Things To Do In Donegal Ireland
A visit to Connemara Lamb Farm – Connemara Lamb Farm is a family-owned and operated farm located in County Kerry, Ireland. The farm consists of over 500 acres of lush pastureland and over 1000 sheep. Connemara Lamb produces quality lamb, beef, and other meat products for local restaurants and supermarkets. Established over 25 years ago, it has now become one of Ireland’s largest lamb farms. Connemara Lambs are fed a special type of grass, which is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. The farm also maintains a high biosafety standard, minimizing its impact on the environment.
Take a drive along the Wild Atlantic Way – The Wild Atlantic Way is a coastal driving route along the western coast of Ireland. Stretching for over 2500km, the route boasts some of the world’s most amazing coastal scenery, winding through some of Ireland’s most remote and stunning landscapes. Travelers can take in cliff-top drives, winding roads, and stunning coastline views, along with some of Ireland’s most iconic towns and villages. Along the way, visitors can explore lighthouses, standing stones, forte, and traditional Irish music — all while taking in the incredible views of the rugged west coast of Ireland.
Visit the Giant’s Causeway – The Giant’s Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, popular among tourists for its diversely shaped interlocking columns of basalt. To visit the site, take the A2 coast road north of Belfast and take the exit to Bushmills. Then follow signs to the Giant’s Causeway. There is a charge to park and a fee for visiting the site.
Enjoy the stunning views of Slieve League. – Slieve League is one of Ireland’s most spectacular mountain destinations. This mountain range, located near the town of Donegal, offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Donegal Bay, and the mountains of Slieve League itself. The slopes of the mountain are covered with heather, bog, and scrub, while the top of the mountain provides panoramic views of Donegal and the Atlantic. There are several car parks and well-maintained pathways and trails leading to the summit – making it easily accessible for hikers of all experience levels. As you take in the breathtaking views from the top of Slieve League, you will be amazed by the vastness of Ireland’s wild Atlantic coastline.
Go walking in Glenveagh National Park. – Glenveagh National Park is located in the heart of the beautiful Derryveagh Mountains in the northwest corner of County Donegal, Ireland. Covering approximately 16,000 hectares of mountainous scenery, Glenveagh is home to a wide variety of strange plants and animals not seen elsewhere in the country or in Europe. There are three main walking trails in Glenveagh that offer spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and glens. Each of the routes traverses through a variety of different terrain from rocky mountain paths, heaths, and bogs, to quiet forest tracks. There is also a Chairlift that takes visitors from Glenveagh Castle up to the top of the hill. There are plenty of stops along the way to take photographs, or just to marvel at the stunning landscape.
Spend some time in historic Donegal Town. – Donegal Town is the gateway to the rugged Donegal landscape in Northwest Ireland. This historic town is steeped in stories of rebellion and independence, dating back to the 17th century. Its narrow streets and old buildings paint a picture of how Donegal Town looked centuries ago. The town center features historic monuments and a market square with a lively atmosphere. Close by, visitors can explore the ruins of Donegal Castle, which dates back to the 15th century, and the 16th-century Franciscan Friary in the surrounding park. Don’t miss the 18th-century Courthouse or the distinctive lighted Diamond, a four-way junction where Donegal’s four main roads meet. To get an overview of the town, take a walk along the banks of the River Eske, which winds through the centre. Located within easy reach of some of Donegal’s most beautiful coastline, Donegal Town is a great base for exploring the many sights in County Donegal.
Golf in Fintra or Rosses Point. – can be enjoyed by taking a trip to County Sligo. Visitors can take full advantage of seven golf courses in the area, including the stunning and challenging Strandhill Golf Club, the championship layout of County Sligo Golf Club at Rosses Point, the links-style course at Enniscrone Golf Club, and the stunning and challenging Rosapenna Golf Course. With all courses offering different levels of difficulty, these courses cater to experienced and novice golfers alike.
A trip to Inishowen Peninsula. – Inishowen Peninsula is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking locations in Ireland. Located in the north of the country and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, this remote location is home to stunning natural landscapes, pristine beaches, and fascinating historical sites. A trip to Inishowen Peninsula is the perfect way to explore all this region has to offer.
