Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/customer/www/finnvalleyhistory.com/public_html/wp-content/themes/Alante_Pro/admin/main/inc/class.redux_filesystem.php on line 29
Monellan Castle - Ballybofey, Stranorlar & District Historical Society

Monellan Castle


In years gone by, one of the most impressive buildings of the time was Monellan Castle, situated a few miles north of Crossroads, Killygordon. Although it was the largest building in the Valley at the time, set in beautiful surroundings second to none in the area, it cannot be clear whether it was a castle or a mansion house.

Monellan Castle was built during the 1700s, and part of the 35 room dwelling was underground, to be used as a place of safety – if such was required. The castle and its grounds were in full glory for some time after the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1775, until its demolition in the 1930s – on orders given to the Irish Land Commission from the Government of the day.

Set in a uniquely picturesque area, Monellan Castle must have been a splendid sight to behold in its heyday. The approach to it was done out with Rhododendron hedges, and must have been spectacular to behold when these were in full bloom. Sadly, very little of these hedges remain.

Surrounding the castle were beautiful flower gardens, tennis courts and a bowling green. The owner of the castle and estate, Robert Delap, who was a barrister, was later ordained a Minister of the Church of Ireland, and built St Anne’s Church at Crossroads. He was said to be a decent enough character, and gave a lot of employment to many local men and women.

Monellan Castle, its gardens and private grounds, arable and small parts of the forest were protected by a high wall, extending three miles around most of the estate. Most of this wall remains today. No wall was required for the part of the estate adjoining the townland of Ballinamana, as a large tributary of the River Finn, known locally as Monellan Burn, served the purpose of protection.

Courtesy of the McCrearys in the Crossroads, see below some pictures. If you have any pictures of Monellan, then please get in touch here and we will be more than happy to scan them and make them available to you in electronic format and added to the gallery below.