The Gallaher Clan may be spread far and wide around the globe but our forefathers in Ancient Ireland first created homelands where Gallaghers were dominant and held seats of great power. Our clan may now extend across continents now but our origins lie deep within the heart of Ireland.
Modern day Co Donegal are well known as being populated with large numbers of the Gallagher Clan. The rugged coastlines and majestic mountain ranges of Donegal will forever be associated with the Gallagher name so if you are looking to step back to our ancestors soil then Donegal couny of Ireland should be high on your list of regions to visit.
In terms of size and area, it is the largest county in Ulster and the fourth largest county in all of Ireland. Uniquely, County Donegal shares a border with only one other county in the Republic of Ireland – County Leitrim. The greater part of its land border is shared with three counties of Northern Ireland: County Londonderry, County Tyrone and County Fermanagh. This geographic ‘isolation’ from the rest of the Republic has led to Donegal people maintaining a distinct cultural identity and has been used to market the county with the slogan Up here it’s different. While Lifford is the County Town, Letterkenny is by far the largest town in the county with a population of 19,588. Letterkenny and the nearby city of Derry form the main economic axis of the north-west of Ireland.
The heritage town of Donegal is situated at the mouth of its namesake, Donegal Bay, and is part of a county that also bears the same name. The county is at the foot of the Bluestack Mountains, making it an ideal starting point for those touring the rest of the country.
Its quiet and relaxing lifestyle has made it a tourist attraction in itself as well. The town is popular since it was the home of the O’Donnell clan. The clan was a major player in the history of Ireland. A 1966 Disney film featuring an O’Donnell character was even entitled The Fighting Prince of Donegal.
The town’s location is ideal for angling, fishing, and boating activities. There are several walking and biking paths that guests can take. Dean’s Equestrian Center provides a complete look at how horses are groomed and cared for.
There is an 18-hole golf course for those who want to improve their swing. Dining out is also a treat, as you get to sample local specialties. There are also a number of pubs that let you enjoy a drink together with good company.
A good time to visit is the summer right in time for the town festival. You can enjoy good music that will be played in conjunction with a carnival atmosphere.
There are several accommodation choices that guests can choose from. There are hotels and guesthouses along the center of town called the Diamond. There are also a number of bed and breakfast houses around Donegal. Tourists can then walk around the Diamond to find several shops and restaurants. An important attraction is the Donegal Castle, which was home to the O’Donnells. Another heritage site is the Railway Heritage Museum. One can enjoy serene hikes in the Bank Walk, the Blue Stack Mountains, and the Barnesmore Gap. To end the day, you can relax while walking at the picturesque Murvagh Beach.
Visiting County Donegal
Donegal with its breathtaking natural amenities, its rich cultural endowment and its unique quality of life is a must see tourist attraction in the North West of Ireland. The ‘Visitor Zone’ will provide all domestic and overseas tourists with information on the wide range of recreational and sporting activities you can do when in County Donegal including walks through national parks and community woodlands to trout & salmon fishing in well stocked lakes, to shopping in a retail paradise etc; the variety of accommodation where you can stay ranging from quaint cottages in tranquil scenic locations to luxury 4 and 5 star hotels with spa and conference facilities located around the major urban centres. It also provides travel information that will facilitate the planning of your journey to this beautiful location.
Attractions Donegal Ireland
Ardara Heritage Centre – Ardara
Located at Ardara, it tells the story of Donegal tweed from the shearing of sheep to the manufacture of the woven cloth. Weavers at work show how a loom operates and the different stitches which make up Aran knitwear can be examined.
Bundoran Waterworld – Bundoran
With an indoor swimming and spectator area. There is also an outdoor adventure playground and award winning leisure facilities. Great famility facility.
Colmcille Heritage Centre – Gartan
Located at Gartan, Churchill, Letterkenny, this centre houses a unique interpretative exhibition featuring the life and times of Saint Colmcille (Columba) – Patriarch of the Irish monastic system and founder of the Scottish Church. The exhibition is housed in a beautiful stone building on the shores of Lough Gartan, within the Derryveagh mountain range.
Colmcille Monastry on Tory Island – Tory Island
For a thousand years the monastery founded by Colmcille flourished until sacked by the Elizabethans. The ruins are mostly in the west of Tory. Of the five churches recorded in the middle ages only the ruins of one remain. Cursing stones were used to keep out tax collectors. Access to the island by ferry from Magheraroarty, Bunbeg and Portnablagh.
Donegal Castle – Donegal
Built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle has extensive 17th century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle owners from the O’Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family.