On Saturday 8th February 2020, the Bundoran based Magh Ene Historical Society will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the landmark Right of Way case which opened up the seafront to the people of Bundoran following a courageous fight by the residents led by their parish priest Canon Kelaghan between 1868 and 1870.
The fight was about opposing the attempt by local landlord James Hamilton to build a wall along the street in order to the exclude the public from the pleasure grounds (the present Promenade and Atlantic Way). Supported by affidavits from a number of natives and residents, Canon Kelaghan, with assistance from Ballyshannon solicitor Patrick Brady, filed a petition in the Landed Estates Court to bind the new owner to recognise the old public rights of access to the pleasure grounds, promenade and other ancient rights of access to the sea. On February 8th 1870, Judge Flanagan, following unsuccessful attempts to resolve the issues, pronounced judgement establishing forever most of the rights of way claimed by the locals.
150 years later to the day, a commemorative plaque will be unveiled by the members of Magh Ene Historical Society at the bottom of Promenade Road close to the Tourist Office.
Speaking about the unveiling, Val O’Kelly, Chair of Magh Ene Historical said ‘without the foresight of Canon Kelaghan and the people of Bundoran back in the 1860s, the town we know today may have been a very different one without the access to the beach that we now take for granted. We felt it was very important to mark this anniversary and ensure that the story of the Right of Way is known to everyone.’
An open invitation is issued to all who wish to attend the ceremony at 12pm on Saturday February 8th which will be followed with refreshments at Bundoran Community Centre directly afterwards.
For more on the story of the Right of Way click here
Listen to the Bundoran Weekly podcast broadcast in 2018 covering the Right of Way story.