As National Heritage Week starts on Saturday, August 18 and runs until Sunday, August 26, people in Donegal are being urged to take part in this year’s extensive programme of events. County Donegal is the county with the most events taking place in the country outside Dublin, Cork and Galway.
“Heritage Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of the heritage of County Donegal” explains Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.
“Indeed, County Donegal is one of the places to be during Heritage Week with over 90 events already planned in the county during that week, most of which are free. Tremendous credit must go the many heritage organisations, community groups and individuals who organise events often on a voluntary basis. Anchored by events organised by Glenveagh National Park and Cultural Services, Donegal County Council, it means that there’s lots of choice for residents and visitors alike.”
National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council & Local Authority Heritage Officers with support from Fáilte Ireland. Speaking about Heritage Week.
Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. said “It is fantastic to see the popularity of National Heritage Week grow each year as more and more people across Ireland engage with it, organising and attending events in their community. The range of events taking place during National Heritage Week demonstrates the diversity and importance of Ireland’s heritage.
“Now more than ever, the contribution that heritage makes to local and national economic development, as well as to Ireland’s tourism offering, is being recognised. I would strongly encourage people in all parts of Ireland to get involved and to take part in National Heritage Week activities in their locality”. Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council said “Each year we are seeing a huge increase in the number of individuals and groups getting involved in the week. Seven years ago just 500 events took place for National Heritage Week, this year the week has hit a record high, with over 1,400 events already registered. Based on last year’s events by the time Heritage Week comes round that figure will have risen to well over 1,500 events. We expect over 600,000 people to attend events across the country, meaning a huge knock-on economic effect for local communities.”
There are over 90 ‘Heritage Week’ events taking place in County Donegal and include family open days, guided walks, built heritage open houses, heritage site visits, fieldtrips, exhibitions, illustrated presentations, photographic competition, children’s activities, genealogical research, storytelling sessions, traditional music, craft fairs and traditional skills demonstrations.
The Cultural Services Division of Donegal County Council (which includes Archives, Arts, Heritage, Library, Museum, Regional Cultural Centre and Public Art services) has organised, or is hosting, 20 free ‘Heritage Week’ events.
Glenveagh National Park has a full programme of events including free weekend days, guided nature walks and garden tours, birds of prey displays, natural heritage educational activities (including National Park Adventure Days), medieval weaponry display, storytelling, craft stalls, traditional music, song and dance, and children’s entertainment.
Week-long events include a photographic exhibition on leisure and sport in the Twin Towns area in the Ballybofey Branch Library; heritage wall display, art and craftwork at the Burtonport Welcome Centre; photographic account of Féile Grianan Áiligh at Carndonagh Community Library; the ‘Sites of Reverie’ summer exhibition at Cavanacor House in Ballindrait; the ‘Donegal Diaspora: Tracing Your Family History’ exhibition in the Central Library in Letterkenny; Fahan Heritage Walks starting from St. Mura’s Graveyard in Fahan; an exhibition on the genealogy of the Parish of Kilcar in Áislann Chill Chartha, Kilcar; an exhibition on ‘Poster Art of the Olympics’ and an exhibition on parades, marches and processions entitled ‘Marching Colours’ in the County Museum, Letterkenny; an exhibition celebrating the unique history of Gweedore in Áislann Ghaoth Dobhair in Derrybeg; a photographic exhibition on Milford’s built and natural heritage in Milford Community Library; a collection of old photographs from the 1950s taken around the parish of Moville in Moville Branch Library; and ‘The 5th Birthday Show’ at the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.
A day-by-day outline of the all ‘Heritage Week’ events in available on the County Donegal Heritage Office website at: www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage or on the Heritage Week website at: www.heritageweek.ie Selected daily highlights include:
Saturday, August 18:
Join Joseph Brennan for a Red Grouse Walk at Cró na mBraonáin, Shallogans, Fintown (9:30 a.m.). There’s an open day at the Killybegs International Carpet-Making & Fishing Centre (11 a.m. – 3 p.m.) and an exhibition and presentation on ‘Rutland Shipwrecks & Maritime Archaeology’ in Burtonport organised by the Burtonport Heritage Group in association with the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht (12 noon). BirdWatch Ireland hosts a Tory Island Heritage Walk (1 p.m.). Traditional cottages that have been conserved and restored are open to the public in the Dungloe area between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Archaeologist Paula Harvey will lead a guided tour of megalithic tombs in Kilclooney (2:30 p.m.).
