In 1607, the great exodus of nobility, known as the Flight of the Earls, took place from the harbour here. Their flight into exile saw the end of the old Gaelic order in Ireland and within two years the plantation of Ulster began. The story of the earls is dramatically told in the centre at Rathmullan using models, artefacts, extracts from literature and stained glass. Wax figures of the two leading earls, Hugh O'Neill and Rory O'Donnell, stand at the entrance to the exhibition hall, which is divided into three areas. The centre is housed in a fort dating from Napoleonic times; a similar one on the opposite shore of Lough Swilly houses the Fort Dunree military museum. Flight of a different kind is illustrated at Ramelton Heritage Centre, where Francis Makemie was born in 1658; he emigrated in 1683 and founded the American Presbyterian church. The centre has a library, artefacts and displays.
Rathmullan, 26 km (16 miles) NE of Letterkenny.
Fort Dunree: 16 km (10 miles) NW of Buncrana.
Ramelton Heritage Centre: 13 km (8 miles) NE of Letterkenny.