Yet these counties attract the lion’s share of tourism in Ireland while Donegal is dismissed or ignored for being too remote and yes, “far away”.
However, our most north westerly county has been hogging more of the limelight in recent years thanks to Failte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way promotional campaign plus a string of accolades including being named “coolest place on the planet” by National Geographic Traveller and listed as “most beautiful county in Ireland” by Ireland Before You It was time to see what all the fuss is about.
The first clan to convert to Christianity as the result of St Patrick's efforts was Clan Connaill (also known at one time as Clan Dálaigh: in English, this is pronounced Daley and it translates as "one in a leadership role"). As a result of their acceptance of Christianity, Patrick blessed the clan members; the sign of the cross appeared on the chieftain's shield and this became not only the heraldic device for the clan but also for County Donegal.
Donegal Town itself is famous for being the former centre of government of the O'Donnell dynasty, the great Gaelic royal family who ruled Tír Chonaill in west Ulster for centuries and who played a pivotal rôle in Irish history.
There is archaeological evidence for settlements around the town dating to prehistoric times, including the remains of ringforts and other defensive earthworks.
Saint Patrick was captured by raiders from the clans governed by Niall of the Nine Hostages, and this region is that to which Patrick returned, being familiar with the people, language, customs and lands.
Their original homeland lay further to the north in the area of Kilmacrennan.