Raphoe, a typical Plantation town

Raphoe, Co Donegal is set in the rich farmland of the Laggan, with its lush hedges and low hills. The River Deele passes nearby and its wooded banks shelter a wealth of wildlife. The design of the modern town is traced to the Ulster Plantation of the early 1600s, when Raphoe was granted to English and Scottish settlers. It was these settlers who laid out the town with a "diamond" at its centre, similar in design to other Plantation towns like Derry and Donegal town.

The strong religious connections of the town's history are still in evidence today through the presence of the Church of Ireland cathedral of St Eunan. Saints Colmcille and Eunan had founded churches at Raphoe in the 5th and 6th centuries. Several 9th century blocks of stone can be found in the porch and the north wall of the present cathedral.

Notable bishops included George Montgomery, first protestant bishop 1605-1610, and Bishop Andrew Knox 1611-1633, who set about repairing the cathedral. The Bishop's Palace, often referred to as Raphoe Castle was built in the 1630s; the house, which is now nothing but a shell, was laid siege to during the Irish Rebellion of 1641. It was captured by Cromwell's troops in 1650 and damaged by supporters of King James II in 1689. The town lends its name to both the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland dioceses, which cover most of Donegal.

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