Ballyshannon is a town in County Donegal
County Donegal
County Donegal is a county in Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is also located in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county...

, Ireland
Republic of Ireland
Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

. It is located where the N3 and N15 cross the River Erne
River Erne
The River Erne , in the northwest of Ireland, rises in Beaghy Lough, two miles south of Stradone in County Cavan and flows 64 miles through Lough Gowna, Lough Oughter and Upper and Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, to the sea at Ballyshannon, County Donegal...

, and claims to be the oldest town in Ireland.


Ballyshannon, which means "The Mouth of Seannach's Ford
Ford (crossing)
A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading or in a vehicle. A ford is mostly a natural phenomenon, in contrast to a low water crossing, which is an artificial bridge that allows crossing a river or stream when water is low.The names of many towns...

", after a fifth century warrior, Seannach, who was slain there, lies at the mouth of the river Erne. Just west of the town, the Erne
River Erne
The River Erne , in the northwest of Ireland, rises in Beaghy Lough, two miles south of Stradone in County Cavan and flows 64 miles through Lough Gowna, Lough Oughter and Upper and Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, to the sea at Ballyshannon, County Donegal...

 widens and its waters meander over a long sandy estuary. The northern bank of the river rises steeply away from the riverbank, while the southern bank is flat with a small cliff that runs parallel to the river. From its idyllic setting, the town looks out over the estuary and has panoramic views of mountains, lakes and forests.


Archaeological sites dating as far back as the Neolithic
Neolithic British Isles
The Neolithic British Isles refers to the period of British, Irish and Manx history that spanned from circa 4000 to circa 2,500 BCE. The final part of the Stone Age in the British Isles, it was a part of the greater Neolithic, or "New Stone Age", across Europe.During the preceding Mesolithic...

 period (4000 BC – 2500 BC) have been excavated in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas, representing settlement and ritual activity from early periods of human settlement.As Drederick Tatum mentions, 'if you ever find me back in that dump, you know I fucked up bad'. Finds have ranged from fulachta fiadh (burnt mounds) dating from the Bronze Age (2500–500 BC), to a possible brushwood trackway thought to date to an earlier Neolithic period, to the recent discovery of a previously unknown medieval church and cemetery containing hundreds of skeletons thought to date from between 1100 and 1400. This site yielded numerous artifacts including silver long cross pennies and halfpennies dating from the reign of Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

 (1251–1276) and Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 (c.1280–1302). Other finds included bone beads, shroud pins, and pieces of quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 which were found placed in the hands of many of the skeletons.

Numerous other sites from various periods are thought to exist, including a neolithic tomb, and the grave of King Red Hugh (Aedh Rua) upon which St. Anne's church (Church of Ireland
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland is an autonomous province of the Anglican Communion. The church operates in all parts of Ireland and is the second largest religious body on the island after the Roman Catholic Church...

) was supposedly built, occupying the highest of the town's vantage points—Mullgoose. Nothing remains to mark either tomb, the last vestige of the mound on Mullaghnashee having been obliterated in 1798 when a fort was constructed on the hill-top. The 18th century churchyard and the paupers' burial ground were both referred to as Sidh Aedh Ruaidh, the Fairy Mound of Red Hugh. The 'sheeman' (Anglicisation of the Irish sidh) in Mullgoose means 'fairies'. Popular belief assigned the interior of hills to fairies' dwelling places and local tradition has handed down accounts of the exploits of the fairy folk, especially among the Finner sand-hills and in the Wardtown district of Ballyshannon.
The Vikings, according to the Annals of Ulster
Annals of Ulster
The Annals of Ulster are annals of medieval Ireland. The entries span the years between AD 431 to AD 1540. The entries up to AD 1489 were compiled in the late 15th century by the scribe Ruaidhrí Ó Luinín, under his patron Cathal Óg Mac Maghnusa on the island of Belle Isle on Lough Erne in the...