Start your Inishowen adventure in the historic town of Letterkenny. Here, you can explore the Georgian-era architecture, stroll through the streets of the old town, and peruse the weekend market. From here, you can make your way to the coastal town of Buncrana, where you can relax on the beach or take a boat tour to the nearby Fanad Head Lighthouse.
Continue along the Inishowen Coast and visit the town of Moville, which is home to the legendary 1640s-style Dunree Fort. This impressive structure is reachable by a short ferry ride, and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Be sure to take a stroll through the charming streets of this coastal town before continuing your trip.
Venture inland and you’ll find the Glen River Valley, a picturesque area often referred to as the Inishowen Oasis. Here, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the countryside and the chance to explore some of the unique flora and fauna found in the region.
Your trip to Inishowen wouldn’t be complete without visiting the area’s impressive mountains and glens. Take a scenic drive up towards Derryveagh Mountain and, if you’re feeling energetic, hike the ridge walk to the top. At the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the sea and rugged landscapes that make this region so special.
Finally, no trip to Inishowen would be complete without a visit to Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland. From here, you can explore the remains of the abandoned World War II watchtowers and take in the spectacular views of the nearby islands.
A trip to the Inishowen Peninsula is a must-do for anyone looking for an adventure in the remote Irish countryside. From mountain hikes to picturesque towns and everything in between, this majestic region has a lot to offer.
Explore the Marble Arch Caves. – The Marble Arch Caves are a series of natural limestone caves located near the village of Florencecourt in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. The system is made up of a network of underground rivers and passages and is made up of a huge labyrinth of chambers and passages, stretching for over three miles. The Marble Arch Caves are a hugely popular tourist attraction and offer visitors the opportunity to explore spectacular cave formations, such as stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, and columns. Visitors can also take part in guided tours, as well as special events and activities such as rock climbing, abseiling, and caving workshops.
Visit Killybegs vibrant fishing port. – Killybegs, one of Ireland’s largest and most vibrant fishing ports, is located on the west coast of Donegal and is renowned for its maritime history and abundance of seafood. The town’s harbour is home to a wide range of commercial fishing vessels, and visitors are welcome to tour the harbour and observe the daily activities of the port. A visit to Killybegs also offers a chance to explore the ocean views, sample the famous Killybegs seafood, and visit local traditional pubs.
In the nearby town of Donegal, you can explore the county’s rich heritage at the Donegal Town Heritage Centre. Located in a beautifully restored 16th-century castle, it houses a large collection of artifacts and exhibits that explore the fascinating history of the area. Here visitors can learn about Donegal’s connection to the O’Donnell clan, the Siege of Donegal in 1594, the history of the Donegal Train line, and the infamous pirate queen Grace O’Malley. The centre also offers educational programs, special events, and traditional Irish music and dance performances.
Sea-angling off the coast of Bundoran. – Sea-angling off the coast of Bundoran is a popular activity for anglers looking to make the most of the local coastline. The area is perfect for ocean fishing, with abundant species such as cod, pollock, mackerel, wrasse, and ling. Shore fishing is also possible either on the beaches or from many of the coastal ledges and promontories in the area. Popular baits used include lugworm, razorfish, and sand eel. Boat anglers have the advantage of fishing further offshore, where deeper waters and rocky ground often produce larger catches.
View the Atlantic from Mullaghmore Head. – Visitors to Mullaghmore Head can enjoy some of the most spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean in all of Ireland. From this beautiful vantage point, you can soak in the breathtaking beauty of the sea as it stretches beyond the horizon and onto the wild coasts of Mayo and Sligo. The views from here, especially on a cloudless day, are nothing short of stunning. During the summer months, the beachfront area of Mullaghmore is a popular destination for beachgoers and surfers. If you’re lucky enough to be in the area during sunset, you’ll be rewarded with a truly awe-inspiring spectacle, as the last light of the day illuminates the ancient headland and ocean waves crashing against the shore.
Enjoy surfing on the waves of Strandhill. – Strandhill Beach in Ireland is one of the most popular surfing spots in the country. This beach features a long sandy shoreline and a great surf swell which makes it perfect for surfing. The waves can get up to 12 feet high, making it suitable for experienced surfers. The area is also known for its surfing festivals, with some of the biggest events taking place each year. This beach has something for everyone, with plenty of sandy beaches to relax and unwind in and a great reaction for experienced surfers. With a good selection of surf shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants, it’s ideal for a day out or a weekend of fun.
