Conserving Donegal’s towns and villages explored

This traditional telephone box in Malin Town (now decommissioned) is one of only a few still surviving in County Donegal.

This traditional telephone box in Malin Town (now decommissioned) is one of only a few still surviving in County Donegal.

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Heritage groups and community organisations from Inishowen and the Foyle area are set to gather in the south of the county later this week for an event looking at conserving the character of Donegal’s towns and villages.

The ‘Held in Trust’ seminar will take place at Dorrian’s Imperial Hotel in Ballyshannon this Saturday, November 22nd, as part of the implementation of the County Donegal Heritage Plan.

Representatives from Foyle Civic Trust will be among the key speakers at the event.

The traditional phone box in Malin Town is among the small key elements used by organisers of the event to illustrate how built heritage makes an enormous collective contribution to the sense of place and the historic character of streetscapes in our towns and villages.

The telephone box in Malin is one of only a few still surviving in County Donegal.

Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal heritage Officer said: “The built and cultural heritage of our towns and villages makes a significant contribution to our sense of place and identity.

“Our heritage makes our towns and villages attractive places to live, work and visit. While there is often a strong interest in the history of these towns, it does not always translate into the conservation of our built and cultural heritage.

“The built environment of our streetscapes is constantly changing and aspects of our built heritage and village character can be lost in the process.

“The individual and collective loss of aspects of the historic built fabric of our towns and villages in County Donegal in recent years has been considerable.

“Civic Trusts in some of our larger towns and cities has been effective in mobilising some of the local interest, enthusiasm and effort towards the conservation of our built and cultural heritage.”

The aims of the free seminar are to raise awareness and appreciation of the built heritage and streetscapes of Donegal’s historic towns; provide information and practical advice on the establishment of civic trusts; investigate sources of information; promote best practice in the conservation, and convey the heritage value and significance of our town’s streetscapes.

The ‘Held in Trust’ seminar is free but booking is required.

There will be illustrated presentations by expert guest speakers including Geraldine Walsh from Dublin Civic Trust, Westport Town Architect Simon Wall, Leah O’Neill from Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

Mary McLaughlin and Caroline Dickson from Foyle Civic Trust meanwhile will discuss the role of a Civic Trust and, in particular, the work of the their own organisation over the past 25 years.

Seminar participants will receive a free information pack and a light lunch and refreshments will be provided. To book a free place contact the County Donegal Heritage Office on (074) 912 4613 or by e-mail at: museum@donegalcoco.ie.