Donegal on the Big Screen!

Donegal has proven to be a top film location

“Donegal is making a name as one of the best places to shoot a film in Ireland” says Aideen Doherty who manages the Donegal Film Office which is based in Donegal County Council.


Donegal Film Office

Donegal Film Office logo


“The Film Office was established by the Council in 2003 to promote the region and to help develop the profile of the county as a film location.  It acts as the main resource for filmmakers in Donegal and those who wish to film in Donegal from all over the world.”

“We are the main resource for film, television, moving image art and online video enquiries in Donegal.  The Film Office has extensive experience with visual production and we are more than happy to deal with any enquiries, however big or small the production is.  We produce promotional packs for both national and international production companies highlighting the advantages of filming in Donegal and our unique locations.”

Aideen says that the film office is an asset to Donegal and the most recent film to be shot here shows just how great Donegal can look on camera.

“The most recent film that has been made in Donegal is a film called Grabbers. It came out in 2012 and it’s an Irish/British monster film. It was directed by Jon Wright and written by Kevin Lehane.

"Grabbers" film´s company

“Grabbers” film´s company

The film was a great success it even premiered at the Sundance Film Festival which is kind of a big deal, and shows that Donegal can compete with other film locations. Donegal’s landscapes looked truly amazing, said Aideen.”

Talking about her very own star struck celebrity moments, Aideen recalls meeting a long time idol of her own while he filmed in Donegal.

“I met Aidan Quinn as he and Connie Nielson (Gladiator) filmed on location at Malin Head in County Donegal in 2008 for the Irish drama a ‘Shine of Rainbows.’ I remember it so well because I have been a massive fan since I was like fifteen and it was my 40th birthday the day that I met him. Needless to say it was the best birthday present ever,” she laughed.


a Shine of Rainbows poster

a Shine of Rainbows poster


Aideen highlights what makes Donegal a unique filming location and thinks that the industry has really put Donegal on the map as a tourist destination.

“The thing that makes Donegal so unique is our amazing landscapes and we are living right on the edge of the sea which makes us different from other locations. Directors also love the clean light and long days in Ireland. We are also centrally located and just have an all round great outlook on life, why wouldn’t people want to come make a film here, she mused.

“The films really show off Donegal as a tourist destination and shows that we can compete with other major countries and of course people want to come see our beautiful county for themselves.


Key facts: –

  • Donegal Film Office works with Bord Scannán na hÉireann or The Irish Film Board to help filmmakers to find locations, cast and crew, technical services and local service providers
  • Donegal Film Office has an extensive database of cast, crew, production resources and production companies that work and live in the area.
  • Productions shot in Donegal include Grabbers, Wakewood, A Shine of Rainbows, 48 Angels and Dead Long Enough.
  • Contact the Film Office on: 074 93 73718

For the Love of History

A look at the Museum with Judith Mc Carthy

Minister's visit 2013Judith Mc Carthy, Minister for arts Jimmy Deenihan TD and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Dinny Mc Ginley TD around the museum


Judith Mc Carthy a native of Cavan and Curator of the Donegal County Museum, talks about her love of history and her love of Donegal.

“I moved to Donegal from Dublin where I had been studying in college. I studied history in Trinity and then completed a diploma in arts administration in UCD. Then I got the job up here in Donegal, and the rest as they say is history if you pardon the pun, she laughed.

“Basically what we do in the museum is we tell the story of Donegal and its history from the Stone Age to the present day. We tell this story using the artefacts and objects that are in the museum collection.

“We have about 7,000 objects in the museum collection, which have been donated to us, mostly by the public and these objects range over a wide period of time, some are over four or five thousand years old.”


Museum CollectionSome of the Artefacts that can be found in the museum


Highlighting the importance of the museum Judith says that everyone should know about the history of Donegal because in order to move forward we need to look back and see where we have come from.

“The museum is so important to Donegal because Donegal is shaped by its history. If you know Donegal at all you will know that, from our language to our traditions, even our landscape, are all shaped by our past.

