Located in the heart of the county town, overlooking the River Eske, is the impressive Donegal Castle, which dates back to the fifteenth century. This imposing fortress was built by Red Hugh O'Donnell as his personal stronghold, and it is said that he even set it on fire before leaving for Spain to ensure that it would not fall into English hands after the Battle of Kinsale. However, fate had other plans, and the castle was eventually taken over by English captain Sir Basil Brooke in 1616.
Under Brooke's ownership, the castle underwent extensive renovations, including the construction of a stunning manor house adjacent to the tower. He also commissioned a magnificent chimney-piece adorned with intricately carved fruit and his own coat of arms. Despite changing hands several times over the centuries, the castle continued to be a symbol of power and wealth in the region.
Sadly, the castle complex fell into a state of disrepair in the twentieth century. But in the 1990s, it was lovingly restored to its former glory, with a suite of information panels added to showcase the castle's fascinating history and its many owners throughout the years. Today, visitors can explore the castle's various rooms, admire the impressive architecture, and learn about the castle's past through interactive exhibits and guided tours. Donegal Castle remains an important landmark and testament to the rich history and culture of Ireland.