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Minister Joe McHugh launches National Heritage Week at Doon Fort, Ardara, Co. Donegal

23rd August 2013—The Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Joe McHugh T.D., was at Doon Fort in Co. Donegal today to launch National Heritage Week.

Minister McHugh was met by the landowner, Josie McHugh, and travelled by boat across Loughadoon. On reaching the island he was taken on a guided tour of Doon Fort by the Tor Mór Cultural Tourism Committee, Kilclooney Dolmen Centre and local volunteers.

National Heritage Week, which takes place from Saturday 23rd to Sunday 31st August 2014, is part of the European Heritage Days initiative introduced by the Council of Europe in 1991 with the support of the European Union. Ireland was one of the first countries to take part in European Heritage Days and this year over 50 countries are participating. This year’s theme is: ‘Family - generations exploring heritage together.’

Speaking at the event, Minister McHugh said: “National Heritage Week is the perfect platform for families of all ages to come together to get involved in a wide range of activities. It is the perfect opportunity to focus on and to increase awareness of our local and perhaps lesser-known heritage sites such as ‘Doon Fort’ and other such hidden gems. I hope that this event is thoroughly enjoyed by all and helps to highlight the collective efforts of all involved here today and raise awareness of the remarkable built and natural heritage of Donegal.”

The main aims of Heritage Week are to promote awareness of our built, natural and cultural heritage thereby encouraging its conservation and preservation. There are close to 100 events happening around Co. Donegal.


Notes for editors:

Doon Fort (O’Boyle’s Fort) – Description of Monument

Massive oval dry-stone fortification (walls over 4m high).

One of two fine examples of Stone Forts in Co. Donegal, the other being the Grianán of Aileach in Inishowen (a national monument in state ownership).

The monument dates to the early medieval period and may have been use for many centuries.

Tradition belief that the site was built as a defensive fortification, however it has

also been argued that the structure was possibly built for ceremonial purposes.

Doon Fort is considered one of Irelands ‘Western Stone Forts’ but Doon Fort is not

included as one of the ‘Western Stone Forts’ on the tentative list for proposed World Heritage Status. Progress on the application for World Heritage status of the ‘Western Stone Forts’ is not expected in the near future.