‘Now the valley is dark, from one end to the other’

The late Johnnie McLoone.

THE last resident living in the Croaghs in the heart of the Bluestacks was laid to rest in Edeninfagh Cemetery this week.
John McLoone (87) was born in the famous valley which had over 300 people at the 1911 census and a primary school. It is now empty of all but sheep.
Local folklore was that the valley’s inhabitants all moved there after the Plantation from Tyrone.
Predeceased by his wife Susan McGinley in 1987, the couple have two children. Their daughter Mary is a doctor in Canada while son Ian is a barrister in London.
A well known and respected member of the local community, John recently moved to Kilraine, Cloghan but continued to look after his sheep on The Croaghs.
His brother-in-law, Patsy Bonner, said that Johnnie was proud of his roots and never failed to mention The Croaghs at every given opportunity.
“I was lucky enough to video Johnnie who gave me the whole history of the Croaghs four years ago. He named all the people who lived up there in every house right out to the main road.
“He was proud of the fact that he was the last man living in the Croaghs. He told me the only way they would get him out of the Croaghs was by dragging him by the heels. Sadly, he’s gone today and that’s it.
“Johnnie worked in the forestry, earning £4 and 2 shillings a week for six days work from 8am to 6pm, but felt that there had to be a better life so he went off to London at nineteen. He was on the train for an hour and a half and didn’t see a blade of grass going into London. He didn’t like it so he decided to head for a wee town called Luton. Sure there were more Irish people there than back home and he stayed for 52 years,” Patsy explained.
Sadly, Johnnie’s wife Susan died in 1987, aged 47 years, and he took her home for burial in Edeninfagh cemetery.
“He drove a lovely Volkswagen Beetle and came home every year. When he moved back he lived in his brother Paddy’s house in the Croaghs. He lived there until three or four years ago but used it as a second home.
“He had livestock up there and was up with them every day. He fed himself there only going back to the new house to sleep. He did all his business in the Croaghs,” he said.
“If you stood at his house you would be looking up towards the Bluestacks and the crash site. He was ten or eleven when the plane crashed during the sccond world war and he remembered that day well.
“Now, the entire valley is in darkness from one end to the other. It’s quite sad,” he added.
Mourners gathered in The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Glenfin, on Tuesday for Requiem Mass which was celebrated by Fr Lorcan Sharkey, Parish Priest, assisted by Rev Donnchadh O’Baoill, CC Glenties, Fr Padraig O’Baoighill, PP Gweedore and Fr Aodhan Cannon, PP Dungloe, a second cousin of the deceased. Burial took place afterwards in Edeninfagh Cemetery, with the cortège travelling via Kilraine and The Reelin Bridge.
He is survived by his two children, their spouses, a grandchild, his four sisters, Josephine Bonner and Nora Patton, both Drumkeen, Mary Sweeney, Ballinamore and Annie Boyle, Glenties, and his brother Hugh in England. He is predeceased by his wife Susan, his brothers Patrick and Michael and sisters Mary Devine (Glenswilly) and Nellie Moy (Reelin).


Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere

and get access to our archive editions dating back to 2007
Every Thursday
Every Monday

Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. St. Anne's Court, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland