County Donegal (pronounced / d ʌ n ᵻ ɡ ɔ l / or / ˌ d ʌ n ᵻ ɡ ɔ l /; Irish: Contae Dhun na nGall ) is a municipality in Ireland. It’s part of the border area and in the province of Ulster .It is named after the town of Donegal ( Dun Na nGall ) in the southern part of the county. Donegal County Council is the local authority for the county and Lifford serves as the county seat. The population of the county is 161,137 according to the census of 2011. It has also been known as (county) Tyrconnell ( Tír Chonaill ), after the historic territory of the same name.

Geography and political subdivisions

In terms of size and range, is the largest county in Ulster and the fourth largest county in all of Ireland. Unique County Donegal shares a small border with only one other county in Ireland -County Leitrim. Most of its land border shared with three counties in Northern Ireland, County Londonderry, County Tyrone and County Fermanagh. This geographical isolation from the rest of the Republic has led to Donegal people maintain a distinct cultural identity [5] and has been used to market the county with the slogan “Up here it’s different.” [6] Although Lifford is the county town, Letterkenny is it in by far the largest city in the county with a population of 19,588. Letter and the nearby city of Derry is the main economic axis of the northwest of Ireland. [7]In fact, what was the city of Derry was officially part of County Donegal until 1610. [8]


Poison Glen ( Gleann Nimhe ), in the North West Donegal.

There are eight historic baronies in the county:

  • Banagh
  • Boylagh
  • Inishowen East
  • Inishowen West
  • Kilmacrennan
  • Raphoe North
  • Raphoe South
  • Tirhugh

Informal districts

The county can be informally divided into a number of traditional districts.There are two Gaeltacht districts in the West: The Rosses (Irish: Na Rosa ), centered on the town of Dungloe (Irish: An Clochán Liath ) and Gweedore (Irish: Gaoth Dobhair ). Another Gaeltacht districts located in the northwest: Cloughaneely (Irish: Cloich Chionnaola ) centered on the town of Falcarragh (Irish: A fal Carrach ). The northernmost part of the island of Ireland is the location of the three peninsulas of outstanding natural beauty: Inishowen, Fanad and Rosguill. The main urban area of Inishowen, Ireland’s largest peninsula, is Buncrana. In the eastern part of the county is Finn Valley (centered on Ballybofey). The Laggan district (not to be confused with the more famous Lagan Valley in the southern county Antrim) is centered on the town of Raphoe.

Seen from space: County Donegal in the Ulster coast of Lough Swillyoch Inishowen west of Derry ochDerry Lough Foyle east thereof.


According to the 1841 census, County Donegal had a population of 296,000 people. As a result of starvation and emigration, the population had fallen to 41,000 by 1851 and further decreased by 18 thousand in 1861. At the time of the 1951 census, the population was only 44% of what it had been in 1841. [15] The 2006 Census, which conducted by the State statistical Office, had County Donegal population stands at 147,264. According to the 2011 census, the county’s population had grown to 161,137.

Largest cities (2011 census)

City Population (2011 Census)
Letter 19588
Buncrana 7199
Ballybofey / Stranorlar 4852
Donegal Town 2607
Carndonagh 2534
Shannon 2504
Bundoran 2140
Lifford 1658
Bunbeg / Derrybeg 1553
Milford 1530
Moville 1481
Convoy 1438
Killybegs 1297
Sleeve 1271
Ramelton 1212
Dungloe 1183
Raphoe 1157
Newtowncunningham 1067

physical geography

The county is the most mountainous in Ulster consists mainly of two series of low mountains; Derryveagh the mountains to the north and the Blues Mountains in the south, medGallaghers at 749 meters (2,457 ft), the highest peak. It has a deeply indented coastline forming natural sea loughs, both of which Lough Swilly ochLough Foyle is the most remarkable. The Slieve League cliffs are the sixth highest sea cliffs in Europe, while Malin Head is the most northerly point on the island of Ireland.

The climate is temperate and dominated by the Gulf Stream, with hot, humid summers and mild wet winters. Two permanently inhabited islands, Arranmore and Tory Island, located off the coast, along with a large number of islands with only transient inhabitants. Ireland’s second longest river Erne, go Donegal Bay near the town of Ballycastle. The River Erne, together with other Donegal streams have been dammed to produce hydroelectric power.The River Foyle separates a part of County Donegal from parts of the two counties of Londonderry and Tyrone.


A survey of the macroscopic marine algae of County Donegal was published in 2003. [16] The survey was compiled with the help of algae quotations in herbaria of the following institutions: the Ulster Museum, Belfast, Trinity College, National University of Ireland, Galway, and the Natural History Museum, London . Directory of flowering plants include: Dactylorhiza purple. (Stephenson and Stephenson) SOO [17]


The animals included in the county include Badgers ( Meles meles L.) [18]

There are habitats for rare corncrake in the county. [19]


Kilclooney Dolmen, which is over 4000 years old. [20]

At different times in history it has been known as County Tirconaill , County Tirconnell or County Tyrconnell (Irish: Tír Chonaill ). The former was used as the official name during 1922-1927. [21] It is with reference to both the old Tuath of Tír Chonaill and county which succeeded it.

