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Museum Projects

Over the years, Donegal County Museum has participated in various projects. Some of the most recent projects include:


Plantation to Partition project

Plantation to Partition: Shared Understanding, Remembrance & Legacy was led by Derry City Council’s Heritage & Museum Service working in partnership with its partner councils, Strabane District Council, Omagh District Council and Donegal County Council – represented by the Museum Service.


The programme explored the 400 year period from Plantation to Partition and its legacy in a cross community/cross border capacity.  It promoted shared use of spaces and resources as a means of developing an understanding of our shared heritage and a deeper awareness of our cultural identities and ensure a lasting legacy beyond 2013. 


Participants were recruited on a cross-community and cross-border basis.  A facilitated programme of workshops took place bringing different groups together to discuss a variety of themes including:


  • Plantation (400th anniversary in 2013);
  • Emigration (legacy and impacts today);
  • Partition (legacy and anniversaries of Ulster Covenant 1912, Easter Rising 1916, Civil War 1919-20; and Treaty/ Partition 1921).
  • Battle of the Somme 1916.
  • Irish Cultural revival


Each participating group hosted visits and tours of their own area as well as places of relevance to a selected theme. 


 The project also included the following elements:


  • An interactive cross-community archaeological dig at Dunnalong, Co. Tyrone, a defensive enclosure dating from the Plantation period – and a supporting publication “The Lost Settlement of Dunnalong”.
  • History Ireland Hedge School to mark the Ulster Covenant centenary in September 2012 – hosted by Donegal County Museum and held in Letterkenny. 
  • Production of a touring exhibition on the themes of
  • Plantation
  • Emigration
  • Gaelic revival, Birth of Unionism, Ulster Covenant
  • Easter Rising/Battle of the Somme 1916
  • Partition
  • Legacy
  • “Planters, Paupers and Rebels” – Living History production for schools.
  • “From Home To Foreign Fields” booklet on WWI in each Council area
  • 4 short docudramas on themes of Emigration, WWI, Partition and Alice Milligan/Gaelic Revival


The Hands of History Project 2013


The Museum was a partner organisation in the Hands of History project. The Project was an Action of the Donegal Peace III Action Plan 2011 – 2013. The aim of the project was to develop and deliver a programme exploring how we remember key events in our history, and how the legacies of these events have contributed to relationships today. The programme offered opportunities for individuals and communities to challenge attitudes, to share perspectives and develop greater levels of trust and tolerance.


 The project was supported by the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation and was managed for the Special EU Programmes body by Donegal County Council.


The Project programme included;


  • A Seminar programme
  • Study Visits
  • Schools Programme
  • Drama
  • Conference
  • Workshops and Exhibitions
  • Archives and Library programme



1. The seminar programme included:


 Ethical and Shared Remembering, a 6 week programme of facilitated lectures and discussions focused on events in the period between 1912 and 1922. The seminars examined how we can remember these events ethically.


Epilogues - The  ‘epilogues’ programmefacilitates discussion and reflection on key themes around peace building through inclusive workshops which explore the conflict in Northern Ireland from the perspective of people who were part of it, or suffered as a result of it.

Seminar Series - Themes including Women in History, First World War and Social History



 2. Study Visits


There were two study visits organised as part of the project: Belgium – a cross community group participated in a facilitated programme which gave recognition to all those from the island of Ireland who fought and died in World War One. 



Balkans - This Programme focused on the recent conflict in the Balkans and how the experiences of the various groups involved could be utilised to build peace and reconciliation between communities in Donegal and on a cross-border basis,



3. Schools Programme – this programme was delivered by the Peace and Reconciliation Group


to 12 National Schools (240 children) in County  Donegal. The project was delivered to pairs of schools (cross community), who had an opportunity to visit each others school during the programme. 6 Heritage Trails were produced, one per pair of schools.



4. Drama – A 45 minute one-act play by Blue Eagle productionsset in Donegal in the mid-1920’s. It examined some of the challenges faced by Protestants within the Irish state immediately after Partition.  The play was followed by a facilitated discussion where audience members were encouraged to share their own feelings and stories on the subject.  Over 500 adults and children in Donegal saw the play and took part in the discussions. 



