The Pound – Stranorlar Historical Park

A 360 Virtual Tour

The Pound was built in 1630 and was an enclosure to hold farm animals seized for the non-payment of rents due to the local landlords. The seized stock could be reclaimed by paying the outstanding rent; otherwise the animals were sold to clear the debt. With the series of Land Acts introduced from 1870 onwards the power of the landlords was broken and tenant farmers were becoming owners of their own farms. The impounding of animals for rent arrears slowly disappeared and totally ceased by 1900. However, other uses were found for the Pound. These included farmers being pursued by merchants for the non-payment of goods and services. Following court procedures orders were sometimes granted to the bailiff to seize property, usually horses and cattle, in lieu of the debts. Also the grazing of cattle along public roads.the long acre”, was endemic prior to motorised transport and these cattle were often seized and impounded. There is no evidence of the Pound being used after 1925.

The Pound is of particular importance as its origins coincide with the creation of Stranorlar. Prior to 1610 there was no Stranorlar and no Ballybofey, indeed there was no bridge either. Approximately 600 metres west of the present bridge which links the two towns was the main Ford of the river Finn. It was here that the O’Donnell armies crossed the river for 1,000 years, as did Colmcille and Eunan.

The Pound Historical Park 360 Tour

During the Plantation of Ulster share out, after the Flight of the Earls, the lands around Stranorlar were granted to Henry Claire. A few years later he sold them on to Peter Benson, who built the Walls of Derry and other fortifications, by which he amassed a fortune. Benson founded Stranorlar in 1610 by building ten houses and installing ten selected tenants, however the precise location of these early houses is not known. Stranorlar was identified as a frontier post by the establishment and it had all the trappings of a garrison town. It had the military, the revenue police, the courthouse, the post office, the band garden and the Pound. The only legacy remaining from this period is the Pound, which was deemed so important in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries that this street was called Pound Street. The name continues to this day.

The area of the Pound you are standing in now is identified by the two original walls and the wall foundations. These walls are the oldest in the town and the only reminder of a dark period in our history. This Pound is part of our heritage and we are fortunate to be in a position to preserve it for posterity.