County Donegal is famous for being the home of the once mighty Clann Dálaigh, whose most famous branch was Clann Ó Domhnaill, better known in English as the O’Donnell clan. Until about 1600, the O’Donnell was one of Ireland’s richest and most powerful Gaelic (Irish native) ruling families. In the province of Ulster endastClann Uí Neill (known in English as O’Neill Clan) of modern County Tyrone was more powerful. The O’Donnell was Ulster’s second most powerful clan or ruling family from the early 13th century until the early 17th century. For centuries O’Donnell ruled Tír Chonaill, a Gaelic kingdom in West Ulster, covering almost all modern County Donegal. The head of the O’Donnell family had the titles An O Domhnaill (ie the O’Donnellin English) and Rí Thir Chonaill (meaning King of Tír Chonaill in English).Based on Donegal Castle in Dun Na nGall (contemporary Donegal Town), the O’Donnell Kings of Tír Chonaill traditionally inaugurated on Doon Rock near Kilmacrenan. O’Donnell royal or main power finally ended in the then newly created County Donegal in September 1607, after the Flight of the Earls from Rathmullan close. The modern County Arms in Donegal (dating from the early 1970s) was influenced by the design of the old O’Donnell riksvapnet. The County Arms is the official coat of arms of both the County Donegal and Donegal County Council.

The modern County Donegal was shired [22] by order of the English Crown in 1585. The English authorities in Dublin Castle formed the new county by merging the old Kingdom of Tír Chonaill with the old dominion Inishowen.But the English authorities could not establish control over Tír Chonaill and Inishowen until after the Battle of Kinsale in 1602. Full control of the new County Donegal achieved only after the Flight of the Earls in September 1607. It was the center of O ‘Doherty’ Revolt of 1608 with key battle Kilmacrennan take place there. The county was one of those “planted” during the Plantation of Ulster from about 1610 onwards. What was the City of Derry was officially part of County Donegal until 1610. [8]

County Donegal was one of the worst affected parts of Ulster during the great famine in the late 1840s in Ireland. Large parts of the county was devastated by this disaster, many areas are permanently depopulated. Large number of County Donegal people emigrated at this time, primarily through Londonderry Port.

The partition of Ireland in the early 1920s had a massive direct impact on the County Donegal. Partition cut the county of financial and administrative, of Derry, who had acted for centuries as the county’s largest port, transportation hub and financial center. Derry, along with West Tyrone, was now in a new, different permissions officially called Northern Ireland.Partition also meant that the County Donegal was now almost cut off from the rest of the jurisdiction where it was now, the new empire called the Irish Free State, which in April 1949 became Ireland. Just a few miles from the county are physically connected by land to the rest of the Republic. The existence of a border Donegal cut off from its natural hinterland in Derry City and West Tyrone significantly worsen the economic difficulties in the county after the partition. The county’s economy is particularly sensitive, like in Derry, currency fluctuations in the euro against the pound.

Added to this, in the late 20th century, County Donegal has been negatively affected by the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The county suffered several bombings and assassinations. In June 1987 Constable Samuel McClean, a Donegal man who was a serving member of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, was shot dead by the Provisional Irish Republican Army at his family home near Drumkeen. In May 1991, the prominent Sinn Féin politician councilor Eddie Fullerton was killed by the Ulster Defence Association at his home in Buncrana. This added to the result of the economic and social difficulties in the county. The greater the economic and administrative integration following the Good Friday Agreement of April 1998 has been of benefit to the county.

It has been labeled “forgotten county’s own politicians, because of the perception that it is ignored by the Irish government, even in times of crisis.[23] [24]


Road signs in Irish in GweedoreGaeltacht.

A large part of the county is seen as a bastion of Gaelic culture and the Irish, Donegal Gaeltacht is the second largest in the country. The version of the Irish language spoken in County Donegal Ulster Irish.

Of the Gaeltacht population of 24,744, [1] 16% of the county’s total of 17,132 say they can speak Irish. [25] There are three Irish-speaking congregations: Gweedore, The Rosses and Cloughaneely .Other Irish-speaking Gaeltacht areas is a den: Glencolmcille, Fanad and Rosguill, islands Aranmore, Tory Island and Inishbofin. Gweedore is the largest Irish-speaking parish, with over 5,000 inhabitants. All schools in the region use the Irish language as the language of instruction. One of the constituent colleges of the NUI Galway, Acadamh hOllscolaíochta na Gaeilge, is based in Gweedore.

There are 1,005 students in five Gaelscoileanna and two Gaelcholáistí in the rest of the county. According to the 2006 census, there are also 7.218 people who identify as daily Irish speakers outside the Gaeltacht in the rest of the county.