5. Conference - Two day conference in June which addressed the history, legacy and experiences of the Donegal~Irish Diaspora.  It brought together politicians, journalists, writers and academics from Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand, and America to discuss the economic, political and cultural influence of our Diaspora and their contribution to the development of these countries. 



6. Workshops and Exhibitions – The Museum worked with groups and venues throughout the County to deliver a series of exhibitions and events on a variety of themes, which culminated in an exhibition in the Museum in the October. The themes were related to local history and community groups and schools carried out the research. Five exhibitions were produced and displayed in the CountyMuseum and then in each area.



7. Library - Donegal Library Services delivered two actions:A. Who do you think you are? – A Guide to Genealogy Resources was published and launched in September 2013. B. The Library compiled three bibliographies of books (an adult collection, a children’s collection and a Donegal Studies collection) on the decade 1912 – 1922.  A set of these books is available at a library in each electoral area.



8. Archives  - County Archives Service produced a Document Study Pack which provides an overview of Ireland, and in particular Donegal between 1912 and 1923. The pack is a resource for teachers and students throughout the decade of commemoration and beyond.



Edges International Project (EDGES)



For the past 7 years, Donegal County Council, through its Cultural Services Division, has been participating, with partners in Iceland and Norway, in an innovative transnational, North Atlantic cultural project entitled EDGES. EDGES is a co-operative effort combining cultural heritage and contemporary art as a means of strengthening local identity and of sharing experiences to further educational and tourism development practice in three peripheral regions of the Northern Atlantic. The overall challenge has been to devise new ways of advancing a sense of community and an appreciation of local heritage, in a global context.


The project partners are Vesterålen Regional Council (Norway), East Iceland Cultural Council and Donegal County Council Cultural Services (includes the Museum Service).  The coastal areas in these three countries share similarities in terms of economies and cultural traits and are historically linked through the Early Christian and the Viking Eras. All are located on Europe's periphery and are remote from the capitals of their respective countries.


Over 2007 and 2008, DonegalCountyMuseum partnered with Minjasafn Austurlands East Iceland and Museum Nord in Vesterålen on web-based exhibition entitled Wool, on a theme associated with wool and sheep herding in the three regions. The web-based collaboration was accompanied by simultaneous exhibitions in each of the three participating museums.




Between January 2010 and July 2011 a three-part residency series, under the titles Edge of the Sea, Edge of the Pier and Edge of the Imagination, was completed in Donegal, Vesteralen and East Iceland. The Edge of The Sea Residency at Donegal County Museum, ran from January to July 2010.  The lead Artists in Residence were musicians Joleen McLaughlin from Malin and Theresa Kavanagh from Gortahork.  Taking inspiration from historical material researched by Donegal County Museum staff, from local folklore and bealoideas and from literary material in the form of poetic writings and ‘Imraimh’ or sea voyager tales from medieval Irish manuscripts, the Residency artists began to create a unique series of musical works celebrating the fantastical voyages undertaken by the monks of Teelin, under the title Imramh Theileann / The Teelin Voyage.


The Donegal artists were joined in the Residency by Icelandic classical guitarist Svanur Vilbergsson and by Leif Egil Andreassen, a renowned traditional fiddle player from the LofotenIslands region of Northern Norway. All four artists collaborated over the course of two intensive composition sessions in April and July. Their work was complemented by that of film-makers Eoghan Mac Ghiolla Bhríde and Ciarán ó Maonaigh who created a stunning visual accompaniment to the series of new compositions which enjoyed two extremely well received public performances at the Regional Cultural Centre and Halla na Pharóiste Ghort a’ Choirce on July 16th and 17th, as part of Earagail Arts Festival.


In July 2012, the Teelin Voyage  artists re-convened for a week in Melbu, Northern Norway where the composition was again performed as a centrepiece of the annual Melbu Summerfest arts festival.  


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