Home Houses Apartments Rooms Hotels B&B Self Catering Create Ad Search  


Self Catering

Letterkenny Accommodation - Lough Swilly

Lough Swilly is a fjord-like body of water lying between the  the Inishowen Peninsula and Fanad Peninsula in North Donegal. It is also known as the "Lake of Shadows".

At the northern extremities of the lough are Fanad Head with the famous lighthouse and Dunaff Head on the Inishowen side. Towns situated on the Lough include Buncrana on the Inishowen Peninsula and Rathmullan and Ramelton on the western side. At the southern end of the Lough lies Letterkenny Town.

The Lough reaches 15 and 50 metres deep and is accessible by boats at all stages of the tide as far upstream as Letterkenny. The biggest tidal range is 3.7 metres but can be as little as 1.4 metres. The shoreline of the lough is attractive with a range of scenic landscapes including spectacular cliffs and sandy beaches. The surrounding area too is picturesque with mountains and lakes, peat bogs, saltmarsh and woodland.

Steeped in history the Lough along with An Griannan Fort at its south eastern bend was recorded on Ptolomy's map of the world. It has numerous early stone age monuments and Iron Age fortifications along its shores as well as a number of shell midden finds dated to approx. 7000 BC.

Lough Swilly is most famous for its part in hosting what is known as Flight of the Earls. After a failed general uprising, in September 1607, Hugh O'Neill, 2nd Earl of Tyrone and Rory O'Donnell, 1st Earl of Tir Connell the last Gaelic chieftains and upholders of Brehon law in Ireland at that time, set sail from Rathmullan with ninety of their followers. During the late 1700s a French fleet carrying Wolfe Tone of The United Irishmen fame and troops to assist in 1798 rebellion was intercepted and defeated in a naval battle at the entrance to Lough Swilly in October 1798. Subsequently Tone was captured and taken ashore at Buncrana on the east side of the Swilly.

Due to its natural shelter and impressive depth the Lough was always an important naval port from earliest times. Following the capture of Tone and the real threat of a French invasion under Napoleon, a series of fortifications were built from 1800-1820 guarding the different approaches and landing points within the Lough. During World War I, Lough Swilly was used by the Royal Navy as an anchorage for the North Atlantic Fleet under Admiral Jellico and a gathering/staging point for North Atlantic convoys. During this period a boom was placed across the Lough supported by a number of trawlers to prevent U-Boat attacks. Immediately prior to the great war the British also improved the Napoleonic forts and their armaments as well as adding an additional fort at the entrance to the lough at Leenan Head with 9 inch guns ( 12 mile range) - the largest in Ireland at the time. The remains of these fortifications can still be inspected at Leenan Head, Dunree (now a military and wildlife museum), Neds point (Buncrana),  Inch Island and on the west coast at Rathmullan, Knockalla and Macamish .  The Lough was also one of the Treaty Ports specified in the Anglo-Irish Treaty until its final handing over at Fort Dunree in 1938.

The Lough is also famous for its wildlife watching (dolpins, porpoise, sea birds, migratory geese and swans) and diving on the numerous ship wrecks, including the S.S. Laurentic sunk by a German mine (possible torpedo) which went down with 3211 ingots of gold of which 3191 were recovered.

In the south of the Lough a number of Islands (Burt, Inch, Coney, Big Isle) were pouldered and the land reclaimed during the 1800s for agriculture and the lough swilly to Derry city Railway embankments. These reclaimed lands are now regarded as one of Ireland's premier wetlands for wildlife conservation and bird watching, supporting over 4 thousand whooper swans and thousands of Greenland white front, barnacle, greylagg and brent geese.

The lough now hosts a 250 berth Marina and Sailing Club at Fahan as well as a RNLI all weather life boat station at Buncrana.

The River Swilly rises near Glendore mountain and flows for around 41.8 km (26 miles) through Letterkenny before flowing into the Atlantic Ocean at Lough Swilly.

Accommodation Links
Letterkenny Self Catering
Letterkenny B&B
Hotels in Letterkenny
Letterkenny Bed and Breakfast
Holiday Homes in Letterkenny
Donegal Self Catering
Ireland Self Catering
Holiday Homes in Ireland

Related Accommodation Links
Holiday Homes in Fanad

Holiday Homes in Portsalon
Holiday Homes in Rathmullan
Holiday Homes in Inch Island
Holiday Homes in Ramelton



more information about Letterkenny


Houses to rent Letterkenny | Apartments to let in Letterkenny | Rooms Share  | Letterkenny Hotels | Bed and Breakfast | Letterkenny Self Catering


Home | Find Accommodation | Create Ad | Support | F.A.Q | Links | Contact Us | Site Map