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Decade of Centenaries County Donegal


Decade of Centenaries County Donegal


2022 Culture Divison, Donegal County Council  

Commemorations Programme 




During 2022,  the Culture Division, Donegal County Council continues to commemorate the Decade of Centenaries.  The Culture Division has secured funding of €57,500 under the Decade of Centenaries Initiative 2012-2023 to deliver the Decade of Centenaries Programme for 2022.               



Museum and Archives Programme


The Museum and Archives Services collaborated with the National Archives to bring the 'Treaty 1921: Records from the Archives' exhibition to Donegal County Museum during May to early June. 



Commemorating the Battle of Pettigo and Belleek - 100 Years








The Battle of Pettigo/Belleek, took place along the Donegal /Fermanagh Border in late May, early June 1922 in the period between the War of Independence and the Civil War. It was the last time that Pro and Anti Treaty Forces fought side-by-side against British forces. It was part of Michael Collins's Northern Offensive, which was intended to destabilise the Unionist state, and was also a reaction to sectarian violence against nationalists in the North. This was the only location in Ireland where Irish forces engaged with British forces in a stand-up fight with a defined battle line and the first time since the Easter Rising whenartillery was used in Ireland.


 On Saturday 28th May 2022,  working on a cross-border basis with Fermanagh County Museum, Donegal County Museum held  a commemorative event in Pettigo and Belleek, which included talks by both national and local speakers, the premiere of a specially commissioned animation, part of the Bordering Realities Project, funded by the Creative Ireland Programme, a History Ireland Hedge School and a walking tour of Pettigo and bus tour to and around Belleek.  Speakers included Dr Éamon Phoenix, Dr Edward Burke, Dr Margaret O’Callaghan and local historians, Jimmy Baird, John Cunningham, and Pauline Gilmartin.  


Commemorative  booklet


Podcast 1
Dr Éamon Phoenix, ‘Raids, Reprisals and the Boundary Question: From the Clones Affray to Craig-Collins Pacts, the Battle of Pettigo and the Civil War, 1922’
Historian/ Historical Consultant, Broadcaster and Journalist; Member of the Taoiseach’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations

Podcast 2
Dr Edward Burke, ‘Operation Basil: The British Army’s Offensive in Belleek and Pettigo’
Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Nottingham. Currently undertaking a two-year early career fellowship funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship. The title of his research project is, "The Greatest Weight? Paramilitaries, Deterrent Violence and Feud in Ulster's Borderlands since 1920."


 Podcast of the Hedge School  panel discussion part of the day



Here is the link to the Film  Northern Offensive – The Battle of Pettigo and Belleek – 100 Years film



Donegal County Museum in association with the Archives Service have organised an interesting and innovative programme of activity for the Decade of Centenaries 2022  which focuses on the impact of the closure of the Workhouse system, which occurred with the foundation of the Irish State.  This programme includes:


Artist in Residence


Decade of Centenaries, Artist in Residence 2022:  Annemarie Ní Churreáin

Renowned Donegal poet, Ms Annemarie Ní Churreáin has been appointed as Decade of Centenaries Artist in Residence at Donegal County Archives for Summer and Autumn months of 2022. 



Life in the Workhouse -  Living History Tours 


'Life in the Workhouse’ Living History tours provided an oppurtunity for young and old to step back in time to hear the stories of those who worked and stayed in County Donegal’s Workhouses during the Revolutionary Period. By using the records preserved in the Donegal Archives Service, visitors to the museum met the Master and Matron of the Workhouse, as well as some of the inmates of the workhouse in the final years of the system - Frances Campbell, a Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers soldier who returned shell-shocked from WWI and Mary Breslin who gave birth to her son James in the Donegal workhouse in 1920. School workshops based on this ran in November and were attended by schools from around the county.