Take part in events and festivals such as Mary from Dungloe. – The Mary from Dungloe International Festival is an annual event that celebrates Irish hospitality and culture. It takes place in County Donegal and includes a host of activities from music, drama, dance, food, sporting and other activities along with the Mary from Dungloe competition.
The Rose of Tralee International Festival is an annual event held in Tralee, County Kerry. It is a celebration of life, love, and friendship and includes a five-day program of activities for all ages. The main event is an international selection of Roses in which young women from around the world compete for the Rose of Tralee title. The festival also features music, dance, parades, art exhibitions, amusement rides, and much more.
Head to one of the County’s many Blue Flag beaches.
1. Ballyhiernan Bay
2. Bundoran Beach
3. Kinnegar Beach (Tory Island)
4. Maghera Beach
5. Murvagh Beach
6. Nanin Bay (Horn Head)
7. Quigley’s Point
8. Shroove Beach
9. Tramore Strand
Spend the afternoon at the Donegal Arts Centre. – The Donegal Arts Centre is located in Donegal Town in County Donegal, Ireland. It is housed in The Presbytery, a restored 200-year old building. The Donegal Arts Centre provides a variety of services and activities, including theatre and film performances, exhibitions, readings, workshops, classes, lectures, music and theatre production, and Irish language immersion courses. The Centre strives to promote and nurture the arts in Donegal by offering local, national, and international artists a platform to present their work. It has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.
Relax at the Lough Eske Castle Hotel. – Lough Eske Castle Hotel and Spa is a five-star hotel located near the village of Donegal town in County Donegal, Ireland. The castle was built in 1474 and has been restored and modernized to offer luxurious contemporary accommodations. The hotel offers a range of amenities such as an award-winning spa, a leisure center, a restaurant, and more. Guests can also enjoy outdoor activities like golfing, fishing, and mountain biking on the nearby Lough Eske.
Take a boat tour around Lough Fad and admire the scenery. – Lough Fad is a glacial lake in County Leitrim, Ireland. The lake is 5 kilometres long and nine kilometres wide and is popular for its stunning beauty and abundance of wildlife. Visitors can explore the lake with a boat tour or kayak tour along the scenic shores. Boat tours run from the small harbour near Dromahair and take visitors on leisurely trips around the lake and along its varied shoreline. Boats are usually hired from one of the local tour operators, who take the stress out of finding the perfect route around the lake, with commentary about the wildlife, the flora, and the history of the area. The boat tour also offers visitors the chance to take advantage of the two small islands that can be found on the lake – Innisfree and Inishvickillaun – as stops for a picnic or walk on the beach.19.Visit Doe Castle which dates back to the 16th century.
Explore the Doe Castle Grounds. – Doe Castle Grounds is the perfect venue for an outdoor wedding or special event. With its lush landscape and the majestic Doe Castle, it is a breathtaking setting for any gathering. The grounds feature two terraces with a grand staircase, manicured lawns, and a stone fountain. The garden area is spectacular with lush shrubs and flowering trees. There is plenty of space to accommodate up to 300 guests or select a more intimate gathering for less than 100.
The Doe Castle is an iconic part of the grounds, and its grandeur provides a stunning backdrop for any affair. You can rent the castle for your event or you can simply enjoy the beautiful views from inside or out. With its rich history, Doe Castle Grounds is a perfect place to commemorate the most important occasions with your loved ones.
For those looking for a more rustic experience, the grounds also boast numerous covered picnic areas. There are ample fire pits to enjoy after dark and plenty of seating areas to accommodate large groups.
No matter what type of event you are planning, Doe Castle Grounds is a beautiful venue to host it at. Whether you are looking for a grandiose wedding reception, a birthday celebration, or simply a picnic with friends, you will find that Doe Castle Grounds is a perfect venue for your special occasion.
Take a tour of the Glencolmcille Folk Village. – The Glencolmcille Folk Village, located near the village of Glencolmcille in County Donegal, Ireland, is an outdoor museum of traditional Irish rural life, primarily consisting of a collection of restored thatched cottages.
