Donegal Heritage Trails

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We provide a number of interesting walking tours of Ramelton and Rathmullen. 

Ramelton

Situated on the River Lennon Ramelton is one of Donegal's five ' Heritage Towns' . From the 12th century it was an important seat of Donegal's ruling clann, the O'Donnells. 

The Ulster plantation , in 1610 brought William Stewart from Ayrshire to Ramelton who built the first town and introduced Protestant settlers mainly from Scotland to the area . By the beginning of the 20th century Ramelton had 8 churches, 6 of them in use , earning the name 'The Holy City'.


In the Georgian period Ramelton was at the peak of its prosperity.  The Grand Jury of County Donegal met in the town.  A thriving market town Ramelton had Donegal's biggest linen bleaching works.  Ships from the Caribbean anchored in Lough Swilly and unloaded exotic cargoes at Ramelton in exchange for linen,corn, meat and fish.


Plantation houses were transformed or replaced by elegant Georgian houses from c 1760. the tree-lined Mall and the attractive warehouses on the Quay survive from the late 18th and early 19th century.


On this tour you will see the distinctive built heritage of the town and discover the famous personalitiies of the town from Francis Makemie ' The Father of American Presbyterianism' to Dave Gallagher the first captain of the All Blacks. 

Rathmullan

Rathmullan is a quiet holiday resort with a beautiful long beach on shores of Lough Swilly.  From this spot in 1607 a small ship left for Spain. On board were a group of  Ireland's noble elite who were leaving their land and people to find refuge and seek assistance for their cause in Europe.  This event was called "The Flight of the Earls" and was a pivotal moment in Irish History, marking the end of the ancient Gaelic Order. This "Flight" made way for events such as the Plantation of Ulster. It was also a key event in the establishment of the Irish Diaspora around the world.  


On this tour you will hear the story of the Flight of the Earls and  the kidnap of Red Hugh O'Donnell.  You can enjoy breathtaking scenery while listening to stories of a time when Rathmullan enjoyed strong trading links with the continent and when it played host to the Grand Fleet of Great Britain in 1914.  We will visit the Friary of Rathmullan and hear the legend of Half Hanged McNaughton and much more.