Nestled along the Wild Atlantic Way in the picturesque town of Ardara, one of the five designated heritage towns in County Donegal, guests will find the hidden gem that is the Triona Donegal Tweed Visitor Centre. The centre welcomes all who visit and offers the opportunity to experience the history, skill, and craft that has gone into hand weaving Donegal tweed for generations.
In 1984, ten years after the collapse of the local tweed industry, Dennis Mulhern, a fifth-generation hand weaver founded Triona as a small bespoke tweed company in the front room of his Ardara family home. As the Mulhern family business expanded, ‘The Mart’, which had historically been the central marketplace where local tweed was produced, inspected, stored and sold, became the new home of Triona. The Mulhern family now welcome thousands of visitors from all around the world to their spacious factory.
The Mulhern family have dedicated their lives to protecting and nurturing the skill, craft and heritage of Donegal tweed. At the Triona Donegal Tweed Centre, master weavers still make handwoven tweed on looms that have been used for centuries and visitors are offered an authentic window into the ancient art of hand weaving. The Triona workshop employs three full-time weavers and three apprentices who, using the same time-honoured skills that made Donegal tweed famous the world over, create the Mulhern family’s exclusive Triona tweed in rich colours inspired by the ever-changing landscape of Donegal’s hills and wild Atlantic coast.
The guest experience at the Triona Donegal Tweed Visitor Centre isn’t limited to hand weaving demonstrations. In 2017 Dennis Mulhern's dream of recreating his family homestead was realised with the introduction of 'The Weavers Cottage'. The cottage is a scale replica of the home in which Dennis grew up, complete with thatched roof and loom house at the side. Guests step back in time and experience the history of how people in rural Ireland lived in those days. The Centre’s guides are on hand to answer questions and offer historical insights, including details of how all the family were involved in age-old traditions such as knitting, spinning and hand weaving.
To round off the visit, guests are also treated to a short audio-visual display that includes local archival footage bringing to life the history and heritage of Donegal tweed in Ardara exploring the entire creative process from fleece to fashion.