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Rathmullan, Co. Donegal

Rathmullan is a small, picturesque seaside village on the western shores of Lough Swilly in Co. Donegal. In 1607 the Flight of the Earls took place just outside the village in a place called Carolina Bay. This marked the end of the Gaelic chieftain rule in Ireland, a major point in Irish history.

Some other points of interest in the village are:

  • The ruins of a Carmelite Friary built by Eogan Rua McSweney in 1516.
  • A fortified ‘battery’ near the pier built in anticipation of a potential invasion by the French during the Napoleonic wars.

Rathmullan in the 1800s

A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837) described Rathmullan as follows:

“RATHMULLEN, a small sea-port, in the parish of KILLYGARVAN, barony of KILMACRENAN, county of DONEGAL, and province of ULSTER, 5 miles (N.) from Ramelton: the population is returned with the parish. It is situated on the western shore of Lough Swilly, and consists of one main street: it has a penny post to Ramelton, and is both a constabulary police and coastguard station, the latter being included in the district of Dunfanaghy: petty sessions are held here. There are some remains of a religious house built by Mac Swine Fanagh, for Carmelites or White friars, and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin; also of a castle, said to have been built by him, which was destroyed at the time of the Reformation, but afterwards rebuilt by Bishop Knox. Part of this castle was for some time used as the parish church, previous to the erection of the present edifice.”

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