Walks: Ramelton, Co Donegal

The O'Donnells had a castle here before the Gaelic chieftains were defeated in the 17th Century. In the Ulster plantation, the Stewarts built a town for Scottish and English settlers. Their legacy is evident in Ramelton's architectural heritage. 


From the tree-lined Mall, follow the Leannan River past the quay and warehouses, vestiges of a busy port. Turn right to the guildhall, coastguard station and ornate town hall where country markets are held. Other heritage buildings should be restored.

Ramelton's diverse traditions include the first Presbyterian meeting house and the Rev Francis Mackemie, champion of civil liberty in America. The ruins of William Stewart's reformation church contain a doorway and carved window stones from the medieval church on Aughnish Island.

Continue to Market Square and Georgian streetscapes. On Castle Street, a plaque marks the birthplace of Dave Gallagher, captain of the original All-Blacks New Zealand rugby team on their European tour, 1905-06. He was killed in Flanders in 1917. Another native of Ramelton was Patsy Gallacher, Glasgow Celtic's ‘Mighty Atom'.

Back at the quays, eat in the Riverbank Café beside the Ancestry Centre and heritage exhibition. Further along Lough Swilly, Rathmullan remembers the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, O'Neill and O'Donnell. Sin scéal eile.