Government and politics

Donegal County Council (which has officially existed since 1899) are responsible for local administration, and headquartered in the County House in Lifford. Until 2014 there were also local iLetter, Bundoran, Ballyshannon and Buncrana. The city council was abolished in June 2014 when the law municipal reform in 2014 were carried out [26] and their functions taken over by Donegal County Council.Val to the county council takes place every five years. Thirty seven is elected by the system of Proportional representation -Single transferable vote (STV). To valence region is divided into 5kommundelar comprising the following local electoral areas: Donegal (6), Glenties (6), Inishowen (9), Letter (10) and Stranorlar (6).

For the general election, county-wide constituency choose five representatives to the Dáil. For the European elections, the county is part of the Midlands North West constituency.

Voters have a reputation nationally for being “conservative and contrarian”, the county has achieved prominence for having rejected the Fiscal Treaty in 2012 and both the Lisbon Treaty vote. [27]

free Donegal

Freedom of Donegal is an award given to individuals who have been recognized for outstanding achievements on behalf of the people and County Donegal. Such people inkluderarDaniel O ‘Donnell, Phil Coulter, Shay Given, Packie Bonner, Paddy Crerand and the Brennan family. In 2009, members of the 28th Infantry Battalion of the Irish Defence Forces was also awarded the Freedom of the County of Donegal County Council “in recognition of his longstanding service to County Donegal.”


An extensive rail network that used to exist in the whole county and mainly driven by the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee and Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway Company (known as L & LSR or Lough Swilly Company for short). Unfortunately, all these lines were added to a 3-foot gauge where the connection lines were all that the Irish standard track gauge of 1600 mm (5 ft 3 in). This meant that all goods must be reloaded in Derry and Strabane. Like all narrow gauge railways this became a big handicap after World War 1 when the road began to seriously erode the rail freight traffic. By 1953 Lough Swilly had closed its entire railway system and become a bus and road transport concerns. The County Donegal lasted until 1960 as it had largely dieselised its passenger trains in 1951. In the late 1950s, more work needed to upgrade the track and the Irish government was unwilling to provide the necessary funds, so-called Wee Donegal ” because it was affectionally known, was closed in 1960. Great Northern Railway (Ireland) Ltd (GNR) also ran a line from Strabane by the Laggan, a district in the eastern part of the county, along the river Foyle in Derry. But the rail network in County Donegal was completely closed by 1960. [28] Today, the nearest railway station to the county’s Waterside Station in the city of Derry, operated by Northern Ireland Railways (NIR). Train services along the Belfast-Derry railway line running through Coleraine, Belfast to Belfast Central and Great Victoria Street.

County Donegal served by both Donegal Airport, located at Carrickfinn in The Rosses in the western part of the county and City of Derry Airport, located on Eglinton east. The nearest major international airport to the county is Belfast International Airport (popularly known as Aldergrove Airport), located in the east at Aldergrove, near Antrim Town, Co. Antrim, 92 km (57 mi) from Derry City and 127 kilometers (79 mi) from Letter.


The variant of the Irish language spoken in Donegal shares many features with Scottish. The Irish spoken in the Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) is the Ulster dialect, while Inishowen (parts of which became the only English in the early 20th century) used the East Ulster dialect. Ulster Scots is spoken frequently in both the Finn Valley and The Laggan’s East Donegal.Donegal Irish has a strong influence on learning Irish of Ulster.

Like other areas on the west coast of Ireland, Donegal has a distinctive fiddle tradition that is world famous. Donegal is also known for his songs that have, like instrumental music, a distinctive sound. Donegal artists such as band Clannad, The Patterson and Altan and solo artist Enya, has had international success with traditional or traditional flavored music. Donegal music has also influenced people not originally from the county, including folk and pop singer Paul Brady and Phil Coulter. Singer Daniel O’Donnell has become a popular ambassador for the county. Popular music is also common, the county’s most celebrated rock artist to be Bally -born Rory Gallagher. Other notable acts to come out of Donegal include folk-rock band goats not Straight, Eurovision contestant Mickey Joe Harte and indie rock band The Revs and in recent years bands like the thousands and Mojo Gogo has been featured on the front of Hot Press magazine.

Donegal has a long literary tradition in both Irish and English. The famous Irish navvies -turned-writer Patrick MacGill, author of many books about the experiences of Irish immigrant itinerant workers in the UK at around the beginning of the 20s, such as The Rat Pit and autobiographical Children of the Dead End , is from the Glenties area . It is a literary Summer School in Glenties named in his honor. The novelist and socialist politikerPeadar O’Donnell came from The Rosses in West Donegal. The poet William Allingham was also from Bally. Modern exponents include Inishowen playwright and poet Frank McGuinness and playwright Brian Friel. Many of Friel plays set in the fictional Donegal town of Ballybeg.

Author Donegal has created works, as the Annals of the Four Masters , in Gaelic and Latin since the early Middle Ages. The Irish philosopher John Toland was born in Inishowen in 1670. He was thought of as the original thinker George Berkeley. Toland was also instrumental in the spread of Freemasonry throughout the continent. In modern Irish Donegal has produced famous, and sometimes controversial, authors as the brothers Séamus Ó Grianna and Seosamh Mac Grianna from The Rosses and contemporary (and controversial) Irish language poet Cathal Ó Searcaigh from Gortahork in Cloughaneely and where he is known to locals as Guru na gCnoc ( “Guru of the Hills”).