, attacked nearby Inishmurray
Inishmurray is an uninhabited island situated 7 km off the coast of County Sligo, Ireland. It covers . On the island are remains of an early Irish monastic settlement. Saint Molaise founded a monastery here in the 6th century...

 Island in 795. Later they used the River Erne
River Erne
The River Erne , in the northwest of Ireland, rises in Beaghy Lough, two miles south of Stradone in County Cavan and flows 64 miles through Lough Gowna, Lough Oughter and Upper and Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, to the sea at Ballyshannon, County Donegal...

 to attack inland, burning Devenish Island
Devenish Island
Devenish or Devinish is an island in Lower Lough Erne, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Aligned roughly north–south, it is about one and a quarter miles long and two-thirds of a mile wide. The main place to get a ferry to the island is at Trory Point, just outside Enniskillen.- Features...

 Monastery in 822. The Annals also record that in 836, all the churches of Loch Erne, together with Cluain Eois (Clones
Clones is a small town in western County Monaghan, in the 'border area' of the Republic of Ireland. The area is part of the Border Region, earmarked for economic development by the Irish Government due to its currently below-average economic situation...

) and Daimhinis (Devenish Island) were destroyed by the "gentiles". In 923 and 916 respectively, "a fleet of foreigners on Loch Erne plundered the islands of the lake", as well as the surrounding territories.

In 1775 the salmon-leap of Assaroe at Ballyshannon was famously praised by the Dutch
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 traveller Richard Twiss in A Tour in Ireland (p. 157):
The Giants Causeway is an object which is scarcely worthy of going so far to see; however that is to be determined by the degree of curiosity of which the traveller is possessed. But the salmon-leap at Ballyshannon is a scene of such a singular nature, as is not to be found elsewhere, and is as peculiar to Ireland as the bullfights are to Spain.....

The Enniskillen and Bundoran Railway
Enniskillen and Bundoran Railway
The Enniskillen and Bundoran Railway was an Irish gauge railway company in north-west Ireland. It linked Bundoran and Ballyshannon on the Atlantic coast of Donegal with the Londonderry and Enniskillen Railway at in Fermanagh...

 (E&BR) opened in 1868 and had a station at Ballyshannon. The Great Northern Railway
Great Northern Railway (Ireland)
The Great Northern Railway was an Irish gauge railway company in Ireland.The Great Northern was formed in 1876 by a merger of the Irish North Western Railway , Northern Railway of Ireland, and Ulster Railway. The Ulster Railway was the GNRI's oldest constituent, having opened between Belfast and...

 (GNR) operated the E&BR line from 1876 and absorbed the company in 1896. The partition of Ireland
Partition of Ireland
The partition of Ireland was the division of the island of Ireland into two distinct territories, now Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland . Partition occurred when the British Parliament passed the Government of Ireland Act 1920...

 in 1922 turned the boundary with County Fermanagh
County Fermanagh
Fermanagh District Council is the only one of the 26 district councils in Northern Ireland that contains all of the county it is named after. The district council also contains a small section of County Tyrone in the Dromore and Kilskeery road areas....

 into an international frontier. Henceforth Ballyshannon's only railway link with the rest of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

 was via Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, and as such was subject to delays for customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

 inspections. The Government of Northern Ireland
Government of Northern Ireland
The Government of Northern Ireland is, generally speaking, whatever political body exercises political authority over Northern Ireland. A number of separate systems of government exist or have existed in Northern Ireland....

 closed much of the GNR network on its side of the border in 1957, including the E&BR as far as the border. This gave the Republic no practical alternative but to allow the closure of the line through Ballyshannon between the border and Bundoran. Thereafter the nearest railhead
The word railhead is a railway term with two distinct meanings, depending upon its context.Sometimes, particularly in the context of modern freight terminals, the word is used to denote a terminus of a railway line, especially if the line is not yet finished, or if the terminus interfaces with...

s for Ballyshannon were in the Republic and Omagh
Omagh is the county town of County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. It is situated where the rivers Drumragh and Camowen meet to form the Strule. The town, which is the largest in the county, had a population of 19,910 at the 2001 Census. Omagh also contains the headquarters of Omagh District Council and...

 in Northern Ireland, until in 1965 the Ulster Transport Authority
Ulster Transport Authority
The Ulster Transport Authority ran rail and bus transport in Northern Ireland from 1948 until 1966.-Formation and consolidation:The UTA was formed by the Transport Act 1948, which merged the Northern Ireland Road Transport Board and the Belfast and County Down Railway...

 closed the line through Omagh as well.

