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Killybegs is the largest fishing port in County Donegal and in Ireland. It is located on the south coast of the county, north of Donegal Bay, near Donegal Town. In the summer, there is a street festival celebrating the fish catches and incorporating the traditional ‘Blessing of the Boats’.
The area around the deep fjord-like inlet of Killybegs has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The town’s patron saint is St. Catherine of Alexandria. She is the patron of seafarers and the association with Killybegs is thought to be from the 15th Century. This confirms that Killybeg’s tradition of seafaring is very old indeed. Fishing provided high employment in the past and is still a chief source of employment today. Another major employer in Killybegs, was Donegal Carpets. At its peak the hand knotted carpet factory employed as many as 80 workers the majority being women. Carpets were made here for Buckingham Palace and the White House. Today the building houses the Maritime & Heritage Museum where visitors can see the original looms from the carpet factory along with local history displays, as well as experiencing the high seas on the simulated boat
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