Donegal County Council Logo


Home > Culture > National Famine Commemoration 2023 > History of the Irish Famine

History of the Irish Famine


Donegal County Council Culture Division, in association with the Donegal Coutny Archives, will be providing historical reflections on the Irish Famine in the lead up to the National Famine Commemoration 2023.


Sources of information


Donegal County Council's Culture Division has a wealth of information in relation to the Great Irish Famine online and onsite. 


To find out about the workhouses of Donegal you can access the booklet online here.


Explore Ballyshannon Workhouse in 3D here.


View a talk by Donegal County Museum based on the Ballyshannon Workhouse Virtual Walk Thru here.


A Long Farewell, The Emigration of Donegal Women, 1845 – 1950 booklet is available here


The Board of Guardians (BG/ Poor Law Union/Workhouses) Collection of Minutes of meetings and admission & Discharge registers are available to view for free by accessing on a PC at your local library. To view your nearest library and opening times click here


The Irish Times Archive at Ask About Ireland provides online access to search their digitised archives free of charge within public libraries and schools in Ireland through


Browse books available in Donegal County Libraries Donegal Studies Collection on the Famine in Donegal here


Have a browse of the other records available from Donegal County Council's Culture Division by clicking on the sources below 

Donegal County Archives

Donegal County Museum

Donegal County Library Service



From The Workhouse to Australia


Did you know that Donegal County Council will host the National Famine Commemoration in Milford on May 21st this year? During the famine years many young Irish orphan girls, including those from Donegal were transported to Australia under the Earl Grey Scheme designed to even the sexes in Australia and relieve the pressure on Workhouses. Some as young as 14 years left their homeland for Sydney alone to be kept at the British Army's Hyde Park Barracks until they were hired. Updates about the National Famine Commemoration being held at Milford coming soon. Read more about the Earl Grey Scheme at:


Orphan Emigration from Ballyshannon

Orphan Database - Irish Famine Memorial

History - Irish Famine Memorial

A Long Farewell Exhibition Booklet


Milford Fever Hospital

On May 21st 2023 Donegal County Council will host the National Famine Commemoration at the site of the Workhouse in Milford, Co. Donegal. While the buliding no longer stands Donegal County Archives helps us gain an insight into life at the workhouse, particularly it's fever hospital during the famine years. More details to be announced on the commemoration in the coming weeks.  

Milford Workhouse Fever Hospital


Milford BG Minutes 15 March 1847 re fever


Milford BG Minute 15 March 1847 transcript

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
  • NRDO European Project Logo
  • Public Art logo
  • Regional Cultural Centre logo
  • Spaceial logo
  • IrishWater
  • LEO