The town of Ramelton itself has a very rich history and has been designated a National Heritage Town. The name Ramelton comes from the Irish 'Ráth Mealtain', meaning 'The fort of Mealtain'. Dating back to the 17th Century, it is situated on the River Lennon and has a wealth of architectural heritage with fine old Georgian town houses and a lovely tree lined mall.
According to archaeological evidence there have been settlements in the Ramelton area since the early Stone Age and there is evidence of a Viking settlement from the 10th Century.
The area was the homeland of the O'Donnells, the ruling clan of Donegal, from the 12th century. The heir to the O'Donnell kingdom in the 15th Century was Calvagh O'Donnell whose castle was on the island of Rossreagh, now the site of the present Ramelton quay. No visible sign of the castle remains as it was burnt down in the 1640 Irish Rebellion.
In the 16th century Calvagh O'Donnell built the Killydonnell Franciscan Friary above Lough Swilly on a site which previously housed an earlier church possibly dating back to the 10th Century. The Friary was closed at the time of the Plantation of Ireland and since then it has been a burial ground for the local community.
18th and early 19th centuries represent Ramelton's most prosperous era and it was a busy port with connections to the West Indian trade. The Ships regularly traded between Ramelton, New York, and Kingston, Jamaica. Ramelton's warehouses are amongst the most admired buildings in Donegal and more recently formed the backdrop for the highly acclaimed television series 'The Hanging Gale'. During this time many other attractive and distinctive dwellings were built by some of the wealthier families of the town such as the Watts and the Stewarts.
The County Genealogical Centre is located in the Old Meeting House, which is one of the oldest Presbyterian Churches in Ireland. One of Ramelton's famous sons was Francis Makemie who was the founder of the American Presbyterian Church.
The town of Ramelton also boasts auspicious sporting connections being the birthplace of Dave Gallaher, captain of the first All Blacks, New Zealand Rugby Union team and Patsy Gallagher, iconic legend of Glasgow Celtic football club.