Castles of Ireland – Donegal Castle

Castles of Ireland – Donegal Castle

Donegal, County Donegal, Ireland


Donegal Castle is positioned in the North West of Ireland. It controls the center of the community and also sits on a rough outcrop on the bend of the River Eske near the mouth of Donegal Bay.

For the past 2 centuries, most of Donegal Castle lay in ruins but in the late 1990s, the tower residence was brought back leaving the continuing to a wing as damages.

A limit wall with a small lodge built in the 17th-century borders the limestone and sandstone castle, the 15th-century rectangle-shaped keep, and a later Jacobean style wing.

Throughout the 15th century, Donegal (which comes from the Irish Dhun na nGall, indicating ‘Fort of the Foreigner’) was the seat of power of the O’Donnell chieftains, for this reason, its various other names, ‘O’Donnell’s Castle’.


In 1474, the principal of the O’Donnell clan, Hugh O’Donnell, decided to construct a castle in Donegal. According to neighborhood mythology, a secret passage links the two structures, though there is no concrete proof to sustain this story.
Over the centuries, the owners of Donegal Castle contributed to the structure, one of the most vital additions being the manor house, which was built throughout the 17th century.

Directed scenic tours take you around the areas inside the castle. The trips reveal the various styles as well as periods of its previous owners including Persian carpets and also French tapestries. The remainder of the castle can be seen without a guide.

The castle is open to the public throughout the year. During Spring/Summer opening hrs are 10:00 – 18:00 daily as well as during the Autumn/Winter in between 09:30 – 16:30

The castle was developed as a stronghold by Sir Hugh O’Donnell in 1474 for the O’Donnell clan that was among the most effective family members in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries and also the faithful subject of Queen Elizabeth I till the Nine Years War.
The O’Donnells left Ireland in 1607 to in the ‘Flight of the Earls’, however before they left they tried to damage the castle to avoid it being used by the English versus other Gaelic clans. Captain Basil Brooke was provided the castle as well as its land in 1611 as well as promptly restored and also boosted it. He made additions in a Jacobean style adding a large manor house wing in the keep, a gable, additional windows, and a prepared tower. The castle stayed in the Brooke family members for generations up until it came under disrepair in the 18th century after Cromwell’s invasion.
In 1898 the castle was handed over to the Office of Private Works by its owner the Earl of Arran.

The Arts

The castle hosts occasions including Gaelic social nights.

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