on the height overlooking the town, erected, the parochial house and the curates' house, now the residence of the Cadden family. As well as that, he improved and extended the churches at Eslin and Gorvagh and completely overhauled the national schools of the parish.

Canon Donohue deserves to be remembered by the Catholic people of Mohill, for he did a vast amount of parochial work during his twenty-four years' ministry in the parish. He was a native of Ballyboran, Mount Temple, Moate, Co Westmeath, was born in 1844 and was ordained in the Irish college in Paris in 1870.He spent the first three years of his priesthood as a curate in Mohill (1870-1873) and after terms as a curate in Ferbane, Clonbroney, Mostrim and Streete returned to Mohill as parish priest in 1881 when Rev Dean Evers retired from parish administration because of old age. On St Patrick's Day 1885 the foundation stone for a new R.C. church was laid on the site where it stands today, a site obtained from the Crofton landlord family. The old church which stood where the present Convent of Mercy is situated was demolished and the stones used in the new structure. Permission was obtained for Sunday Mass in the chapel at the Workhouse. Canon Donohue and the people of Mohill had the pleasure of seeing the new church blessed and dedicated by Dr Woodlock, bishop of the diocese, on St Patrick's Day 1886 exactly one year after the laying of the foundation stone. The erection of St Patrick's church was followed in the early years of the 1890s by the building of the present parochial residence, to be followed again by the erection of a residence for the curates. The erection of the curates' residence took place in the early years of the new century; in fact Canon Donohue was in the process of clearing off the debt on this house when he died. He had fallen into bad health some years previously and when he died he was only sixty one years of age. He was cousin of Bishop Hoare, bishop of the diocese 1895-1927. Canon Donohue's obituary, with black margins, is given in the Leitrim Advertiser - a paper printed in Mohill - in its issue of July 20th, 1905.

 

 

 




The Canon Donohue
Memorial Hall

In the year 1911, the doors of the Canon Donohoe Hall Mohill were opened for the first time at a cost of £700.00. It was built by Direct labour by the people of the Parish. Canon Donohoe was Patron, and because of his dedication the Hall was named after him. It was the place to Dance, and boys and girls travelled from far away places to trip the light fantastic to the strains of the most popular bands of the time 'The Melody Aces, Stephan Garveys Orchestra' and Des Furlong Showband to name but a few. All the noted travelling shows with the late Anu Mac Master, Hilton Edwards, The Carrickford Group 'McFaddens' and Mohill Dramatic Society which was founded in 1920 by very Rev. Canon Masterson P.P. were all top billing. St. Monachans Players 1950-1960. Producers J.J. Kelly N.T. with first class performers. Then Mohill Musical Society was founded and down through the years Mohill Pantomine brought music, dance, song and laughter into all our hearts.
We must not forget the annual Bazaar, you name it, Harry McGowan had it, and again this night was something else with something for everybody. Bingo, Whist Drives and in 1954 at the request of J.J. Kelly Grand National Films (Ireland) Ltd supplied an excellent film for May 12th 1954 entitled 'Old Mother Riley's new Venture' Tickets 1/3. Films were held in the hall from 1953-1957. To this day the Canon Donohoe has many uses, Basketball, Badminton, Concerts, Ceili, Dances, it is also used for meetings by 'The St. Vincent de Paul Society', 'Legion of Mary', 'Mohill Agricultural Show Ltd' and at the moment 'A children's Play School'. Brownies, Girl guides, Boy Scouts, Drama and Karate Classes are held weekly.
The District court is held there on the first Friday of each month since October 18th 1951, following a verbal agreement arrived at between the committee of the Canon Donohoe Memorial Hall and the County Manager and Secretary of Leitrim County Council.
The rent for court and all other Co. Council Services, apart from Public Assistances services, the rent is to be £67.00 per annum. For meetings of the Rynn and Black River Joint Committee £10 per meeting. For all other public assistance services; the rent shall be £12.00 per annum. The Co. Council is to continue as present to prepare the Court Room and Justices Room for each court date.
In conclusion, I must not forget the sacred Concert in aid of the Mohill Convent Building Fund which was held on August 3rd 1924 in the Canon Donohue Hall. There was a choir of Sixteen Priests who rendered choice masterpieces of Religious Compositions by Casciolini, Hailes, Mozart and Pallestrina and solo items sung by singers of recognised ability. It is no coincidence that to commemorate our Jubilee Year we had a concert here in St. Patrick's Church which was a joy to listen to and a credit to all concerned. Thankfully in our 2000th year. The Canon Donohoe Hall enjoys the laughter of Young and Old.


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