The cottages are furnished with traditional hand-made furniture and tools, as well as other artifacts and memorabilia from the area’s past. There is also a replica of an early 20th-century pub and a church. In addition to the cottages, the museum includes a tea house and gift shop. The museum also has regular traditional music and dance performances.
The Folk Village is a popular tourist destination in Ireland, and its popularity has grown in recent years. The museum is open to visitors from April to the first weekend of October. It is a popular stop on the traditional Donegal trail.
Stroll around the breathtaking Glenveagh Gardens, – Glenveagh Gardens, located outside the town of Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland, are surrounded by the spectacular Derryveagh Mountains. The gardens are laid out across 140 acres of parkland, woodland, and gardens connected by a network of pathways. Landscapes of the gardens include luxuriant gardens and a large walled garden, offering stunning colour, with rhododendrons and camellias among other blooms. Visitors can also explore a beautiful Victorian castle, picturesque lakes, and luscious woodlands. There are various walking trails offering up magical views of the diverse landscape, as well as generous bridleways for horse riders. Nature workshops and tours are available for visitors to gain a greater insight into the history and wildlife of this lush area.
Taste the smooth whiskey at the Sliabh Liag Distillery. – The Sliabh Liag Distillery is an Irish whiskey distillery based in County Donegal, Ireland. The distillery, previously known as The Donegal Whiskey Company, was founded in 2016 by Fearghal Doherty and Rosemary Gallagher. It is the first and only whiskey distillery in the county. In 2018, the distillery released its first whiskey, An Dúlamán Maritime Irish Whiskey. The whiskey is a blend of 200-litre barrels of triple-distilled malt whiskey and 500-litre ex-bourbon barrels of single-grain whiskey, which is then finished in sherry butts. In 2019, the distillery also released Sliabh Liag Single Malt Irish Whiskey, a lightly peated whiskey aged in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. The distillery is active in educational and tour programs for people interested in whiskey experiences and tasting.
Learn about the history of Ardara. – Ardara is a small town in southwest County Donegal, located on the N56 national secondary road between Donegal Town and Dungloe. It is situated on the Owentocker River, near the southern end of the Bluestack Mountains and has a population of about 400.
The town and surrounding area were part of Donegal’s Gaelic culture until the 17th-century Plantation of Ulster. During the Plantation, Donegal was given to Scottish and English settlers who established a distinct Presbyterian minority in the area.
Ardara was first established as a planned village with regular streets and townland divisions based on the Irish tribes of the area. The most prominent family in the area was the O’Donel’s from Leitrim, who moved to Ardara in the late 1600s and had been granted land in the area by the King of England. The town continued to expand under the rule of the O’Donnel family until the 19th century.
Between 1750 and 1820, Ardara and the surrounding area was known as the Kingdom of O’Donnel and was the last remaining bastion of Gaelic culture in Donegal. The town was the center of traditional Irish song and dance and was home to renowned Fiddler Larry Redican.
In the 20th century, Ardara continued to thrive as a rural village, however, tourism would go on to become the mainstay of the economy as the area grew in popularity with holidaymakers. The town hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Ardara Music and Arts Festival which attracts thousands of people each year.
Today, Ardara is known as a centre of traditional Irish culture and is a great place to visit, offering a range of shops, pubs, and restaurants. It is also home to a vibrant artisan community with many local craftspeople making traditional crafts.
Explore the ruins of Donegal Abbey. – Donegal Abbey is a ruined abbey in Donegal, Ireland. The abbey was founded by Domhnall Mac an Adomhar Mac Domhnaill, a descendant of one of the most prominent Northern Uí Néill families of the twelfth century. The abbey is located in the townland of Ballymacool and includes the ruins of a small Romanesque church and other buildings. The site, which was granted to the abbey in the fifteenth century, is thought to have been in use since at least the twelfth century. The abbey was dissolved during the 1537 Suppression of the Monasteries by Henry VIII and was eventually abandoned in the nineteenth century. Today, only the ruins of the church and other structures remain, and the site is open to the public for visits all year round.