“We often have school tours in the museum and the children’s enthusiasm is contagious. They really help to remind me why I do what I do everyday and encourage me to keep going.


School tours in the museumStudents visiting the “How We Remember” exhibition with Judith Mc Carthy


Judith says we are so invested in our history that we have even adopted a different vocabulary over the years.

“We have adopted many words from the Ulster-Scots, through our connection with Scotland dating back to the Plantation. That’s just one of the ways in which our history has shaped who we are.

“Talking about Ulster-Scots, where else in the world would you hear the word ‘wains’; when I first came to Donegal I had no idea what a ‘wain’ was, and now I use it all the time, she laughed.

“We actually have a festival called WainFest which is a festival that is run through the Library Service, every October and it’s a festival for children. If you went down to Dublin or Galway and said we are organising WainFest at the moment, they would have no idea what it is.

“Again it’s because of our history that we use these words, and that is why it’s important for the museum to tell our stories.”

Side bar

Museum is open Mon to Fri: 10am-4.30pm and Sat: 1pm-4.30pm

Admission is FREE

The County Museum is on the High Road in Letterkenny

The museum building dates back to the 1840’s and is based in what was once part of the old workhouse in Letterkenny, so the museum itself is like an artefact.

The museum was once a birth, deaths and marriages office, council office, library, fever hospital and a maternity unit. So people have died and have been born in the building that is now the museum.

Call: 074 9124613


Follow Donegal County Museum on Facebook

Farewell to Ida Fisher

Ida Fisher retirement

Ida Fisher is a familiar face in Donegal County Council and will be known to many in Donegal for her time working in the Motor Tax office in Lifford. Last Friday her friends and colleagues and retired colleagues came together to wish her all the best in her retirement.  Ida will be missed by everyone who worked with her over the years both in Motor Tax and in more recent times on the Town & Village programmes. It was great to see so many familiar faces at her farewell tea on Friday. We wish Ida every success in her future and although she is retiring from her work in the Council, she will no doubt be kept busy with her work in the community.

Some photo of the event:
















Trudi 1103







We wish you the best!



Lynda Gives Us the Low-Down!

Everything you need to know about housing Image

Lynda Mc Gavigan area manager for housing and corporate services for Donegal County Council tells us all we need to know about the Councils housing services.

“I have been working in the Council for almost 24 years and for the last three years I’ve worked as area manager for housing and corporate services in the Inishowen electoral area which stretches from Manorcunnigham right up to Malin Head.”

“The council provides housing support for people who are not in a position to provide accommodation from their own resources.

To apply for housing support you have to complete an application form and submit the required supporting documentation for example – income details, birth certificates etc., the application is then assessed in accordance with national guidelines. If approved the housing applicant will be put on a waiting list and they become eligible to be considered for any dwellings that may become available in their area of preference.”

The points system

“Every applicant is allocated points and it’s based again on factors such as family composition, length of time on the waiting list and various other factors as such as medical issues.

“Because it’s a points system, each case is dealt with individually, for example, you would be allocated additional points if you required particular type of accommodation because of a medical need or similar issue.

I think this system works well as it is consistent and we know exactly how many points each person on the list has, says Lynda.

“We manage, maintain and upgrade our own council housing stock, for example, the Council is currently carrying out an extensive programme of works to improve the energy efficiency of its houses, through the installation and improvement of attic and cavity wall insulation. We would also provide assistance through various loan schemes for the purchase, erection and construction of dwellings. We would provide assistance for the adaptation and improvement of dwellings for older people and for people with disabilities.

We also work with approved housing bodies and with the HSE to provide accommodation for people with special needs, where traditional forms of housing support wouldn’t deliver for those particular needs.”

Image(Example of Council developments at Greencastle)


Lynda says that information on housing is widely available on the web and for those not on the internet, housing staff are just a phone call away.

“Information and application forms are available from the housing department in Lifford or in each of the public service centres in Carndonagh, Letterkenny, Dungloe and DonegalTown. They are also available from the council’s website on or by telephoning the council on 0749153900.  We try to make the information as widely available as possible”.

