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Donegal Railway Heritage Trail Guide launched

Published 28 February 2022

The Donegal Railway Heritage Centre is delighted to announce that after securing the funding through the "Creative Ireland" programme administered by Donegal County Council, they  have now produced a map of the entire county, showing some of the main Donegal railway heritage still to be seen across the County, (and across the border). 

Photo taken outside the Bus Eireann station in Letterkenny, one of the buildings featured in the new guide, which formally was the Swilly Station: (L-R) Kieran McShane (Bus Eireann), Caroline Carr (Donegal County Museum), Niamh Brennan (Creative Ireland Culture Team), Jim McBride (Donegal Railway Heritage Centre), Marie King (Bus Eireann), Kevin O’Donnell (Bus Eireann), Brendan Doherty (Bus Eireann) & Niall McCaughan (Donegal Railway Heritage Centre).

Niall McCaughan, Manager of the railway Museum stated: “In recent years there has been an increased interest in railway heritage, locally, nationally and internationally.  Here in Donegal is no different, but the uniqueness of the railways that operated across Donegal has a special place in the hearts of the local population, not to mention too the international interest it rightly deserves. Although much of our great railway heritage has disappeared over the decades, there still is surprising a lot about, hidden in plain sight and some of Donegal’s railway heritage is still in operation for different purposes, including as the Bus Éireann bus station in Letterkenny and their depot in Donegal town, both previously part of the Donegal railway network. This includes Station buildings, halts, Gatehouses, bridges, etc. With this in mind, we have produced a simple easy to read folded “Heritage Trail” guide for the county, as well as some locations just across the border."

A lot of work has gone into the guide, and although there are many structures still in existence above ground, we have focused on a county-wide spread of some of the best accessible sites to be seen. The guide is A3 when folded out flat, has a map of key locations on one side, and a narrative for each location on the other. Each location also has the Google coordinates and/or Eircode; simply by typing this into your phone's search engine (Google), you will be given the exact location for it. You can then click on your device in order to get detailed directions on how to get to it from your current location.

We have also taken new photographs of most of the locations, and have been reinvigorated by the quality of the railway heritage still available; however, some of the locations which are abandoned are certainly at risk. This new guide is not only available in hard-print but will also be available on our website in the next week or so. We particularly would like to thank Brid and her colleagues at the Creative Ireland unit in Donegal County Council, who kindly funded this project, which is an important part of the history of Donegal.

Brid Uí Bhaoill of Creative Ireland, Donegal County Council stated: “We are delighted to be involved with this innovative project with the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre. Creative Ireland is a five-year Programme which connects people, creativity and wellbeing. We are an all-of-government culture and wellbeing programme that inspires and transforms people, places and communities through creativity. This project in particular has brought groups right across the County together to collaborate on it, and it will be used in the future to inspire young people about out great railway heritage, as well as bring joy to those who fondly remember the railways which seemed to touch everyone’s lives who lived in this part of Ireland." 

Creative Ireland is funded by the “Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport & Media” and administered by Donegal County Council. 

This unique guide is currently being distributed across the North West, and is also available at the railway museum in Donegal Town.  

For more information contact info@donegalrailway.com or Tel: 074 9722655


Download Donegal Railway Heritage Trail Guide HERE


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