Donegal is famous for its beautiful textiles, whose unique wool blends are made of short filaments with tiny bits of color mixed in a heathered effect.Sometimes it is woven in a rustic herringbone format and other times in more of a box fabric of various colors. These fabrics called Donegal tweed (with a small “d”) and is world famous.

Although approximately 85% of the population is Roman Catholic, [ citation needed ] County Donegal also has a significant Protestant minority. Many Donegal Protestants trace their ancestors to the settlers who arrived during the Plantation of Ulster in the early 17th century. The Church of Ireland is the largest Protestant denomination but is closely rivaled by a large number of Presbyterians. The areas of Donegal with the highest percentage of Protestants is Laggan area of East Donegal around Raphoe, the Finn Valley and areas around Ramelton, Milford and Dunfanaghy – where their share reach 30-45 percent. There is also a large Protestant population between Donegal Town and Ballyshannon in the southern part of the county. In absolute terms, Letter has the largest number of Protestants (over 1000) and is the most Presbyterian city (among these settlements with more than 3000 people) in Ireland. [ Citation needed ]

The Earagail Arts Festival held in the county each July.

People from Donegal have also contributed to the culture elsewhere. Francis Alison was one of the founders of the College of Philadelphia , who would later become the University of Pennsylvania. [30] Francis Makemie (originally from Ramelton) founded the Presbyterian Church in America.David Steele, from Upper Creevaugh, was a prominent Reformed Presbyterian ellerCovenanter, the minister who emigrated to the US in 1824. Right Reverend Dr. Charles Inglis, who was the first Church of England bishop of the diocese of Nova Scotia, was the third son of the Reverend Archibald Inglis, the Rector of Glencolumbkille.

Tourist attractions

County Donegal is a favored destination for many travelers. [ Citation needed ] One of the attractions is the Glenveagh National Park (formerly part of Glenveagh Estate), yet (March 2012) the only official national parksomewhere in the province of Ulster. [ Citation needed ] park is a 140 sq km (about 35,000 acres) nature reserve with landscapes of mountains, raised bogs, lakes and forests. At its heart is Glenveagh Castle, a late Victorian “folly” which was originally built as a summer residence.

Fintown Railway on track avCounty Donegal Railways Joint Committee bredvidLough Finn Fintown near the railway station.

Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking district) also attracts young people to County Donegal each year during the school summer holidays. The three-week long summer Gaeltacht courses give young Irish people from other parts of the country a chance to learn the Irish language and traditional Irish cultural traditions that are still prevalent in parts of Donegal. Donegal Gaeltacht has traditionally been a very popular destination every summer for young people from Northern Ireland. [ Citation needed ] Diving is also very popular with a club located in Donegal Town.


Doctoral education in the county is provided by Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT, popularly known locally as “the regional), established in the 1970s in Letterkenny. In addition, many young people from the county attend third-level institutions elsewhere in Ireland, particularly in Derry and also at the University of Ulster in Coleraine (UUC), the University of Ulster in Jordan (UUJ), Queen University of Belfast ( “Queen” ), and NUI Galway. Many Donegal students also participate Limavady Campus of the North West Regional College (popularly known Limavady Tech) ochOmagh Campus Southwest College (popularly known as Tech Omagh Omagh College).


Gweedore GAA grounds.

Gaelic football and hurling

The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) sport of Gaelic football is very popular in County Donegal. Donegal inter-county football team has won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship title twice (1992 and 2012).Donegal victorious from the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final September 23, 2012 to take Sam Maguire Cup for only the second time, with early goals from Michael Murphy and Colm McFadden set up victory 2-11 to 0-13 of Mayo. In 2007, Donegal just won their second national title by winning the National Football League. On April 24, 2011 Donegal added his third national title when they defeated Laois capturing the National Football League Division Two. There are 16 clubs in the Football Championship Donegal senior, with many others who play at a lower level. [31]

Hurling (often referred to as “Hurley” in County Donegal), handball and rounders played well but is less widespread as in other parts of western Ulster. Donegal county senior hurling team won the Lory Meagher Cup 2011 and Nicky Rackard Cup 2013

Rugby Union

There are several rugby teams in the county. These include Ulster Qualifying League Two side Letterkenny RFC, whose land is named after Dave Gallaher, captain of the 1905 New Zealand All Blacks touring team, which has since become known as the originals. He was born near Ramelton.

Ulster Qualifying League Three pages include Ballymena RFC, Donegal Town Inishowen RFC and the RFC. Finn Valley RFC and Tir Chonaill RFC competes in both the Ulster Minor League North.

Association football

Finn Harps play in the League of Ireland and won promotion to the Premier Division in 2007 after a 6-3 aggregate win in the playoffs final. They are now back with their arch rivals Derry City FC, with whom they contest the IrelandNorth West Derby . There are many other clubs in Donegal, but none has achieved the status of Finn Harps.


