Donegal or Donegal Town (icon or ˌ; ) 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,...

. Its name, which was historically written in English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 as Dunnagall or Dunagall, translates from 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 "stronghold of the foreigners" (i.e. the Vikings).

Donegal gave its name to County Donegal, although Lifford
Lifford is the county town of County Donegal, Ireland. It is the administrative capital of the county and the seat of Donegal County Council, although the town of Letterkenny is often mistaken for fulfilling this role...

 is now the county town
County town
A county town is a county's administrative centre in the United Kingdom or Ireland. County towns are usually the location of administrative or judicial functions, or established over time as the de facto main town of a county. The concept of a county town eventually became detached from its...

. Until the early 1600s, Donegal was the 'capital' of Tír Chonaill, a túath
Túath is an Old Irish word, often translated as "people" or "nation". It is cognate with the Welsh and Breton tud , and with the Germanic þeudō ....

 controlled by the O'Donnell Clan of the Cenél Conaill
Cenél Conaill
The Cenél Conaill is the name of the "kindred" or descendants of Conall Gulban, son of Niall Noígiallach defined by oral and recorded history. They were also known in Scotland as the Kindred of Saint Columba....

. Donegal sits at the mouth of the River Eske
River Eske
The River Eske is a river in the northwest of Ireland, beginning at Lough Eske in southeast County Donegal before flowing mainly westwards to the town of Donegal and into the Atlantic via Donegal Bay....

 and Donegal Bay
Donegal Bay
Donegal Bay is an inlet in the northwest of Ireland. Three counties – Donegal to the north and west, Leitrim and Sligo to the south – have shorelines on the bay, which is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean...

, which is overshadowed by the Bluestack Mountains
Bluestack Mountains
The Bluestack Mountains or Blue Stack Mountains, also called the Croaghgorms , are the major mountain range in the south of County Donegal, Ireland. They provide a barrier between the south of the county, such as Donegal Town and Ballyshannon, and the towns to the north and west such as Dungloe and...

 ('the Croaghs'). The town is bypassed by the N15 and N56
N56 road (Ireland)
The N56 road is a national secondary road in Ireland that runs from Donegal town to Letterkenny. As originally designated, it included the section of the N13 between Stranorlar and Letterkenny, forming a circular route including parts of the N15....

Roads in Ireland
The island of Ireland, comprising Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, has an extensive network of tens of thousands of kilometres of public roads, usually surfaced. These roads have been developed and modernised over centuries, from trackways suitable only for walkers and horses, to...

. The centre of the town, known as "The Diamond", is a hub for music, poetic and cultural gatherings in the area.


There is evidence for settlements around the town dating back to prehistoric times including the remains of round forts and other earth works.

It is generally accepted by historians that St. Patrick was captured by raiders from the Clans governed by Niall of the Nine Hostages
Niall of the Nine Hostages
Niall Noígíallach , or in English, Niall of the Nine Hostages, son of Eochaid Mugmedón, was an Irish king, the eponymous ancestor of the Uí Néill kindred who dominated Ireland from the 6th century to the 10th century...

 and that this region is that to which St. Patrick returned; being familiar with the people, language, customs and lands. The first Clan to convert to Christianity as the result of St Patrick's efforts was the Clan Connaill (also known at one time as Clan Dalaigh: in English, this is pronounced Daley and it translates as "one in a leadership role"). Connaill was a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages. As a result on their acceptance of Christianity, St Patrick bless the clan members and the sign of the Cross appeared on the chieftains shield and this became not only the coat of arms for the clan but also for County Donegal (up until the early 1970s).

Donegal Town itself is famous for being the former center of government of the dynasty of O'Donnell of Tyrconnell, who played a pivotal role in Irish history, and whose original homeland lay further to the north in the area of Kilmacrenan. From the 15th to the 17th century, they were an important part of the opposition to the colonisation of Ireland by England. The town itself contains Donegal castle
Donegal castle
Donegal Castle is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal town, County Donegal in the northwest of Ireland. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins but the castle was almost fully restored in the late 1990s....

