The Sliabh Sneacht Centre is a Community Heritage Centre based in Inishowen, Co. Donegal. The three primary areas of focus are Heritage, Community and Outdoor Pursuits. The Centre is a new build project and is due to open in June 2014. In January 2013, the project secured funding of €385,000 from Inishowen Development Partnership. This, along with match funding of €200,000 (which was raised by the local community) enabled the construction of the centre to begin.
We adopted a theme for the project; “Giving while Living”, which is based on Chuck Feeney’s philosophy (Atlantic Philanthropies). Due to the economic downturn, we have a number of skilled tradesmen in construction who are unemployed and are giving their time for free to the project, which has reduced building costs considerably.
The Centre will have permanent and temporary exhibitions exploring aspects of the Donegal Cultural Heritage and will link in with the broader cultural heritage of the area to include historic buildings, landscapes and collections. There is a 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 town land. She attended school in Drumfries, now the site of the new Sliabh Sneacht Centre. A large number of the O’Neill family were invited to Drumfries and performed the digging of the sod ceremony in September 2012. They have kindly agreed to return in September 2014 to launch the official opening of the Centre. There will also be a temporary exhibition on the life of John Newton and the Amazing Grace Story.
The Centre is also a community centre for the local area and the North Pole Cycling Club will use the centre as their base camp given that we are situated in the foothills of Inishowen’s highest peak, Sliabh Sneacht (615m). The building also has a sports hall which will act as a youth club. This is a multi-functional building which can be used by the whole community.
The Centre will also host a variety of ongoing community activities including fitness classes, craft classes, after-school clubs, over 50’s Clubs and training courses. There will also be a Mobile Robotics Programme facilitated by an Engineering Lecturer from LYIT; it is a club to encourage students and unemployed individuals and the general public to learn how to build and programme a robot in order to develop skills and enhance career prospects.