KILMACRENAN, a post-town and parish, in the barony of KILMACRENAN, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 6 miles (N. N. W.) from Letterkenny, on the road to Dunfanaghy; containing 9251 inhabitants.
St. Columb founded an abbey here, which was richly endowed; and one of the O'Donells, princes of Tyrconnell, also founded an abbey for conventual Franciscans, which at the dissolution was granted to Trinity College, Dublin: the present church is supposed to be part of it, and has a mitred head sculptured in relief over the door. Near the village is the rock of Doune, on which the O'Donells were always inaugurated by priests whom they regarded as descendants of St. Columb: the last inauguration was that of Sir Niall Garbh O'Donell, the successor of Hugh Roe O'Donell, but the ceremony being performed without the lord-lieutenant's consent, he was degraded from his chieftainship. The parish comprises, according to the Ordnance survey (including detached portions), 35,617 statute acres, of which 782¼ are in small loughs, and 6 in the tideway of the river Lackagh. The system of agriculture is improving, and there is some mountain and bog; fine granite is obtained.
The village has a sub-post-office to Letterkenny, and is a constabulary police station; fairs are held in it on the first day of every month, and there is a dispensary.
The living is a rectory and vicarage, in the diocese of Raphoe, and in the patronage of the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College, Dublin: the tithes amount to £675. There is a glebe-house, for the erection of which the late Board of First Fruits gave £100, and lent £1125, in 1815. The glebe comprises 150 acres. The church is a very old structure, which the Ecclesiastical Commissioners intend to rebuild. In the R. C. divisions this parish is partly the head of a union or district, and partly united to Gartan, and has a chapel in each portion. There is a meeting-house for Presbyterians in connection with the Synod of Ulster, of the third class. There are two public schools, of which the parochial school is supported by donations from Col. Robertson's fund, and in which about 210 children are educated; also nine private schools, in which are about 480 children, and five Sunday schools.
Lough Salt mountain 1541 feet high is in this parish, and commands a magnificent prospect. The lough, which is 815 feet above the level of the sea, and 204 feet deep, is on the side of the mountain, and from its vicinity fine views of Lough Swilly to the east, and Letterkenny and the surrounding country to the south and west, are obtained. In the neighbourhood of the lake is a rocking-stone; there is a cromlech at Lough Keil, and at Milford the Giant's grave.
from Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837.