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Southwest Donegal: uniqueness and interdependence in 2015

Updated Wednesday 6th April 2016

In Southwest Donegal, we see both the local uniqueness and different interdependencies and interconnections with other places.

Signpost to Glencolmcille in English and Irish Gaelic Creative commons image Icon Jenny Meegan under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license Signpost linking Glencolmcille to the Wild Atlantic Way (blue wave symbol) In 2015, the Slieve League Peninsula, like Killala in Northeast Mayo, is part of the Wild Atlantic Way, the tourist route along the South and West coast of Ireland. For this part of the route, tourists are encouraged to explore the area’s uniqueness in terms of the Slieve League cliffs, the ‘highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe’. 

A different kind of uniqueness and a different set of interconnections, linking the area to the North coast of Ireland and the West coast of Scotland, are found on Sli Colmcille. This is a trail for pilgrims and tourists which explores the life and legend of Colmcille (St Columba), one the one of the three patron saints of Ireland (St Columba Trail, 2016). Glencolmcille can be translated as ‘the valley of Colm Cille’.There is a ‘Turas’, a pilgrimage route in his honour around the valley on 9 June each year which continues to this day. You can find out more and experience a ‘virtual pilgrimage’ at the Voices from the Dawn website (Goldbaum, nd). 

Furthermore, the whole range of recent agricultural, manufacturing and tourist developments in the area has been surveyed by students and staff from the Geography Department of Maynooth College (now Maynooth University) and their research provided an invaluable base especially for the Open University programmes in 1983 (Regan and Breathnach, 1981). Using a rural area in the West of Ireland also links the programmes directly to the next series in this collection, on Northeast Mayo. Southwest Donegal and Northeast Mayo are similar in many respects but the areas have experienced different forms of industrialisation and this serves to extend the discussion of ‘periphery development’. And finally, although Southwest Donegal is ‘peripheral’ in economic terms, it is ‘central’ in terms of Irish culture. And hence, it is of central importance of the survival of Irish as a living language.

Activity: Recap this series

Having worked through this series on Southwest Donegal: Exploring uniqueness and interdependence, consider the construction and reconstruction of the local uniqueness and interdependences throughout these articles. Think in terms of how the historical layers have been constructed and, have in turn combined with the previous layer to produce a modified, yet new set of social relations.

  • What elements and processes have been involved?
  • Did you anticipate these outcomes based on what you saw and your knowledge of how Ireland has changed in the past 30 years?

 

Now move on to read about Northeast Mayo: Local change in the West of Ireland.

 

See all the articles in this series

See all the series in the Change in the West of Ireland collection

This article is part of a collection on the 'Uniqueness, Interdependence, Uneven Development and Change in the West of Ireland'. To find out more about the collection, a good place to start is the introduction, Change in the West of Ireland. 

References for this series

Acknowledgements

This material draws from Open University programmes and a course based on the work of Pat Jess.

  • Anderson, J., Jess, P. and Morris, E. (1985) ‘TV08 and TV09 Southwest Donegal Introduction to the Programmes’, in The Open University (1985) Changing Britain, Changing World: geographical perspectives, Broadcast Handbook, Milton Keynes, The Open University Press.

  • Jess, P. (1985) ‘TV08 Southwest Donegal: Tradition and Change’, in The Open University (1985) D205 Changing Britain, Changing World: geographical perspectives, Broadcast Handbook, Milton Keynes, The Open University Press.

  • Anderson, J. (1985) ‘TV09 Southwest Donegal: Industry and Culture’, in The Open University (1985) D205 Changing Britain, Changing World: geographical perspectives, Broadcast Handbook, Milton Keynes, The Open University Press.

  • ‘TV08 Southwest Donegal: Tradition and Change’ (1985) D205 Changing Britain, Changing World: Geographical perspectives, Milton Keynes, The Open University.

  • ‘TV09 Southwest Donegal: Industry and Culture’, in The Open University (1985) D205 Changing Britain, Changing World: geographical perspectives, Broadcast Handbook, Milton Keynes, The Open University Press.

 

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