Although funding to build houses has been reduced in recent years Lynda says it’s a sign of the times but it won’t prevent people being allocated a council house.

“At the moment there is limited funding available to build houses, that may change but for the last number of years unfortunately the capital funding has decreased and again it is largely a sign of the times.

“Although the councils traditional building programme has slowed down there has been a number of initiatives introduced which provide accommodation and supports the councils existing stock, for example the council provides accommodation for over 60 families in properties that we have obtained under the long term leasing scheme from private landlords.

“There’s almost 700 households accommodated under the rental accommodation scheme. As well as that we have entered into arrangements with various approved housing bodies for example – Apex, Habintag, Respond, Cluid and also St. Vincent de Paul to provide accommodation for people who are on the council’s waiting list.

So there are other alternatives out there that are definitely supporting us and, I think it balances out and means that even though the economy has taken a downturn we are still housing people, and no matter what, we will continue to do so, she added.”

 Facts about council accommodation 

The Councils maintains 3,020 rented houses in over 220 housing estates in Donegal along with an additional 760 individual houses.

The Council invested €1.1m in energy efficiency measures in council owned houses in 2013

2,038 people were on the Councils housing waiting list in 2013

Housing application forms are available from

For more info on Council Housing Services call – 0749153900

US Embassy Delegates visit Donegal

Donegal County Council hosted a visit by US Embassy Delegates Lynne Gadkowski, Senior Political Advisor and Peter Glennon, Political Affairs on Monday 10 March.

This visit provided an opportunity for delegates to gain an insight into some of the innovative projects funded under the PEACE III Programme in Donegal, giving them a flavour of the peace building work accomplished locally and the impact that this work has had on local communities on both a cross border and cross community basis. The delegation visited the Tip O’Neill Monument in Buncrana, the Fort Dunree Military Museum, Inch Levels and the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.

Amongst those to officially welcome the delegates were Cllr. Ian Mc Garvey, Mayor of Donegal, Cllr. Dessie Larkin, Chairperson of the Donegal PEACE III Partnership and the County Manager, Mr. Seamus Neely and Mr. Michael O’hEanaigh, Director of Community, Culture and Planning, Donegal County Council.

These are some pictures from the visit:



Inch Levels




Tip O’Neill Monument in Buncrana



Fort Dunree Military Museum



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Lauren scoops National Award in the ‘Enabling Access across Generations’ Competition

Lauren Forrest 014resizeLauren Forrest

Lauren Forrest, Mulroy College, Milford receiving the National Award from County Manager Seamus Neely & Lauren Forrest, receiving her County Award from Mayor Ian McGarvey 


Congratulations to Lauren Forrest from Mulroy College, Milford, Co. Donegal on winning the 2014 national award for her poster in the ‘Enabling Access across Generations’ competitions.

Photo - Winnerresize

L-R Paul Mc Sweeney, LGMA; Lauren Forrest, Mulroy College, Milford, Co.Donegal; Shane Hogan, NDA; Paddy Mullen, Donegal County Council

Lauren’s poster will be used countrywide throughout 2014 by Local Authorities to heighten awareness of accessibility and disability-related issues.

The Transition Year Learning Module developed by the Local Authorities National Network of Access Officers, in conjunction with the National Disability Authority, creates opportunities for students to raise awareness around accessibility and disability-related issues using their artistic skills.

After completing the online module, all Transition Year schools were then invited to take part and create a piece of visual imagery depicting the theme Enabling Access across Generations’ as part of a National Award Competition.

The National Final and Award Ceremony took place 12th February 2014 at the Local Government Management Agency Offices in Dublin. The awards which were sponsored by were presented to the winning students by Mr Paul Mc Sweeney, CEO, Local Government Management Agency and Dr Ger Craddock, Chief Officer of the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design, National Disability Authority.

