Leprechaun town, fairy village, prehistoric and Christian trails among proposals for Heritage & Play Trail in Carndonagh, Donegal

A celebration of Inishowen’s ancient heritage and a fairy village and leprechaun town are among the proposals for a new Inishowen Heritage and Play Trail now released for public consultation.

By Brendan McDaid
Monday, 7th June 2021, 6:57 pm

The People of Carndonagh are a community group who came together to propose enhancements for the Barrack Hill Town Park in the town.

Inspired by the wealth of cultural heritage in Inishowen, the Barrack Hill Town Park plan incorporates an element of play into discovery exploration of the local archaeology. The plan gives people opportunity to get to know more about Inishowen’s rich history through play.

The community group said that with Carndonagh’s place in Inishowen’s past, and its geographical position at the centre of the peninsula make for a great location for a heritage hub where visitors can find out more about Inishowen’s heritage whilst in the town.

Sign up to our daily Derry Journal Today newsletter

Barrack Hill Park in Carndonagh.

The plans also address issues of park use highlighted by park users themselves, like accessibility, quality of the play equipment, and under used areas of the park. Activity throughout the park, which includes a cycle track and public art sculptures, could be encouraged with the proposed trails, the group states.

Proposals include new playground equipment and a play trail that will feature a fairy village and leprechaun town. In consultation with Donegal County Council the plan is part of an ongoing LEADER funded feasibility study.

The Fairy Village would delve into the rich imagination of Irish folklore to help sparks children’s imagination and encourage interactive play.

This would be situated next the Leprechaun Town which will also feature an interactive play area drawing on the rich folklore tradition of Ireland.

Barrack Hill Park in Carndonagh.

Inishowen’s rich prehistoric and Christian heritage are central to the proposals with two trails. The Prehistoric trail highlights sites such as the Temple of Deen wedge tomb at Bocan, built between 2500-2000 BC, the Morton God dolmen portal tomb of Iskaheen near Muff (3000BC); Standing Stones of Inishowen including the Ardmore Stone in Muff; the Rock art at Isle of Doagh and Straths; Bocan Stone Circle; and the Ogham Stones of Ireland.

The Christianity Trail focuses in on early Christian Ireland and evidence of it in Inishowen including the Cooley Cross (5th-6th Century AD); and the Carrowmore East and West Crosses: St Mura’s Cross Fahan; Carondonagh Cross; St Baudan’s Cross all constructed within the first few hundred years of Christianity being introduced.

Peter Doherty from the group said: “We hope that this development will increase interest in our cultural heritage and will immerse our young in it through play. The intention is to have an engaging play trail for the children of the area. It also aims to address the lack of walks through nature available in Carndonagh by linking Pound Street through to Ballyloskey, a route that we intend to also serve as a cycleway. Furthermore, we are seeking to create a unique visitor experience that will encourage tourism in the area.

“It is important to highlight that the project is only at the point of the feasibility study and therefore it is only a proposal. Any issues that you may have with the proposal will be strongly considered as we want this to be a project that belongs to the people of Carndonagh.”

The Carndonagh Cross.

The plans for the Heritage and Play Trail are available as part of a public consultation. As well as distributing the plans to stakeholders they will be available to view at the Visit Carndonagh offices open Monday to Wednesday 9.30am – 5.00pm. The People of Carndonagh are actively encouraging feedback and “would love to know your thoughts on the plan”.

To offer your thoughts or for more information email: [email protected]

A large, ancient carved stone cross beside the ancient church in north Inishowen.