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The Bradley's from Inishowen Co. Donegal

County Donegal and the Inishowen Peninsular

County Donegal

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The name Donegal comes from the Irish `Dun na nGall' meaning fort of the foreigner. It is Ireland's most northerly county. Donegal is famous for its scenery, with majestic mountain ranges, hidden glens, beautiful lakes and a wonderful indented coastline, featuring some of Europe's finest beaches.

Blanket bogs, now rare in the world, cover . One of Donegal's major attractions is Glenveagh National Park, with 25,000 hectares of unspoilt countryside. This land 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 be seen in Raphoe and Donegal town.

The Norman's arrived in the 12th Century and relics of them remain, notable on the Inishowen Peninsula.

Christianity had a profound influence in Donegal and many early Christian monuments can be seen today. These include churches and religious sites commemorating St. Colmcille, the Donegal man who converted Scotland to Christianity. To the south, Lough Derg is a famous pilgrimage site, while Donegal town has a Franciscan monastery dating from the early 17th century. Letterkenny, Donegal's ecclesiastical and administrative headquarters is home to St. Eunan's Cathedral.

Surrounded by mountains and sea, Donegal preserved its Gaelic culture and language for longer than most places. Today, that language and culture remain strong in its extensive Gaeltacht area stretching from Fanad Head to Slieve League. Fishing and tweed production are Donegal's major industries, with exports worldwide.

Inishowen Peninsula

Inishowen (Inis Eoghain - Owen's Island) takes its name from Owen, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, who captured St. Patrick and brought him to Ireland. Inishowen was part of the great northern kingdom of Ui Neill and was ruled from the royal place at Grianan Aileach.

The Inishowen Peninsula is situated in the North West of the Republic of Ireland. Inishowen possesses such a range of sights and attractions that is often referred to as 'Ireland in Miniature'. This is the undiscovered Ireland, a world apart, a timeless place.

Inishowen is surrounded by Lough Foyle to the east and Lough Swilly to the west while the Atlantic encircles Inishowen's northern shores. Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly are deep sea loughs and both have played pivotal roles in the history of Ireland.

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For seven centuries Inishowen was ruled by the O'Doherty family who had close alliances with the O'Donnells of West Donegal and the O'Neills of Tyrone.

Buncrana is the largest town in Inishowen and the center of the textile industry in Donegal. The town is situated on Lough Swilly and is popular with visitors throughout the year.

The ancient territory of Inishowen is 26 miles in length and its greatest breadth is about 26 miles across with an area of about 309 sq. miles. It is connected with the mainland on the south and is not as its name implies, an island, but a magnificent peninsula. Monuments of an earlier age grow from the landscape as castles towers and ancient churches shimmer in the sunshine. The Celtic crosses and the pagan monuments come together in a colourful tapestry with these great houses of the last century, to leave more lasting memories for the visitor.