A hydroelectric power station was built in the town in the 1950s. The project, or 'Scheme' as it was then referred to, brought engineers, electricians, and specialists in hydroelectricity from many parts of the country and abroad to the town, which experienced a boom during the decade-long construction period. This involved building a dam upriver from the town at Cathleen's Falls (also known as Assaroe Falls
Assaroe Falls
Assaroe Falls , also known as Cathaleen’s Falls, was a waterfall on the River Erne near Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland. It was named after Aodh Ruadh, who according to tradition, slipped and fell from the waterfall and drowned....

) and digging out a deep channel to lower the riverbed through the town to increase the head of water at the dam in order to drive the turbines. Before the station was built, the river was wide, and the water level much higher than it is today. A long bridge spanned from the northern shore to the 'port' on the southern bank. The waters spilled over a number of waterfalls, among them Cathleen's Falls, before meandering out to sea. Today, however, the river runs through a narrow channel, far below the level of either bank and a narrower single arch bridge has replaced the old one. The newly built Ballyshannon – Bundoran bypass has added a new, more modern bridge over the river. A pedestrian bridge was also constructed to mark the millennium.

During the Second World War the British and Irish governments quietly reached an agreement to create an air corridor between nearby Belleek
Belleek, County Fermanagh
Belleek is a village in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. While the greater part of the village lies within County Fermanagh, part of it crosses the border into County Donegal, a part of Ulster that lies in the Republic of Ireland. This makes Belleek the western-most village in the United Kingdom...

 and Ballyshannon, the "Donegal Corridor
Donegal Corridor
The Donegal Corridor was a narrow strip of Irish airspace linking Lough Erne to the international waters of the Atlantic Ocean through which the Irish Government permitted flights by British military aircraft during World War II...

", which was used by British Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 flights from Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 into the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

. This was used by the aircraft which located the German battleship Bismarck
German battleship Bismarck
Bismarck was the first of two s built for the German Kriegsmarine during World War II. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind the German unification in 1871, the ship was laid down at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg in July 1936 and launched nearly three years later...


Local attractions

2012 Rory Gallagher International Tribute Festival takes place between Thursday 31st May & Sunday 3rd June 2012.

Transport and communications

Bus Eireann offers routes to major cities in the Republic of Ireland including Cavan
Cavan is the county town of County Cavan in the Republic of Ireland. The town lies in the north central part of Ireland, near the border with Northern Ireland...

 and Dublin. Ulsterbus offers services to major cities in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 including Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

 and Derry
Derry or Londonderry is the second-biggest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-biggest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Irish name Doire or Doire Cholmcille meaning "oak-wood of Colmcille"...

. Feda ODonnell offers routes to and from Gweedore
Gweedore is an Irish-speaking district located on the Atlantic coast of County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. Gweedore stretches some 16 miles from Meenaclady in the north to Crolly in the south and around 9 miles from Dunlewey in the east to Magheraclogher in the west, and...

 to the west of Ireland, including Sligo
Sligo is the county town of County Sligo in Ireland. The town is a borough and has a charter and a town mayor. It is sometimes referred to as a city, and sometimes as a town, and is the second largest urban area in Connacht...

 and Galway
Galway or City of Galway is a city in County Galway, Republic of Ireland. It is the sixth largest and the fastest-growing city in Ireland. It is also the third largest city within the Republic and the only city in the Province of Connacht. Located on the west coast of Ireland, it sits on the...

