- Discover Donegal
Donegal has some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Ireland. It's a long way to Donegal, but rarely is such a long drive so worth it. There's an abundance of National Parks, stunning beaches, cliffs and mountains.
Ballybofey sits on the south bank of the River Finn, beside Stranolar, which Balybofey relies on for school and church. The River Finn is one of the best salmon rivers in Europe. Drumboe wood runs along the river and is great for walks. You can walk up to the ruins of Drumoe Castle. Balybofey is also good for golf. Pop along to the Balor theatre or drop in to one of the many pubs. Check out the Finntown Railway, Donegals only operational railway, which brings you along the shores of Lough Finn.
The cliffs are a sight to behold, like large mountains rising out of the sea. There's a long but relatively easy walk to the top. If you don't fancy the walk there is a viewing area lower down that has superb views. The cliffs are around half an hour west of Killybegs.A must see.
The ring fort at Greanan an Aileach is roughly 4000 years old. There are great views of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly. According to legend it was built by Tuath de Danann, a pagan chief. It was probably used as a defensive fort as well as a ceremonial site.
Glenveagh National Park is in the heart of the Derryveagh mountains. It is equally wild and beautiful, with mountains and lakesand Irelands largest herd of deer. Glenveagh Castle is in the park and is surrounded by 13 hectares of gardens. The castle dates from the 1870s and was built by Captain John Adair, who was notorious for evicting 244 of his tenants to improve his view of his considerable lands.
Mount Errigal is the highest mountain in the Derryveagh Mountains. The mountain is very popular for climbing. You won't need any special equipment. Park in the carpark just off the R251.
Go back in time, visit the folk village museum, an exact replica of the dwellings used by locals as far back as the 1700s.
Donegal has some wonderful coastline and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sea. Take a boat trip to spot the abundant wildlife and sealife such as the seabirds resting on the cliffs or the many types of whales and dolphins that swim in the ocean off Donegal.
There is also some great sea angling to be had, everything from mackeral to sharks. There's also some spectacular dive spots in the sheltered waters off Donegal Bay, where the visibility is almost always excellent. There are lots of octopus to be seen among other things. The outer bay offers the chance to see whales and the gigantic basking shark. The best dives are supposed to be Glencolmcille, Malin Beg, Port and Tor Mor and Raithlin O Beirne.
If you're not one for trekking on foot there is an alternative. Jump on a horse or pony. The rolling countryside is ideal for horseriding as well as the costline and the sandy beaches. There are numerous equestrian schools all over Donegal.
Killybegs is mainly seen as the gateway or stop off point to the Sliabh League sea cliffs, however it is a lovely little town in itself and well worth a visit. It is also a busy fishing port and a good place to set off to do some deep sea angling. There are quite a few nice restaurants in Killybegs as well as bars and nightclubs.
Arranmore island is just off the coast of Donegal, and is a great place to enjoy some traditional irish music sessions.
Letterkenny is the largest and most densely populated town in Donegal. In market square there's a sculpture of the Rabble children, a testament to the years when kids were sold to wealthy landowners to help them on the farm for a certain amount of time. Visit the Donegal county museum which covers the time from the pre-historic period to the modern day. Come in June to see the Donegal international car rally. There's a cinema, theatre, restaurants, pubs and hotels, everything you need.
The Inishowen peninsula is home to Grianan of Ailleach, as well as other historical monuments such as the Bocan stone circle, the Temple of Deen, Cloncha, and Carrowmore, all in Clonduff and dating from as far back as the Bronze age. The peninsula itself is beautiful and well worth getting in the car, driving around and just enjoying the views. Fort Dunree or 'fort of the heather' is a must see on your visit to Inishowen. It was an important defensive site right through history, today it is an incredibly peaceful place to visit.