Fr McDyer’s Folk Village Museum
The Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum is a cluster of six small cottages, called a “clachan,” perched on a hillside overlooking a sandy cove of nearby Glenbay beach.
Each cottage on the site recreates a different era of Irish history – from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries – and is filled with household implements, kitchen utensils, furniture, pictures and clothing brought from all the surrounding homes of the valley. In addition, there is a reconstructed school house, sheebeen (pub), and a tea room/craft shop displaying the works of local artists, knitters, and weavers. Designed, assembled, and maintained by the local people, this folk village is one of Irelandʼs best living-history museums.
In 2011 the museum opened two new exhibition houses – a traditional thatched shop/pub with a shoemakers in the lower room, and a Fishermanʼs cottage dedicated to our history concerning the local fishermen and the sea.
The cottages are neatly white-washed, each with a traditional half-door, designed to keep the animals out and the people in. The roof of each cottage is thatched in the distinctive rounded Donegal style, tied down securely with rope and pegs to protect the thatching from the fierce westerly winds off the ocean.
The Fishermans Cottage is dedicated to the history of fishing in Glencolmcille and stories related to the sea. This type of one-bedroomed cottage is similar to the one that Rockwell Kent and Dylan Thomas stayed at in Glenlough in the early 20th Century. There is a tribute to them in the form of some of their artwork inspired by Glencolmcille on display here too.
The cottage represents the living conditions of a fishermanʼs dwelling. Local people have kindly donated their time, artifacts, knowledgeable input and photographs.
Heritage & Archaeology
Glencolumbkille is justifiably famous for its wealth of archaeological sites dating from 3,000 BC.
“A guide to 5,000 Years of History in Stone” by Michael Herity is an invaluable guide to the area, which is available from Amazon.con and locally in the bookshop in Oideas Gael.
Court Cairns: These are the characteristic tombs of Ireland’s earliest settlers. They were erected in a number of sites around Glencolumbkille and the finest is in the valley of Malinmore, a short distance from Aras Ghleann Cholm Cille.
Portal Dolmens: Also in Malinmore there is a group of six Portal Dolmens built by stone-age farmers. These are reputed to be some of the finest examples in Ireland.
Ringforts: These are the monuments dating from our Celtic ancestors, from around 350 BC. They consist of a number of circular earthworks and stone forts, the best example of which can be found in Doonalt.
Saint Colmcilleʼs Turas: The Turas (journey) takes place on the 9th June. Many of the stations of the turas have cross inscribed standing slabs which date from 500-800 AD.
Napoleonic Watch Towers: These perfectly intact watch towers were built in the early 19th Century, during the Napoleonic era, as part of a coastal defensive/communications system. Visits to the towers at Glen Head & Bunglas (Slieve League) make fine walks. A fine third example at Malinbeg is easily accessible to even the most casual tourist.