Hands of History Conference Programme now available!!

Please click on the link below for details of the Hands of History Conference.  This conference aims to highlight and celebrate the achievements of the Hands of History Project through drama, photographic exhibits and visual displays. Guest speakers, facilitators, project participants and funders will give inputs about their experiences of the project and the impact of their activities on all involved.  The event will also include a facilitated discussion to take place around “Ethical Remembering: Policy and Practice” which will explore how individuals and groups in Donegal can progress the work of the project in coming years as the decade of commemoration continues and in commemorating other historic events of significance to the county, its Diaspora and beyond.

 Hands of History Conference Invitation and Programme

For further information or to book your free space on this exciting and interesting conference, please contact Rachael Mc Crossan on 087-9172497 or by email to rmccrossan@donegalcoco.ie  Spaces are limited and are filling up fast!


FREE Seminar Impact of Active Citizen on Changing Irish Society


2013 is the European Year of Citizens and to mark this year a Free seminar looking at the impact of the active citizen in a changing Irish society will take place on Thursday in the Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town.  Speakers at this event will include Tim Hayes, European Commission representative in Ireland, Seamus Boland, Irish Rural Link and Frank Dawson County Manager of Roscommon County Council.


This seminar is also a keynote event for this years Social Inclusion Week and will see the launch of the Donegal Community & Voluntary Sector Profile by the Mayor of Donegal Cllr. Ian McGarvey.  This profile will provide a snapshot in time of the diverse, vibrant and active community and voluntary sector in Donegal and will make a compelling case for the long term sustainability of the sector.


This Seminar is being organised by Donegal County Council and Donegal County Community Forum, in conjunction with Donegal Local Development Company and Donegal Volunteer Centre and will explore how emerging Government Plans and policies may impact on active citizenship in Donegal.  Following an overview of the EU Year of Active Citizenship by Tim Hayes, European Commission Representative in Ireland, participants will hear from Seamus Boland of Irish Rural Link and Frank Dawson, Roscommon County Manager on the changes that are being implemented at present in the Local Government and Local Development sectors.


The second part of the Seminar will celebrate and recognise the valuable contribution made by so many active citizens and volunteers through out the county.  The fourth annual ME4U awards, facilitated by Donegal Volunteer Centre, will recognise the contributions of volunteers and community activists across the County. The Donegal Pride of Place awards ceremony will recognise eleven community organisations who have implemented projects in their local areas that have contributed to the community having an increased “pride” in their “place”. Five of these groups will  go on to represent Donegal in the National Pride of Place competition to be held in Derry on the 16th November.


Seminar is FREE but booking is essential.  To book your place contact codonnell@donegalcoco.ie




Exciting History Seminar Series

Please find below, details of the upcoming Hands of History Seminar Series.  This exciting series will feature a number of historical talks in schools and public venues in each electoral area and begins next Wednesday 23rd October.
The Rising, War of Independence and the Civil War in Donegal is being delivered by The Junction in Derry and will look at events in Ireland and particularly Donegal from 1912 – 1922 and will explore how we can use the lessons learned from the past to try and create a brighter future for all.
The First World War and its impact on Donegal is being delivered by Inishowen Development Partnership and will focus on the involvement of people from Donegal in World War I and looking at their personal stories as well as a broad overview of the events of World War I.  This seminar also makes use of DVD footage and music to enhance the experience.
Our Shared Social History is being delivered by The History Links Project and will examine what is meant by Social History and how it can be collected and preserved as well as looking at some Social History case studies specifically set in Donegal e.g. Agriculture, Fishing, Migration, Traditions etc.  These seminars make use of various video clips, oral histories, music and extracts from books.
If you are interested in attending one or even all three of these fascinating seminars, check out where they are on near you and if you can’t make it to the one in your area, there’s the opportunity to catch it in another area!  If you know of anyone that might be interested, please feel free to pass on.  It is advisable to check with venues for last minute changes. 