, on the banks of the River Eske
River Eske
The River Eske is a river in the northwest of Ireland, beginning at Lough Eske in southeast County Donegal before flowing mainly westwards to the town of Donegal and into the Atlantic via Donegal Bay....

 and the remains of a Franciscan
Most Franciscans are members of Roman Catholic religious orders founded by Saint Francis of Assisi. Besides Roman Catholic communities, there are also Old Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, ecumenical and Non-denominational Franciscan communities....

 abbey which dates back to the 15th century on the Southern shore of the Bay. The Annals of the Four Masters
Annals of the Four Masters
The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland or the Annals of the Four Masters are a chronicle of medieval Irish history...

 written in the abbey in the early 17th century. The story of Aodh Rua Ó Domhnaill (Red Hugh O'Donnell), Lord of Tyrconnell, was the inspiration behind many books and films, not least, Disney's
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 The Fighting Prince of Donegal (1966).

After the Flight of the Earls
Flight of the Earls
The Flight of the Earls took place on 14 September 1607, when Hugh Ó Neill of Tír Eóghain, Rory Ó Donnell of Tír Chonaill and about ninety followers left Ireland for mainland Europe.-Background to the exile:...

 in 1607 the castle and its lands were given to an English captain, Basil Brooke, as part of the Plantation of Ulster
Plantation of Ulster
The Plantation of Ulster was the organised colonisation of Ulster—a province of Ireland—by people from Great Britain. Private plantation by wealthy landowners began in 1606, while official plantation controlled by King James I of England and VI of Scotland began in 1609...

. Brooke
Viscount Brookeborough
Viscount Brookeborough, of Colebrooke in the County of Fermanagh, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1952 for the Ulster Unionist politician and Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, The Rt. Hon. Sir Basil Brooke, 5th Baronet....

 carried out major reconstruction work and added a wing to the castle in the Jacobean
Jacobean architecture
The Jacobean style is the second phase of Renaissance architecture in England, following the Elizabethan style. It is named after King James I of England, with whose reign it is associated.-Characteristics:...

 style. The current plan of the town was also laid out including an attractive town square or Diamond. From the late 17th until the early 20th centuries, Donegal Town formed part of the vast estates of the Gore family (from 1762 Earls of Arran) and it while in their ownership that the town took on its present appearance. Donegal Borough
Donegal Borough (Parliament of Ireland constituency)
Donegal Borough was a constituency represented in the Irish House of Commons until 1800. It is now represented in the Dáil.-History:In the Patriot Parliament of 1689 summoned by King James II, Donegal Borough was not represented.-1689–1801:...

 returned two members to the Parliament of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland
The Parliament of Ireland was a legislature that existed in Dublin from 1297 until 1800. In its early mediaeval period during the Lordship of Ireland it consisted of either two or three chambers: the House of Commons, elected by a very restricted suffrage, the House of Lords in which the lords...

 until the Act of Union 1800
Act of Union 1800
The Acts of Union 1800 describe two complementary Acts, namely:* the Union with Ireland Act 1800 , an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain, and...

. Evidence of the Irish Famine still exists including a workhouse
In England and Wales a workhouse, colloquially known as a spike, was a place where those unable to support themselves were offered accommodation and employment...

, whose buildings are now part of the local hospital, and many famine graves.

Industry and tourism

There are many sandy beaches in the area of Donegal, such as Murvagh beach, and some boasting good surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

 conditions, such as Rossnowlagh
Rossnowlagh or Rosnowlagh is a seaside beach resort in south County Donegal, Ireland. It is about 8.5 km north of Ballyshannon and 16.0 km southwest of Donegal Town. The extensive beach is very popular with families and is frequented by walkers, surfers, wind-surfers, kite-surfers and swimmers,...

. Donegal is also used as a base for hill-walking in the nearby Bluestack Mountains
Bluestack Mountains
The Bluestack Mountains or Blue Stack Mountains, also called the Croaghgorms , are the major mountain range in the south of County Donegal, Ireland. They provide a barrier between the south of the county, such as Donegal Town and Ballyshannon, and the towns to the north and west such as Dungloe and...

