Lough Eske was once part of the domain of the powerful O’Donnell clan who ruled from the nearby Donegal Castle for hundreds of years. After the Flight of the Earls in 1607 when all the great northern Gaelic chiefs sailed from Ireland to the continent this area was granted to Sir Basil Brooke. He built a manor house near here in 1621 and introduced Scottish plantation settlers to south Donegal. The lands eventually passed to Thomas Young through marriage and Young changed his surname to Brooke and started developing this area. He built an attractive church here and then hired a Derry architect named Fitzgibbon Louch to completely redesign the existing manor house. The result was a grand Elizabethan-style residence finished in 1868 which became known as Lough Eske Castle. The castle was run as a guest house up until about the 1890s but the place eventually fell into a state of ruin. It was eventually bought and lovingly restored by Harcourt Developments and re-opened in 2007. It is now Donegal’s only 5* hotel and one of Ireland’s most spectacular places to stay in.