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Introducing County Donegal

'Up here it's different', the saying goes, and it's true. County Donegal is the wild child of Ireland. Even before the twins of history and politics conspired to isolate it, Donegal was a place like no other on the island. It's a county of extremes: at times bleak and desolate and battered by brutal weather, yet in turn a land of unspoilt splendour where stark peaks and sweeping beaches bask in glorious sunshine. The rugged interior with its remote mountain passes and shimmering lakes is only marginally outdone by the long and labyrinthine coastline with its precipitous cliffs, windswept peninsulas and vast expanses of golden sand. The landscape here easily rivals anything Connemara or Kerry has to offer but Donegal sees only a fraction of their visitors. Proudly different and fiercely independent, one-third of the county is official Gaeltacht territory, where Irish is still the lingua franca.