‘Tip O’Neill Suite’

Tip O’Neill

The Centre will have permanent and temporary exhibitions exploring aspects of the Donegal Cultural Heritage of Inishowen and will link in with the broader cultural heritage of the county and country, to include historic buildings, landscapes and collections. There is a dedicated Heritage room in the Centre named the “Tip O’Neill Suite” which is a permanent exhibition on the life of Tip O’Neill.

The Tip O’ Neill Suite (Heritage Room) is dedicated to the late Speaker of the House of Representatives, whose grandmother, Eunice Fullerton came from a nearby townland. She attended St. Patricks National School in Drumfries, now the site of the new Sliabh Sneacht Centre. The school was built in 1838, one of the first schools to be built in Inishowen after the abolition of the Penal Laws. Previously, there was a hedge school at this site; St.Patricks National School closed its doors for the last time in June 1996 and the old school was donated to the community by the late Fr. Joseph Carolan, Parish Priest of Buncrana.

In 2011, the Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Committee was set up; it was a joint initiative between Buncrana Town Council and Donegal County Council. The Tip O’Neill Irish Diaspora Award was started in 2012; the centenary of the birth of Tip O’Neill and has now become an annual event. The first recipient of the award was Irish American journalist, Niall O’Dowd. 2013 saw Brian Schwizter, a former governer of Montana receiving the award.

This year’s winner is Senator Therese Murray of Massachusetts. President Michael D. Higgins came to Buncrana to present the award to Senator Murray in the Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana on Friday 12th September 2014. A large number of the O’Neill family came to perform the digging of the sod ceremony in Drumfries on the site of the new centre and they very kindly returned to officially launch the opening of the Sliabh Sneacht Centre at 4pm on Friday 12th September 2014.