If you’re in search of an incredible learning experience, Doagh Famine Village will be right up your street.
Telling the story of Irish life from the Great Famine of the 1840s all the way up to the present day, Doagh Famine Village is a unique attraction on the glorious Inishowen Peninsula.
Located on the north Inishowen peninsula and about an hour from Letterkenny in County Donegal, Doagh Famine is easy to reach and well worth adding to your Donegal itinerary.
In this article, we will offer up a comprehensive guide to visiting Doagh Famine village, taking in everything from the history of the village to tips for visitors in the modern-day.
About Doagh Famine Village / History
Informative, emotive and at times humorous, the exhibition at Doagh Famine Village takes visitors through a range of spaces to tell the story of life in the area across almost two centuries.
Traversing everything from the road to peace in Northern Ireland to a look at Ireland in the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years and the recent economic collapse, Doagh Famine Village contains a wide variety of attractions.
Surprisingly, some of the original dwellings at Doagh which were still inhabited up to 20 years ago! The home of the owner of the attraction remained at Doagh until 1983. By that time, living in a thatched cottage was no longer sustainable.
A range of elements of Irish life are detailed at Doagh Famine village, with areas of note including insights into local food, cures and funeral customs.
Things to see at Doagh Famine Village
There’s plenty of things to see and explore at Doagh Famine Village in Inishowen, from original thatched homes to scenes that shook many Irish families in times past.
1. Original thatched homes
One of the main attractions of any visit to Doagh Famine Village is the chance to see the original thatched homes. Maintained and rethatched every year using traditional methods, these unique homes are a treat to behold.
2. The Irish wake
In this corner of Ireland, many people continue to observe the tradition of the wake. This is when the remains of loved ones are kept in the home until burial, rather than being taken to a funeral home. The information on this custom at Doagh Famine Village includes a reenactment using models.
3. The eviction scene
A shameful chapter in Irish history, evictions were commonplace in the years after the famine as wealthy landowners sought to maximise profits from their holdings. This section of the village highlights what was a harrowing time for many families.
4. The Orange Hall
As anybody with even a basic grasp of Irish history knows, religion has played a major role in the island’s past. The Orange Hall charts the history of the local area’s Established Church followers, whose hero William of Orange lends his name to the building.
5. The safe house
Inspired by the experiences of Eddie Gallagher, a long term Republican prisoner, the safe house is an example of the secret places of refuge designed to hide those Republicans on the run. Home to hiding places and passageways, this area of the village offers a unique insight.
The guided tour of Doagh Famine Village
The guided tour of Doagh Famine Village is perhaps the most informative way to enjoy the complex heritage of the site.
Through storytelling and lifesize exhibits, visitors can learn how communities have lived on the edge generation after generation, adapting and surviving as the environment and society around them changes.
Things to know before you go
Before heading to Doagh Famine Village, it is worth remembering that the centre is open only during the busier months of the year.
Exact opening times are listed below. What’s more, the village is home to a quality cafe for refreshments, toilets and baby changing facilities and offers full wheelchair access.
Opening, parking and prices
Doagh Famine Village is open from 17th March to 31st October every year. Access is granted from 10 am to 5pm daily and adults pay €10, children u16 €6 and children u4 go free. Parking is free with spaces for all vehicle types on offer.
Things to do near Doagh Famine Village
If you’re visiting the Doagh Famine Village and you fancy exploring more of the area that surrounds it, you’re in luck – some of the best Donegal attractions are very close-by.
If you have some time on your hands, the Inishowen 100 drive is a great way to pack in lots of places to see on the peninsula. Here are some of our favourite stops.
The Inishowen Peninsula is home to some of the best beaches in Donegal. Pollan Strand is a 9-minute drive, Tullagh is a 16-minute spin and Fiver Finger Strand is a 25-minute drive away.
2. Malin Head
3. Glenevin Waterfall (19 minutes away)
The stunning Glenevin Waterfall is one of a handful of hidden gems that many that visit Insihowen tend to miss. Make sure to pop this on your ‘to-visit’ list.
There’s a gorgeous walk from the parking area to the waterfall (takes about 20 minutes) and there’s a coffee truck on-site during the busier months.
James Connolly is a professional writer based in London. Having lived in cities across the world including Mumbai, Medellin and Barcelona, he uses his expertise to write articles showcasing the best of global travel.