Celebrating heritage week in Cooley

(1908PG12)
(1908PG12)

With heritage week upon us, Inishowen is gearing up for a full week of events, starting with an eye opening guided tour at Cooley Graveyard in Moville.

In the beautiful surroundings overlooking Lough Foyle, three separate hour long walks will give people a unique insight into the history and heritage of the site.

Since their formation just 18 months ago the Cooley Cross Heritage Development Committee have had a long hard road to getting the graveyard into its stunning present condition.

Committee member Martin Hopkins spoke to the ‘Journal’ yesterday about how the group have secured part funding to conduct a conservation survey into the site and the wider area.

“We have a topographer (a map expert) coming to Cooley on Saturday morning to start work. He will look at the whole area, not just the graveyard; we have to explore the history of the area in relation to the Cooley monastery.

“We hope to conduct a few digs in the vicinity outside the graveyard which we believe will uncover artefacts dating back to the Iron Age. This will show us the settlement that was in existence, as we are sure the monastery would have attracted families and houses..”

With the funding secured from the National Heritage Board for the study, and with Donegal County Council in charge of preserving the skull house within the graveyard, Martin and the rest of the group are hoping to preserve the wider locality.

“Long term and short term we hope to preserve the whole area, we have explored the possibility of building a car park and visitor centre in the area, but for us its more important to preserve the heritage of the site first. But if some local people want to come and explore the idea of creating Cooley Cross into a big tourist attraction then we can give them the information they require.”

The free guided tour of Moville’s National Monument will by conducted by the committee members of the heritage group and everyone with an interest in the site is encouraged to go along and see one of the gems Inishowen has to offer.

“The tour will give people the archeological history of the area, as well as general history, so there is something for everyone. We will also be looking for people to give us feedback, and we will be available to answer any questions they have about the area.

“We are a voluntary community based group and we are always on the look out for new members to keep the thing going, so anyone with an interest come along on Saturday, or simply visit the site any time.”

The three walks this Saturday take place at 12pm, 1.30pm and 3pm, there will also be more tours taking place next Saturday 27th August.