Famous sons, daughters and grandsons of Derry City and county include

  • Seamus Heaney from Castledawson, Nobel Prizewinner for Literature.  Distinguished by his unique and homely use of language which reverberates even with people who have no particular love of poetry.
  • John Hume from Derry City, Nobel Prizewinner for Peace.
    Distinguished by his willingness to put his desire for peace for his country before narrow or partisan party interests.
  • Martin McGuinness from the Bogside, Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland.
    Distinguished by putting his shadowy past behind him and the ballot box before the Armalite.
  • Phil Coulter from Derry City, Popular Songwriter.
    Distinguished by his modern interpretations of traditional Irish music.
  • Cardinal McCloskey from Banagher, New York Primate and Philanthropist.
    Distinguished by his compassion for his countrymen and countrywomen who sought new beginnings against the odds.
  • Jim Scullin from Tamlaght O’Crilly, Australian Prime Minister.
    Distinguished by being the first Catholic Premier in Australasia at the time of the Great Depression.
  • Dr James Murray from Culnady, Inorganic Chemist and Physician.
    Distinguished by his invention of superphosphates which transformed agriculture (but later were used in the most lethal IRA bombs).
  • John Mitchel from Dungiven, Presbyterian and United Irishman.
    Distinguished by his fight for Catholic emancipation but who lost his two sons in the American Civil War in support of his fight against abolition of slavery.
  • William Ferguson Massey from Limavady, Prime minister of New Zealand.
    Distinguished himself as the Maggie Thatcher of his day and saw New Zealand through the Great World War 1914-18.
  • Agnes Jones from Fahan and Derry, Nursing pioneer and colleague of Florence Nightingale.
  • Half-hanged MacNaghten from Prehen who asked for the fourth and last time for a fresh rope after the first three ropes failed to hang him.
  • Richard Moore from Templemore and blinded by a British soldier in the Troubles.
    Described by the Dalai Lama as ‘his hero’, his Children in Crossfire organisation reaches out to oppressed children worldwide.
  • Aed Finliath from Ailech in Inishowen, High King of Ireland who drove the Vikings out of Ireland, annihilated Meath the fifth Province of Ireland and married Muire, daughter of Kenneth MacAlpin, King of Scots.
  • John Glendy  from Maghera and Faughanvale, United Irishman and chaplain to the House of Representatives at the invitation of President Jefferson.
  • Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery of Moville, victor over Erwin Rommel at the battle of El Alamein which helped to turn the course of the Second World War

27 responses to “People

  1. Don MacFarlane

    October 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Spare a Thought …..

    for the Choctaw and Creek nations of the Southern States who found themselves colonised, abused and ethnically cleansed, just as much as the native Irish were around the same time in Ireland. The Choctaws empathised so much in their plight with the Irish that they sent, even in their own worst of times, the equivalent of £1million to help with the Irish Famine. The arch-persecutor of these noble people was President Andrew Jackson (shamefully, of first-generation Scots-Irish heritage) of the United States. Today he would be lucky to escape a charge of being a war-criminal.

  2. Georgina O'Donoghue

    July 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Ivor, an email address does not come up for you hun. You can contact me via and your email address will then come up for you. Willie is not on the internet though but i will ask him if it is okay to give you his phone number via my email. Kind regards, Georgina

    • Geraldine Mc Callion Folan

      June 24, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Hi Georgina, My name is Geraldine Mc Callion, I remember you from Nazareth House also your sister Siobhan? Not sure if I got her name right, but I know there were a few children in the family. I often wondered what happened to all the kids of our age who spent time in Bishop Street?

  3. Ivor McClinton

    May 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    For Georgina O’Donoghue

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I do believe the Willie at Jordanstown I knew was your brother. he went off to Boston and it would be lovely to make contact again if you could pass my email address to him.


  4. ivor3

    May 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    Georgina, thanks for the reply. I believe I lectured with Willie at Jordanstown and had been keen to meet him again when we were in Boston where he had worked at a time. I was trying the Internet to find him and came across you. Would you ask Willie to contact me, please? We got on well together and it would be nice to catch up with each other. Ta!

