Community-driven tourism in Dún Lúiche, Co. Donegal

Company name

Trading as Ionad Cois Locha (Dunlewey Centre)

Chomharchumann Forbartha Dhún Lúiche Teoranta

Togra Dhún Lúiche Teoranta

Location

Dún Lúiche (Dunlewey), Co. Donegal

Grant

Feasibility, Research & Development, consultancy, training, Capital grants

Dates

On-going since 1990

Project

The small village of Dún Lúiche, Co Donegal at the foot of Mt Errigal and situated between two lakes, is in an exceptionally picturesque location. Until recently however it was treated as a through-road. Visitors might look at the view but never stopped over. In 1988 locals formed a co-operative and set about making their village more visitor friendly.

With the help of Údarás capital grants, the co-op purchased a farmhouse previously owned by a weaver. This centre, named Ionad Cois Locha, was turned into a ‘weaver’s cottage’ museum with adjacent tea-room. Over the years it has expanded and diversified, and remains the lynchpin of Dunlewey’s tourist trade.

Results

The original small tea-room is now a 180-seater restaurant and the shop has expanded hugely. In addition two boats now tour the lakes. From a non-existent tourist base, Ionad Cois Locha now has an estimated 70,000 annual visitors. Most importantly 30 jobs have been created in this area of previously high unemployment. Says Séamus Ó Gallachóir, acting manager of Ionad Cois Locha: “The centre has made a huge difference to the area. Údarás has been with us from the word go.”

Perspective

In 2006 Ionad Cois Locha was approved grants from Údarás and Fáilte Ireland to build a multi-purpose auditorium for arts, music and other events. When completed the auditorium will house 400 people and add further cultural stimulus to this regenerated area. See www.dunleweycentre.com