National Enterprise Town Awards: Dungloe

We are profiling all the towns to enter this year’s National Enterprise Town Awards. Today we are looking at Dungloe in west Donegal.

Dungloe is a small vibrant and ambitious town. The Donegal town is the capital of the Rosses Region and is designated as Gaeltacht service town. Uniquely, Dungloe is the only town in Donegal that is not a plantation town, it is a planned walled town and was designed by John Hanlon in 1830 for the landlord at the time William Burton Conyngham the 2nd Marquis.

Located on Donegal’s western seaboard, surrounded by hills, lakes, rivers and Dungloe Bay with its scattering of unique small islands, and with a population of 1,167, Dungloe has revitalised over the past few years.

Supported by Donegal County Council, a community consultation process took place in 2016, Dungloe Community Network was formed with over 100 individuals from business and community sectors input.

The Network has a steering committee of 12, with three sub-groups: Economic & Enterprise Development, Environment and Town Development and Tourism, Culture and Social.

In terms of Economic Development and Enterprise, the plan is to create 650 new jobs by 2020. Key to this plan has been the reopening of the Waterfront Hotel, the development of Dungloe Business Park and the installation of a new waste water treatment plant.

Local businesses in Dungloe are continuously investing in their premises and creating jobs.

Priorities achieved within Dungloe’s Economic and Enterprise Development Plan (2017-2018) included working with Donegal County Council to develop the Dungloe Town Plan.

A focus on the town centre to encourage investment in the main street saw six vacant properties re-opened.

Digital Dungloe

Dungloe has also been designated a Gaeltacht Digi-hub Town. The Network said it is working with local authorities to boost broadband in the town.

Testament to Dungloe’s digital capabilities was how a spy movie trailer as part of the town’s entry into the National Enterprise Town Awards in 2018 became a massive viral hit.

A firm focus on enterprise has seen the creation of local courses focused on education for established business and encouraging entrepreneurship and working with Udaras Na Gaeltachta and Donegal Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) to target investment and develop new enterprises.

There has also been a focus on public transport to and from Dungloe to identify weaknesses and the Network is working with local authorities and enterprises to improve transport links.

This includes working with Donegal Airport – regarded as the most scenic landing strips in Ireland – to promote west Donegal and encourage increased footfall.

As towns go, the west Donegal town of Dungloe has plenty of enterprising spirit and continues to prove its mettle as a destination for business to succeed and thrive.

Dungloe image: Wikimedia Commons

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 2 September, 2019