Donegal Castle lies in the town by the same name, at a bend of the Eske River, in County Donegal, in Ireland.
The name Donegal translates as 'Fort of the Foreigner' possibly coming from a Viking fortification which might have stood at this site and which was destroyed in 1159.
Donegal Castle was built in 1474 by the elder Sir Hugh O'Donnell, wealthy chief of the O'Donnell clan who ruled Tyrconnell. The castle is enclosed by a partially rebuilt curtain wall with a 16th century gate house.
In 1589 the castle was burned and in 1595, during the Nine Years War, it was partly destroyed. In 1607 the leaders of the O'Donnell clan, occupants of Donegal Castle, left Ireland in the Flight of the Earls.
In 1611 Donegal Castle and its lands were granted to an English Captain, Basil Brooke. The keep had been severely damaged by the departing O'Donnells to prevent the castle being used against the Gaelic clans but was quickly restored and remodelled by its new owners in 1623. Brooke also added windows, gables and a large manor-house wing to the keep, all in the Jacobean style.
During the Williamite Wars the castle was successfully defended against the Jacobite forces. The Brooke family owned the castle for many generations until it fell into a ruinous state in the 18th century.
In 1898 the then owner, the Earl of Arran, donated Donegal Castle to the Office of Public Works. The castle stayed a ruin until the late 1990's when the keep was fully restored. The Jacobean manor-house was left a ruin.
This seems like a nice castle but it had just closed when I arrived in town, too bad. The castle can be visited for a small fee.