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 [ Countries ] [ Ireland ] [ County Donegal ]
Information about County Donegal

County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland with a coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The extremely irregular coastline extends from Lough Foyle in the north to Donegal Bay in the west and is deeply indented by Lough Swilly. Tory Island is the largest of the coastal islands. There are two mountain ranges: the Derryveagh Mountains in the northwest and the Blue Stack Mountains in the west central region. To the north, immense deserted beaches, broken landscapes with the peninsula of Fanad Head. Towards the West is the Gaeltacht and the Rosses and the superb sights around the Errigal Mountains with Mount Errigal, 752 m, the highest peak and the Muckish Mountains. The main rivers are the Foyle, the Erne and the Finn. The county seat is at Lifford.

The name Donegal comes from the Irish ‘Dun nan Gall’ meaning fort of the foreigner. Ireland’s most northerly county has little in common with its neighbours in the Republic, either geographically or historically. Donegal's supreme appeal lies in the natural beauty of its coast with windswept peninsulas, precipitous cliffs and a host of golden beaches that rival any in Europe. Blanket bogs, now rare in the world, cover much of the county. Although agriculture is the leading industry, only one third of the land is suitable for cultivation with the valleys of the Finn and Foyle the most intensively cultivated areas. In the south is the centre of the Donegal cloth industry that produces tweeds and handmade woollens. In the south-west, the Port of Killybegs, the traditional folk village of Glencolumbkille and Slieve League - the highest maritime cliffs in Europe.

Gaelic is still spoken in the highland region. In ancient times the Kingdom of Tyrconnell, Donegal was not organized as a county until the reign of Elizabeth I of England.

Donegal has been occupied by humans for over 9,000 years and is renowned for its history and archaeology. Pre-Christian farmers left tomb monuments which still dot the county, while evidence of Viking settlements can also be seen. Christianity had a profound influence in Donegal and many early Christian monuments are still evident today.

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