Ballyshannon Virtual Workhouse


The Workhouse is synonymous with the purported social care system that existed in Ireland prior to Independence, but its role in society has often been overlooked or misunderstood.  By using the plans for workhouses devised by George Wilkinson in the 19th century and the conservation report undertaken for Ballyshannon Workhouse, Donegal County Museum and the Archives Service propose creating a virtual reconstruction of a workhouse as it would have appeared in the early twentieth century. With this virtual workhouse we will capture a moment in time when the Workhouse system was still in use prior to the changes which resulted in the aftermath of the revolutionary period. 


Explore the Ballyshannon Workhouse here  





The Museum is also working with An Garda Siochana to commemorate 100 years since their foundation.



Donegal County Archives Programme


The Archives Service continues to digitise important collections and make them accessible and available free of charge on the Donegal County Council Archives webpage  including the;

Buncrana and Bundoran Urban District Council Minute books, 1919 – 1923:Local authorities were critically important in the revolutionary years. Among the many issues they had to face were, the implementation of the  1920 Government of Ireland Act which created the Border; continuing local duties during the War of Independence, including organising the critical local elections of 1920, dealing with compensation claims, rates and the vagaries of the local economy; supporting or rejecting the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Provisional Government and the abolition of the Poor Law system. The minutes of meetings of Buncrana and Bundoran Urban District Councils reflect all these challenges.

 Daniel Doherty papers 

Daniel Doherty from Malin Head had immigrated to the USA in the early years of the Decade of Centenaries. He lobbied US politicians for many years on Irish issues and  campaigned for reunification. His papers which were donated to Donegal County Archives include letters from John F Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Charles de Gaulle, F D Roosevelt and other leading figures in 20th Century world politics




Donegal Library Programme


The Library Service organised a varied, interesting and innovative programme of activity for the Decade of Centenaries 2022:


Podcast Series

A series of six podcasts delivered by local historians on events which occurred in County Donegal during the Decade of Centenaries.


Podcast Series  here


Poetry Event 

The  Central Library, Letterkenny organised an evening of poetry, song and story in August during Heritage Week featuring Paul Muldoon,  who is one of Ireland’s foremost poets. His material ranges over the Revolutionary period, from the Great War to the Easter Rising and much more.


Wainfest Children’s Arts and Book Festival


Wainfest Children’s Arts and Book Festival runs between 8th -16th October 2022 and is a school and family-based programme, ensuring that all children can participate in free  quality cultural events. As part of this years Festival, several online and physical events relating to the Decade of Centenaries will be organised including digital workshops -  which will allow students to engage in digital & green screen technology to send them back in time to the events of the period; a talk by Dr Eoin Kinsella on Irish Lighthouses and their role in safeguarding Ireland’s Coasts during this pivotal decade of Irish history; workshops with authors Patricia Murphy (author of a series of books in the Hands of History series), Gerard Whelan (author of The Guns of Easter, A Winter of Spies, and War Children) and graphic novelist Gerry Hunt.










Virtual Tour of 'From Conflict To Division- Donegal 1919-1925’ 



Enjoy a Virtual Tour of this major Decade of Centenaries exhibition by Donegal County Museum, Culture Division, Donegal County Council  which focuses on the years 1919-1925 in County Donegal.  The exhibition topics range from the War of Independence, the Civil War to Partition, the work of the Boundary Commission and the Border, all of which had a significant impact on life in County Donegal and the North West.


Donegal County Museum’s Decade of Centenaries programme recognises that the period from 1912 to 1923 is perhaps one of the most important in Irish history. The events that occurred during this decade transformed the island of Ireland and have had a lasting impact on Irish politics and society, right up to the present day.


This Virtual Tour was funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media under the Community Strand of the 2021 Decade of Centenaries programme as part of the Decade of Centenaries Initiative 2012-2023.

See the Virtual Tour here








Culture Division, Donegal County Council

Decade of Centenaries Programme 2021


In 2021, the Culture Division delivered 8 engaging and informative projects exploring the history of the Decade of Centenaries in County Donegal.