There are a number of golf courses that Ballyliffin (Glashedy) Ballyliffin (Old), both of which are located in the Inishowen peninsula. Other courses of note are Murvagh (available outside Donegal Town) and Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) is located in Downings (near Carrigart). The Glashedy links have ranked 6th in a new ranking by Golf Digest is the best courses in Ireland. Old Links was ranked 28 Murvagh 36th and Sandy Hills 38th.

Bundoran regarded as one of the best surfing locations in Ireland and Europe.


Cricket is essentially limited to the Laggan district and Finn Valley in the eastern part of the county. The town of Raphoe and the nearby village of St Johnston, both in The Laggan, are the traditional strongholds of cricket in the county. The game is primarily played and followed by members of County Donegal’s Protestant community.

Other sports

Donegal rugged landscape and the coastline is suitable for active sports such as climbing, mountain biking, mountain hiking, surfing and kite flying.

Panoramic views of Mount Errigal summit.


See also: Category: People from County Donegal.

Main article: List of Donegal people


  • Adomnán – or Saint Eunan , Abbot of Iona 679-704.
  • Pastor Dr. Francis Alison – prominent Presbyterian minister in the thirteen colonies and a leading member of the Synod of Philadelphia. At least three of the signers of the American Declaration of Independence were former students of Dr. Alison, who was born and raised in the parish of Leck, on the outskirts of Letterkenny.
  • William Allingham – Victorian poet from Bally.
  • Terrace – folk group.
  • Ian Anderson – Manx prominent politician who was a longstanding member of Tynwald. From Rathmullan.
  • Kay Maunchly Antonelli (born McNulty) – one of the original programmers of ENIAC during World War II. Born in Creeslough and raised in Philadelphia.
  • Alexander Armstrong – Arctic Explorer.


  • General Andrew Barnard – known senior British army commander, in particular in connection with the Napoleonic Wars. Born at Fahan Inishowen.
  • Bibi Baskin – former TV presenter with RTÉ. Now a business and practitioners of Ayurveda in Kerala. Born and raised in Ardara.
  • Neil Blaney – formerly a longstanding TD for the county and a former Irish Government Minister. Founder of Independent Fianna Fáil.
  • Oliver Bond (died 1796) – a possible St Johnston native who was the Dublin-based member of the United Irishmen.
  • Packie Bonner – former goalkeeper for both Ireland and Celtic Football Club.
  • Ed Boyce – former trade unionist and former radical socialist in Idaho and Montana, which later became a wealthy businessman. Helped form the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) 1893rd
  • Rev. Stopford Brooke – Anglican and later Unitarian clergyman and literary historian. He served as chaplain to Crown Princess Victoria of Prussia, 1863-1865, and later served as chaplain-in-ordinary to his mother, Queen Victoria, 1875-1880. Born and raised in Glendowan, just west of Letterkenny.
  • Isaac Butt – lawyer, MP and founder of the Irish Home Rule movement.Born and raised in Glenfin, a district near Ballybofey.


  • William C. Campbell – winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, born in Ramelton.
  • Clannad – folk group from Gweedore.
  • Séamus Coleman – football player for both Ireland and Everton Football Club. He is from Killybegs.
  • Columba – or Saint Colmcille , one of the three patron saints of Ireland.
  • Bob Cooper – a former vice president of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland and former long-standing director of the Fair Employment Commission for Northern Ireland. Born and raised in East Donegal.
  • Mary Coughlan – former Tánaiste and former TD for Donegal South-West. The first woman to be appointed agriculture minister in the Irish government.
  • Eithne Coyle – known Irish republican and socialist. Was a prominent member of both the Gaelic League and Cumann na mBan. From Killult, near Falcarragh.


  • Breandán de Gallai – actor, TV host and dancers from Gweedore. Former lead dancer with Riverdance .
  • John Doherty – famous Manchester-based Victorian trade unionist.From Buncrana.
  • Michelle Doherty – Dublin-based model and radio / television presenter from Northern Inishowen.
  • Moya Doherty – producer and co-founder of Riverdance , born in Pettigoe but grew up in Dublin.
  • Pearse Doherty TD – currently a TD for Donegal Sinn Féin spokesperson finance the Oireachtas. Born in Glasgow, but grew up and currently resides in Gweedore.


  • Felim Egan – artist based in Sandymount. Was born in County Donegal, but grew up in Strabane.
  • Enya – musicians and singers from Gweedore.
  • E. Rentoul Esler – Late Victorian and Edwardian writers. Born in Manorcunningham.


  • Patsy Gallacher (or Patsy Gallagher) – famous soccer player popularly known as the “Mighty Atom”. Played for both Ireland and Celtic FC. Born in Milford and raised in Glasgow.
  • Bridie Gallagher – singer known as the “Girl from Donegal ‘. Born and raised in Creeslough, she spent most of her adult life in Belfast.
  • Conrad Gallagher – chef and businessman from Letterkenny. Especially known for his work as a young chef at Peacock Alley in the center of Dublin.
  • Paddy “the Cope” Gallagher – businessman, author and champion of West Donegal. Founder of The Cope. He celebrated by An Post with a stamp in the beginning of 2006.
  • Pat “the Cope” Gallagher, TD – businessman who is a Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal. He was previously a Fianna Fáil MEP for the North West of Ireland. Grandson of Paddy “the Cope”.
  • Rory Gallagher – guitarist and singer. Born in Donegal family in Bally, he was up in Cork.
  • Tommy Gallagher – an SDLP politician who previously was an MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone
  • Dave Gallaher – the first All Blacks rugby captain. He was from Ramelton.
  • Conal Gallen – stand-up comedian from Ballybofey.
  • Shay Given – former goalkeeper for both Ireland and Newcastle United Football Club.