Take a sea safari tour out to Tory Island. – The small island of Tory is situated off the coast of Donegal in Ireland, and it is the most remote inhabited island in Ireland, and one of the most remote in the country. It is a long and narrow island, with a strip of high land running along the entire length. Tory Island can be reached either by boat or by plane, with car ferries travelling regularly between the mainland and the island, and a short 20-minute flight between The Magennisa Aerodrome on the island and Culdaff on the mainland. The island has a total population of just over a hundred people, who mostly live in three small villages located on the main area of high land on the island. The island is renowned for its distinctive culture, which revolves around the local King’s style of hospitality and has remained remarkably stable over the centuries. The local language, known as Muinntir Mara, is an Irish-based language that has been traditionally spoken on the island since long before the high number of emigrants to the United States in the 1800s. Tourists and visitors to the island are welcomed with warmth, and the local king is said to still be able to grant visitors a royal welcome, should they so desire. Popular activities on the island include walking and sightseeing, and the island’s cultural attractions have been famed far and wide.
Spend some time on the magnificent Ards Friary. – Ards Friary is a Franciscan friary in County Donegal, Ireland, founded in the early 13th century. It was occupied by the Franciscans until the 17th century when the friars were evicted from the friary during the Cromwellian wars. The friary was restored in the 20th century and is now maintained by the Office of Public Works. It is one of the few surviving medieval friaries in Ireland.
The friary is located near the village of Ards, about eight miles from Letterkenny, and is notable for its well-preserved medieval cloister. The complex includes a choir, sacristy, two churches, and an infirmary. It was originally built in the early 13th century in the Early Gothic style and is an example of a surviving medieval monastery.
The main cloister is rectangular in shape and is connected to the south wall of the monastery. There are two churches within the cloister: the Church of Our Lady, built in the 15th century, and the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, built in the 16th century. The Church of Our Lady has a Romanesque-style doorway and rose window, while the Church of the Blessed Sacrament features a west window with stained glass.
Visitors to the friary can admire the impressive stone vaulted roof of the cloister as well as the ornate sculpture and carving work throughout. The friary also contains several artifacts and works of art dating from the medieval period, including a carved wood crucifix, statues, painted panels, and stone carvings.
The friary is open to visitors during the summer months and special events are also held, such as lectures, concerts, and history walks.
Experience the past at Donegal Castle. – The castle was built by the O’Donnells, Lords of Tir Conaill, in the 15th century on the banks of the River Eske. The castle underwent a major re-building in the 17th century by Sir Basil Brooke, after being burnt in 1565 by the Earl of Tyrone during the O’Neill-O’Donnell revolt. In 1610 it was taken by the English under Lord Stafford, following which the O’Donnell’s lost possession of the castle. Brooke then occupied and added to the castle; while some minor works have taken place in the 20th century, the castle remains essentially as it was in the first quarter of the 17th century. The main elements of the castle consist of the outer and inner courtyards, four corner towers and a three-story tower at the center of the east curtain wall.
There is a historical interpretive centre on the grounds, which contains artifacts from the archaeological excavations of the castle, as well as other materials related to the O’Donnell dynasty and the castle itself. The centre offers an audio-visual experience, interactive displays of the castle’s history, and various activities. Visitors are also able to tour the castle’s rooms and towers. The castle is open throughout the year and is a popular tourist destination.
Island hopping around the Inishowen Coastline. – The Inishowen Coastline offers a wealth of beautiful islands to explore. For the most incredible views of the rugged north coast of Ireland, a visit to the islands of Inishtrahull, Tory Island, and Doe Island is a must. On the way to Tory Island, a stop at the lovely Fanad Village with its picturesque beaches and wide-ranging bird life should not be missed.
At Inishtrahull, visitors can explore the remarkable views from its high cliffs and a number of secluded sandy coves. The island is also home to a large lighthouse tower and several historical sights.
Tory Island, located off the north coast of Donegal, is known as Ireland’s largest inhabited offshore island. Tory has attracted artists and writers for centuries, adding to its charm and beauty. Conservation efforts are a priority here, with stunning plant life and rare wildlife such as the chough, a type of crow, to be found.
The small island of Doe is known for its pristine sandy beaches and its unique birdlife. The island is home to large flocks of Turnstone and Purple Sandpiper, giving visitors ample opportunity to observe these feathered residents. A visit to Doe should also include a stop at the Doe Martello and Signal Tower for a look into Ireland’s marine history.