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Dún na nGall - Donegal

A maritime county of the province of ULSTER, bounded on the east and south-east by the counties of Londonderry, Tyrone, and Fermanagh, from the first-named of which it is separated by Lough Foyle; on the south, by the northern extremity of the county of Leitrim

and by Donegal bay, and on the west and north by the Atlantic. It extends from 54° 28' to 55° 20' (N. Lat), and from 6° 48' to 8° 40' (W. Lon.); comprising, according to the Ordnance survey, a surface of 1,165,107 statute acres, of which 520,736 are cultivated land,

and 644,371 unimproved mountain and bog. The population, in 1821, was 248,270, and in 1831, 291,104.


The county is chiefly in the diocese of Raphoe, but parts of it extend into those of Derry and Clogher. For purposes of civil jurisdiction it is divided into the baronies of Raphoe, Kilmacrenan, Ennishowen, Tyrhugh, Bannagh and Boylagh. It contains the disfranchised borough, sea-port and market-towns of Ballyshannon, Donegal, and Killybegs; the disfranchised borough and market-town of Lifford; the disfranchised borough of St. Johnstown; the market and post-towns of Letterkenny, Ramelton, Raphoe, Carn, Stranorlar, Buncrana, and Moville Upper; the post-towns of Castlefin, Dunfanaghy, Ardara, Dungloe, and Narin, and several other small towns and villages, of which Bundoran, Mount-Charles, and Rathmullen have each a penny post. Prior to the union the county sent 12 members to parliament; two for the county at large, and two for each of the above-named boroughs, but, subsequently, it has been represented by the two county members only, who are elected at Lifford. The number of voters registered in January, 1836, was 1745; of whom 181 were freeholders of £50, 169 of £20, and 1159 of £10 per ann.; 33 clergymen of £50, and 1 of £20, being the freeholds of their respective benefices; 1 rent-charger of £50, and 10 of £20; and 48 leaseholders of £20, and 143 of £10. It is included in the north-western circuit. Lifford, where the county gaol and court-house are situated, is the assize town; quarter sessions are held four times in the year at Donegal, twice at Letterkenny, and once at Lifford and Buncrana. There are bridewells at Letterkenny and Donegal, and session-houses at each of those places and at Buncrana. The local government is vested in a lieutenant,

19 deputy-lieutenants, and 66 other magistrates, with the usual county officers. The number of persons charged with criminal offences and committed, in 1835, was 472, and of civil bill commitments, 49. There are 29 constabulary police stations, having a force of one stipendiary magistrate 7 chief and 30 subordinate constables and 116 men, with nine horses, the expense of whose maintenance is defrayed by equal Grand Jury presentments and by Government. The district lunatic asylum is in Londonderry and the county infirmary at Lifford. There are dispensaries at Lifford, Ballintra, Raphoe, Taughboyne, Killybegs, Moville, Clonmany, Killygarvan, Kilmacrenan, Kilcar, Letterkenny, Donegal, Muff, Culdaff, Stranorlar, Rutland, Donagh, Killygorden, Dunkaneely, Ramelton, Buncrana, Careygart, Ballyshannon, Dunfanaghy, and

Mount-Charles, maintained by voluntary subscriptions and Grand Jury presentments in equal proportions. The amount of Grand Jury presentments for 1835 was £27,609. 1. 4., of which £163. 10. was for the public roads of the county at large; £14,799. 2. 4. for the public roads,

being the baronial charge; £5301. 18. 11 1/2. for public buildings and charities, officers' salaries, &c.; £3480. 10. 3. for police; and £3863. 19. 9 1/2. in repayment of a loan advanced by Government. In the military arrangements the county is in the northern district.

There are infantry barracks at Lifford and Ballyshannon, and artillery forts at Greencastle, Inch island, Rutland island, and at several places along the shores of Lough Swilly, each of which, except Greencastle, is garrisoned by a single gunner.


Extract from A Topographical Dictionary Of Ireland by Samuel Lewis, 1837

(Read the complete entry from the Topographical Dictionary



Updated 8 Feb 2009


                 Last Updated 8 Feb 2009                      




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County Donegal Coordinator:

Lindel Buckley
Kaikoura, New Zealand

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