  5. Denise Gallagher

    May 11, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Yes I’m still interested. Building family tree and took some time out from it all for a while but back at it now. Baffling me why the older generation are so secretive haha. At least future generations will have a heap of info when they trawl through facebook and twitter accounts hahahaha (maybe too much info)

  6. Gorretti

    May 11, 2012 at 8:07 am

    No problem Denise. I wonder if you are still interested in getting information from Nazareth House? Gorretti

  7. Denise Gallagher

    May 10, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    Sorry Gorretti, just seeing this post now. I ‘lost’ this post and only getting back into it now. I have yet to contact them.

  8. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

  9. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm

  10. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 6:29 pm

  11. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm

  12. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm

  13. donfad

    June 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    • Ivor McClinton

      December 15, 2011 at 12:27 am

      I lectured at UUJ in Computing and have tried without success to contact Willie Arbuckle. Was in Boston this year but could not trace him. Email address supplied.

      • Georgina O'Donoghue

        May 8, 2012 at 12:35 am

        My brother was called Willie Arbuckle and he was brought up in Termonbacca Boys Home in Derry, Northern Ireland – is this the man you are looking for? Regards, Georgina O’Donoghue (nee Arbuckle)

      • Brian Dougan formerly (Brian Murray)

        June 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

        I was also reared in Termonbacca Boys Home. I am now living in Australia. What years was your brother in the home? My e-mail address is and my name was Brian Murray at the time.

      • Georgina O'Donoghue

        July 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm

        Hi Brian, my brothers Willie and John Joe Arbuckle would have been in Termonbacca approx within the time span of 1965-1975 roughly. Kind regards, Georgina

      • John Arbuckle

        October 17, 2013 at 12:24 am

        Willie Arbuckle is my brother. He married a Boston girl and he left the Poly to go and work for IBM in Boston which he still does. He was back in Derry this summer for the Status Quo concert .

  14. Don MacFarlane

    February 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    Neither of these names is indigenous to Derry – they are mainly to be found in Belfast. McCullough can be native Irish or Scots planter in origin as it comes from the Scottish Borders. Colquhoun, or more rarely Calhoun (not Calquhoin, which appears to be neither one thing nor the other and a mispelling), comes from the shores of Loch Lomond. The clan seat is in Luss and it is considered one of the noble clans of Scotland. A famous McCullough from Ulster is Henry McCullough from Portstewart who was lead guitarist in the Joe Cocker Band and in Wings.

    As far as tracing back roots, GRONI should be the first port of call. They should be able to trace back to the mid 1800s, especially as the names are comparatively rare.

    • Don MacFarlane

      April 19, 2010 at 8:01 pm

      This a similar query to that of Georgina O’Donoghue – also a Valley by birth. The earlier answer to her went as follows ‘ The name Valley is not one that is historically associated with Ireland. The only person of that name recorded in Griffiths 1848 was Sarah Valley from Kyle’s Brae in Derry. On the other hand, Valley might be an abbreviated form of Vallely, a name that is to be found mainly in Armagh’. She also had Arbuckle in her family tree. If you need to get in touch, her email address is on our file. Jackson is not a name that originates in Derry City – it is more to be found a bit east, in Limavady and Coleraine districts.

      • Georgina O'Donoghue

        July 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

        Hi Don, you are absolutely correct in saying that the Jackson name originates from Limavady as after doing some research i have found my grandparents through the census and they lived in Limavady, thank you. Kind regards, Georgina

  15. rick fox

    February 24, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Looking for Information on my family history and family tree.. Looking any information on the McCullough clan.. Family members are Joseph McCullough (born in Ireland ), He was married in 1911 to Isroberta (Ruby) Calquhoin (born Nov. 4 1895 in Magherfelt Derry), they had a son named George McCullough (born in 1912) plus they had other kids, cause George had brothers, (no Information on).. George was married to Marjorie Francis Mitchell (born July 19 1910), they were married in 1929 at city hall. They also had kids. George had three kids, which were Gordon Stanley(born on April 13 1930 in Toronto, Canada) and Doug and Irene.. George died on Feb. 28 1964 at St Mikes Hospital, he was 52 and died of Leukemia.