Sunday, August 19:
There’s an open day at Dunfanaghy Workhouse (10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) and a Family Fun Day at Donegal Castle (12 noon to 5 p.m.). A Wonderful Fair Day is planned at Glebe House, Church Hill (12 noon to 5 p.m.). There’s a guided walk along the Burtonport Railway (2 p.m.) while the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group will be hosting land-based whale watches at St. John’s Point and at Malin Head (2 p.m.). An Taisce have organised a boat tour of Lough Swilly departing from Rathmullan Pier (3 p.m.). There are also guided fieldtrips in Ballyshannon, Kilcar, Fahan and Glencolmcille.
A full breakdown of daily events is available on the County Donegal Heritage Office website at: www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage. Craft workshops are being held at The Erratic Makers in Dungloe and in Dunfanaghy Workhouse on various days throughout the week. On Monday evening, local historian Helen Meehan will give a presentation on ‘The Background to the Ulster Covenant’ in the Central Library, Letterkenny (6 p.m.). The newly-formed Ballybofey & Stranorlar District History Society will lead a history trail of the Twin Towns on Monday evening also (7 p.m.). There’s a knitting gathering at Sean Scoil Tráighéanach, Cloghbolie on Tuesday (8 p.m.). The biodiversity to be found along the Burtonport Railway line will be explored in a guided walk with ecologist John Wann on Wednesday (3 p.m.). The built and cultural heritage takes centre stage on Wednesday evening with a guided tour of Raphoe and Beltany Stone Circle by the Raphoe Heritage Project (6:30 p.m.) and a fieldtrip to the Stone Age Tombs of Glencolmcille with archaeologist Paddy O’Donovan (7 p.m.). There’s a talk on the Donegal Currach in Gweedore Community Library (7 p.m.) on Wednesday and an evening of storytelling and song at Fort Dunree (8 p.m.). Birds of prey will be on display in Ionad Teampaill Chróine in Dungloe on Thursday (11 a.m.). The conservation of the built heritage of Brownhall, Ballintra will be outlined in an on-site presentation and tour also on Thursday (2:30 p.m.). There’s a lecture on the life and work of Harry Percival Swan in Buncrana Community Library (4 p.m.) and a natural heritage tour of Ros Bán Gardens and the Carnone Woodlands near Raphoe (5:45 p.m.) on Thursday too. Marc Geagan will give a presentation entitled ‘The Independent Republic of Bundoran’ in Bundoran Community Library on Thursday (8 p.m.). On Friday, there’s an opportunity to visit the restoration of stone-slated cottages at Roshin, Dunfanaghy with Caroline Dickson Architects (10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). The Burtonport Heritage Group have organised a walk through the built heritage and history of Burtonport on Friday (3 p.m.). On Friday evening, there’s a celebration of the music, storytelling and folklore of the Bluestacks/Na Cruacha Gorma in St. Connell’s Museum in Glenties (8:30 p.m.).
Saturday, August 25:
Local historian Helen Meehan will lead a guided tour of local heritage sites in the Inver area organised by the Inver Community Centre History Group (11 a.m.). the Rosses Anglers’ Association will host a ‘Fun with Fly Fishing’ event (12 noon – 4 p.m.). A fieldtrip of local heritage sites with Cary Meehan leaves from Dunfanaghy Workhouse at 2 p.m. while the McGlinchey Association hosts a guided walk in Clonmany at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 26:
On the closing day of ‘Heritage Week’, Donegal Castle has a medieval weaponry display (12 noon to 5 p.m.). At Oakfield Park in Raphoe, it’s ‘Steam Sunday’ with working model exhibits by the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre (12 noon – 6 p.m.). Newmills Corn & Flax Mills near Letterkenny has a demonstration of stone-ground corn milling (1 p.m. – 5 p.m.). There are presentations on World War II plane crashes in the Inishowen Maritime Museum in Greencastle at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. There are fieldtrips in Carrowmenagh (2 p.m.) organised by the Tremone Historical Society and at Bulaba Mountain (2:30 p.m.) organised by the McGlinchey Association in Inishowen. There is the annual mass in the thirteenth-century Tullaghbegley historic graveyard near Falcarragh at 3 p.m. while the Donegal Historical Society host one of its annual field days in Bundoran also at 3 p.m.
The County Donegal Heritage Office, Cultural Services, Donegal County Council has produced the highly-popular, pocket-size ‘Heritage Week Event Guide for County Donegal’ again this year and it is available free-of-charge from libraries, public service centres, museums, heritage centres and tourist offices and on-line at the County Donegal Heritage Office website at: www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage. Updates are available on the National Heritage Week website at: www.heritageweek.ie
Photo 1 caption:
Cover of the free County Donegal ‘Heritage Week’ Event Guide compiled by the County Donegal Heritage Office and available from libraries, museums, heritage centres and tourist offices in the county.
For further information, please contact:
County Donegal Heritage Office,
Donegal County Council,
Telephone: (074) 917 2576