  • Paddy Harte – earlier years of the Fine Gael TD for Donegal North East and a former Irish Government Minister. Lifford but based on Raphoe.
  • Baron Hay of Ballyore – As Willie Hay, he served as Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, 2007-2014. Lord Hay of Ballyore also served as an MLA for Foyle until 2014.
  • Cahir Healy – a journalist who was a very prominent Irish nationalist politician and who was a long-standing MP for County Fermanagh.Born and raised near Mount Charles


  • Professor John Kells Ingram – economist, Irish patriot and poet who was based at Trinity College.
  • Major General James Murray Irwin – leading senior physician in the British Army. From Manorcunningham.


  • Major Robert Johnston – recipient of the Victoria Cross and the rugby union international


  • Brigadier Andrew Lewis – military commanders, on the American side in the Revolutionary War. Born in County Donegal and raised in Virginia colony.
  • The 4th Viscount Lifford – a peer who once served as Deputy Lieutenant of County Donegal. He also served as High Sheriff of Donegal, 1841-1845. Lord Lifford was also a prominent businessman in the county, which serves as chairman of the Finn Valley Railway c. 1860. [32] He also served as president of the West Donegal Railway. He sat as an Irish Representative Peer in the House of Lords, 1856-1887.
  • Dr. Michael Logue – Cardinal who served as the Catholic Primate of all Ireland and archbishop of Armagh.
  • Professor Pat Loughrey – current warden of Goldsmith College, part of the University of London. Former Controller (or manager) of BBC Northern Ireland, from 1994 to 2000, and former head of the BBC and Regions, 2000-2009. From Ray, near Ramelton.

Mac / Mc

  • Mici Mac Gabhann – author, farmer and businessman from Cloughaneely. Known for writing Rotha Mór an tSaoil , which is mainly the story of his life as a miner in Butte and the Klondike in the 1880s and 1890s.
  • Patrick MacGill – author.
  • Mr MacLochlainn – formerly a Sinn Féin TD for Donegal North East.
  • Ray McAnally – actor and theater director.
  • Frank McBrearty, Sr. – The tax collector and businessman from Raphoe, where his company is based. Famously, he and his family were victims of police harassment by the Garda Síochána in the 1990s. His experiences, and those of some other people, led to the establishment of the Morris Tribunal in March 2002 that investigated widespread corruption Garda in County Donegal.
  • Neil McBride, Poet, author and farmer from Creeslough, who also became infamous in a court case in which he was defended by Patrick Pearse, in 1905.
  • Frankie McCafferty – Belfast-based actor, best known for his role as Donal Docherty in Ballykissangel the end of 1990.
  • Only McCallion – film director and producer. Especially known for directing Forrest advertising done Metz alcopop 2001. The ad is best known for featuring a character called “Judderman”.
  • Colonel Michael McCorkell – British Army soldier who became a prominent UUP politicians in Derry. He served as Lord Lieutenant of County Londonderry, 1975-2000. Born in Buncrana.
  • Basil McCrea, MLA – prominent Unionist politician in Northern Ireland Assembly. Now leaders NI21, he was a former member of the UUP. He was born in Ramelton.
  • Columba McDyer – the first person from County Donegal to win the All-Ireland senior medal when he played for Cavan in the 1947 All Ireland finals at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan, New York City. He later managed to Donegal team.
  • The Very Reverend Canon James McDyer – Catholic priest who was a champion of the rights of people in southwest County Donegal in the mid to late twentieth century, especially during his time as a parish priest in Glencolumbkille.
  • Brian McEniff – Businessman previously many years head of the Donegal senior football team, a team that won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in, 1992. Head of Ireland Compromise Rules team, 2000-2001.
  • Keith McErlean – Dublin-based actor. Known in Ireland for their parts as Barry in Bachelors Walk , Adam Duffy in Trivia , and Shane Harte Raw , all television programs made for RTÉ. Born and raised in Carndonagh.
  • Dr. Daniel McGettigan – Catholic Primate of all Ireland and archbishop of Armagh.
  • Dinny McGinley – earlier years of the Fine Gael TD for Donegal South-West. He served as Minister for the Gaeltacht at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 2011-2014.
  • Patrick McGinley – author, from Glencolumbkille.
  • Seán McGinley – actor. Born in Pettigoe but grew up near Ballycastle.
  • Frank McGuinness – playwrights, especially known for writing both theFactory Girls and observe the Sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme . Born and raised in Buncrana, he has been based at University College Dublin (UCD), as writer-in-residence for many years now. He has lectured at the University of Ulster.
  • Jim McGuinness – head of the Donegal senior football team, 2010-2014, a team that won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 2012.Has also been, since November 2012, as the Performance Consultant at Celtic FC in Glasgow.
  • Joe McHugh TD – currently a Fine Gael TD for Donegal. Married to Olwyn Enright, a business and former TD for Laois-Offaly. Deputy McHugh is from Carrigart.
  • Martin McHugh – businessman and commentator on Gaelic football for BBC Northern Ireland. Was a member of the Donegal senior football team that won the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in the 1992 final.
  • Fr. Ernan McMullin – philosopher priest who was based at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana for many years. He was from Ballybofey.
  • James McNulty activist for Irish independence in Creeslough during the Easter Rising.
  • Roy McNulty – former president of Short Brothers of Belfast. Born and raised in Raphoe.