. Despite the town's many hotels catering for visitors, it suffers from a lack of social amenities for its local population. Many have to travel to nearby towns such as Letterkenny
Letterkenny , with a population of 17,568, is the largest town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. The town is located on the River Swilly...

 for facilities like public swimming pools, cinemas and large shopping centres.

Traditionally the largest employer in the town has been Magee of Donegal
Magee of Donegal
Magee of Donegal is a clothing manufacturer and retailer based in Donegal, a town located in the south of County Donegal in the Province of Ulster in Ireland. The company is best known for their world-famous Donegal tweed, but also manufactures items from linen, wool and other materials...

, who are manufacturers of tweed
Tweed (cloth)
Tweed is a rough, unfinished woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern...

 garments, some of which could, in the past, be seen being woven by hand on small loom
A loom is a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads...

s in the company's department store. Like most clothing manufacturers in Ireland, the size of the workforce has been in decline for many years. Donegal also has a long tradition of weaving carpets. Donegal Carpets
Donegal Carpets
Donegal Carpets is a trademark brand of hand-made wool carpets produced in Killybegs, a town in County Donegal, Ireland. Donegal Carpets can be found in Dublin Castle, the Royal Pavilion of Brighton, Eltham Palace, and the U.S...

 have been made in Killybegs
Killybegs is the largest fishing port in County Donegal and in Ireland. It is located on the south coast of the county, north of Donegal Bay, near Donegal Town. The town is situated at the head of a scenic harbour and at the base of a vast mountainous tract extending northward...

 for over one hundred years and have been found in Áras an Uachtaráin
Áras an Uachtaráin
Áras an Uachtaráin , formerly the Viceregal Lodge, is the official residence of the President of Ireland. It is located in the Phoenix Park on the northside of Dublin.-Origins:...

, the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

 and the US White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...



the Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann provides bus services in Ireland with the exception of those operated entirely within the Dublin Region, which are provided by Dublin Bus. Bus Éireann, established as a separate company in 1987, is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann. The logo of Bus Éireann incorporates a red Irish...

 service number 64 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"...

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...

 route which makes several other stops including Letterkenny
Letterkenny , with a population of 17,568, is the largest town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. The town is located on the River Swilly...

 and 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...

 (which allows for rail connections) and the number 30 Donegal/Dublin route which makes stops at other key towns such as Enniskillen
Enniskillen is a town in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. It is located almost exactly in the centre of the county between the Upper and Lower sections of Lough Erne. It had a population of 13,599 in the 2001 Census...

 (which provides connections to Belfast via Ulsterbus
Ulsterbus is a public transport operator in Northern Ireland and operates bus services outside Belfast. It is part of Translink , which also includes Northern Ireland Railways, Metro Belfast and Flexibus.-Services:Ulsterbus is responsible for most of the province-wide bus...

). Two private companies operate the other routes: 'McGeehan Bus' operate a regular service from West Donegal to Dublin Airport and the Busaras
Busáras is the central bus station in Dublin, Ireland for intercity and regional bus services operated by Bus Éireann. Busáras is also a stop on the Red Line of the Luas system, just before the terminus at Dublin Connolly railway station. Áras Mhic Dhiarmada is the official name of the...

 which passes through the town; while Feda O'Donnell Coaches (also known as Bus Feda) operates a regular Glenties
Glenties is a village in the northwest of Ireland in central County Donegal. It is situated where two glens meet, northwest of the Blue Stack Mountains, near the confluence of two rivers. Glenties is the largest centre of population in the parish of Iniskeel...

/Galway service that stops in Donegal.

Donegal railway station opened on 16 September 1889 and finally closed on 1 January 1960. The site of the old station is now used by CIÉ
-Organizations:* Cambridge International Examinations, an international examination board* Cleveland Institute of Electronics, a private technical and engineering educational institution — the International Commission on Illumination...

 as a bus depot while the actual building is the home of the Donegal Railway Heritage Centre.


