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Rathmeton & Bundoran

Rathmelton (Ramelton)

Rathmelton (Melton's Fort) or Ramelton, is a charming little town situated at the mouth of the River Lennon where it enters a bay on Lough Swilly. It has a pretty harbour with some fine old warehouses on the water's edge. This is very much a planned Planter's town dating from the 17th century. Behind Castle Street can still be seen some of these earlier 17th century houses - the street is called after the castle built by the original planter, Sir William Stewart. The river is one of the earliest salmon streams in these isles, whilst the Pool down by the old mill is world famous as one of the finest salmon casts to be found anywhere.

(Looking up the river Lennon from the Quayside, with the houses of Ramelton on the left bank)

Steeped in history, Ramelton was nominated as one of Irelands 'Theme Towns,' and the River Lennon was once navigable by ocean going vessels, these sailing as far away as Jamaica. If you want to stop there for a while, you will find lovely riverside walks, an ancient stone bridge and some handsome houses.

(Looking down the river Lennon from the location of an excellent tea room, towards the Quayside)

It is well worth a stroll to the Quayside, where you will find the warehouses that were used as one of the locations for teh filming of 'The Hanging Gale', which starred Paul McGann......that film is about the struggles of a Donegal family during the Famine years, and I highly recommend it.

(A view of the warehouses on the Quayside, used in the filming of 'The Hanging Gale')


South of Donegal Town and Ballyshannon is Bundoran, a seaside town so popular in the summer that it's population swells from 1,700 to a peak of 20,000. It is also the name of a song, 'Beautiful Bundoran.' It has a Waterworld which includes a swimming and spectator area, tidal wave, aqua volcano, tornado slide and water rapids. It also has an excellent salmon and brown trout centre and attracts anglers who love the challenge offered by the wild fish.

(View from the shore looking south, showing old battlements)

Bundoran (the mouth of the Dobhran River) has an excellent position, on a bold coast and the views across Donegal Bay are truly magnificent. Facing Bundoran is the Killybegs Peninsula and on the extreme left you can make out quite clearly the great sea cliffs of Slieve League, the highest in Ireland. It is also an ideal centre from which to visit the Yeats Country and Lough Erne. Bundoran is renowned for the title 'Beautiful, Bracing Bundoran,' and it's well merited because of the fresh sea breezes blowing in, uninterrupted and unpolluted from over four thousand miles of Atlantic Ocean.

The town itself consists of one main street divided into two parts where the little river joins the sea. The northern part is called the East End, which used to be the Catholic sector, whilst the southern side is called the West End. Fifty years ago and more it was the great favorite of the Landed Gentry.

A very small car is needed to get around in summer or, alternatively, get yourself behind a truck, because the main street of Bundoran is so narrow you will find yourself pulling over to the next available space to let cars, travelling in the opposite direction, pass. I found following a truck the best solution because everyone gave way to it and you get a fairly free run through the town! I couldn't quite work out the parking arrangements there either, but it seemed that you could park almost anywhere (half on footpaths included) as long as you weren't in the middle of the road. They also had strange signs reading 'Traffic Calming Ahead'......turned out that someone had figured out that if you narrowed the road, traffic would be slowed - through the centre of Bundoran you're lucky to be driving at 10 miles and hour, but it wasn't tedious because it is really a lovely town.


(View taken from the middle of Bundoran, looking across to Killybegs)

(One of my favorite photos of Donegal Bay from Bundoran)

This Kentucky Fried Chicken was the only place I stopped to eat in Bundoran, but I can recommend it! It was there I had one of my most peaceful meals - Liam tied into a highchair with a box of chips and a glow-in-the-dark yoyo didn't hurt either....