  • Charles Macklin – London-based actor, director and writer of the eighteenth century from Northern Inishowen. Especially in connection with the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
  • Pastor Francis Makemie – founder of Presbyterianism in what became the United States. He was from Ramelton.
  • Margo – singer from The Rosses. Older sister Daniel O’Donnell.
  • Anthony Molloy – captain of the Donegal team that won the All-Ireland, 1992. He is from Ardara.
  • General Robert Montgomery – proconsul and military commanders in British India. From Moville Inishowen.
  • Michael Murphy – captain of the Donegal team that won the All-Ireland in 2012. He is from Glen Willy, a small town close to Letterkenny.
  • Henry Musgrave, DL – was a Northern Irish businessman and philanthropist. Involved in many business concerns, including Donegal Railway Company. [33] [34] In 1913, Henry Musgrave paid for a tower to be built in the Church of Ireland church påGlencolumbkille, near the family’s country estate. He also left the legacy to this church and Kilcar Parish Church in his will. On 1 March 1917, Musgrave made an honorary burgess of the city of Belfast. He was also a great juror ochhög Sheriff Donegal for 1909-1910 and became Deputy Lieutenant of both the city of Belfast and Donegal.


  • Conor O’Devany – Martyr. Born near Raphoe.
  • Cahir O ‘Doherty (Cahir O’Dougherty or Cahir O’Doherty) – last reigning Gaelic Lord Inishowen. Originally an ally of the English, led the young Chieftain a rebellion against the English crown in the 1608th
  • Malachi O’Doherty – Belfast-based author and journalist who writes forthe Belfast Telegraph, and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Sequence on BBC Radio Ulster. Married to Maureen Boyle, a poet from Sion Mills, he was born iMuff in Inishowen.
  • Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill (Red Hugh O’Donnell) – second last king of Tír Chonaill. Known Gaelic prince in the 1590s and early 1600s. Known for his part in the nine-year war. The film The Fighting Prince of Donegal , was released in 1966, was made about him.
  • Maghnus Ó Domhnaill (Manus O’Donnell) – King of Tír Chonaill for much of the first half of the sixteenth century and taught Irish Renaissance prince. Ordered life Columba to be printed.
  • Daniel O’Donnell – singers.
  • Dr. Patrick O’Donnell – Cardinal who served as the Catholic Primate of all Ireland and archbishop of Armagh.
  • Peadar O’Donnell – Irish revolutionary and socialist.
  • Gavin Ó Fearraigh – model and actor from Gweedore. Best known in Ireland to play Conal Daly in Ros na run on TG4. He also appeared onCelebrity Jigs ‘n’ Reels in 2007 on RTÉ first
  • Séamus Ó Grianna – Irish language writers.
  • Cathal Ó Searcaigh – Irish language poet of Cloughaneely.


  • Thomas Pringle TD – former trawlerman now an independent TD for Donegal. Killybegs.
  • The Patterson people group


  • Gerry Robinson – businessman and former head of Granada Television
  • Brid Rodgers – a former MLA who was former SDLP deputy leader and former Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development. Born and raised in Gweedore.
  • John D Ruddy – actor and performer best. Born and raised in the letter.


  • Kevin Sharkey – Dublin-based actor, artist, businessman and former model. Where a television presenter at The Roxy on ITV in the late 1980s. Raised and educated in Killybegs.
  • Kevin Sharkey – currently a broadcast journalist with BBC Northern Ireland.
  • Dr. George Otto Simms – Church of Ireland Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh. A well-known historian, he was Lifford.
  • Ricky Simms – London-based manager of Usain Bolt. Simms was born in Milford.
  • Andrew Simpson – Actor who played in both song for a Raggy Boy andNotes on a Scandal . Born in Altnagelvin hospital but raised in Inishowen.
  • James Star Ride – deputy head of the Metropolitan Police in London in the early 1970s. Born in Carrigans but grew up in Magherafelt.
  • Major General Joe Sweeney – leading Irish Republican Army commander during the Revolutionary War. He later served as a leading Irish Army commander during the Irish Civil War. In the early 1920s he served as a TD MPoch West Donegal in the 1st Dáil and later as Pro-Treaty TD for Donegal. From Burton.
  • Pauric Sweeney – London-based luxury handbag designer. Born in County Donegal and educated at Blackrock College and Temple University.


