Discussions are under way on new historical information plaques for Inch Castle.
The new bilingual signage would provide information on the monument’s heritage and allow the public to engage with the castle from a safe distance.
“We are delighted to be working with the West Inishowen History and Heritage Society on new signage,” says a spokesperson for the Doherty family. “We have submitted a funding application for the signage to the County Council.”
The 15th century castle is located on the Doherty family farm, so is thus in private ownership. However, it is also an officially recorded monument. So, the family liaise with the National Monuments Service about safety and maintenance issues like fencing.
New fencing has recently been approved by the National Monuments Service, say the family. “The fencing is unobtrusive and will not block viewing of the castle from the beach or the Farland Bank walkway. It will protect the castle, which has been in disrepair for centuries, whilst also protecting the public and safety at the site.”
The fencing is expected to be completed shortly. The public can view the castle safely from the causeway of the Inch Wildfowl Reserve. The family say that adding information plaques at a safe location “will inform the public in both Irish and English about the castle’s history and heritage”
The family have also been in contact with the Heritage Officer for Donegal County Council. They are looking at the availability of grant aid for preserving the castle ruins.
“Because the castle has been in disrepair for so long, we don’t believe that restoration is feasible,” say the family. “However, it would be ideal if the monument could be assessed to see if viable measures can be performed to help reduce the risk of further decay”.
Inch Castle was built around 1430 by the Gaelic Irish lord, Neachtain O’Donnell for his father-in-law Cahir O’Doherty. O’Doherty was the last Gaelic Chief of the O’Doherty clan and was Lord of Inishowen. Inch was an island at the time the castle was built and was considered to be a highly secure site. It guarded the waters of Lough Swilly and the heartlands of the O’Doherty’s land.
The Doherty family has owned the land and the castle for over 50 years. They report their delight to be working with West Inishowen History and Heritage Society to get information plaques erected to honour the castle and its incredible history.
The family want to thank all of those who are working with them to help preserve the castle and its heritage. This includes the National Monuments Service, Donegal County Council Heritage Officer, Dedulas Architecture and the West Inishowen History and Heritage Society.
“We are very grateful for their continued help and guidance,” said a spokesperson.