Ballyshannon – Ireland’s Oldest Town
The old and attractive town of Ballyshannon is laid out on the hilly banks of the river Erne where it meets the sea. The steep streets, the ecclesiastical remains, the falls of Asaroe and the Erne itself all combine to make this town well worth getting to know. Ballyshannon can claim to be one of Ireland’s oldest settlements, when the Parthalonians settled in Ins Saimer in the Erne.
The architectural heritage of the town – along the Mall, the Workhouse at the Rock, St. Anne’s Church of Ireland – reflects its rich history as an important political, ecclesiastical, and maritime center. The Erne gives the town of Ballyshannon much of its character. The river provided the town’s best known poet, William Allingham, with the inspiration for some of his best known poems. Allingham is not the town’s only famous son or daughter.
Rory Gallagher, the late blues and rock guitarist was born and spent the first few years of his life here before moving to his mother’s home city of Cork. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s grandmother came from Ballyshannon.