Donegal

Glengesh Pass - one of Ireland's most scenic drives

Why Visit Donegal

In 2017, Donegal was the #1 Destination on National Geographic Traveller's
'Cool List'. In their write-up, NatGeo stated "with a weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore islands, Donegal is a land that feels undiscovered. Last summer, scenes for Star Wars: Episode 8 were filmed on the Inishowen Peninsula. But this area of Ireland is also expecting 2017 to be a big year; there's an array of reasons to visit, from surfing beaches in Magheraroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head - a driving, walking or cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell".
Traveler's visit Donegal because of its "outdoorsiness" - stunning scenery, great drives, the highest sea cliffs on the island, a plethora of outdoor activities, its small, friendly towns with local pubs, cafes & shops. It just might be the best section of the 2,500 km long Wild Atlantic Way!

Donegal's highlights

Malin Head

Malin Head is the beginning (or the end depending on how you look at it) of the 2,500 km long Wild Atlantic Way. It's also Ireland's most northerly point. On a clear day, you can see the Scottish coastline. Natural attractions like Hell's Hole (a subterranean cavern) and Devil's Bridge (a natural arch) are all worth a visit.
Malin Head
Fanad Head Lighthouse

Fanad Head Lighthouse

Opening in 1817 following the shipwreck of the HMS Saldanha in the waters of Lough Swilly, Fanad Head Lighthouse has a fixed light that showed red to sea and white towards the lough. Step back in time, on your visit, and hear stories about light-keepers in days gone by and climb to the top of the tower for spectacular views.

Slieve League

Standing at the top of the magnificent Slieve League Cliffs, it feels like you're at the very edge of the world. They're wild, dramatic and majestic. The towering cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe. From their highest point, it's a staggering 2,000 foot drop into the swirling Atlantic Ocean below. This is almost three times higher than the Cliffs of Moher. Remarkably, on the high slopes of Slieve League, there are remains of an early Christian monastic site with chapel and beehive huts. There are also ancient stone remains that suggest that the mountain was a site of pilgrimage before the arrival of Christianity. Visit the Slieve League Cliffs Centre. This friendly, family-run and award winning spot is packed full of local history & culture. If you're up for it, there are some challenging trails past the viewing platform leading to One Man's Pass which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path.
Slieve%20League_edited.jpg

Slieve League Cliffs

Glenveagh Castle & National Park

Glenveagh National Park is a remote & hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls & enchanted native oak woodland in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. At the center of the Park, on the edge of Lough Veagh is Glenveagh Castle, a late 19th century castellated mansion, built as a hunting lodge & inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat.

Donegal Castle

Built by the O'Donnell chieftains in the 15th century, beside the River Eske in Donegal Town, Donegal Castle was rebuilt in Jacobean style in the 16th century by Sir Basil Brooke, after Hugh O'Donnell burnt it to the ground rather than let it fall into English hands. Information panels chronicle the history of the castle and guided tours are available.

Beaches

Donegal has some of Ireland's most beautiful beaches - otherwise known as "strands". The Blue Flag is one of the world's most recognizable eco-labels that ensure certain criteria are met regarding water quality, information provision, environmental educations, safety and site management. Donegal has 11 Blue Flag beaches. In addition to their stunning beauty like Murder Hole Beach, Donegal's beaches are great locations for surfing, rock climbing, coasteering, beach walks and a spot for a relaxing picnic during the day. 

Here's a nice video of Murder Hole Beach

Mountains

Mount Errigal is the highest and steepest of the Derryveagh Mountains locally called the "Seven Sisters". Errigal, over 2,400 feet high, protrudes from the landscape like a volcano and glows a pinkish hue - caused by the setting sun reflecting off its quartzite rock. From the small parking lot on R251, the hike to the mountain's summit is a mile and a quarter and takes about an hour. From the peak, head over One Man's Pass to the next peak - Mt Mackoght.

Scenery - Scenery - Scenery

Wild is the word that best describes Donegal. Ireland's northwesterly county is marked by dramatic landscapes carved out by heavy Atlantic swells & fierce winds - a place where you don't have to travel very far to be completely alone. Donegal is all about beautiful landscapes, rugged coastline & bold mountain tops. There's not much in the way of museums or indoor attractions. If you're looking for Ireland's best outdoors destination - this just might be it.

Outdoor activities

Donegal is an outdoor lovers paradise. It's one of Ireland's most "outdoorsy" destinations. It's the best spot in Ireland for rock climbing. UK Climbing states "Donegal contains more climbable rock than the rest of Ireland combined". In addition, hiking, cycling, coasteering, surfing, kayaking, scuba diving, sailing and horse riding are popular.