The 8 projects were:

  1. Artist in Residence

  2. Audit of Memorials associated with the Decade of Centenaries

  3. Historian in Residence

  4. Lecture programme

  5. Open Call to Artists 

  6. Virtual tour of the exhibition “From Conflict to Division Donegal 1919-1925”

  7. Wainfest Decade of Centenaries programme

  8. WWI database




Project 1 – Artist in Residence

Margaret Hannon was commissioned to work with the Donegal County Archives Service and the Donegal County Museum as Artist in Residence to create a piece of new artistic work in response to their collections of material pertaining to the period 1919-1923. Maggie is an actor, writer and theatre maker who most recently wrote and performed her one woman show, Sister Black.  The result of her residency is a drama which tells the story of a grieving woman who has a series of encounters with ghosts from the Decade of Centenaries who challenge her preconceptions of the past. The drama will be performed in November - Covid -19 restrictions permitting.


Project 2 - Audit of memorials

MacConmara Heritage Consulting was appointed to undertake an audit of publically accessible memorials relating to the Decade of Centenaries 1919-1923. They undertook a public consultation process as well as in-depth research which has resulted in a comprehensive audit including a report and database. The project included memorials relating to the War of Independence, Civil War and WWI. Its completion provides us with a powerful resource to interpret how events of a century ago – sometimes contentious, sometimes unifying - have been remembered ever since.  Across Donegal, 81 different memorials were identified.



Project 3 – Historian in Residence

Dr Ben Rogers was commissioned to work with the Donegal County Archives as Historian in Residence. Dr Rogers is currently based in the School of History in University College Dublin.  He  carried out research on two of the County Archives Collections , The Joseph Murray Collection and selected Rural & Urban District Council minute books from 1918 – 1925. The outcome of the research is six published essays and a series of on-line talks.


Project 4 - Lecture programme

The Library Service organised a series of on-line lectures delivered by both local and national experts exploring a variety of themes connected to the revolutionary period.  The series ran from June to September. Speakers included: Liz Gillis, Myles Dungan and Sinead McCoole whose lectures were performed live on-line; Professor Edward Burke, Assistant Professor in International Relations at Nottingham University and Dr Niamh Hamill of the Institute of Study Abroad; and local historians Helen Meehan, Kieran Kelly and Seosamh O Ceallaigh; whose talks were premiered on the Donegal County Council YouTube channel and are available to view at any time.



Project 5 – Open call to Artists

Ann Quinn was commissioned to create two paintings reflecting on aspects of life in Donegal during the period 1919 to 1923. In 2020 Ann received an Artist Bursary Award from the Arts Council of Ireland and has previously exhibited in galleries throughout Ireland and at the RHA Annual Exhibition every year since 2004. She works from her own artist’s studio at Ballylennon, St Johnston, Co Donegal. The theme of both paintings is Donegal women and Donegal homes, during the period 1919-1923. The artist’s aim was to create a bridge between the present and the past by using a real life model in the present Donegal landscape.

'Legnathraw', oil on canvas, 80 x 100cm, 2021 is based on an old house in the small townland of Legnathraw, outside St. Johnston. The painting is set in Summer. 

'Meenagrauv', oil on canvas, 80 x 100cm, 2022 is based on an old cottage in the townland of Meenagrauv outside Stranorlar. The painting is set in Winter.  


Project 6 - Virtual tour of the exhibition “From Conflict to Division Donegal 1919-1925”

Donegal County Museum worked with Paul Marshall of Visual Arts Media to develop a virtual tour of its exhibition From Conflict to Division, Donegal 1919-1925. This virtual tour enables people to access the exhibition from anywhere in the world. It includes a 360 degree tour of the exhibition with the ability to zoom in on each exhibition panel as well as on a select number of artefacts in the exhibition.  The virtual tour will be made available through the Council website.


Project 7 – Wainfest Decade of Centenaries programme

In October, during Wainfest Children’s Festival, the Library Service organised a number of events on the theme of the Decade of Centenaries. These included talks by authors Ann Murtagh and Brian Gallagher and historians Liz Gillis and Ida Milne.  There were educational live online presentations by John D Ruddy, Creator of the YouTube history series Manny Man Does History and by Michael Moylan of Irish History Live.   


