Donegal Ireland is a corner of the Ireland that isn’t often explored. Located in the far northwest of the island, County Donegal is home to a variety of attractions that are of interest to travelers, particularly if you’re interested in hiking or other outdoor activities. The massive Slieve League cliffs, larger than the Cliffs of Moher, are located in Donegal. This county is also home to charming villages, wide lakes, and great mountains for hiking. Whether you come to spend a few days in the town of Letterkenny or you just want to see one of the Gaeltachts, the Irish-speaking regions of the country, you are sure to be pleasantly surprised by everything that Donegal has to offer.
Like many places across the island, Donegal Ireland refers both to a county and a town. Donegal Town is a village with a few restaurants, cafés, pubs, and B&Bs. It is a quaint destination that many tourists use as a base of exploring the county. Some travelers choose to make Letterkenny, the largest town in Donegal, their home base while exploring the county. There are many attractions throughout the county including the Donegal Castle (seat of the powerful O’Donnell clan who ruled the area for centuries), the Kilclooney dolmen, Tra More beach, and striking Mount Errigal.
Another popular attraction is Glenveagh Castle and Glenveagh National Park. Located on the edge of Lough Veagh, this castle was built in 1870 and was given to the country of Ireland in 1981 by a private owner. Visitors are now welcome to the castle and the gardens. Glenveagh Castle is famous not only for its history and architecture but because of its famous guests. Both Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo were guests at this castle. Glenveagh is close to Gweedore, the largest Irish-speaking district on the island. Five towns are located in this district that sit at the foot of County Donegal’s largest peal, Mount Errigal.
Many visitors to Donegal Ireland are looking to enjoy the great outdoors. One popular destination is Lough Eske. From Irish the name translates as “Lake of the Fish” and is approximately 900 acres in size. Lough Eske is located northeast of Donegal Town and is a popular place for fishing. From March through September, salmon, sea trout and char fishing all takes place in Lough Eske. There are two major hotels on the shower of the lake, Solis Lough Eske Castle and Harvey’s Point. These hotels are both luxurious and offer great views of the unspoiled landscape.
Another site not to be missed in Donegal is the Slieve League cliffs. Translated from the Irish as “grey mountain,” these cliffs reach an impressive 1,972 feet. These cliffs are almost three times as high as the Cliffs of Moher. If numbers don’t mean much to you, the incredible thing about visiting these cliffs is that the water is so far below, that though you can see the waves crashing, you can’t hear a thing. These cliffs are also unspoiled in comparison to the Cliffs of Moher. There’s no visitors center, no fee for parking. You take a small country road and pass through traditional villages to reach it. The pleasures and beauty of County Donegal are only known by few adventurous travelers who are willing to get in a rental car and explore this northwest corner of the country.