  • John Toland – Protestant philosopher of the late seventeenth century and early eighteenth century. He was of Ardagh, a townland near Ballyliffin.


The most common surnames in County Donegal at the time of the United Kingdom Census 1901: [35]

  1. Gallagher
  2. Doherty
  3. O’Donnell
  4. Boyle
  5. McLaughlin
  6. Sweeney
  7. kelly
  8. McGinley
  9. McFadden
  10. Section

See also

  • List of towns and villages in Ireland
  • List of abbeys and priories in Ireland (County Donegal)
  • People from County Donegal
  • Donegal County (Ireland Parliament constituency)
  • Earagail Arts Festival
  • High Sheriff Donegal
  • Lord Lieutenant of Donegal
  • SS Donegal
  • troubles
  • Wild Atlantic Way


  1. ^ Jump up to: ab “County Donegal”. Central Bureau of Statistics . In 2016.
  2. Jump up ^ “2006 Annual Report of the Ulster Scots” (PDF). North-South Ministerial Council.
  3. Jump up ^ “2002 Annual Report of the Ulster Scots” (PDF). North-South Ministerial Council.
  4. Jump up ^ Tourism Ireland – Yeirly Report 2009
  5. Jump up ^ “Donegal Library Services”. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  6. Jump up ^ North West Ireland.
  7. Jump up ^ “Derry and Donegal Sinn Féin Councillors join forces to push the North West tourism”. 16 February 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  8. ^ Jump up to: ab Brian Lacy (Editor), archaeological survey County Donegal , P. 1. Donegal County Council, Lifford, 1983rd
  9. Jump up ^ For the 1653 and 1659 figures from the Civil Survey Census of those years, the paper Mr. Hardinge Royal Irish Academy March 14, 1865.
  10. Jump up ^ Census of post 1821 figures.
  11. Jump up ^ “A collection of British Historical Population Reports”.University of Essex. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  12. Jump up ^ “NISRA – Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013 ‘ 27 September 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  13. Jump up ^ Lee, JJ (1981). “On the accuracy of pre-famine Irish censuses”. In the Gold Strom, JM; Clarkson, LA Irish population, economy and society: Essays in Honour of the late KH Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  14. Jump up ^ Mokyr, Joel, O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). “New Developments in the Irish population history, 1700-1850”. Economic history eView. 37 (4) :. 473-488 doi: 10.1111 / j.1468 -0289.1984.tb00344.x.
  15. Jump up ^ Patterson, Edward M (1962). The County Donegal Railway.Dawlish: David and Charles. pp. 9-10.
  16. Jump up ^ Morton, O. 2003. The marine macroalgae in County Donegal, Ireland. Bull.Ir. Biogeog. Soc., 27: 3-164
  17. Jump up ^ Ennis, T. 2014. The presence of Dactylorhiza purple(T.Stephenson and TSStephenson) soo Ir Nat. J. 33 : 128
  18. Jump up ^ Sleeman, PD et al in 2009. The small-bodied Badgers ( Meles meles (L.) in Rutland Island, Co. Donegal. Ir Nat J. 30: 1-6 ..
  19. Jump up ^ “Crex Crex corncrake, priority species Northern Ireland”.
  20. Jump up ^ “Dolmen Centre, Kilclooney, Portnoo, Co.Donegal” Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  21. Jump up ^ Renamed “County Tirconaill” in 1922 by resolution of the County Council (. Place Name Confusion – Donegal or Tirconaill , The Irish Times, April 24, 1924). After historians and Gaelic scholars pointed out that the historical territory Tirconaill did not include the entire county, Donegal name again adopted in 1927 ( Back to “Donegal” , The Irish Times November 22, 1927).
  22. Jump up ^ Connolly, SJ, Oxford Companion to Irish History , page 129. Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN 978-0-19-923483-7
  23. Jump up ^ County “wiped off crisis HQ maps.” The Belfast Telegraph .21 April 2010.
  24. Jump up ^ Donegal “disappear” from the crisis maps. Ocean FM. 21 April 2010.
  25. Jump up ^ Donegal Gaeltacht statistics
  26. Jump up ^
  27. Jump up ^ “Even Donegal voted YES in the marriage referendum”.February 23, 2015. Archived from the original February 24, 2016.
  28. Jump up ^ “Closing” Derry Road “a great loss to Ireland – Derry Journal” .Hämtad 20 August, 2013.
  29. ^ Jump up to: ab Willie Cumming, Duncan McLaren and TJ O’Meara, An Introduction to the Architectural Heritage of County Donegal , p. 96. National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (Niah), Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Dublin, 2014.
  30. Jump up ^ who was who in America historical volume, 1607-1896.Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who. In 1963.
  31. Jump up ^ “Donegal Gaelic football and hurling clubs.”
  32. Jump up ^ Bradshaw’s Guide. WJ Adams, 1864
  33. Jump up ^ Bloomfield Land and Building Company
  34. Jump up ^ BBC Your Paintings, Henry Musgrave Henrietta Rae
  35. Jump up ^ “Donegal Genealogy resources and Parish Register – Ulster”