Donegal Abbey

Donegal, Ireland

Donegal Abbey is a ruined Franciscan Priory in Donegal in Ireland. It was constructed by the O'Donnell dynasty in the fifteenth century. It is sometimes referred to as Donegal Friary.

It was built in 1474 on the orders of the leading Gaelic lord of the area, the ruler of Tyrconnell Hugh Roe O'Donnell, the First, and his wife Finola O'Brien.

In the Nine Years' War, the Abbey was used for a meeting between the rebel leadership and envoys of the Spanish King Philip II. The Abbey was the scene of fighting during the 1601 Siege of Donegal when a force led by Red Hugh O'Donnell attempted to capture the town from Crown forces led by the Gaelic warrior Niall Garve O'Donnell.

During the battle, on 10 August 1601, a fire broke out at the abbey which in turn ignited a store of gunpowder kept by Niall Garve. The resulting explosion destroyed most of the building and killed hundreds of Niall Garve's soldiers, including his brother Conn Oge O'Donnell.

The abbey was not rebuilt, and remains in ruins, but the Franciscan friars set up a new base at a refuge close to the River Drowes, near Ballyshannon.



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The Glebe, Donegal, Ireland
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Founded: 1474
Category: Religious sites in Ireland


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Ha-Ru (14 months ago)
Nice ruins and fairly peaceful with lovely views being right next to the water. Graves area maintained and interesting wee board on the history of it .
Luke Murphy (2 years ago)
Haunting relics of a Franciscan Abbey at the mouth of the River Eske. The Abbey is a short walk along the riverside from the centre of Donegal. Definitely worth seeing.
Daniel McGuigan (2 years ago)
A great place to explore with lovely views of the coast?. The history behind this abbey is significant and intertwined with the story of the town. Plenty of parking spaces and good access
David Dancey (2 years ago)
A ruined monastic settlement on the river running to the sea. Not much remains of the monastery, and the graveyard that surrounds it has risen the level of the ground so high that the cloister windows are now half buried. But it is a calmly picturesque place. It is free to enter and gives great views of the ruins and the river.
Ruthie Callan (3 years ago)
I visited the Abbey and i always find there is an air of mystery to these ruins in ireland. I love visting and learning the history of all our ancestors ❤
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