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Introducing Lifford

Nudging the border by Strabane in County Tyrone, the dwindling town of Lifford (Leifear) was formerly the judicial capital of Donegal. While its powerful past is long gone, its spirit lives on in the daunting 18th-century Old Courthouse (914 1733; www.liffordoldcourthouse.com; adult/concession €5/3; 10am-4.30pm Mon-Fri, 12.30-4.30pm Sun; ). The courthouse is home to an excellent heritage centre with creepily lifelike re-creations that use actors’ faces projected onto waxworks. In this manner, Manus O’Donnell tells the story of Donegal’s Gaelic chieftains and several bona-fide trials are re-enacted in the austere courtroom (including that of Napper Tandy, John ‘half-hanged’ McNaughten and the Lord Leitrim murder). A guard will take you down to the prison cells, accompanied by sounds of banging doors and ominous footsteps, to be locked up for sheep-stealing or the like.