In the early days of the Twentieth Century , the County
Donegal Railway was in its heyday.
|Nena Models' factory
In 1920 Porter & Co. started their shirt factory
in Castlefin, in a small premises in Main Street. This
was later extended and through the years, the factory
gave much needed employment to women and girls in the
area. They continued to do so in their modern factory
- Portico & Co. Ltd. Sadly, 1989 saw the end of
this. Owing to many factors of present-day trading,
the factory closed down.
But the premises have been taken over by Nena Models
Ltd. Their first factory was built on the site of
the old Hillhead School, in 1969, for the manufacture
of Ladies and Childrens clothing. The company has prospered
and has moved to larger premises in Stranorlar. Their
products are sold to big London firms as well as to
the home market. Fortunately, many of those made redundant
by the closure of Portico Ltd. have found employment
with this firm.
Clonleigh Co-operative Society Ltd. was founded
in 1952 - with an office at Mr. Patterson's house at
Laurel Hill and thirty shareholders. It has grown rapidly
since then, to embrace a major part of the farming trade
of East Donegal. It's modern premises specialises in
farm requirements, it's hardware department offers excellent
Mixed farming is still carried on in the area. The
main crops are oats, wheat, barley, potatoes, etc. Sheep
rearing has increased in recent years.
In 1945, Dr. S.P. Kerrigan, writing in the Donegal
Annual was very scathing and critical about Castlefin
village, with its crumbling houses, broken walls, lack
of water supply and sewerage facilities. Like the writer
of 1750, he had no great hope for it's future!
Our family came to Castlefin in 1955 and have seen
many improvements made during the years. People had
just moved into the Grahamsland Housing Estate at
|The new St Mary's
Parochial Hall replaced the tiny old
Hall, and is a useful Community Centre for
|The fine new Castlefin
National School has replaced the poky
little one at Hillhead. This school has been
further extended and now caters for 280 pupils
and has nine teachers. (circa
Later, the Hillhead Housing Estate was completed, and
recently, Emmett Park Private houses are being built
all over the district.
Mary's Catholic Church
We have the new St. Mary's Catholic Church,
with its well-kept grounds and spacious car-parking
facilities. A modern Parochial House has been built
We have got our water supply, sewerage scheme and good
Now, in the nineties, we have an enthusiastic and hard-working
group of locals - Castlefin Community Enterprises Ltd.,
who - with the aid of the International Fund for Ireland,
are improving the village.
|The knitwear factory
- old Parochial House
A knitwear factory has been started in the former
Parochial House, in Main Street. Though some teething
problems have come up, it is hoped that better progress
will be made, in the future, with the aid of an experienced
During the Winter months, extensive work has been carried
out on the Diamond (click
here for images of the Diamond), by contractors
- Joseph McMenamin & Sons Ltd.
We now have neatly-paved footpaths, surrounding a central
area, set aside for grass and flower-beds.Trees have
been planted by the ladies of the Diamond. Seats have
been positioned around this section. A number of other
projects for the district are in the pipeline. It is
hoped to enter for the Tidy Towns Competition
in the near future.
If the writer of 1750, or indeed Dr.Kerrigan could
return, they would be surprised at the improvements
made in the village they so derided!
Mary Agnes Elliott, c. 1993