BY RÓISE COLLINS
A monument honouring Paedar O’Donnell’s flying column that fought in Donegal during the War of Independence is to be unveiled in Ballymacool Park this weekend.
Pat Doherty will be the guest speaker at the event being held on the outskirts of Letterkenny. Ballymacool is significant as this is where the IRA flying column began their cross-county trek in 1921.
The monument is to be unveiled 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 out toward west Donegal.
Peadar O’Donnell’s men had to go across the Glendowan Mountains, through Doochary village and into Dungloe, Burtonport and Glenveagh on foot.
The diary which was submitted to the military archives is the only first-hand account of their journey, it explains how and where the flying column attacks were planned and carried out. This included the ambush of a train near Crolly in January 1921.
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 also, he then settled in Letterkenny and lived in Ballymacool before he passed away in 1988, so the area meant a lot to him.
Family members of the other members of the flying column will also travel from across the country to attend the event.
The unveiling will take place in Ballymacool Park on Sunday, April 30 at 12 O’Clock.