The Twin Towns and Lifford, County Donegal

The Twin towns of Stranorlar and Ballybofey are separated only by a bridge over the River Finn.

There is little remarkable about either , though the latter is by far the livelier. But they are worth a visit on Ireland tours……because……

– Issac Butt, one of the founders of the Irish Home Rule Party , is buried in the Stranorlar church graveyard.

– Ballybofey is home to Donegal’s only League of Ireland football team. Finn Harps , and also to the successful and innovative Balor Theater , which has its own local company and entertains touring companies from all over Europe.

Then just over the border in County Tyrone there is the small town of Lifford…….

– The graceful Old Courthouse , dating from 1746 , was  designed by Michael Priestley , and is now home to a visitor center which tells the story of the O’Donnell clan and notable events in Donegal history. Very interesting and relevant if your tours of Ireland take you to the North Coast.

-The buildings former legal use has not been forgotten and models re-enact old trials , including that of Napper Tandy , with the assistance of new technology. Down in the basement cells, there is a re-creation of the awful conditions experienced by prisoners.  Its a real hidden gem.

– A few miles Northwest is Cavanacor House , a fine 17th century mansion where James II dined in 1689. It was also the ancestral home of James Know Polk , US President from 1845 to 1849. A small museum reflects on both these notables , there is also an art gallery containing an array of art from contemporary painters.