Archive for the ‘Local Info’ Category

MacGill Summer School 1981 – 2011

By on June 21, 2011 | Category: Local History,Local Info | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

History and achievements:

The MacGill Summer School has been in existence for thirty one years.  It was founded in 1981 in Glenties in Co. Donegal to celebrate the memory of local writer, Patrick MacGill, whose books in the first decades of the twentieth century on the social conditions in Donegal, the plight of migrant workers in Britain and the horrors of the Great War in which he fought as a soldier of the London Irish Rifles are still being published.

The school has grown over three decades from very modest beginnings to being one of the most important fora in Ireland for the analysis of topics of national and international interest. It has consistently been a source of innovative and fresh thinking on a whole range of social, economic and political ideas.  It brings together every July, government ministers, members of the opposition parties, heads of businesses,  academics, economists, sociologists, church leaders, members of the judiciary and public representatives from Northern Ireland. The School has been successfully positioned as a “broad church” open to all points of view with easy access by the general public.  Audiences come from all over Ireland including Northern Ireland from a wide range of backgrounds and increasingly from abroad.  Extensive media coverage-radio, television and the press- means that the debates at the school reach a national and international audience and the live webcasting of the proceedings for the first time in 2010 in collaboration with Donegal County Council has resulted in their being made available to thousands of Irish people working abroad  and students of Irish affairs.

In many ways, the MacGill School is unique.  For one week every year, the compact Donegal village of Glenties becomes a major, non-partisan, centre of debate dominating Irish discourse as people from all walks of life and all shades of politics get together and discuss ways in which Ireland could be a better place.  Building a better Ireland is the recurrent theme of the MacGill School. One of the attractions of MacGill is that anyone, for a few euros, can walk in and listen to major public figures and ask questions and propose answers.  Hallmarks of the school are its complete impartiality, rigour and objectivity and the choice of contributors and chairpersons as well as the attention paid to the preparation of papers to be delivered at the school are testimony to this fact.

An additional feature of the MacGill School’s activities has been the inauguration in 2000 of the Annual John Hume Lecture as a tribute to the Nobel laureate and former leader of the SDLP and in recognition of his work over the past decades to create a framework for lasting peace in Ireland.  Last year the lecture was delivered by the deputy First Minister of the Northern Ireland Executive, Mr. Martin McGuinness MP MLA.


The publication of an edited version of the MacGill proceedings has been an important feature of the work of the school over the past decade and provide students of Irish contemporary affairs with an overview of key events on the island, North and South, at the beginning of the 21st century.  They are and will remain a significant source of material for postgraduate students in particular.  Last Year’s publication, REFORMING THE REPUBLIC, is still available.

Cultural Programme:

The School has also paid particular attention to culture. It has honoured artists and writers during their lifetime including Peadar O’Donnell, Derek Hill, T.P. Flanagan, Liam McCormick and, of course, the distinguished playwright, Brian Friel, much of whose work has been inspired by his close relationship with Donegal. In 2008, the week was given over to celebrating Friel’s life and work with talks, documentaries, readings and performances of his plays including Faith Healer, Making History and Translations.  Some events of the week were brought to the Irish Cultural Centre in Paris in the summer of 2009.

Poets such as Seamus Heaney, Paul Durcan, Matthew Sweeney and Michael D Higgins have given readings from their work.

Musicians such as John O’Conor have performed in Glenties as has the late mezzo-soprano, Bernadette Greevy.