  16. Trish Slocum

    February 26, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Wanting to make contact with a Michael O’Hagan who is the natural father of my maternal nephew. Liam is nine years and hasn’t had contact with his father since a baby. Michael was living in Darwin Australia where he met my sister. Michelle has had information that leads her to believe he may have returned to live in Derry. Michael has lived in Canada and New Zealand as well.
    Liam is very keen to met his dad or at least have contact. My sister doesn’t have regular access to the internet, so I am doing this on her behalf.

  17. donfad

    July 12, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    The key to the search is the names on the distaff side of the tree as the Bradleys in the early-mid 1800s were dispersed widely, both within and outwith Ballynascreen.

    O’Connors and Laughlins did not come from Ballynascreen. In order of likelihood, they came from: Derry City, Garvagh or Coleraine as both sets of names are uncommon in County Derry but have pockets in these three places.

    The two RC churches in Derry at that time were Long Tower and St. Eugene’s. As it was likely the bride managed in her own parish church, you may hope that she married in Long Tower as they kept marriage records for the period 1823-1826. As the first child was married in 1827, you might be lucky. No point in trying St. Eugene’s as their records for that period were lost in the big 1922 fire.

    If you draw a blank there , the Church of Ireland cathedral (St. Columb’s) is worth a try as they are usually helpful to enquirers and a small donation for their renovation fund never goes amiss. As the established church at that time, they were obliged by law to keep records of all marriages, including RC, and they go much further back.

    No point in trying the Genealogy Centre unless to get Long Tower records as they would have copies.

    In summary, I think Mark went looking for work outside his parish and did not marry a local girl. They probably met in one of these towns- Derry, Garvagh or Coleraine; most likely Derry. I suggest you start e-mailing the clergy of these churches and see what comes back.

  18. londonderry

    October 15, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Correction to entry on John Glendy Sproston:

    Lt. Sproston, nephew of Dr. John Glendy, died not in the Pacific but in a skirmish in St. Johns River, Florida, in pursuit of a Confederate privateer. It is notable that in an earlier confrontation he had been exposed to severe personal danger due to the inexperience of his crewmen. On that occasion he is reputed to have fired all the salvos himself as his crewmen had not been properly trained. He was clearly a man of outstanding personal bravery.

  19. londonderry

    October 14, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    The Rev. John Glendy, D. D., was born in Londonderry, Ireland, June 24, 1755, and educated at the University of Glasgow. For several years he was pastor of a Presbyterian church at Londonderry. When the rebellion of 1798 occurred, his course was obnoxious to the government, and an order was issued for his arrest. After concealing himself in various places, he gave himself up for trial. He always declared that he had taken no active part in the rebellion, but, nevertheless, he was convicted, and sentenced to perpetual banishment. He and his wife were compelled to embark for America in an old vessel, which, in distress, put in at Norfolk. This was in 1799, Mr. Glendy preached at Norfolk, and attracted much attention by his oratory. The climate of lower Virginia proved unfavorable to Mrs. Glendy’s health, and by advice of a physician he came to Staunton. Here he was employed by the Presbyterians of the town and of Bethel congregation to minister to them temporarily. On the 22nd of February, 1800, he delivered in Staunton a eulogy of Washington, of which two editions were printed. By invitation of President Jefferson, he visited Washington city, and there delivered an address in the Capitol, which excited much admiration. Soon afterwards he became pastor of a church in Baltimore. He was chosen chaplain to the lower house of Congress in 1806, and to the senate in 1815. About the year 1822, the University of Maryland conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity. His style of oratory is said to have indicated his common nationality with Curran and Philips. His popular address and talents, in connection with the important places he occupied, and the fact of his being an exile from his native land, gave him easy access to the highest classes of society. He died October 4, 1832. The late Robert J. Glendy, of Bath, and Capt Robert Guy and William Guy, of Augusta, were nephews of Dr. Glendy. The father of Robert and William Guy, whose wife was a Miss Glendy, was implicated in the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and settled in Augusta in 1804.

    His nephew, Lieutenant John Glendy Sproston of the US Navy, served with distinction in the American Civil War and he died in active service under Admiral Mathew Perry, aged 32. His daily diary of his time in the Pacific campaign is treasured by Japanese and he has been honoured in America with two battleships named after him. As an honoured citizen of Baltimore, a public holiday also carries his name.


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