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11/08/20 Discover and explore during Heritage Week

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National Heritage Week takes place from Saturday, August 15 until Sunday, August 23 and people are being encouraged to discover and explore Donegal’s natural, built and cultural heritage.  Rather than a large number of events, The Heritage Council encouraged people, heritage organisations and community groups to develop projects around this year’s theme of ‘Heritage and Education: Learning from Our Heritage’.  The theme is designed to promote the sharing of experience and knowledge, while ensuring heritage is more inclusive than ever in these restricted times.  Projects encourage people to investigate the heritage on their doorstep, to learn a traditional skill or to explore the heritage of education.  Full details of all projects are available on the Heritage Week website ( and all projects registered will be considered for a National Heritage Week Award. 



Archaeological field research by Disert Heritage Group.  The Disert Heritage Group will be releasing a series of short videos daily on the connections that people have with Disert, an early monastic site in south Donegal.


“National Heritage Week will be different this year but has lots to offer” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.  “This year’s heritage projects have embraced a variety of digital and on-line formats, providing innovative ways to explore Ireland’s diverse heritage and include on-line talks, exhibitions, virtual tours, podcasts, videos, blogs as well as small, socially-distanced events.  People can explore their local heritage or discover some national heritage treasures from their own homes.  Projects will be updated regularly so check out the Heritage Week website for more details.” 


Projects in County Donegal include:


-          A series of socially-distanced events at the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre, Donegal Town that include an art exhibition, Free Family Heritage Friday and two railway heritage talks live and on-line;

-          A stained-glass window demonstration by the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee on Saturday, August 22 at 12 noon;

-          A series of short daily videos on people’s connections with Disert, an early medieval monastic site in the foothills of the Bluestack Mountains by the Disert Heritage Group;

-          A video by Arthur Lynch that tells the story of the railway and the people associated with the Burtonport Extension;

-          An on-line presentation on progress on the Kilbarron Castle Conservation Project by the Kilbarron Castle Conservation Group;

-          An opportunity to be a history detective in your own townland by the Drumhome Heritage Society; 

-          On-line exhibitions on Donegal Castle by the Office of Public Works and an on-line digital exhibition on St. Catherine’s Church and Graveyard in Killybegs by Donegal County Museum, University of Ulster and Killybegs History & Heritage Society;

-          A special booklet on local national schools by the Malin Head Heritage Group;

-          The restoration of an old flax spinning wheel by Johnny Shiels;

-          An exhibition on wildlife and flowers by the Finn Valley Irish Countrywomen’s Association;

-          'Cruinniú na gCeoltairí' – a gathering of local musicians with the local musical traditions of south-west Donegal by Inver Heritage Group;  

-          Achance to share your memories of the railways of Donegal with the Donegal County Museum;

-          An Audio Heritage Tour of Ramelton and a sneak preview of the forthcoming ‘Donegal Traditional Shop Fronts & Signage’ booklet by the County Donegal Heritage Office.


 St Catherines church

Take an on-line virtual tour of St. Catherine’s Church & Graveyard during Heritage Week courtesy of Donegal County Museum, University of Ulster and Killybegs History & Heritage Group.


“This year in particular, National Heritage Week offers a moment for community engagement and social cohesion” said Virginia Teehan, Chief Executive of The Heritage Council  “With so many of us holidaying at home, National Heritage Week offers new ideas and experiences to build on our renewed interest in heritage. The projects showcased give us all the opportunity to reflect on our heritage, and to learn something about our past that can perhaps influence our future. I invite people across the country to visit, browse the extensive range of heritage projects that people have worked tirelessly on – and see what small events may be taking place in their area – and connect with their local heritage.”



Morning train to Derry from Burtonpost Station by photographer HC Casserley (1937).  There are several railway heritage-related events taking place for Heritage Week (see


National Heritage Week is coordinated by The Heritage Council and Local Authority Heritage Officers with support from the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and Fáilte Ireland.  The aim of National Heritage Week is to build heritage awareness and appreciation while shining a light on the great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve, conserve and promote our natural, built and cultural heritage.  National Heritage Week is part of European Heritage Days, a joint initiative of the Council of Europe and the European Union in which over forty countries participate each year.  Further information is available on-line at, via e-mail [email protected] or telephone 1850 200 878.


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