Exhibitions have included: Patrick MacGill in the First World War, The Flight of the Earls and Antique Maps of Ireland

The Gate Theatre has presented Beckett in Glenties, the Abbey Theatre has performed Dancing At Lughnasa and the Manchester Library Theatre has performed Faith Healer

MacGill’s Contribution:

The principal contribution of the School has been in the area of public policy–ranging across economic policy, social policy and political and public service reform.  The debates do not attempt to achieve consensus around stated positions but rather to stimulate interest in ideas and proposals and to provide a basis for action by leadership groups and individuals. The impact is not limited to participants in the School. The event is intensively covered by the Irish media. Contributions are reported and commented upon in the media and debates often persist, with attribution to the School, in commentary and analysis in the subsequent weeks and months.  Observations about the impact of the School include:

“It seems as if for a week in July, public discourse leaves Leinster House and the media and re-locates to Glenties”
Letter to the Editor, Irish Times

“I’ve noticed that contributors, particularly politicians, avail of MacGill, to push out policy boats beyond previously settled positions”
Irish Independent

“This was a seminar worthy of Harvard, Yale or Oxbridge”
Irish Times



The Director of the MacGill School:


The director of the MacGill School is Dr Joe Mulholland who with a local committee founded the School in 1981.  Born in Donegal, he was educated there and then in the UK and France.  After several years teaching in France he joined Raidio Telefis Eireann(RTE) in 1970 as a trainee producer and went on to hold several senior positions in the organization including Editor of Current Affairs, Controller of Programmes, Director of News and Managing Director of Television.  He has been a regular contributor to the French media including the influential daily, Le Monde. He served as Chairman of the News Section of the European Broadcasting Union(EBU) 1993-7 and was Chairman of Radio Television Kosovo(RTK) 2001-2.  He is currently Chairman of the National College of Art & Design in Dublin.  He was named Donegal Person of the Year 2008-9.



Rosbeg and Portnoo Sailing and Watersports Club

By on June 2, 2011 | Category: Local Groups,Local Info | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments

A non profit making community venture, which aims to promote our beautiful coastline through sustainable environmentally friendly leisurely acqua sports.


Gweebarra Canoe Club

By on May 28, 2011 | Category: Local Groups,Local Info | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments

The Gweebarra Canoe Club is based on the picturesque Gweebarra estuary close to the Gweebarra Bridge (turn off the N56 at the Statue of Liberty along the bends) in Co. Donegal.The club is affliated to the Irish Canoe Union the sports’ governing body in Ireland. We run kayaking and canoeing courses and trips for beginners throughout the summer with an open evening session on a Thursday evening from 7-9pm. Proficiency award courses usually run on a Friday evening in the summer. We run more planned advanced trips during the rest of the year on white water, sea and surf kayaking. We also run some beginners sessions for white water and surf over the winter time and also swimming pool lessons. Our membership is made up of all ages and abilities from novice to competition paddlers. Membership for 2011 is 25 euro for junior or 50 euro which includes family membership and runs till the end of March 2012. The club has a wide range of boats for members use and can supply paddles and buoyancy aids. You would need to bring a wetsuit or suitable clothing and footwear. Children need to be supervised by a parent or guardian when off the water.


GAP Tourism – Glenties, Ardara, Portnoo Activities

By on May 28, 2010 | Category: Local Groups,Local Info | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments

Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in South west Donegal are the villages of Glenties, Ardara, Portnoo & Rosbeg.

Designated as an area of “Outstanding Natural Beauty”, where the soft rolling Highland mountains meet  the wild and unrivalled Atlantic Seascapes. Famous for their Handwoven tweeds which take inspiration from the colours of the surrounding mountain heather, local arts & crafts, renowned for its fine restaurants specialising in fresh local seafood, traditional live music bars, natural outdoor activities, Seafood & Cultural events. An area steeped in ancient history, archaeology and a specialist conservation region.



GAP Events

Tír Chonaill GAP Cycling Club

By on May 28, 2010 | Category: Local Groups | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

The Tir Conaill GAP Cycling Club was founded in February 2011 at a community meeting involving a group of 40 people from all areas of South West Donegal. After a informative talk from Marian Lamb of Cycling Ulster, a committee was formed to carry out the running of the club and events.

The Club is NON Exclusive and welcomes any members regardless of Gender, Race, Religion or Cycling ability.


