Donegal County Council Logo
Home > Culture > Archives > News

2020 News



Donegal County Council Archives Service has acquired the collection (c12 archival boxes) of the work of Ann Doherty, renowned photojournalist. Ann Doherty worked as a photojournalist across the globe from 1994 – 2005.


The photographs feature ordinary people often living in extraordinary situations across the world from Ireland to Sierra Leone, from Italy to Armenia, Ukraine to Egypt. Her images from the late 1990s & early 2000s bring the lives of people from many different nations and cultures sharply into focus against backgrounds of conflict, poverty, social deprivation, hardship, trauma and remoteness. The cataloguing of this important collection will ensure the permanent preservation of and widespread access to this collection.


Donegal County Archives has received a Heritage Council Stewardship Fund grant to catalogue and display this unique collection.


A contract archivist or museum curator is being contracted to catalogue the collection, digitize elements of it (up to 100 items only) and assist in development of an Exhibition at Donegal County Museum (Letterkenny) which will take place in September, including working on theme, drafting text and selecting final images.


The closing date for applications is FRIDAY 10 JUNE 2022. THE PROJECT ITSELF MUST BE COMPLETED BY 30 SEPTEMBER 2022.



Ann Doherty Collection project

Ann Doherty Photojournalism summary




NEWS..  2020 November


Colmille 1500 Primary School Pack 


Abarta Heritage have been contracted to research, write and design an eduation resource pack on the subject of Colmcille's life and legacy. More on this in December.



Democracy and Change: The 1920 Local Elections in IrelandDaonlathas agus Athrú, Na Toghcháin Áitiúla de 1920 in Éirinn



This year marks the centenary of the local elections of 1920 which were pivotal in the history of local government in Ireland.




To mark these events, and because of their significance for the struggle for independence, the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage recently commissioned a publication from the Local Government Archivists and Records Managers to commemorate the 1920 local elections.  Edited by archivists Niamh Brennan (Donegal) and Grainne Doran (Wexford) with the title 'Democracy and Change: the 1920 Local Elections in Ireland' this publication is available to download free of charge, in Irish and in English.




Included are images from Donegal County Archives Collection.





If you would like to find out more about this period in our history please view the booklet in English and as Gaeilge at:




...Donegal Archives Service has had to close again due to Covid- 19 restrictions applied nationwide. We hope to reopen as soon as possible. If you have a query about any of our archives services or resources, or any material you wish to donate to the Archives please email the archivist at [email protected] .


Some of our collections are online, to view the Workhouse (Board of Guardians/Poor Law Unions) collecctions see  To view some of our collections online for free, please view other pages of this website (Selected Digitised Archives; Digitised Archives of 1916; Decade of Centenaries Digitised Collections).


Please note that many collections related to family history are online, including the Irish Census of 1901 and 1911; Births, Deaths and Marriages ( See our Family History pages for more information and links.


Stay safe and looking forward to meeting up again soon.







 July 2018

Donegal County Archives acquires donation of historic documents relating to Coláiste Uladh signed by Eamon de Valera in 1968


Donegal County Archives wis delighted to be the recipient of four historic documents relating to the opening of the new school building for Coláiste Uladh, Gortahork, on 21st

July 1968, exactly fifty



 years ago this month. The documents include:


The key item is a beautifully preserved letter signed by Eamon de Valera, President of Ireland, to Breandán Uasal Mac Cnáimhsí, Uachtarán Choláiste Uladh, dated 24 July 1968, thanking him and his team for the welcome they gave him and their kindness to him on the occasion of the opening of the new college building, stating as Gaeilge:

'Bhain mé an-taitneamh as imeachtaí an lae agus ba mhór an sasamh agus an dóchas a thug mé liom óna raibh ar siúl agaibh.'

Also included is an original invitation card, personally signed by President de Valera, to Bean Bhreandán Mhic Cnaimhsí, with details of the day’s programme, including Mass and Blessing by the Bishop of Raphoe, An Dr. Mac Ficheallaigh and the Official opening by the Minister for the Gaeltacht, Pádraig Ó Fachtna.