Donegal town is home to many amateur sports clubs. The most popular sport in the area is Gaelic football
Gaelic football
Gaelic football , commonly referred to as "football" or "Gaelic", or "Gah" is a form of football played mainly in Ireland...

 and the 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 The Four Masters. The club also has been developing hurling
Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic origin, administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association, and played with sticks called hurleys and a ball called a sliotar. Hurling is the national game of Ireland. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for at least 3,000 years, and...

. Other popular sports include soccer, rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

, basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 and athletics
Athletics (track and field)
Athletics is an exclusive collection of sporting events that involve competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and race walking...


Donegal Town was host to the final stage of the World Rally Championship on Feb 1st 2009 and viewed to 68 million people worldwide.


The town is home to the regional newspapers Donegal Democrat
Donegal Democrat
The Donegal Democrat is a twice-weekly local newspaper, covering County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster, in the northwest of Ireland. The paper was traditionally based in the town of Ballyshannon in the south of the county, but now has offices in Donegal Town and Letterkenny...

and Donegal Post
Donegal Post
The Donegal Post is a local weekly regional newspaper published in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland. When the paper was first launched by River Media in June 2006, it served the area of south Donegal, west Fermanagh, north Leitrim and north Sligo....

and the local Donegal Times
Donegal Times
The Donegal Times is a local newspaper in County Donegal, Ireland. The paper is based in Donegal Town. The paper acts like a newsletter, covering mainly community and social issues affecting the town and its immediate environs...

newspaper.The Northwest Express regional newspaper is also distributed throughout the town and surrounding county. Ocean FM
Ocean FM (Ireland)
Ocean FM is a local radio station that broadcasts to parts of the northwest of Ireland. The station covers the area of south County Donegal, north County Leitrim and most of County Sligo and it broadcasts into parts of south-west County Fermanagh. It started broadcasting on 1 October 2004,...

, an independent regional radio station, has one of its three studios in the town, which broadcasts to most of south County Donegal.
Donegal Town was host to the final stage of the World Rally Championship on Feb 1st 2009 and viewed by 68 million people worldwide. Donegal is mentioned in the song 'It's Long Way Home To Donegal' by the indie band Larrikin Love
Larrikin Love
Larrikin Love were an English four piece indie rock band from London.Consisting of Edward Larrikin , Micko Larkin , Alfie Ambrose and Coz Kerrigan , and also occasionally including violinist Rob Skipper from The Holloways or roving violinist Jonnie Fielding, the band were briefly described as...


Notable people from Donegal

  • Colonel Robertson
    Colonel Robertson's Fund
    Colonel Robertson was the son of a clergyman of Donegal Town, County Donegal, Ireland. Colonel Robertson's made a substantial contribution to education in Donegal, in that, his legacy to the Diocese of Raphoe contributed to the transition between the outdoor Hedge school and the indoor-based...

    , soldier and philanthropist
  • John White
    John White (Conservative MP)
    John White was an Ontario machinist and political figure. He represented Hastings East in the Canadian House of Commons as a Conservative member from 1871 to 1887....

    , Conservative
    Conservative Party of Canada (historical)
    The Conservative Party of Canada has gone by a variety of names over the years since Canadian Confederation. Initially known as the "Liberal-Conservative Party", it dropped "Liberal" from its name in 1873, although many of its candidates continued to use this name.As a result of World War I and the...

     MP in the Canadian
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

     House of Commons
  • Alexander Porter
    Alexander Porter
    Alexander Porter was a United States Senator from Louisiana. Born in County Donegal, Ireland, he immigrated to the United States in 1801 with an uncle, who settled in Nashville, Tennessee...

    , United States Senator

See also

  • Abbey Vocational School
    Abbey Vocational School
    The Abbey Vocational School is a non-denominational vocational secondary school situated in Donegal Town, County Donegal. It has approximately 800 students, and is the largest school run by the Donegal Vocational Education Committee...

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

Further reading

Aldwell, B. 2003. A survey of local resident butterflies in County Donegal. Bull. Ir. biogeog. Soc. No. 27. 202 - 226.

External links

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