The Dunlewey Centre : Ionad Cois Locha
Dunlewey in Gweedore is the location of Ionad Cois Locha Visitors’ Centre (The Dunlewey Centre) – a community-based tourism culture and arts development. Ionad Cois Locha is situated on the shores of Dunlewey Lough below the majestic Mount Errigal and close to the haunting and mysterious Poison Glen.
Ionad Cois Locha started of as a heritage centre founded and run by local people, which sought to explores aspects of the tradition of this part of Donegal including traditional music, weaving and the Irish language.In the early days the centre was based around a restored two storey farmhouse with a farm museum and a large variety of animals.The centre has always work to add a new exhibit, ride or feature each year. The most significant addition was a fabulous purpose built concert and drama centre which was opened in 2008
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With all the additions over the years the Ionad Cois Locha Visitors’ Centre now has the following facilities:-
- Restaurant, Tea-room,
- Craft Shop,
- Pony & Trap
- Adventure Play areas,
- Pets and Farm Animals,
- Lakeside walks
- Audio-Visual show on Dunlewey
- Boat Trips on Dunlewey Lake,
- Guided Tours of the restored house and farm
- Weaving Demonstrations.
- Ceol Traidisiunta – Traditional Music
Story telling trips on the 50 seater boat – The Grainne Rose – run from the jetty below the centre. The story is told about how the Poisoned Glen got it’s name, where the haunted house of Dunlewey is and the Green Lady that has appeared occasionally. The Fairy Rath can also be seen – this is the spot where the last known sightings of fairies in Dunlewey was. On the boat visitors can view the double-peaked summit of Mount Errigal and the glimmering granite of the Poison Glen from new angles. The boat trip passes near the site of a prehistoric Crannog, the first ‘Dunlewey’ which now lies beneath the water The observant visitor might just spot the Green Lady, ghost of the Guinness Estate, across the Lough!
Children of all ages are catered for and are guaranteed an exciting days entertainment. The indoor and outdoor play areas include:
- Pedaloes on the pond
- Bouncy Castle
- Rodeo Bull
- Adventure playground with slides
- Climbing wall
- Go-kart tracks
Among other things the centre tells the story of the renowned weaver,Manus Ferry, and his home has been reconstructed to give the visitorthe full flavour of life in Donegal in the middle of the last century. There are demonstrations in carding, spinning and weaving wool
The lakeside walk at Ionad Cois Locha takes the visitor past the home of the ducks, donkeys, peahen and peacock and the rabbit. The rabbit guards the way to the well (tobar) which used to supply Manus Ferry and his family with water. After a short walk you can enjoy peaceful moments on the shores of Dunlewey Lough and admire magnificent views of Errigal and the Derryveagh mountains.
Concert and Drama Centre
The centre now boasts a state-of-the-art concert and drama centre – Culturlann. Culturlann can cater for 500 people for conferences, concerts, parties and social events.Concerts are organised by Tionscnamh Lugh. Acts to have played in the centre already include Glen Hansard, Eddi Reader, Sharon Shannon, Liam O’Maonlai, and Altan.There are also traditional music sessions throughout the season.
Ionad Cois Locha ia a great place to visit at any time and is a perfect solution to a wet day in Donegal.
Location of Ionad Cois Locha, Dunlewey