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Ballyshannon

Trip Planner Europe  /  Ireland  /  County Donegal  /  Ballyshannon
(4.4/5 based on 190+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: sightseeing, outdoors, museums
Ballyshannon is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. It is located at the southern end of the county where the N3 and N15 cross the River Erne, and claims to be the oldest town in Ireland.LocationBallyshannon, which means "The Mouth of Seannach's Ford", after a fifth-century warrior, Seannach, who was slain there, lies at the mouth of the river Erne. Just west of the town, the Erne widens and its waters meander over a long sandy estuary. The northern bank of the river rises steeply away from the riverbank, while the southern bank is flat with a small cliff that runs parallel to the river. From its idyllic setting, the town looks out over the estuary and has panoramic views of mountains, lakes and forests.HistoryArchaeological sites dating as far back as the Neolithic period (4000 BC – 2500 BC) have been excavated in Ballyshannon and surrounding areas, representing settlement and ritual activity from early periods of human settlement. Finds have ranged from fulachta fiadh (burnt mounds) dating from the Bronze Age (2500–500 BC), to a possible brushwood trackway thought to date to an earlier Neolithic period, to the recent discovery of a previously unknown medieval church and cemetery containing hundreds of skeletons thought to date from between 1100 and 1400. This site yielded numerous artefacts including silver long cross pennies and halfpennies dating from the reign of Henry III (1251–1276) and Edward I (c.1280–1302). Other finds included bone beads, shroud pins, and pieces of quartz which were found placed in the hands of many of the skeletons.
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