The name Ramelton derives from the Irish name “Ráth Mealtain”, which means “The fort of Mealtain”. Archaeological evidences have shown, that in the Ramelton area were settlements since the early Stone Age.
Ships from the Caribbean anchored in Lough Swilly and unloaded exotic cargoes at Ramelton in exchange for linen, corn, meat and fish. Later in the 19th century Ramelton’s port changes the methods of transport from sailing to steam ships and continued to prosper.
In the late 19th and early 20th, Ramelton rivaled Letterkenny to be the most important town in the north of the county.
Letterkenny is the largest town in Donegal and takes its name from the Gaelic Irish “Leitir Ceannain” meaning hillside of the O’Cannon’s.
Donegal County Museum has been opened to the public since 1987. The building is housed in what was once the Warden’s House of the Letterkenny Workhouse, built in 1843 The first floor gallery tells the story of County Donegal from the Stone Age to the Twentieth Century, through artefacts and contemporary photographs.
An GrianánﾠTheatreﾠis a modern arts and entertainment venue in Letterkenny in the North West of Ireland. Boasting a 383 capacity auditorium, this state of the art facility is committed to presenting the best in drama, comedy, music and much, much more.
The only Cathedral in the County and one of stature and very imposing architectural character, on the Gothic Style.
The award-winning RCC building designed by MacGabhann Architects is one of the finest arts facilities in Ireland. It opened in 2007 and specialises in exhibitions, music, film and community arts. It is operated by Donegal County Council and receives annual funding from the Arts Council and Letterkenny Town Council.
The Library was opened in 1995, and is on two floors, with Adult lending and Children’s areas on the ground floor, and Research resources on the 1st floor. The building also houses the Arts Centre.
GLENVEAGH CASTLE AND NATIONAL PARK
Glenveagh Castle and National Park is 16,000 hectares of mountains, lakes, woods and wild bogs. It is home to many species of wildlife including Irelands largest herd of red deer.
Glenveagh National Park; one of only six national parks in Ireland: and Castle is a must for visitors to the area. The visitors centre provides an introduction to the Park and its natural history through audio visual shows, displays and exhibits. The terrain, habitat, wildlife and vegetation come to life in this beautiful display. The Park has a variety of trails and walks, and gardens display flowers and plants from as far away as Chile, Madeira and Tasmania. The interior of the Castle may be visited on guided tours daily. The park is home to one of the largest herds red deer in Europe and the golden eagle has being introduced and is thriving.
GLEBE HOUSE AND GALLERY
Regency House, 1828, set in woodland gardens, decorated with William Morris textiles, Islamic and Japanese art etc. The collection includes 300 works by leading 20th century artists; Picasso, Kokoshka as well as Irish and Italian artists. Exhibitions are shown in the adjoining gallery.
Access to ground floor of the Gallery for people with disabilities.
COLMCILLE HERITAGE CENTRE
Colmcilleﾠis one of the foremost Irish Saints. He was born at Gartan, County Donegal in 521AD and is also known as Saint Columba. His feast day is June 9th.
Colmcille was related to the Uí Neill dynasty, Ríthe (*Kings*) of Ulster, and was famed for his prophesies which are frequently referred to in Donegal folklore. Colmcille established monastries atﾠGlencolmcille, Derry and Kells in Ireland before founding his monastery on the island of Iona in 563AD. It was from there that he brought Christianity to the Picts.
Iona became the site of a Benedictine Abbey and of a small cathedral. It was at Colmcille’s monastery in Iona thatﾠThe Book of Kellsﾠwas compiled. Colmcille was also a prolific poet and some of his poems, in both Latin and Gaelic, survive. Colmcille died in 597AD.
The oldest surviving building here is said to be 400 years old. Indeed, the whole complex is an interesting reminder of a stage in the industrial development of this country which has now given way to a more sophisticated, but usually far less fascinating technology.
The visitor to Newmills can experience the pleasure of seeing one of the largest waterwheels in Ireland in action as it drives the machinery of the corn mill. The New Mills complex at Milltown, five kilometres west of Letterkenny, has been renovated to full working order and is open to visitors. The complex contains corn and flax mills located on the south bank of the Swilly River. The oldest surviving building is said to be 300 or 400 years old with the oldest mill on the site dated 1683.
Down through the years, many stories have been told of miraculous cures for all sorts of ailments and of how disabled or crippled pilgrims were able to leave behind them their sticks, crutches, bandages, etc., after one or more visits.
Tobar an Duin, Donegal’s most celebrated Holy Well, has been a place of pilgrimage for hundreds of thousands of people in the past century alone. But its origin and the traditions associated with it go back much further still.
From all parts of the county they have come; devout, humble, prayerful, hopeful; lifting and using the blessed water as a means to spiritual and bodily betterment.
ARDS FOREST AND FRIARY
Over a thousand acres of forest park containing many plants and wildlife. With its sandy beaches, rivers and nature walks it is the most northerly forest park in the country
Ards aims to welcome everyone and is available throughout the year for Retreats (preached, directed, private etc) Conferences, Seminars, periods of rest and relaxation, reflection, prayer and holidays.
It is a lovely Friary and with 200 acres of grounds and many beaches, Ards hosts some spectacular views. Its peace and serenity are not to be missed, allowing you to wonder and explore. Ards Country park is next to the Friary and walks from the Friary, extend into it.
THE WORKHOUSE AND HERITAGE CENTRE
The Workhouse Famine and Heritage Centre is on the outskirts of Dunfanaghy in County Donegal overlooking Sheephaven Bay and within easy walking distance of Horn Head and the fabulous Tramore Beach.ﾠ
Hear and see the true story of wee Hannah, a child of the famine and typical inmate.
The name Doe comes from tuath, the Irish word for territory. The castle was erected at Sheephaven Bay nearby Cresslough in the early 16th century by the McSweeneys, a family of Scottish mercenaries. It was a stronghold and the scene of many conflicts down through the years. After many several changes of possession it was bought and repaired by George Vaughan Harte and occupied by his family until 1843. Ownership of the castle was taken over by the State in 1922.
Doe Castle consists of a four storey tower house. On the outside of the north face of the tower is a tomb slab dated 1544 with a elaborate cross.
LIFFORD OLD COURTHOUSE
For centuries, Lifford has been the gateway to Donegal, set in a rich Archaeological hinterland. Lifford Courthouse-Witness re-enactments of the famous cases such as the Napper Tandy Trial and the Lord Leitrim Murder.
In the 18th Century Courthouse and Jail in Lifford you can witness the audio visual re-enactments of famous trials held in this historic building.
Go on a journey through time, as you are transported back to the 18th century to a time when Gaol invoked fear into the hearts of men. Be part of the live Courtroom dramas and take place with the jury to decide the fate of the prisoner. After your prison tour you have also the opportunity to relax in the historic Courthouse Restaurant.
RAPHOE – THE BELTANY STONE CIRCLE
Raphoe is set in rich farming country, with lush hedges and low hills capped with Heather and Gorse, with its triangular ‘Diamond’ is a typical 17th century Plantation town. Beltany Stone Circle – Sixty-four of the original eighty stones remain.
Only 2-3 km from Raphoe (well signposted) you’ll find the Beltany Stone Circle. This Stone Circle is made up of 68 large stones enclosing a low earth platform, there may originally have been about 80 stones. A single stone, about 2 metres high, standing to the south-east of the circle probably had some function in relation to ceremonies carried on at the circle.