The construction of the Donegal Town Bypass in the year 2000 uncovered over twenty ‘Court Tomb’ sites. Many dating between five and six thousand years old which is proof that a society existed in this region. There is also a record of  a wooden built fortress, in Donegal Town ( Dun na nGall – the Fort of the Foreigners) on the present site of Donegal Castle, dating pre 1159A.D,when the settlement was destroyed by Murtagh MacLochlainn High King of Ireland.Where did these settled foreigners originate- were they Gauls or Danes – history is unsure.

In 1474 the O’ Donnell chieftain Aodh Rua 1 constructed Donegal Castle.Small thatched dwellings sprung up around the perimeter of this ‘Tower House’ which was complete with a ‘Fair Green’. Sadly with the demise of our Gaelic way of life, the overthrow of  ‘The O’Donnell’ and the  ‘Flight of Earls’( chieftains)  in 1607, saw the ‘Plantation of Ulster’ by the English Crown.In 1610, Donegal Town plus 100 hundred acres were granted to Captain Basil Brooke,an English servitor, who in 1612 set about constructing a full market area, church and churchyard, complete with ringed stone houses occupied by English, Scottish and certain Irish planters, a footprint for today’s ‘Diamond’.

As the years progressed, on the second Friday of each month a ‘Fair Day’ market was held on this  area. With horses, fowl, pigs, vendors stalls of  farm produce and various wares. The area also regarded as a weekly meeting point. ‘Fair Day’ ‘trick of the loop’ men extracted money from innocent young people, old scores were settled in many’s an intoxicated bloody fight over fair or unfair animal prices. Cattle were sold at an Upper Main Street ‘Fair Green’ area. The weighing of all produce on an iron triangle with scales and weights took place on the ‘Diamond’ in full view of all. In the 1700’s a Market Hall (where the Abbey Hotel now partially stands) was constructed where the scales, weights etc were stored. The weighmaster had his own small wooden hut sited on the Diamond which in displayed in these photographs, many circa late 1800’s..In 1890,Sam Glenn from an old Donegal family was granted the weighing lease on Market Day which his family held until 1930, when a new iron weighbridge system was permanently installed in the ground, for weighing carts of coal  and vehicles with other merchandise In the same year this hut was the constructed, replacing an old one.

A new weighmaster Pat Furey and the last weighmaster John Sinclair.In the 1970’s the hut was removed and lay deterioriating in a Donegal Council yard, but now thankfully restored. Throughout the centuries these weighmasters huts on the Diamond  held a strong link to the history and development of Donegal Town.They stood there lonely in the elements as poverty, starvation and famine took its toll.Witnessed country men and women, some as young as twelve years old be sold to prosperous farmers for six months work, for just ten pounds cash, in the ‘slave like’ infamous ‘Hiring Fairs’. Watched whole Donegal families leave for Scottish farms to the (Tatty Hoking ) potato fields where squalid living conditions sleeping on straw in barns were unbearable and unhealthy.Wept as regiments of young Donegal Iniskilling Fusiliers, out of financial necessity, stood at attention,’ to go off to World War 1,many never to return. Watched as foreign forces tried to burn and destroy our town buildings. Saw Republican brother fight viciously against brother over politics. And also present at the ‘Birth of a Nation’.