Coordinates: 54°37′57″N 8°35′34″W / 54.632481°N 8.592789°W / 54.632481; -8.592789
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Cill Charthaigh
View from the monastic site at the old church down to the village, looking east. The R263 is to be seen as it leaves Kilcar in direction to Killybegs
View from the monastic site at the old church down to the village, looking east. The R263 is to be seen as it leaves Kilcar in direction to Killybegs
Cill Charthaigh is located in Ireland
Cill Charthaigh
Cill Charthaigh
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 54°37′57″N 8°35′34″W / 54.632481°N 8.592789°W / 54.632481; -8.592789
CountyCounty Donegal
 • Dáil ÉireannDonegal
 • EU ParliamentMidlands–North-West
 • Urban
Irish Grid ReferenceG614763
Cill Charthaigh is the only official name. The anglicised spelling Kilcar has no official status.

Cill Charthaigh (anglicised as Kilcar)[2] is a Gaeltacht village on the R263 regional road in the south west of County Donegal in Ireland. It is also a townland of 233 acres and a civil parish in the historic barony of Banagh.[3]

Main Street has a Catholic church (known locally as 'the Chapel') at one end and two textile factories at the other end. In between there are several shops and three pubs, John Joe's Pub, Kilcar House and O'Gara's. The village has the principal tweed hand weaving facility in Donegal, with a shop Studio Donegal selling tweed products. Kilcar is also known for its tradition in knitting.[citation needed].

The primary school is about 750 metres from Main Street, and the parish of Kilcar stretches to the 'burn' which separates it from the next village, Carrick, which is about 5 kilometres away.

Located close to the Slieve League cliffs, the town is known for the scenic coastal landscapes and the musical and cultural traditions.[citation needed]


Áislann Chill Chartha is a community facility which includes a library, café, sports hall (basketball and indoor football), a fitness suite, computer centre, and small theatre.[4] It also has exhibits based on the history of South West Donegal and exhibitions of historic local photographs. It is located beside Studio Donegal.

St. Cartha's Pipe Band was formed in Kilcar in 1934. The band competed in their first All Ireland Pipe Band Championships in 2009. At the Malahide piping and drumming festival of the same year, the band finished second in their grade. The bands uniform consists of a saffron kilt and green tunic.

About 22% of residents are native Irish speakers.[citation needed] . Students visit the area yearly to learn Irish through Coláiste Chara, an Irish language summer school for teenagers. In the nearby parish of Glencolmcille you will find Oideas Gael, an Irish Language school for adults which provides learning opportunities for those from all over the world to study about the Irish Language, Culture and more.

Fleadh Cheoil Chill Chartha or Kilcar Fleadh is a yearly festival of music, song and dance celebrating the living tradition of south west Donegal. This five day festival includes; concerts, The Rambling Session, céilí, daily music and dance workshops, and a heritage day displaying heritage, crafts & culture of Kilcar and the surrounding area. Other festival highlights include 'Echos in the Glen' - a music recital featuring fiddles and pipes in the Gleann a'Bhaile Dubh; and workshops in fiddle, tin whistle, guitar, accordion and dancing.

Regular traditional music sessions take place within the area, in particular in John Joe's pub or Teach John Joe's who host traditional music sessions weekly on Tuesdays. The area is well known for experienced musicians, and a wide range of music genre's can be heard within Kilcar.

A restoration has been in progress to restore An Mhuileann Coirce Leitir (Corn Mill), "The mill and millers house is at present undergoing renovation under the auspice of The Kilcar Heritage Committee. This ambitious restoration project consists of the restoration of the mill and drying kiln, mill dam, mill wheel and mill race. The renovation of the miller’s house will include refreshment facilities. A new visitor’s car and bus park will also be added. The landscaping of the mill lands will include a new river-side scenic walk."[5]

Sport and outdoor activities[edit]

Muckros Peninsula, Kilcar

Gaelic football is among the more popular sports in Kilcar, and the GAA pitch at Towney is located 2 kilometres outside the village on the coast road. The local club, CLG Chill Chartha, have been 6 times Donegal Champions. CLG Chill Chartha actively promotes Gaeilge usage and regularly organises Irish Language events within the community.

In the townland of Muckross (Mucros in Irish), which is a location for tourists due to its scenery, rock climbing, surfing beach and family bathing beach. It is 3 km (2 mi) east of the village on the coast road (See Muckross Head).

Curris also has views of Sliabh a Liag, and has a beach and pier in close proximity.

A local group Kilcar Kayaking are actively running within the area.

There are various walking routes within Kilcar and it's townlands.



  1. God's Creatures, (2022) starring Paul Mescal and Emily Watson was filmed in Kilcar and surrounding areas.
  2. In the Land of Saints and Sinners, (2023) starring Liam Neeson, Kerry Condon, Seamus O'Hara and Ciarán Hinds was also filmed in Kilcar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: Settlements Cill Charthaigh". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order 2004.
  3. ^ "Kilcar". IreAtlas Townlands Database. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Áislann Chill Chartha". Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  5. ^ "History of Leitir Corn Mill". Leitir Corn Mill. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  6. ^ Coleman, Maureen (7 August 2008). "Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick off to Donegal to save marriage". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 7 August 2008. The glamorous couple – considered one of the strongest pairings in showbiz – regularly visit Kilcar in Donegal, where they own a holiday home.

External links[edit]