No image of Donnelly exists
Donnelly is one of the four main characters of the story.
Donnelly is an eighteenth century writer whose book on the Hebridean islands is referred to by the narrator throughout the game. Donnelly traveled to the island to find information on a famous hermit living there. Unable to find the hermit, he charts the island and writes a history of its inhabitants, particularly a herder named Jakobson. Donnelly suffers from syphilis and a laundanum addiction, the latter possibly due to pain he suffers from kidney stones. His syphilis makes him an unreliable narrator, a fact highlighted by the editor of his book and the many differing accounts he gives of Jakobson's death. Donnelly returns home, eventually dying of his disease, and donates his body to the medical school.
Though Donnelly does not appear physically in the game, he is mentioned numerous times by The Narrator. Donnelly wrote sometime before his death (but during his sickness) a book named "A Hebridean History". Though the book is published, its reliability is often brought into question. Donnelly, being ill with syphilis, was delirious at the time of writing the book.
The Narrator reveals that he took Donnelly's book from a library, and at the end of his journey burns the book (though he originally intended to throw it into the sea.) Although the Narrator claims to have burnt the book, it can be found, apparently unscathed, in the bothy's fireplace. Whether this means The Narrator was unable to return to burn the book or if it is a sign of The Narrator's unreliability is unclear.
He claims that he is unsure of whether or not he has thrown the book into the sea several times before. If the player turns right and follows the stream before entering the mouth of the cave, they may see a pile of copies of Donnelly's book.
- Esther may be a descendant of Donnelly, since the narrator called her Esther Donnelly in one of the game's final monologues.
- Donnelly has a drug addiction in the Narrator's fantasy.
- In a cove inlet during The Buoy, a trunk case full of Donnelly's books can be found strewn about. These several copies imply that while the narrator intended to discard his initial copy by throwing it into the sea, more may come washing back to haunt him.