Fr. James McDyer
Fr McDyer was born in Kilraine in the Parish of Glenties on September 14,
1910. After leaving Glenties NS he went to St Eunan's College, Letterkenny
and in 1930 he went on to St Patrick's College, Maynooth.
He was ordained to the Priesthood on the 20th June 1937, together with five
other students from the Diocese of Raphoe.
Fr. James McDyer (1910-1987)
came to Gleann Cholm Cille in 1951. He saw that the community was dying.
Years of official disinterest and an almost complete absence of paid employment
had taken their toll. There was no industry, no electricity, no public water
supply and few tarred roads. Young people were emigrating when they left
A practical socialist, over the next thirty years Fr. McDyer campaigned
tirelessly against official neglect of Gleann Cholm Cille and similar communities
throughout the west.
At a time when central government saw multinational corporations as the
solution to the spiralling unemployment and emigration, he championed the
right of rural people to forge their own destinies and emphasized the importance
of small community-based industries which developed local resources and skills.
He helped establish weaving, knitting and vegetable-processing factories
and campaigned successfully for electricity and piped water schemes. The
fish-processing factory in Mín an Aoire which provides seasonal employment
to 200 people is a direct result of Fr. McDyer's work.
Fr McDyer's Folk Village Museum
The Folk Village was founded in 1967 as
part of the cultural revival inspired by Father McDyer. Fr McDyer recognised
that tourism could play a key role in revitalizing rural Ireland but stressed
that it must be both environmentally and culturally senstiitive. In 1967
he was the driving force behind An Clachán, (www.glenfolkvillage.com)
- a museum representing three hundred years of domestic life in south west
Donegal. The museum has proved to be highly successful with over 30,000 people
visiting it each year.
In 1968 Fr McDyer insipred a local co-operative to build a "Folk
traditional style houses for visitors to rent during the summer. These houses
continue as holiday homes to this day with families returning every year
to spend their summers in Gleann Cholm Cille.
Email: Folk Village
Quotations - Fr McDyer
"The frontiers of God's family do not end with the walls of our
home but extend to the perimeter of the commuity to which we belong."
"I believe that if a thing is right and good, you should not surrender
because of obstacles. I may or may not be right, but if your cause is good
and just then, if you come to a brick wall, you should get over it or go
"Do not say that you love Ireland because she is great. Rather
let us show that she is great because of the patriotism and unity of her
Halla Mhuire - Parish Hall
Halla Mhuire, was Fr McDyer's first major project
in Gleann Cholm Cille. He worked alongside local volunteers and completed
the building in twelve weeks in the winter of 1953.
The Story of Fr McDyer of Glencolmcille - "A Revolution
on their Hands"
McGinley launched his book enttitled "A Revolution on their
Hands" in December 2007. The book celebrates the life and the 20th
anniversary of the death of the late Canon James McDyer, former PP of Glencolumbkille.
Liam began putting the story of Fr MdDyer together during 2005. He researched
using the internet, old newspapers and magazines, radio interview as well
as many articles and books on his life.
The book can be purchased directly from the author, Liam McGinley, Glencolumbkille
or from the shops in Glencolumbkille.