In the “Brief Account” written two centuries after St. Patrick died, the author Tirechan tells us that St. Patrick travelled through the Barnsmore Gap to Magh Ithe where he established a church which he called Donaghmore. After doing so, he departed to establish the churches of Inishowen. In the 10th Century document “Tripartite Life,” it is written that St. Patrick left a man named Dubhan in charge of the Finn Valley church.
The name Donaghmore is from Dombnach Mor which means “big church.” Dombnach is an Irish word from the Latin word for church (dominicum).
The site where St. Patrick’s church was located is thought to be where the Donaghmore Church of Ireland is located today. It is on the south side of the N15 road between Killygordon and Castlefin. The church used to be part of the Catholic Diocese of Derry. After the Protestant Reformation, it became an Anglican church and supported by tithes collected from all landholders in the parish.
The cemetery there was the only cemetery in the parish in the 18th century. With the blessing of the Protestant vicar, Catholics continued to be buried there until a cemetery was established next to the Catholic chapel in Crossroads.