Killybegs, County Donegal

Seagulls swirl around the trawlers entering the port of Killybegs, one of Ireland’s major fishing harbours. It is a rough and dynamic place, where foreign ships tower over the quayside, and the smell of fresh fish fills the air.

Though the town looks typically Victorian, it was a borough as long as 1616, and the harbour was recorded a century earlier than that. St Catherine’s Church was built in the 1840s and is unusually large, about 100ft long by 40ft wide. Attached to the wall is a 16th century tomb slab, probably of one of the MacSweeney family. It depicts a gallowglass, or mercenary, showing that he was one of the Scottish soldiers of fortune employed by the Irish chieftains.

Killybegs used to have a carpet factory, whose handwoven products adorn Buckingham Palace, The White House and the Vatican. Drumanoo Head, 3 miles South, is a famous local viewpoint with plenty of opportunities for walks.

Killybegs is a real hidden gem that is worth a visit on your tours of Ireland.