Donegal Electoral Area:

23/10/2013        The Rising, War of Independence and Civil War in Donegal – Bundoran Library, Bundoran – 7.00pm

24/10/2013  The Impact of World War I on Donegal – Abbey Hotel, Donegal Town – 7.00pm

06/11/2013        Shared Social History – Donegal Town Family Resource Centre – 7.00pm

Letterkenny Electoral Area:

24/10/2013        The Rising, War of Independence and Civil War in Donegal – Central Library, Letterkenny – 6.30pm

05/11/2013        Shared Social History – Cara House, Letterkenny – 7.00pm

 20/11/2013        The Impact of World War I on Donegal – Donegal Sports Partnership, Letterkenny – 7.00pm

Inishowen Electoral Area:

31/10/2013        The Rising, War of Independence and Civil War in Donegal – Moville Library, Moville – 7.00pm

06/11/2013        The Rising, War of Independence and Civil War in Donegal – Buncrana Library, Buncrana – 6.30pm

 07/11/2013        Shared Social History – Moville Family Resource Centre – 12.00pm

14/11/2013        The Impact of World War I on Donegal – The Exchange, Buncrana – 7.00pm

Glenties Electoral Area:

06/11/2013        Shared Social History – Pobal Le Cheile, Falcarragh – 12.00pm

13/11/2013        The Rising, War of Independence and Civil War in Donegal – Dunfanaghy Family Resource Centre – 7.00pm

21/11/2013        The Impact of World War I on Donegal – Glenties Community Centre – 7.00pm

Stranorlar Electoral Area:

01/11/2013        The Rising, War of Independence and Civil War in Donegal – Volt House, Raphoe – 7.00pm

04/11/2013        Shared Social History – St Johnston Family Resource Centre – 7.00pm

06/11/2013        The Impact of World War I on Donegal – Raphoe Resource Centre – 7.00pm

September 2013 Roundup


  • September kicked off with a countdown to #Culture #Night 2013. Reminding everyone to pick up a brochure at local venues or to download a copy from www.donegallibrary.ie. There were 13 venues with 27 events available to visit – for free! Allowing everyone to spend the night wandering from place to place, taking in exhibitons, listening to music, viewing drama, listening to poetry & writings, and much more!
  • New banners have been located on the #Lifford/#Strabane Bridge to celebrate planned events as part of the Reconciliation through the Riverine project. The banners depict the themes used to promote cross border and cross community collaboration as identified by the Riverine Forum including drama, sport, music and angling.

We issued a PSA about heading back to school, urging parents and other road users to be more aware and careful on the roads from September onward as the school runs returned. Listen to our PSA here!

  • We did a little promotion around the Epilepsy Ireland National Conference 2013 this year focusing on Exploring Epilepsy, health and lifestyle issues that ran on the 21st of September.
  • We asked if the public was interested in future plans for Buncrana? An event took place onThursday 12th September between 2 & 8pm on the Draft Buncrana and Environs Development Plan 2014 – 2020. Planning staff were available to hear your views, discuss the Plan and answer questions.
  • We promoted an Internship Opportunity for Planning Technician with Donegal County Council – an opportunity to gain practical experience in Development Management functions of a local authority including the application of Geographic Information Systems, data gathering and analysis and the development of site resolution plans. An interesting internship for a graduate or someone interested in a career change.
  • Acknowledgement was paid to the towns of Letterkenny and Glenties who received Gold Medal awards in the National Tidy Towns Competition, Raphoe and Buncrana who received Silver Medal awards and Malin and Carraig Airt who received the Bronze Medal awards. The Mayor of Donegal Cllr. Ian McGarvey also congratulated Carraig Airt for once again winning the Gaeltacht award and the village of Annagry was recognised for their endeavours in this years Supervalu TidyTowns competition.
  • The retirement function was held in honour of our friend and colleague Donal Casey who retired from Donegal County Council after 25 years service as Senior Executive Chemist recently. The photograph includes Donal Casey at his retirement function in the Letterkenny Golf Club on Friday the 6th September 2013 with Director of Service Joe Peoples.


