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  • Aspects of Donegal

Donegal Transport

Donegal is one of Ireland's most rural and isolated counties. Good transport links are very important for social and economic reasons. The landscape has influenced developments in transport and has in turn been changed by developments.

Early Forms of Transport

Some of the earliest roads in the county were simple tracks made by animals and man. Some very early roads were made of wooden planks crossing a bog. Bridges across rivers were rare. People had to cross rivers by ferryboats, by horseback, or on foot at low water.

From the late 1600s landlords began to build roads. They built these roads to link their mansions to nearby towns and markets.

A railway system for the county was developed in the 1800s, but closed again in the 1960s.

Gradually, buses and lorries replaced steam-driven trains and railway companies became bus operators.

Improving roads led to the introduction of privately owned motorcars, initially owned by people who were well off.

The first car registered in the county was in 1903, number IH 1, a 10 horsepower Panhard Levasor owned by Mr Sydney Miller of Letterkenny.