Donegal is a town in the county of Donegal, situated in the North West of Ireland, in the province of Ulster. Situated at the foot of the Bluestack Mountains and Lough Eske, Donegal Town is a great place to visit! The activities on offer will delight hikers, surfers, golfers, but also lovers of the great outdoors!

History of Donegal Town

From the First Inhabitants to the Anglo-Irish conflict

The Donegal site is believed to have been inhabited from prehistoric times by a population that left behind many remains. There are also traces of Viking fortifications, and a fortress which was probably destroyed in 1159 by Muirchertach MacLochlainn, then High King of Ireland. From century to century, the site gradually grew and saw a real city develop on these lands. As early as the 15th century, the town fell into the hands of the clan of Hugh O’Donnell, one of the richest Irish families of that time, who constantly asserted his opposition to British colonialism on Irish lands.

The O’Donnell family was very influential in the town and in 1474 built a magnificent castle where they lived until the Flight of the Counts in 1607, when the family was reduced to fleeing the British and abandoning the castle. From then on, the keys to the town were given to the British captain Basil Brooke, who reinvested the castle after many years of complete renovation of the fortress.

The town grew and then experienced the Great Famine…

From the 17th century, the town of Donegal changes hands to belong to the Gore family, Earl of Aran. This wealthy family then launched numerous projects to enlarge the town, giving Donegal the image we know today.

Unfortunately, the town did not escape the Great Famine (1845-1848) and saw a large part of its population decimated by food shortages.

Today the town of Donegal is one of the most vibrant towns in the county along with Letterkenny. The city develops mainly around tourism and the making of Irish tweed, a high quality fabric known worldwide.

Donegal: discover the map

(Tourist sites and places to eat and drink)

Donegal: activities and sites to visit

  • Location

  • Type of site