St Johnston, officially Saint Johnstown[3] (Irish: Baile Suingean[3]), is a village, townland, and an electoral division in County Donegal, Ireland.[3] It is in the Laggan district of East Donegal on the left bank of the River Foyle.[4] It is in the civil parish of Taughboyne and barony of Raphoe North,[3] on the R236 (LiffordNewtowncunningham) road where it overlaps the R265 (CarrigansRaphoe) road.[5] The village is about 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Derry.

St Johnston
Baile Suingean
Main Street, St Johnston
Main Street, St Johnston
St Johnston is located in Ireland
St Johnston
St Johnston
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°56′05″N 07°27′30″W / 54.93472°N 7.45833°W / 54.93472; -7.45833Coordinates: 54°56′05″N 07°27′30″W / 54.93472°N 7.45833°W / 54.93472; -7.45833
CountyCounty Donegal
BaronyRaphoe North[1]
 • Dáil ÉireannDonegal
Time zoneUTC+0 (WET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-1 (IST (WEST))
An aerial view of St Johnston, on the banks of the River Foyle


St Baithin's Church (popularly known as 'the Chapel'), the Catholic parish church in the village, was designed by E. W. Godwin, the mid-Victorian British architect. It is a neo-Gothic structure that was built between 1857 and 1860.[6]

St Johnston Presbyterian Church, located on the Derry Road, is the other main structure within the village. Parts of this church, or kirk, may date to c. 1724. However, most of the present neo-Gothic structure was built in the early nineteenth century. The 'thin' neo-Gothic tower was built in 1849.[7] This church, which is owned by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, was severely damaged by a lightning strike in the mid-1980s. The tower of the church was particularly damaged. The building, however, which serves the large Ulster Scots Presbyterian community in this part of The Laggan, had been fully restored by around 1990.[citation needed]


Mongavlin Castle (also known as Mongevlin Castle),[8] a ruined castle, is located approximately three kilometres (1.9 mi) south of the village. It was once a stronghold of the Ó Domhnaill (O'Donnell) clan, Kings of Tír Chonaill. In the very early seventeenth-century, Mongevlin was the chief residence of Iníon Dubh (d. 1608), the daughter of both Séamus Mac Dhòmhnaill, 6th Laird of Dunnyveg, an Islay-based Gaelic nobleman, and his wife, Lady Agnes Campbell; Iníon Dubh was the mother of Red Hugh O'Donnell. When Iníon Dubh came to Ulster to marry Sir Aodh mac Maghnusa Ó Domhnaill (Sir Hugh O'Donnell; c. 1540 – c. 1600), she brought a force of 100 of the biggest men she could find in Scotland for protection.[citation needed] 80 of these were of the name Crawford. When Mongavlin was eventually abandoned, the Crawfords settled and married in the locality. Many of their descendants can still be found in the area to this day.

On 23 July 1610, at the start of the Plantation of Ulster, Mongevlin Castle and its lands were granted to Ludovic Stewart, 2nd Duke of Lennox (1574–1624), a Scottish nobleman.[9] Lennox, who was already a peer in the Peerage of Scotland, was created the 1st Duke of Richmond in the Peerage of England in 1623, making him a duke twice over. On his death on 16 February 1624 the title of Duke of Lennox and the castle and lands at Mongavlin passed to his brother Esmé, 1st Earl of March (1579–1624), who now became (briefly) the 3rd Duke of Lennox. Esmé had married Katherine Clifton (c. 1592–1637) in 1609; she became the 2nd Baroness Clifton, suo jure, in 1618. After her husband Esmé's death in August 1624, Katherine, now Dowager Duchess of Lennox, then married James Hamilton, 2nd Earl of Abercorn (c. 1604 – c. 1670), another Scottish nobleman, c. 1632. Unlike the Dukes of Lennox, Lord Abercorn had actually moved to Ulster, where he was now based. The centre of Lord Abercorn's estate was the nearby town of Strabane in West Tyrone.[citation needed]

A borough was established at the site in the reign of James I during the Plantation of Ulster.[10] St Johnstown was a borough constituency in the Irish House of Commons from about 1619 to the Acts of Union 1800.[10] The borough was a rotten borough and the settlement never more than a village.[4]

James II passed through on his way to the Siege of Derry in 1690. From St Johnston he sent a letter proposing surrender, which was rejected.[8]

St Johnston was one of several Protestant villages in eastern Donegal that would have been transferred to Northern Ireland had the recommendations of the Irish Boundary Commission been enacted in 1925.[11]


St Johnston Cricket Club, founded in 1898,[12] plays in the North West Cricket League Championship (Second) Division.[13]

Kildrum Tigers Football Club, sometimes known as 'the Wee Toun', is an association football club founded in 1948.[14] The club fields teams in the Ulster Senior League.[15]

Local bowling clubs, all playing in the Donegal Indoor Bowling League Division One, include St Johnston Bowling Club, St Johnston Pres. Bowling Club and St Johnston Resource Centre Bowling Club.[16]


The town had a station on the Great Northern Railway (the GNR) which was closed in 1965.[17]

The nearest railway station now is operated by Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) and runs from Waterside Station in Derry, via Coleraine, to both Central Station and Great Victoria Street Station in Belfast.[citation needed]

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Barony of Raphoe North, Co. Donegal".
  2. ^ "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements St. Johnston". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "Saint Johnstown: townland, town". Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b Lewis, Samuel (1837). "Johnstown (St)". A topographical dictionary of Ireland.
  5. ^ Roads Act, 1993 (Declaration of Regional Roads) Order 1994 (S.I. No. 400 of 1994). Signed on 2 December 1994. Statutory Instrument of the Government of Ireland. Retrieved 23 May 2022, from Irish Statute Book.
  6. ^ Rowan, Alistair, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster (popularly known as the Pevsner Guide to North West Ulster), P. 482. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2003. Originally published by Penguin, London, 1979.
  7. ^ Rowan, Alistair, The Buildings of Ireland: North West Ulster, P. 483. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2003. Originally published by Penguin, London, 1979.
  8. ^ a b h., J. A. (1836). "Mongevlin Castle, County of Donegal". The Dublin Penny Journal. 4 (186): 240. doi:10.2307/30003540. JSTOR 30003540.
  9. ^ "The Houses of Stewart from 1500" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 September 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
  10. ^ a b "St Johnstown". History of the Irish Parliament > Constituencies. Ulster Historical Foundation. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Irish Boundary Commission Report". National Archives. 1925. pp. 140–43.
  12. ^ St Johnston Cricket Club : history. Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  13. ^ NWCU Championship – 2013. Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  14. ^ Kildrum Tigers. Facebook (17 April 2012). Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  15. ^ Ulster Senior League retrieved 3 July 2013
  16. ^ Donegal Bowling League Archived 13 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 3 July 2013
  17. ^ "Irish railways" (PDF). Railscot - Irish Railways. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  18. ^ Chambers, Liam. "Bond, Oliver". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2832. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  19. ^ "Michael Lynch moves to Gaoth Dobhair for 2020 campaign". 16 July 2020. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  20. ^ UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship. "Tyler Toland". UEFA. Archived from the original on 8 November 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  21. ^ "First senior international call-ups for Tyler Toland and Amber Barrett". Donegal Democrat. 31 August 2017. Retrieved 8 November 2017.(subscription required)

External linksEdit