Putting Carndonagh on the tourism map

Looking through the new Visit Carndonagh map and guide are, from left, Grainne Gillen, Anne Marner, Jennifer O'Donnell, Inishowen Tourism, Paddy Doherty (Paul), Raymond Doherty, IDP, and Kathleen Gill, Inishowen Tourism. (1207PG36)

Looking through the new Visit Carndonagh map and guide are, from left, Grainne Gillen, Anne Marner, Jennifer O'Donnell, Inishowen Tourism, Paddy Doherty (Paul), Raymond Doherty, IDP, and Kathleen Gill, Inishowen Tourism. (1207PG36)

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Earlier this week the Lady Church in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin - built in 1270 - was relaunched to considerable fanfare but the Donagh Cross in Carndonagh dates back to the seventh century and who knows about it?

This was the point made by Chairman of the Carndonagh Community and Rural Development Company, Patrick McCarroll, at the launch of ‘Visit Carndonagh’ tourism map and information document designed to promote the town of Carn.

Speaking a the launch Mr. McCarroll said it was important to market the town and its rich heritage.

He said the map was an important part of that push.

And, somewhat tongue in cheek, he suggested that the launch of the ‘Visit Inishowen’ was every bit as important as that of Lady Church.

He commented: “In this map we have tried to give a brief, concise but informative history of the town.

“We also highlight the range of activities in and around this area, giving a run down on what is out there. We think this map provides a comprehensive overview of this area and will be a must have for our visitors.”

And it is a comprehensive document.

Broken down into ten sections it gives a run down on such diverse topics as ‘Are you from Carn?’, to ‘What’s Happening?’ on to ‘ Going Places’.

For example in ‘Are You from Carn?’ section you can find a profile of John Colgan, the Franciscan monk after whom the town hall is named; learn about ‘The Carndonagh Cowboy, Captain Jack Crawford, who became the chief scout of the United States Army and reported on Custer’s last stand’; and discover that the mother of Mary Robinson, Ireland’s first female president, was an O’Donnell from Bridge Street. And did you know that controversial comedien Tommy Tiernan was born in Carn in 1969?

One of the key drivers of tourism in Inishowen in recent years has been the ‘great outdoors’ and Mr McCarroll said those visiting Carndonagh had a wide variety of options to explore.

He pointed to the fact there were any number of walks in the area to match all fitness levels .

Visitors could also see the Northern Lights, visit the sand dunes at Lagg, see basking sharks off Malin Head, see some unusual birds at the wildlife sanctuary at Trewbega Bay or see one of Ireland’s few remaining natural woods at Oak Forest at Cnoc Na Coille Daire on the Ballyliffin Road.