Project 8 - WWI database based on the County Donegal Book of Honour

The Museum developed an on-line database containing all the listings published in the County Donegal Book of Honour, The Great War 1914-1918 with additional information researched by the Museum. The searchable database contains information on each person from Donegal who died as a result of the War including, name, service number and place of birth.  The database can be updated as new information is uncovered and will be publically accessible through a link on the Museum webpage.   

 To view the  database visit   or



 Donegal County Museum and the RCC are also collaborating on the 'Bordering Realities' project led by Monaghan County Council,  which will see the delivery of 5 animated films, exploring stories from the Decade of Centenaries in Donegal, Monaghan, Derry, Armagh and Fermanagh.




















Decade of Centenaries Digital Lecture Series - Donegal County Library

Donegal County Council Library Service announced their first ever digital (online) lecture series exploring the themes of the Decade of Centenaries. This free lecture series ran from June to September and consisted of indepth and engaging lectures by highly regarded historians, focusing on the everyday experience of ordinary people living in extraordinary times and and encompassing the different cultural, political and religious traditions throughout the island of Ireland.

The following lectures are available  to view online on the Donegal County Council YouTube Channel i


Kieran Kelly, author and local historian- ‘From Nationalism to Republicanism - Letterkenny in the Decade of Change’



Professor Edward Burke, Assistant Professor in International Relations, Director of Conflict, Security and Terrorism, Faculty of Social Sciences at Nottingham University - “Closing the Gates: Loyalist Paramilitaries and Resistance in County Donegal, 1920-1923”




Helen Meehan ,author and local historian -  “The History and legacy of Cumann na mBan in Donegal”


 Thursday 23rd September at 7.00pm

Dr Niamh Hamill (author and historian) “Broken Promises – Nationalism, Gender and the New Republic’



Seosamh O Ceallaigh. author and local historian -  ‘The War of Independence in Cloughaneely’

For further information on all these Decade of Centenaries lectures contact the Central Library, Letterkenny on 074 9124950.

You can also follow Donegal County Library on Facebook and Twitter. 









-         Revolutionary Times



Donegal County Museum, the Regional Cultural Centre and the Museum and Heritage Service of Derry City and Strabane District Council commissioned and produced a series of six short video pieces which highlight the experiences of women during the Revolutionary Period (1919-1923).  These videos provide snapshots of the period, exploring the stories of women during the struggle for Irish independence.


The Donegal video pieces highlight the varied experiences of local women.

The first video features Eithne Coyle, an active member of Cumann na mBan. During the War of Independence she carried out a one woman campaign holding up trains, seizing goods and burning British newspapers. In September 1922 she was arrested and remained in jail until the end of the Civil War. She was President of Cumann na mBan between 1926 and 1941.  

The second video features Mary Ballantine who was married to Head Constable Joseph Ballantine of the Royal Irish Constabulary. In May 1922, Joseph who had just retired from his position was shot and killed at his home in Raphoe.

The third video features Rose Ann Logue, an Instructress with the Congested Districts Board, who was held up by two armed and masked men who threatened her and cut off her hair.


The Derry films feature Lady Lillian Spender on a tour along the newly-established border in June 1923. Lady Spender describes in her diaries events along the Border in places such as Clady and Pettigo.


To view the Donegal films visit



To view the Derry Films, visit



The video pieces were produced by Dark Daughter Productions with videography by Oath Film Studio. Use of the Diaries of Lillian Spender is by courtesy of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland.


These videos have been supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.







Ó Choimhlint go Deighil -Dún na nGall 1919 -1925


From Conflict To Division – Donegal 1919 – 1925


 A new publication from Donegal County Museum








Donegal County Museum has written and produced a fascinating new booklet entitled “From Conflict to Division: Donegal 1919-1925” which explores the story of the War of Independence, Partition, and the Civil War in County Donegal.

The period 1912 to 1923 is perhaps one of the most important in Irish history. The events that occurred during this decade transformed the island of Ireland and have had a lasting legacy on Irish politics and society, right up to the present day. In the 100 years since, the lines between fact and myth have become blurred and the true story of the revolutionary years was buried but not forgotten. The booklet highlights some of the events from this period that impacted the people of Donegal.

