Jimmy Kennedy received his O.B.E. for his vast contribution from his musical compositions. Great songs of the past included, ‘Isle of Capri, The Prayer, Harbour Lights, Red Sails in the Sunset, South of the Border, Teddy Bears Picnic and many others.
The answer to the question, “Was Anna Baskin related to the Baskin Family from Corkermore? -still remains temporarily elusive.
The same question is directed towards the former RTE presenter, the well known and popular Bibi (Olive) Baskin. Could Bibi be a descendant of James and/or Thomas Baskin?

Mr Richard Cooke, from Dunkineely, has indicated that he is not a descendant of the Cooke family named on the 1815 map but has kindly agreed in assisting with further research on the Baskin Family of Corkermore. It is evident that the families listed previously occupied this remote area around 1750s or before. Apart from the map there is not much historical material available for this time period. Surprisingly another lover of music, especially of the traditional form was a gentleman called Packie Manus Byrne, who wrote a book entitled,” Recollections of a Donegal Man.” This tells the vivid, imaginative story of an isolated crafting community in the townland of (you’ve guessed it) Corkermore. I was thankful to the author for writing such a story, as it illustrated the charms of tradition in rural Donegal, presented in an exciting yet humorous and adventurous style. Not only a traditional musician but Packie Manus Byrne was also a well known poet and storyteller, admired by all of his listeners. In his book he tells us that his townland of Corkermore was a remote area without any reliable road structure over an area of small, scattered crofters’ farmsteads. His accuracy of description mirrors the 1815 artifact quite demonstratively. From a quick glance of the map illustration, the distances between the dwellings coincides with his view of an isolated community in the years of his childhood, comparable to the period of the tenancies of 1800s. In previous centuries the cut out bogs were essential, providing turf for fuel and energy. Today, it appears that wind turbines are the modern concept of the provision of energy, unfortunately, at a cost of diminishing the natural appearance of the ruggedness of our wonderful Irish landscapes. Can this be true progress?

In the early 1900s Manus Byrne says,’ People were self-sufficient to a degree that has no parallel today.’ How true are those words! He describes Corkermore as, ‘like the hub of a wheel with Ardara, Killybegs, Dunkineely and Glenties all about the same distance away around the rim of a wheel.’ In those early days the community was like a team always willing to help a neighbour no matter what the distress. Social interaction was always forthcoming.

In comparison to the 1815 map image, Corkermore was a large farming townland of small scattered farms reliant on the soil and what each farmer was able to produce to keep the family alive. The map identifies how the soil was vitally important to each and every crofter, as every field was described in topographical detail in order to produce conscientious and careful farming. The homes were thatched cottages of one story with each crofter having strong instincts for survival, which in turn, gave rise to a healthy community spirit. Having completed some initial research on some of the names living in Corkermore today, it was noticeable that several of the residents became related during the past and present years.

Tenants close to the Baskin Farmstead of 1815 in Corkermore

Tenants close to the Baskin Farmstead of 1815 in Corkermore.

Charles Breslin
David Shaw
John and James Watts
William Walker

The farmsteads were located between Tullinteane and Oily Rivers.

Cook Family
Yet another interesting family name inserted in the map is that of Cook, George and Thomas. At this time of writing I believe that they could be father and son or brothers although I hope to establish their relationship later. Their farmstead is located in Corker Beg, the small adjoining townland of Corkermore, at the bottom of the map. Unfortunately, the major portion of Corker Beg is missing but the field number of their tenancy is marked with their two names quite legible. The cottage does not appear like the others but the tenancy boundary of their farmstead is slightly apparent.

The farmstead of George and Thomas Cooke in portion of Corker Beg

The farmstead of George and Thomas Cooke in portion of Corker Beg.

A certain descendant of this Cooke family, Allan Angus Munro, an Australian, has written a book on his family history entitled, ’From Corkerbeg to Cuyahoga and Kiama.’
It tells in story form, of the many member descendants of the Cooke family and some of their progressions and experiences after emigration.

In 1802, George Cooke, son of Thomas and Margaret was born in the small townland of Corker Beg, County Donegal. From Allan Angus Munro’s book it is now clear that George Cooke was the son of Thomas. As small farmers of previous civilisations cultivated the soil, then so did the Cooke Family of Corker. Thomas and Margarets’ son George married Bess Mc Gee in Corker and Angus Munro relates how one member of the family fought in the American Civil War, whilst another became a missionary. Allan names many of the Cooke family descendants through marriage, such as Shaw, Walker, Mc Kee, Dean. He goes on to state that the Walkers were granted land in St. John’s Point as a reward for military service in the 1600s. This family then became landlords in the townland of Ballywoges near Corker. These families are inserted on the map.

Unexpectedly, Allan refers to the Great Famine in Ireland and the hardships it presented to the inhabitants. He was able to find evidence of his ancestors who were residents in Corker at this time. Prior to, during and after the famine the only solution to prevent more suffering of the people was simply, emigration. Even though some of the Cooke family remained at home to face the trials and tribulations of this surge of despair, others fled to America and Australia. An example of this emigration was James Stewart Cooke who was born in Ireland in 1842. He enlisted in the service of the United States at Cleveland, Ohio, was captured near Franklin, Tennessee 1864, was confined to Andersonville Prison. He was put on board the steamer Sultana on the Mississippi River. He Declared,’ Most of us died more than a dozen living deaths while in prison, and looked more like candidates for the bone-yard than for anything else.’ James Stewart Cooke died in 1908.