    • Former Montana governor Brian Schweitzer was this years recipient of The Tip O’Neill Diaspora award. The weekend of the 20th and 21st of September was devoted to Tip O’Neill, with a busy weekend of activities, including the presentation of the Tip O’Neill Diaspora Award. On Friday, the 20th of September, before an invited audience at the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana, the award was presented to Brian Schweitzer, a prominent member of the present day Irish Diaspora. Governor Brian Schweitzer has strong Irish and indeed Donegal connections. Hannah Friel, Brian’s mother, was born in 1899 and left Rathmullan for America with her sister Mary Ann, while in her early twenties. Schweitzer has maintained close contact with Donegal and has a keen interest in the county and its people.
    • Click through for more photos!
  • The following day the 2013 Tip O’Neill #Diaspora #Award – Lecture by Professor Paul Arthur took place.  The power of #poetry and the diaspora was the theme explored by Professor Arthur a fitting tribute in memory of one of Irelands most renowned poets the late Seamus Heaney. 
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  • Ireland’s Big Beach Clean – The Movement for Litter Free Seas!An Taisce’s #Clean #Coasts Programme & the International Ocean Conservancy teamed up to Clean up Ireland’s coastline from the 20th to 22nd September. Ireland’s coastal custodians took part in the Big Beach Clean 2013 and join hundreds of thousands of people around the world for the 28th annual International Coastal Clean up.
  • The #Cultural #Services Division of Donegal County Council continued it’s series of #Family #History road shows as part of The Gathering 2013 with a road show in Bundoran Community Library on the 24th of September from 11.00am to 1.00pm. For more info on this see our website – www.Donegalcoco.ie
  • Culture Night took place on the 20th of September with a list of events taking place throughout the country, and in the county. All events listed here.
  • Wainfest 2013 got off to a great start!
  • click through for more pics!

  • Donegal Bay & Blue Stacks Festival 2013:
    The 13th. annual Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival kicked off at the end of September with a packed programme of traditional and classical music, literary events, exhibitions and events for children, in Ardara, Killybegs, Donegal town, Ballyshannon and Ballybofey.  Everyone was encouraged to pick up a copy of the brochure or check it out online at www.donegallibrary.ie
  • “Smoky Coal Ban Reminder – Don’t market it, Don’t sell it, Don’t burn it within the Smoky Coal ban area of Letterkenny and the wider environs. Check out the interactive map at www.donegalcoco.ie. “

Stay tuned to our facebook and Twitter pages for all updates from Donegal County Council, and here for details of various news, projects and activities.

Invitation to Hands of History End Conference

HOH Logo 

Donegal County Council invites you to attend a celebration of the Hands of History Project on Tuesday 12th November 2013 to mark the completion of this year long project.  The event will take place in the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.  The Hands of History Project has been delivered by Donegal County Council under the auspices of the Donegal CDB Peace and Reconciliation Partnership. 


The conference aims to highlight and celebrate the achievements of the Hands of History Project through drama, photographic exhibits and visual displays. Guest speakers, facilitators, project participants and funders will give inputs about their experiences of the project and the impact of their activities on all involved.  The event will also include a facilitated discussion to take place around “Ethical Remembering: Policy and Practice” which will explore how individuals and groups in Donegal can progress the work of the project in coming years as the decade of commemoration continues and in commemorating other historic events of significance to the county, its Diaspora and beyond.


Project Participants, those with an interest in using history in peace and reconciliation work and the public are invited to attend; we hope that you can join us for this event.  Please forward this email to others you think may be interested, everyone is welcome.  Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Hands of History Project this year, we hope you can make it to this final event to provide some feedback around the activities that you participated in. 


A full detailed programme of events will follow in late October.  We would be delighted if you were in a position to join us for this event.  To book your place please RSVP by Tuesday 5th November 2013 to Rachael Mc Crossan by e-mail at rmccrossan@donegalcoco.ie or on (074) 9172497.   

 Sarah Thompson 

Project Coordinator

Hands of History

Community, Culture and Planning

Donegal County Council


Co Donegal



(074)  9172586

087 9232654


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This project is supported by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund, through the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council.



Balkans Study Visit – Day 6 – The Long Road Home

The morning dawned dark and extremely early for the exhausted participants on the Balkan Study Visit as alarms started going off at 5.30am in Mostar. The bus was fully loaded and ready to go by 6.30am with breakfasts supplied by the hotel in bags. The bus was quiet for a large portion of the journey until a coffee stop perked up people’s spirits.

We checked in at Dubrovnik airport aboard a full aer lingus jet bound for Dublin. A smooth flight followed and a swift run down from Dublin which saw participants begin to leave the group from Omagh until the last participants disembarked in Letterkenny soon after 7pm after spending 12 hours on the road.