This bilingual booklet was supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012 -2023 Initiative and by the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022.


This free booklet is available online and can be downloaded from Donegal County Museum website see



 A limited number of hard copies are available from Donegal County Museum.

Donegal County Museum High Road, Letterkenny,Co Donegal 

E [email protected]  T 074 91 24613










Culture Division, Donegal County Council

‌The Culture Division of Donegal County Council will deliver the following programme of activities in 2020 as part of the Decade of Centenaries Commemorations. These activities have been supported by the Department of  Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 initiative.




Donegal County Archives 

Digitisation of the Archives (minutes of meetings) of County Donegal’s Ten Rural District Councils during the Revolutionary period in County Donegal, 1918 – 1925


The Archives Service will digitise and make available on-line the bound volumes of the minutes of meetings which are currently stored in the Archives repository in Lifford. These archives are the minutes of meetings of County Donegal’s ten Rural District Councils, during the aftermath of the 1916 Rising, the 1918 General Election, War of Independence, partition, Civil War and early years of the Irish Free State, 1918 - 1925.


For further Information please contact

Donegal County Archives Office

Three Rivers Centre


Co. Donegal

F93 PN3H

Tel: 074 9153900

Email: [email protected]




Donegal County Museum

Decade of Centenaries Booklet


Donegal County Museum will deliver a booklet on the theme of the Decade of Centenaries focussing on the current centenaries – War of Independence; Partition; and the Civil War, as they relate to County Donegal. The booklet will promote a wider understanding of these historical events and their impact in Donegal. It will explore the story from all perspectives and highlight the events of the period using both local and national resources.


For further information, please contact

Donegal County Museum

High Road


Co. Donegal

F92 K123

Tel: 074 9124613

Email: [email protected]



Regional Cultural Centre

Video Pieces


The Regional Cultural Centre working with Dark Daughter productions will deliver a series of  Cross Border video pieces which explore the experiences of women during the Struggle for Independence and the changing role of women in society during the revolutionary period. The video pieces will highlight a previously unexplored aspect of our history and will be presented in a format accessible to a wide audience. 


For further information, please contact 

Regional Cultural Centre

Regional Cultural Centre

Cove Hill, Port Road


Co. Donegal

Tel: 074 912 9186




Donegal 2016 Centenary Programme


Donegal 2016 saw see an extensive programme of events and activities delivered across the county to commemorate the event of the 1916 Rising, to relfect on our achievements over the last 100 years and to look towards our future. 


Download the Donegal centenary Programme‌.


Donegal 2016 Programme Full Page 269 x 389



Funding to support inclusive and appropriate community participation in the commemorations of the 1916 Rising. 


County Donegal in 1916: From the Edge


Donegal County Council History and Heritage Education Pack


As part of the 2016 Easter Rising Centenary commemorations Donegal County Council's Archives, Library, Museum and Heritage Office has produced an education pack, a 64 page illustrated booklet giving an overview of the history of the county of Donegal in that year, and 19 facsimiles of archives and photographs with questions and exercises for students.


The printed version of the pack will be available to schools and individuals interested in this subject from late January 2016.


Copyright remains with Donegal County Council, and all other owners of images contained in the pack; and they cannot be reproduced without prior permission. The pack can be printed off and used for schools or for private research.


Donegal in 1916 Study Pack 1‌           Donegal in 1916 Education Pack 2 100 x 144‌              Donegal in 1916 Education Pack 3 100 x 144

Donegal in 1916

Education Pack 1 

Donegal in 1916

Education Pack 2

Donegal in 1916

Education Pack 3


Donegal in 1916 Facsimilie 1 100 x 144


 Donegal in 1916 Facsimilie 2

 Donegal in 1916 Facsimilie 3

Donegal in 1916

Facsimiles 1

Donegal in 1916

Facsimiles 2

Donegal in 1916

Facsimiles 3