Naomh Conaill

By on May 28, 2010 | Category: Local Groups,Local Info | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments

Naomh Conaill, GAA Club, is the name of the Gaelic Games Club (GAA) for the area covering the Glenties parish in south west County Donegal.  As well as the town of Glenties, the club also covers the area to the village of Fintown and the areas of Kilraine, The Glen and Maas down to the Gweebara Bridge.  Much of this area lies within the Donegal Gaeltacht area.

Read our history of the Naomh Conaill club here


St. Connell’s Church

By on May 26, 2010 | Category: Local Info,Things to see | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments

St. Connell’s Church, Glenties was designed by the architect, the late Mr. Liam Mc Cormick, Derry and was officially opened on Sunday 19th May 1974 by the Bishop of Raphoe, the late Bishop Anthony Mac Feely. Mr. Mc Cormick has won several awards for the design of his churches and he got an award for this church too.

Surrounded by trees, the Church echoes a feeling of encloure, its high pitched slated roof enclosing the building almost to the ground on both sides. The tall gable ends are white rough-cast. Mr. Mc Cormick makes three strong statements in the design of the Church. 1. Design blending with the environment. 2. The Role of Nature. 3. The Importance of Baptism.

St. Connell’s Church reflects the meeting of the two glens; the Big Glen and the Wee Glen. Na Gleanntai(The Glens) from which the town gets it’s name. The Church has a strong natural light coming mainly from the roof window and the low level window overlooking the landscape area. As we enter this beautilful Church we cross over water and this will remind us of Baptism, the gateway to the Eucharist.

St. Connells Cultural and Heritage Museum

By on May 26, 2010 | Category: Local Info,Things to see | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

The heritage centre is named after St. Connell Caol who, in the 6th Century founded a monastic settlement on Inniskeel Island, north of Portnoo near Glenties. The museum includes prison cells of the late 19th century courthouse and has many artefacts pertaining to the famine in South West Donegal. The museum is open throughout the year and guides are available.

Read the History of St. Connells Cultural and Heritage Museum here

Tel: +353 (0)74 9551766

Fishing on the Gweebarra River

By on May 26, 2010 | Category: Local Info,Things to do | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments

The Gweebarra is a 20-mile long stretch of spate river flowing from Lough Barra to Gweebarra Bay and includes 10 miles of estuarine water. The river runs through some beautiful scenery and is one of the most picturesque in the country.


The salmon and sea trout season runs from 1st April to 30th September inclusive. The Spring Salmon season runs from 1 April to 17 June. The Grilse Salmon fishing season runs from 18 June to 30 September.

Fishing in the Gweebarra

The Gweebarra has a good run of late spring fish at the end of April, with grilse running from the end of June and good-sized summer salmon running from August onwards. Sea trout are at their best from July and are usually taken from the estuary and the pools around the Doochary area. Other hot spots on the river are the famous Mayo pool at the confluence of the Cloghanagore River and the Fall’s pool. Any of the traditional Irish shrimp flies work well on the river, as does the popular flying C.


To book online go to the Donegal Angling Holidays website. Single-day and multi-day fishing is available on the Gweebarra for Spring Salmon and Grilse Fishing.

Bookings and in-season information are available from the Fishery Manager (based in Doochary) on +353 (0) 74 9546171 or +353 (0)87 9318235.

Off-season information is available from the Northern Regional Fisheries Board, Station Road, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Tel. +353(0)71 9851435, Fax +353 (0)74 9851816, E-mail

Take a trip on the Fintown Railway

By on May 26, 2010 | Category: Local Info,Things to do | No Comments

Welcome to Donegal’s only operational narrow gauge railway. Here, nestling deep in the heart of spectacular mountainous scenery steeped in tradition, myth and folklore, and running along the crystal clear waters of Loch Finn you are invited to relive those nostalgic days when Donegal had about 200 miles of narrow gauge railway operated by the County Donegal and Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway Companies.

This unique journey is a three-mile return trip right along the shores of Loch Finn. The reopening on the 3rd June 1995 of this first section of the in town – Glenties railway restoration project commemorated the centenary of the original opening in 1895.

Tel +353 (0)74 9546280

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