Included also is a Menu for dinner on the day, and a list of the toasts (sláintί.)

All the above documents are originals and signed by President De Valera.

The envelope from the President addressed to Breandán Uasal Mac Cnáimhsí has also been preserved.

The collection was kindly donated by the family of Breandán Uasal Mac Cnáimhsí and Donegal County Archives was delighted to be its recipient.



Letter signed by Eamon de Valera, President of Ireland, to Breandán Uasal Mac Cnáimhsí, Uachtarán Choláiste Uladh, dated 24 July 1968:

Colaiste Uladh letter from President Eamon de Valera

Invitation card (cover), personally signed by President de Valera, to Bean Bhreandán Mhic Cnaimhsí:

Colaiste Uladh Invitation cover



Menu (cover) for dinner on the day, and a list of the toasts (sláintί):

Colaiste Uladh menu cover


Menu for dinner on the day, and a list of the toasts (sláintί):

Colaiste Uladh menu inside












..... Conservation of Gweedore Hotel Visitors’ Books

A Creative Ireland funded project 2017


Gweedore Hotel Conservation Report


Conservation and rebinding of two leather-bound Gweedore Hotel visitors’ registers dating from 1842 – 1874


The Gweedore Hotel is famous in County Donegal’s history. Owned by controversial landowner Lord George Hill during the 19th century, the hotel was hugely popular with wealthy tourists from Ireland and abroad.  Hill acquired much land in the north west of Donegal  and was regarded by some people as a good reforming landlord, though there was plenty of local opposition to his reforms.


Both hotel books were donated to Donegal County Archives a number of years ago and were digitised and the digitised images placed online on the Donegal County Council Cultural Services Archives website. The two visitors’ books are unlike most visitors’ books you will encounter. They are an extremely significant source for social, economic and political history. They contain vivid handwritten comments by visitors on all the controversies of the day. There are stories, poems, treatises, sketches, opinion pieces and drawings relating to the hotel itself and to life in rural Gweedore, including relating to Lord George Hill’s dealings with his tenants. Themes include poverty and the Great Famine, farming, the rundale system, land reform, tenant rights,  landscape, emigration, politics, illegal distillation of whiskey, and tourism. Visitors include the rich and famous of the time, such as Robert William Wilde, Sir James Dombrain, Thomas Carlyle, John Mitchel, Thomas Emerson Headlam and the Marchioness of Londonderry. 


Donegal County Archives holds two hotel visitors’ books, covering the above dates. The books were both in extremely fragile physical condition, with almost all the pages torn or damaged and the spines broken. Both bound volumes could not be handled by the public, and needed urgent conservation work to the covers, binding and to the pages themselves. The Ox Bindery in Co. Sligo ( has done a wonderful job of painstakingly repairing the bound volumes. This was a huge undertaking and included manual repair of pages,  ‘leafcasting’ (filling in missing parts of pages), trimming, sewing textblock, adding spine lining, adding new cloth endpaper joint and new flyleaves, reattaching boards, creating a leather tone to match with the original, new leather re-back, pasting back the original leather, corner repairs, reshaping warped boards and creating a custom made phase box for storage. Some of this extensive work can be seen from the images.


 This project comes under Pillar 2 Enabling Creativity in every Community, and promotes the preservation and conservation of and access to our cultural heritage. The conservation work was funded by Creative Ireland and Donegal County Council.

This now completes all archival work necessary on the two Gweedore Hotel Visitors' books, which have now been listed, digitised for conservation and public access, placed online, and fully conserved.

To read the two books online please see the Archives pages of the Council website, under Collections or follow the link at









Rate this Page

Select an option below

Map Services

Map Portal

  • winterweather Image
  • NWGreenway network icon
  • Donegal Tourism Logo
  • Rennet Image
  • NPPR Logo
  • Donegal Gathering Logo
  • Donegal Diaspora Logo
  • Public Art logo
  • Regional Cultural Centre logo
  • Spaceial logo
  • IrishWater
  • LEO