Nestled along the Wild Atlantic Way in the picturesque town of Ardara - one of the five designated heritage towns in County Donegal - you will find the hidden gem that is the Triona Donegal Tweed Visitor Centre. The Centre offers all who visit a warm welcome and the opportunity to experience the history, skill, and craft that has gone into handweaving Donegal tweed for generations.
In 1984, ten years after the collapse of the local tweed industry, Dennis Mulhern, a fifth-generation handweaver, founded Triona, named for his eldest daughter, as a small bespoke tweed company, in the front room of his Ardara family home. As the Mulhern family business expanded, ‘The Mart’, which had historically been the central marketplace where local tweed was produced, inspected, stored and sold, became the new home of Triona. From humble beginnings, in 1992 Triona was awarded Bord Fáilte Eireann recognition as the certified Donegal Tweed Visitor Centre and the Mulhern family now welcome thousands of visitors from all around the world to their spacious factory, based in the location where Donegal tweed was born.
The Mulhern family have dedicated their lives to protecting and nurturing the skill, craft and heritage of Donegal tweed. At the Triona Donegal Tweed Centre, master weavers still make handwoven tweed on looms that have been used for centuries and visitors are offered a unique and authentic window into the ancient art of handweaving. The Triona workshop employs three full-time weavers and three apprentices who, using the same time-honoured skills that made Donegal tweed famous the world over, create the Mulhern family’s exclusive Triona tweed in rich colours inspired by the ever-changing landscape of Donegal’s rugged heather-covered hills and wild Atlantic coast.
The guest experience at the Triona Donegal Tweed Visitor Centre isn’t limited to handweaving demonstrations; in 2017 Dennis Mulherns dream of recreating his family homestead was realised with the introduction of The Weavers Cottage. The cottage is a scale replica of the home in which Dennis grew up, complete with thatched roof and loom house at the side. Guests step back in time and experience the history of how people in rural Ireland lived in those days. The Centre’s knowledgeable guides are on hand to answer questions and offer historical insights, including details of how all the family where involved in age-old traditions such as knitting, spinning and handweaving. To round off their visit, guests are also treated to an outstanding short audio-visual display that includes local archival footage bringing to life the history and heritage of Donegal tweed in Ardara exploring the entire creative process from fleece to fashion.
The Mulhern family are proud of their Irish heritage and aim to preserve and promote it by showcasing Irish talent to a worldwide audience through their unwavering support of authentic Irish crafts and design. They pride themselves on the quality of the Irish products they offer, to that end, the shop at the Triona Donegal Tweed Visitor Centre proudly stocks the family’s own Triona tweed jackets, coats and capes for women as well as a range of classic men’s tweed jackets alongside other leading Irish Brands such as Fisherman out of Ireland Knitwear, Aran Woollen Mills, Aran Crafts, Mucros Weavers, and Hanna Hats. You will also find high quality Irish jewellery including an unrivalled selection of exclusive pendants, rings, earrings and bracelets from established brands such as House of Lor, Solvar, Facet, and Tracy Gilbert.