History of Ramelton
A few historic facts about Ramelton, Co. Donegal

In 1607 the Earls of Tyrone and Tirconnell, along with their families and a number of the northern Gaelic nobility, boarded a ship a few miles from Ramelton on the Swilly Estuary and sailed for Spain. This historical exodus became known as ‘The Flight of The Earls’ with the chieftains never returning to Irish soil.

Originally home to the O’Donnell clan with their castle and settlement located on the Swilly, Georgian Ramelton, as we know it today, dates back to 1609 when Sir William Stewart was granted 1,000 acres around Ramelton by the King of England. In the 18th century, the town grew along the river becoming the principal port and market town for the area with a thriving linen industry. This growth continued into the 19th century but with the engine replacing the sail the port went into a decline. Due the demise of the port and the new railway stopping in Letterkenny, Ramelton has held on to a significant number of its original building.

Francis Mackemie, (1658 – 1708) founder of American Presbyterianism was born in Ramelton and worshipped in the Old Meetinghouse (oldest in Ireland) before travelling to the U.S. where he is revered in American history as a champion of religious freedom and the Father of American Presbyterianism.

James Buchanan, father of the 15th President of the United States, was born in Ramelton.

Wolfe Tone was imprisoned in a small castle across the Swilly from Ramelton after his abortive attempt to land in Donegal with French troops in support of the 1798 rebellion. From here he was taken to Dublin where, while awaiting execution by hanging, he slit his own throat.

Sam Byrne amassed a fortune in America with interests in gold, oil and banking. He founded the Seaboard National bank (now JP Morgan Chase).

Dave Gallaher, the All Blacks rugby player and first Captain, was born in Ramelton in 1873.

Patsy Gallacher “the Mighty Atom” was born in the Workhouse between Ramelton and Milford and made over 500 appearances for Glasgow Celtic.

Nurse Catherine Black, from Ramelton, nursed King George V of England from 1928 until his death in 1936.

Frewin Country House romantic Bed & Breakfast accommodation located in the charming and historic town of Ramelton. Formerly a rectory and located in mature wooded rounds, this charming and romantic Country House B & B offers its guests a warm and friendly welcome in an atmosphere of luxury and relaxation. It also has a luxury self catering cottage tucked away in the grounds.