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Raphoe

Trip Planner Europe  /  Ireland  /  County Donegal  /  Raphoe
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Raphoe is a town in County Donegal, Ireland. It is the main town in the fertile district of East Donegal known as the Laggan, as well as giving its name to the Barony of Raphoe and also as to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raphoe and the Church of Ireland Diocese of Derry and Raphoe.NameRaphoe, historically Raffoe, comes from the Irish Ráth Bhoth, which is made up of the words ráth (fort) and both (hut). This likely refers to clay and wattle huts surrounded with a strong fortified mound. It is believed these huts were built by monks in the early Christian period.HistoryThe rich agricultural land around Raphoe has been inhabited and cultivated for thousands of years,and evidence of this can be seen through monuments such as the Beltany stone circle, just outside the town. The stone circle is one of the largest in Ireland with a diameter of 44 metres (165 feet) and made up of more than sixty stones in all. The site is believed to date to around 2000 BC, and that it was originally an enclosed cairn. Its name is believed to be linked to the Celtic festival of fertility known as 'Beltane'.Around 550 AD Columba (also known as Colmcille), one of the three patron saints of Ireland, founded a monastic settlement in the area. This site was further developed by his kinsman Eunan, who gives his name to the town's cathedral and is patron saint of the Diocese of Raphoe.
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