Doagh Famine Village
Donegal’s remarkable Doagh Famine Village is set in a traditional thatched hamlet which was inhabited right up until 1983 by the family of owner-tour-guide Pat Doherty. This is a nostalgic and somewhat melancholic journey back into the past. It delves into a time when life in Ireland was tough, but life on the furthest fringes of the Atlantic coast was unbelievably difficult. Because life expectancy was so short, most families had large numbers of children. If, against all odds, they survived, the family lands would be divided up again and again to the point when the fields were simply too small to farm. And so, in the end plot sizes were so small that poverty and shortage of food was endemic across much of the country. And yet despite these privations, life went on and music, poetry, and schooling were very important.
The Doagh Famine Village is a rare treasure because it is built around past generations of Pat Doherty’s own family. It is a living museum, therefore, and a story of a family who survived, since Pat Doherty is there before us. But survive, they did, and Pat is happy to tell the story, from those tragic days right up to the present times.
Doagh Famine Village contains a wide selection of full size attractions, including some original dwellings which were still inhabited up to 20 years ago. Some of the buildings of Doagh Famine Village, such as the Orange Hall, Presbyterian Meeting House, Mass Rock and Hedge School and a Republican Safe House, depict the diverse history and culture of this corner of the Inishowen peninsula. Other buildings house information on the travelling community’s culture and other Irish traditions such as food, cures and the ‘Irish Wake’, a traditional send-off for the dead.
The Doagh Famine Village is different to any other tourist attraction in Ireland. It depicts life as it was in those days, uncommercialised, interdenominational, and interspersed with humorous anecdotes of Irish life. It also explains the road to peace in Northern Ireland, Ireland in the Celtic Tiger years and the recent economic collapse. Admission includes a guided tour, refreshments and entrance into Donegal Haunted House.
To get to the Doagh Famine Village follow the R238 north from Buncrana, and follow local roads and signage from Ballyliffin to Doagh.