A wonderful body of work which encompasses history, genealogy and photographs has been launched in Ranafast.
The book ‘Muintir an Bhaile s’Againne’ was compiled by the well known school teacher Vincie Shile O’Donnell who was born in 1945 in an area referred often to as toin a’ bhaile in Rann na Feirste.
Vincie grew up during an era that had very few of the services that we now enjoy. He recalls a youth where people discussed their relationship or their familial connections with other people in the area.
The school teacher once heard that the first people to live in Rann na Feirste came to the area in 1736. He undertook to find out as much as he could about the first people that decided to live in that Gaeltacht area.
He estimates that he derived around 5% of his knowledge from Seán Bán MacGrianna and Micí Sheáin Neill. He obtained around 60% of his knowledge from Hughie Phaddy Hughie, 20% from Niall Johnnie and Frank Sheáin and around 10% from Donnchadh Antoin and Bell Fheilimí, Paddy Hughdie Aoidh, Paddy Chit, his own mother and a number of other people.
During his launch which was held in Aislann Rann na Feirste he thanked everyone who had contributed in any manner to his book.
Vincie carried out a lot of his research in St. Joseph’s Hospital in Stranorlar. He wrote down every death, birth and marriage that he could affiliate with his native home.
Other sources of information which proved invaluable to the historian were the Tithe Applotments, Griffith’s Valuation and the Census.
Another avenue which he researched was related to old photographs. The book is filled with many wonderful old photographs of people from an era that is long since gone. He enjoyed going from home to home and talking to people who may be able to idtentify those in the pictures.
During these evenings of rich conversation, Vincie learnt much about the history of his home.
He enjoyed the generosity of his people and was delighted to be able to use the photographs in his book with their family names attributed to them.
Since the book was launched, many people have discovered relationships with the area that would otherwise have been forgotten.
The book can be bought in many of the local shops and is well worth reading.