New monument to be unveiled to War of Independence flying column

A LETTERKENNY man is looking for the relatives of two Derry members of an IRA flying column that fought in Donegal during the War of Independence ahead of the unveiling of a monument in their honour.

The two men Alfie McCallion and William Cullen’s names are to be included on the monument marking the role of the column which was put together by Peadar O’Donnell to fight Black and Tans in west Donegal in 1921.

The monument is to be erected at Ballymacool Park on the outskirts of Letterkenny by local man Noel McCann.


Noel’s grandfather, Captain Seamus McCann, was a member of the flying column; he kept a detailed diary which accounted their dramatic journey through the Glendowan Mountains to west Donegal.

The diary which was submitted to the military archives is the only first-hand account of their journey, it explains how and where Peadar O’Donnell’s column attacks were planned and carried out, including the ambush of a train near Crolly. It also included maps of safe houses in the area.

Noel’s interest in his grandfather’s career during the War of Independence inspired him to commission a plaque in his honour in 2020 which was erected on top of the Glendowan Mountains.

He is now to erect a second commemorative plaque in Ballymacool Park which is more accessible for the public.

Ballymacool is significant as this is where the column began their cross-county trek; they stayed in New Mills before heading out west.

Noel explained that because the roads were dug up and the bridges were blown up they had to go across the Glendowan Mountains, through Doochary village and into Dungloe, Burtonport and Glenveagh on foot.

The column remained in west Donegal for three months, engaging the Black and Tans at every opportunity.


During this time they galvanised massive support across the county before returning back home to Derry later that year.

Noel’s grandfather Captain McCann was a Derry native, he then settled in Letterkenny and lived in Ballymacool before he passed away in 1988, so the area meant a lot to him.

The Letterkenny man urged anyone with information about the flying column members to contact him at

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