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'Donegal's Farming Heritage' Booklet

Launch of Donegals Farming Heritage Booklet

Launching the ‘Donegal’s Farming Heritage’ booklet are (from left to right) Dr. Jonathan Bell & Mr. Mervyn Watson (authors of the booklet), Cllr. Cora Harvey (Mayor of County Donegal) and Dr. Liam Campbell (producer with UTV’s ‘Lesser Spotted Ulster’).


A free booklet entitled ‘Donegal’s Farming Heritage’ by Dr. Jonathan Bell & Mr. Mervyn Watson was launched in May 2011 as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan. The booklet is based on an audit of heritage objects associated with farming and fishing in County Donegal commissioned by the County Donegal Heritage Office, Donegal County Council and The Heritage Council. Since the eighteenth century, large wealthy farms in the east of the county relied on horse-operated equipment and tractor-powered machinery. Small farms were most common in areas of hilly, marginal land in the north and west of the county. The ‘common’ systems of farming practised on these smallholdings relied on manual labour, and it is here that we find a wide range of hand tools and some locally-made, horse-drawn implements.

The booklet highlights the hand-held implements (such as spades, loys, rakes, sickles and flails) and horse-operated implements (such as swing ploughs, drill ploughs, harrows, seed drills, reaping machines and threshing machines) used in farming in the county. The mechanisation of agriculture and the conservation of Donegal’s farming heritage are also addressed. The booklet is illustrated with historical and modern photographs from around the county and includes a glossary of selected farming heritage objects and practices.

Copies of the booklet are available free-of-charge from the County Donegal Heritage Office, Cultural Services, Donegal County Council on (074) 917 2576 or by e-mail at


Donegal’s Farming Heritage (Booklet)


Audit of Heritage Objects associated with Farming & Fishing (Report) 


An Action of the County Donegal Heritage Plan

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