Lauren Forrest 026resize

L-R Fiona Temple, Principal Mulroy College; Seamus Neely, Donegal County Manager; Lauren Forrest, National Award Winner; Mayor Ian McGarvey and Teachers Kerry Houston-Callaghan and Aisling Crawford Mulroy College


Attendees included Transition Year Students with the support of TY Coordinators, Teachers, families and friends, the National Disability Authority, Access Officers and Equality Officers from local authorities. Special guests on the day were the participants from the RTE Production ‘In your Shoes’ which provided a fitting arena for the County Level finalist to showcase their work and await the ultimate unveiling of the National Award Winner.

Rory Gallagher talks about the life of a librarian in Donegal

Rory Gallagher

Rory Gallagher

Libraries continue to thrive with over 335,000 library visits in Donegal last year

Donegal County Council assistant librarian and a native from Sligo, Rory Gallagher explains the ins and outs of his job and how in his opinion no amount of technology will replace a good old fashioned book.

“I’m the Assistant Librarian for three libraries in South Donegal these include Bundoran community library, Ballyshannon branch library and DonegalTown branch library. I joined Donegal County Council in September 2001. So that was twelve and a half years ago, that’s unbelievable, he laughed.

Tinfoil sculpture outside picture

Tinfoil sculpture outside picture

“My everyday job does include issuing and returning books to the library, but as a librarian my work also gives me the opportunity to work researching local history, organising events, supporting community groups and local businesses and helping people use computers and genealogical resources.

“I think that traditionally the library’s image as a place of books might lead you into thinking we are under threat from new technologies like e-books or online information sources, but in fact the opposite is true.

“Books are just the means to distribute what we really provide in the library service, and that is Information. New technologies such as kindle and Google books expand the ways we make, use and distribute information. As people change the way that they use information the library of the future will reflect this.

“There is a quote from author Neil Giaman that illustrates the importance of libraries in the 21st century, “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one”

Rory says the library is a place for everyone, young and old a like to get lost in the adventure of reading.

Engrossed in a good book

Engrossed in a good book

“Every demographic group is represented in our library users. We try hard to identify the needs of our users and tailor the library to suit them. If you visit the library on any day of the week you‘ll find people from every age group and walk of life enjoying some aspect of the services we provide.

“Parents and toddlers come to Rhymetime every Friday at 11am, Children can come and enjoy author and literacy events or research school projects on our computers. Teenagers use the library as a quiet study location and to socialise. Tourists use the library as a resource for staying in touch with home and for local information. For adults we are a source of any type of information that they may require be it official forms, health information, educational support, business and employment resources, internet or printer access. And last but not least free lending of books for all.”

Chess Competition

Chess competition

Rory says that the amount of people visiting the library is astonishing.

“Statistically speaking participation in the library has never been higher we had over 335,000 visitors to the library in 2013 and they borrowed 344,000 items.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the demand for library services will only increase as our communities and economy become more reliant on quick and open access to quality information.”

Highlighting the issue of getting people back into reading the old fashioned way Rory says it’s been a concern of every new generation.

“Recently a librarian in Bundoran was researching local newspapers from the 1950’s on microfilm, and found an interesting article discussing the problems of getting young people to read more and away from the distractions of modern music, these days its social media sites but the principle is the same.

“I think that our libraries need to remain relevant to the needs of the community and the challenge is to support our fast paced and diverse modern community by investing in new technologies and services. If we do that then people will naturally come to us. It’s not about Facebook it’s about real books, laughed Rory.”

Side Bar

  • Bundoran Library has a full size Pteranodon (Flying Dinosaur) skeleton suspended from the ceiling.
  • If you wanted to borrow every book, CD and DVD in the Donegal libraries you would need a book shelf over 5 kilometers long.
  • March is Fines Amnesty Month in the library, If you’re worried about any books that you have borrowed and are ovedue just return them during the month of March and we’ll cancel any fines, So now there’s no excuse to come visit us.
  • Bundoran Library – 071 9829665
  • Ballyshannon library-  071  9858824
  • DonegalTown Library – 074 9725329
  • For more info on Donegal Libraries visit or follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @donegallibrary