Posted by: daisycottage | August 5, 2009


Killybegs ~ population 3000 approx.

Killybegs in Gaelic (Irish) is ‘Na Cealla Beaga’, meaning ‘small cells’ which refers to the small cells built by monks who onced lived in the area.

Because Killybegs is a fishing port, freshly caught fish can be bought most days from a man on the pier.  You never know what fish will be available each day but it is fun deciding which you will try.  There is usually more common fish like mackerel, haddock, etc., and maybe ling or pollock, and usually squid too.  Occasionally there can be much more unusual fish.  There is also a fruit and vegetable stall just over from the pier where lovely fresh veg can be bought to accompany the fish you have bought.  The stall also sells fresh eggs, jams & preserves.





This family-friendly interactive bridge and exibitions are ideal for younger visitors and all visitors. Explore maritime skills and technologies past and present, from learning about the fishing history to steering a ship into port.”


Situated within what was once the famous Killybegs Carpet Factory, the Heritage Centre is home to the largest hand-knotted loom in the world. Visitors will see live demonstrations of weaving of the hand-knotted carpets, a chance to meet and talk with one of the few hand-weavers remaining in this part of the country, and enjoy a step-by-step account of how each carpet is individually designed and produced. Visitors are taught the unique craft of hand-knotting, and have the opportunity to try their skills at one of the hand-looms on display in the Factory.  Enjoy a fascinating insight into the history of one of the largest fishing fleets in Ireland, and take a journey into the past via audio visual and listen to the experiences of some of the Killybegs fishermen who give their own personal account of life in bygone days. Visitors will also have the opportunity to enjoy a hands-on audio visual display in a fishing trawler wheelhouse, allowing them to step into the fishermans shoes and imagine the wonderment of the ocean and the skills needed to live alongside nature in its true sense.”


St. Catherine of Alexandria is the patron saint of Killybegs and it is said that a group of monks were sailing along the west coast of Ireland when they hit a storm.  Thinking they would never reach land, they prayed to St. Catherine to save them and made a promise to her that should she save their lives, they would build a Well in her honour.  The monks did make it to dry land ~ Killybegs and kept their promise to St. Catherine and built the Well in her honour.  Above the Well you can see the ruins of Kit’s Castle which was the home of Bishop McMonagle who built the castle around 1355 and was the Bishop of Raphoe at that time.  Looking up and to the right of the Well you can see the remains of St. Catherine’s Church which was built circa.1620 but it is believed a much older church stood on this site.  There is also an old graveyard at the church and a number of victims of WWII are buried there though in recent years many have been exhubed for reburial in the land of their birth.  The graveyard is no longer in use, the last local having been buried there in 1902.

To get there drive through Killybegs along the seafront until you reach a small roundabout.  Drive through the roundabout and to your right you will see a carpark and the Well above it.  The path to the Well is wheelchair accessible but the rise up is quite steep.


The stones for building this church were taken from the ruins of MacSwynes Castle at St. John’s Point a few miles away.  Building commenced in 1842 and completed and first used on Christmas day 1843.  The dedication of the church was delayed due to the Great Famine after which it was dedicated to Dr. Cullen the then Archbishop of Dublin.  Just inside the gates of the church there is a sandstone Slab Stone which is said to have covered the grave of Niall Mor McSwyne (MacSuibhne), who a grandson of the first Chief of Bannagh (south west Donegal).  The Slab Stone was taken to it’s present location from the ruined Franciscan Friary at Ballysaggart, St. John’s Point in 1868 by the Parish Priest of Killybegs & Killaghtee, Monsignor James Stephens.  The McSwynes were a warlike Clan who came to Ireland from Scotland as gallowglasses (mercenary soldiers).  They built a castle in Killybegs at ‘Castle Point’ where now stands Mooney Boats boatyard.  Niall Mor McSwyne had a castle at St. John’s Point and remains of this castle, consisting of the south wall only, can still be seen there.


 KILLYBEGS SET DANCING WEEKEND 6th ~ 9th Ocotober 2009

Distance from Daisy Cottage 6 miles/9 km CLICK HERE FOR MAP  (Type in From: Dunkineely, Donegal To: Killybegs, Donegal).


Distance from Daisy Cottage 5 miles/7 km For CLICK HERE (Type in From Dunkineely, Donegal To: Killybegs Harbour, Donegal)

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