, via Ballyshannon.

Commercial broadband
The term broadband refers to a telecommunications signal or device of greater bandwidth, in some sense, than another standard or usual signal or device . Different criteria for "broad" have been applied in different contexts and at different times...

 is available in Ballyshannon, installed by the Donegal County Council
Donegal County Council
Donegal County Council is the local authority which is responsible for County Donegal in Ireland. The Council is responsible for Housing and Community, Roads and Transportation, Urban planning and Development, Amenity and Culture, and Environment. The head of the council has the title of Mayor...

 and provided by all major broadband providers.


Birthplace of:
  • Rory Gallagher
    Rory Gallagher
    William Rory Gallagher, ; 2 March 1948  – 14 June 1995, was an Irish blues-rock multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and bandleader. Born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland, and raised in Cork, Gallagher recorded solo albums throughout the 1970s and 1980s, after forming the band Taste...

    , "World's Greatest Guitarist"- Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock 1969. However the veracity of this quote is contended .
  • William Allingham
    William Allingham
    William Allingham was an Irish man of letters and a poet.-Biography:He was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal, Ireland and was the son of the manager of a local bank who was of English descent...

    , poet
  • Charlie McGettigan
    Charlie McGettigan
    Charles McGettigan is an Irish singer born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal on 7th December 1950, but he lives today in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim....

    , singer and winner of the Eurovision
  • Gallagher
    Gallagher (surname)
    Gallagher is the anglicisation of the Irish surname Ó Gallchobhair , these being masculine forms; the corresponding feminine forms are Ní Ghallchobhair...

    A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

    , originated in the barony of Tirhugh to the north of Ballyshannon
  • William Conolly
    William Conolly
    William Conolly , also known as Speaker Conolly, was an Irish politician, Commissioner of Revenue, lawyer and landowner.-Career:...

    , politician

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Ballyshannon is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

  • Grenay
    Grenay, Pas-de-Calais
    Grenay is a commune in the Pas-de-Calais department in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.-Geography:An ex-coalmining and light industrial town situated some northwest of Lens, at the junction of the D165 and the D58.-Population:...

    , France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • Séné
    Séné is a commune in the Morbihan department of Brittany in north-western France.-Breton language:The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on September 22 2006.-References:* * -External links:* * *...

    , France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

  • Tokyo
    , ; officially , is one of the 47 prefectures of Japan. Tokyo is the capital of Japan, the center of the Greater Tokyo Area, and the largest metropolitan area of Japan. It is the seat of the Japanese government and the Imperial Palace, and the home of the Japanese Imperial Family...

    , Japan
  • New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

    , USA


  • Local Gaelic Athletic Association
    Gaelic Athletic Association
    The Gaelic Athletic Association is an amateur Irish and international cultural and sporting organisation focused primarily on promoting Gaelic games, which include the traditional Irish sports of hurling, camogie, Gaelic football, handball and rounders...

     club is Aodh Ruadh
    Aodh Ruadh
    Aodh Ruadh C.L.G are a GAA club based in the town of Ballyshannon in County Donegal. They are one of the most successful teams in the county having won the Donegal Senior Championship 12 times. Aodh Ruadh formed one half of the St...

  • The local rugby club is Ballyshannon R.F.C.
  • The local soccer club is Erne Wanderers.


  • Kilbarron (St. Anne's) National School.
  • The Holy Family National School (formerly known as St. Joseph's Primary School).
  • St. Catherine's Primary School (known in Irish
    Irish language
    Irish , also known as Irish Gaelic, is a Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family, originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is now spoken as a first language by a minority of Irish people, as well as being a second language of a larger proportion of...

     as Scoil Naomh Chaitríona).
  • Gaelscoil Eirne, an Irish-medium national school
  • Coláiste Cholmcille Secondary School.

See also

  • List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Donegal)
  • List of towns and villages in Ireland

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.