The Killybegs Maritime and Heritage Centre has closed this week after 15 years
The Killybegs Maritime and Heritage Centre has been forced to close.
The committee that runs the heritage centre in the listed building that was formerly the home of the internationally renowned Donegal Carpets has announced that it has been forced to close the centre as the building is being sold.
The factory, which dates back to the 1890s, once supplied hand-coven carpets to Dublin Castle, Aras an Uachataran, Buckingham Palace, the Vatican and the US White House.
The factory closed in 1987, partially reopened in 1997 and has been in use as a centre dedicated to the history of the town’s fishing and carpet-making heritage since 2006.
The heritage centre is home to the largest hand-knotted loom in the world and has had more than 75,000 visitors in 15 years.
It has received funding from Donegal County Council and the Leader programme.
In a statement, the committee that runs the centre said it is “very saddened and disappointed” to announce the closure.
“We are so sad that it has come to this. We did all in our power to stay the course but that was not possible.”
The committee said it is looking forward to the next phase of the historic building.
The heritage centre has been closed since March last year due to Covid-19. It had employed staff through community employment schemes.
Local county councillor Niamh Kennedy said the closure this week is “very disappointing news” for the community.
“The building is part of the history of the town and is such a historic building. It was the main place of work for the women of the town from the 1800s. It has been a great place for people to visit. The people from the cruise ships loved it, there was a fantastic reaction to it, the staff were brilliant and it was building up a good trade with coach tours,” she said.
“From a community point of view, it would have been so lovely for it to remain in the community. There is just a sense of loss that the doors are now shut and a sense of disappointment. That it is not in community ownership is an awful pity.”
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