Donegal

Donegal

Located in the far north western corner of Ireland, County Donegal is rugged and remote even by Irish standards, giving Donegal a sense of unspoilt character.

The Irish Dun na nGall means fort of the foreigner a term with its roots in the settlement of the land by Scottish Celts. In its landscape also, Donegal is perhaps more akin to parts of the Scottish Highlands than the rest of Ireland. The county is criss-crossed with rugged mountains, blanket bogland and inland waterways, while Donegal's coastline, the longest in Ireland, boasts jagged coastlines, broad sandy beaches and some of Ireland's most important fisheries.

One of three Ulster counties that aren't in Northern Ireland territory, Donegal's isolation is compounded as much by the political geography as it is cut off from most of the Republic by county Fermanagh, sharing only a slim border with a fellow Republican county at Leitrim.

Donegal is Ireland's second largest county after Cork and where Cork has Ireland's most southerly point, Donegal has its most northerly at Malin Head on the rugged Inishowen Peninsula. Donegal's other key geological feature are the Slieve League Cliffs, which are the tallest seas cliffs in Europe.

The Irish language spoken in this part of Ireland is distinctively different to that in the rest of the country with a heavy leaning towards Scots Gaelic in some parts, particularly in north western coastal regions and the islands. Tory Island is distinct to the rest of Ireland in that it is ruled by a king, elected by its inhabitants.

Donegal has produced some famous Irish entertainers including crooner Daniel O'Donnell, Enya, Clannad, and also was home to Saint Colmcille.

Throughout Donegal, there are some of Eorope's finest Links Golf Courses, including the world renowned Ballylifin Golf Club, host of the 2008 Irish Seniors Open. Golf is among the most popular reasons that tourists visit this part of Ireland.

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