Donegal, Ireland - Encyclopedia




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DONEGAL, a small seaport and market town of Co. Donegal, Ireland (not, as its name would suggest, the county town, which is Lifford), in the south parliamentary division, at the head of Donegal Bay, and the mouth of the river Eask, on the Donegal railway. Pop. (1901) 1214. Its trade in agricultural produce is hampered by the unsatisfactory condition of its harbour, the approach to which is beset with shoals. Here are the ruins of a fine Jacobean castle, occupying the site of a fortress of the O'Donnells of Tyrconnell, but built by Sir Basil Brooke in 1610. There are also considerable remains of a Franciscan monastery, founded in 1474 by one of the O'Donnells, and here were compiled the famous "Annals of the Four Masters," a record of Irish history completed in 1636 by one Michael O'Clery and his coadjutors. There is a chalybeate well near the town, and 7-1 m. S., at Ballintra, a small stream forms a series of limestone caverns known as the Pullins. Donegal received a charter from James I., and returned two members to the Irish parliament. The name is said to signify the "fortress of the foreigners," and to allude to a settlement by the Northmen.

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