Donegal County Museum

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Donegal County Museum
Músaem Chontae Dhún na nGall
Donegal County Museum Interior.jpg
Donegal County Museum is located in Ireland
Donegal County Museum
Location within Ireland
Established 1987
Location High Street, Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland
Coordinates 54°57′17″N 7°44′06″W / 54.9546°N 7.7349°W / 54.9546; -7.7349Coordinates: 54°57′17″N 7°44′06″W / 54.9546°N 7.7349°W / 54.9546; -7.7349
Type County museum

Donegal County Museum (Irish: Músaem Chontae Dhún na nGall) is a county museum, officially recognised by the Government of Ireland as the best in the country.[1] Located on High Road in Letterkenny, the building opened to the public in 1845 as the Warden's House of the Letterkenny Workhouse during the Famine. Its purpose is to collect, record, preserve, and display the material evidence and associated information of the history of Donegal.


Letterkenny Board of Guardians held their first meeting in July 1841. At this meeting it was decided to build a workhouse in the town. The constructor of the building was Alex Deane of Cork. He agreed to complete the building, on a 4-acre (16,000 m2) site, for £5,792. The building commenced in 1842 in neo-Tudor style . Stone used in the building was taken from Lord Abercorn's Quarry. The Warden's House and the Workhouse doors opened in 1845, shortly before the Famine. 46 paupers were admitted. A dispensary was attached to the workhouse and later became Saint Anne's Maternity Hospital.

The museum first opened to the public in 1987. Due to the success of the museum in the early years it was extended after it received European Union funding in 1989. It was officially opened by President Mary Robinson on 14 June 1992.


The Museum holds a substantial collection of original artefacts that have a connection to the County Donegal area. These items cover subjects such as archaeology, history, social history and folklife. There are two exhibition galleries, and a number of offices within the building.The Temporary Exhibition Gallery shows between 6 and 11 temporary exhibitions per year - local, national and international.

The first floor gallery contains artefacts connected to the history of County Donegal from the prehistoric stone age period, through to the 20th century and the present day. Throughout the year, the Museum hosts a wide variety of lectures, seminars and educational events on a wide variety of topics and themes. The Museum is opened year round and is admission free.


The Museum was originally housed in what was once the Warden's house of the Letterkenny Workhouse, built in 1843. Between 1990 and 1991, the existing building underwent renovations and an extension was built. Further renovating was carried out between 1999 and 2000.


  1. ^ "Donegal County Museum 'best in Ireland' says Minister". Donegal Daily. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2013. “Donegal is years ahead of everyone else when it comes to diversity, dealing with the past and recognising all traditions. The work of the county museum is the best in Ireland when it comes to that,” he added. 

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