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Donegal County Museum contains an ever-growing collection of over 7,000 artefacts representing a wide range of periods and topics.


Designated Museums


As a ‘Designated Museum’ under the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997 and the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994, DonegalCountyMuseum is legally entitled to retain objects on behalf of the State. The National Museum of Ireland will only lend objects for display to designated museums.  Curators of Designated Museums are empowered to act on behalf of the Director of the National Museum to ensure that objects are investigated, reported and preserved as State property.


Archaeological Object


An Archaeological Object is an object " whether in a manufactured or partly manufactured or an unmanufactured state which by reason of the archaeological interest attaching thereto or of its association with any Irish historical event or person has a value substantially greater than its intrinsic (including artistic) value, and the said expression includes ancient human, animal or plant remains ". National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994.


All archaeological objects found with no known owner are the property of the State. If you find an archaeological object you must report the find to the National Museum of Ireland or a designated museum (like Donegal County Museum).



National Museum of Ireland


The National Museum of Ireland is the authority responsible for the care of all archaeological artefacts that are found with no known owner and they receive their powers from the National Monuments Act, 1930 and its subsequent amendments of 1954, 1987, 1994 and 2004. If you have or find such an object please report it immediately to a Designated Museum (Donegal County Museum), the National Museum or your local Garda station.


Archaeological Survey of Donegal


The Museum is the home of the Archaeological Survey of Donegal. The survey contains the original field notes, maps, plans and slides of the sites and monuments listed in the archaeological survey that was published in 1983. Members of the public can consult the original files by appointment.


Record of Monuments and Places (RMP)


The Record of Monuments & Places, formerly the Sites & Monuments Record (SMR), is a statutory audit of archaeological monuments established under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994. Structures, sites, features and objects are listed in the Record of Monuments & Places. The paper Record of Monuments & Places consists of marked-up Ordnance Survey six-inch maps and a manual listing basic information in relation to each monument or area included in the Record of Monuments & Places. In County Donegal, there are over 3,000 sites on the Record of Monuments & Places and most of them are in private ownership. Sites in the Record of Monuments & Places are protected under the National Monuments Acts (1930-2004) and are indicated on the paper maps by being circled or boxed in as appropriate by a black line. While the circles or boxes indicate their location, they do not define their exact extent. To find out what archaeological monuments are in your area and to consult the electronic version of the Record of Monuments & Places, consult the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht website at:


Recorded Monuments & Consent for Works


Where works are to be carried out on or close to a Recorded Monument or a Zone of Archaeological Potential (irrespective of whether planning permission is required or not) then the person proposing the works must give two months notice in writing to the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht prior to starting.





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