Tge group will meet together again  in the Regional Cultural Centre on Saturday 26th October for an evaluation day and to outline how they have been sharing their learning since their return to Donegal.

Balkans Study Visit – Day 5 – Mostar

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageFirst thing this morning there was a group meeting to plan a presentation on the conflict in Northern Ireland to be delivered by members of the group at the United World College in Mostar this afternoon.  Group members chosen to deliver the presentation were Orla Lafferty, Owen Donnelly and Ailbhe Hines.

Following the planning meeting, the group divided into 3 and visited The Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), The Nansen Dialogue Centre and the local Police Station. The OSCE are an NGO which are trying to run projects which will get the Bosnian people thinking for themselves. They feel the people just do as they are told and don’t want to raise their head above the parapet whereas the organisation wants to encourage more free thinking while still operating within the legal limits of Bosnian law. They are trying to balance working between the community and the state which is difficult as there is no use of initiatives especially by the politicians. There is no up to date development plan which proves difficult for the development of Bosnia however it hopes that this will be remedied following the census. At the last election, only 25% of voters turned out and it was felt that these were mainly people connected with the government (politicians own most of the big companies here) and they wish to bring about change in this area.

They also feel they are quite progressive in that most of their employees are women.

See http://www.osce.org for more details.

The Nansen Dialogue centre is a centre with a strong focus on the use of media as a healing tool. It was felt that a lot of comparisons can be drawn between Mostar and Northern Ireland. The dialogue centre produce a multi language newsletter and documentary films with help of some media professionals. They are currently working on a blueprint document for teachers to work towards producing a shared history curriculum. At the centre, they faced many stumbling blocks similar to in Northern Ireland such as some who claim their work is unnecessary despite it having tangible results. The group that visited the police station were picked up by local police officers in squad cars and delivered to the door of the police station.

They were shown into the police chiefs office where they met the police chief along with the head of traffic crimes. The chief presented a short brief on the role of the police in the city since the conflict and also details about crime rates, their duties and answered questions from the group. Like Knin, the chief claimed that Mostar has very low crime rates and a high percentage of cases being solved.

They have a very low percentage of women in the police force although he doesn’t feel that women officers are capable of doing all the same work as their make counterparts anyway.

The groups rejoined each other to share experiences for on the morning over lunch before heading to the cultural centre “Kralj Fahd” which is part of the embassy of Saudi Arabia. In this centre, courses in languages and IT are provided to people who wish to avail of them and they are offered free of charge to anyone who wishes to avail of them. These courses are fully funded by Saudi Arabia and last year they taught over 900 students in a variety of classes.

They also provide a cultural space for art exhibitions, theatre and music and have a gym for students to use. The head of the centre (who had to have a translator from Arabic to Bosnian and then our own translator had to translate from Bosnian to English) also outlined a number of other projects the embassy had funded eg highways, train lines etc  He also managed a few words of English before we had to take leave of him to attend the United World College in Mostar. At UWC we were given a welcome and overview of the college by the headmistress and the director.

The pupils attend the school for 2 years from age 16 and come from all over the world. The first uwc was opened in Wales and they teach the International Bacculerate. Following the welcome, two pupils from Israel gave a brief presentation on their conflict and their thoughts on it before taking questions from the group. It is devastating to think these two bright young men will be conscripted into the Israeli army next year. Following their presentation, a girl from Kosovo gave a presentation on the conflict there and took questions. It was then the turn of the Irish to present and take questions from a very interested audience of students and teachers.

After the visit to UWC, everyone went to the local shop to buy some cocolate bars to take part in the choco-ocean an initiative started by students where you meet in the square outside the college to share some chocolate with a stranger and you got some of theirs in return which enabled you to strike up a conversation with them easily.

This was a lovely festival which Gerry Mc Monagle promised on a local tv station to bring back to Ireland – and we’ll be holding you to that Gerry!! Finally we had our closing dinner this evening accompanied by some traditional Bosnian singing and dancing which brought the evening and the study visit to a lovely conclusion. We have an early start tomorrow leaving Bosnia at 6am to travel to Dubrovnik for a lunchtime flight and hope to be back in Donegal by 7pm.