Donegal & The North West

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Donegal & The North West

Breathe in the ocean air as you embark on a journey along emerald scenery and rugged limestone cliffs. Donegal's windswept coastal landscape is a treasure trove for all those interested in history. The region is known for producing the finest of traditional tweed garments, as well as a few mythic tales. Wash it all down with a creamy Guinness and experience and sublime marine cuisine.

County Donegal

Sharing the province of Ulster with Northern Ireland, Donegal has always been considered an odd-out in the Republic—up here it's different, as local word has it. However, Donegal has had its fair share of the turbulences of Irish history: it was among the most hardly hit regions of the Great Famine in the 1840s, and also suffered as the forefront of the partition of Ireland in 1921. From megalithic landmarks to the long-cherished traditions of the fishing and weaving industry, Donegal, home to the second-largest Gaelic-speaking community in the world, is a county where history is still stunningly alive today. The region is considered as one of the most picturesque destinations one can visit in entire Europe, and so did think National Geographic when it selected Donegal as the Coolest Place on the Planet in 2017. Start the engine and see it for yourself: Donegal's rugged coastline awaits you with probably the most scenic stretch of the 2,500-km long Wild Atlantic Way, and wherever you are driving along the route, we made sure you'll also get your fix of entertainment, to top the admirable view.

Donegal Town

Overshadowed by the Bluestack Mountains ("Croaghs"), Donegal Town was once the capital of a Gaelic kingdom. Nowadays, the town centre or "Diamond" is a hub of cultural activity for the Northwestern region. A seaside town, don't miss your chance to experience the magic of the Irish coast.

Slieve League

Rugged and windswept, Slieve League has the highest sea cliffs in Europe. Take a spiritual journey through hundreds of years of tradition on the Pilgrim Path. To learn about the region's rich history and culture, join a guided offer at the local visitor centre.

Gaeltacht

Gweedore ("Gaoth Dobhair") is a Gaeltacht region in County Donegal. Gaeltacht regions exist mainly on the West coast of Ireland and are preserves of traditional, Gaelic-speaking Irish culture. Lift the lid on old traditions and embrace a rich culture. The region is also home to Mount Errigal, a 751m high mountain, which provides ample views of the spectacular landscape.

Inishowen

At the northernmost tip of the island, the spectacular and almost eerie views of the Inishowen peninsula seem to spirit visitors away to another world. Explore the dramatic coastline to get a feel for the bewitching landscape, which inspired countless myths and legends. Notable points include Malin Head, which featured in the Star Wars movie.

Letterkenny

Nestled in the wild emerald countryside, Letterkenny, often nicknamed the Cathedral Town, is the largest town in County Donegal, a lively place with a unique spirit and bursting with culture.

Driving Routes

1) Atlantic Tour Drive Donegal This self-drive tour starts from Letterkenny, on to Ramelton, a Heritage Town on Lough Swilly. Then on to Milford, and Carrigart, on the isthmus separating Mulroy Bay and Sheephaven Bay. Follow the Atlantic Drive signs around the Rossguill Peninsula, to Melmore Head where there are great views. Then head for Carrigart and right to Creeslough where you will see the ruins of 16th century Doe Castle. The drive continues through Portnablagh, where boats leave for Tory. Drive through Dunfanaghy via Horn Head, and on to Falcarragh in the Irish-speaking area of West Donegal. The road passes the Derryveagh Mountains and Glenveagh National Park. Turn left for Kilmacrennan where there is Lurgyvale Thatched Cottage a 150-year-old restored building. Then back to Letterkenny. 2) Fanad Scenic Drive The Fanad Peninsula scenic tour is a 72km circuit of the area, which is well signposted and is a splendid drive. Follow the R247 from Ramelton and enjoy the views of Lough Swilly all the way to Rathmullan. Continue for a short distance along the coast to the harbour where the Flight of the Earls Heritage Centre is located. A fully equipped sea angling boat can be hired at the nearby pier and the glorious beach at Rathmullan flies an E.U blue flag. Follow the Fanad Drive and Portsalon signs, passing the Otway 9 hole links, where golf can be played all year round. Keep right at the fork for Portsalon. As the road rises around Knockalla Mountain enjoy the breathtaking views across Lough Swilly. Below you, is the Ballymastocker Bay bedecked with a trilogy of golden beaches and punctuated by fingers of grassy dunes. Portsalon lies across the bay. Resume your drive turning left into Portsalon. A left turn in the village will take you to Fanad Head via the coast. Follow the signs for the lighthouse. From the attractive lighthouse grounds, you can see the rugged horn of Dunaff Head across the bay and further east, the long finger of Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland. Retrace your steps, this time ignoring the sign for Portsalon, and keep the coast on your right. Turn left, signposted Kerrykeel 13km. Keep following the Fanad Drive signs past the inner lakes of Mulroy Bay and over a small bridge. Joining the R246 follow the sign, right, for Milford, which lies at the foot of Mulroy Bay. At the T - junction a left turn takes you into the village of Milford and right is the road to Carrigart ( R245 ).

Activities

Whether your passion is golf, fishing, or splashing about on a surfboard, Donegal is a perfect location - with surprises around every corner, a backdrop of stunning coastline and beautiful countryside, and a whole host of thrilling activities.

Do & See

There's a lot to see and do in Donegal, from places of stunning natural beauty to adventure parks for the whole family to sites housing years of history.

Dining

Donegal does not only have some of the best seafood just out of the bustling seaports of Greencastle or Killybegs but will also spoil you with excellent pies and game chowders, found in cosy taverns as well as the finest of restaurants—high chances are, with a view of the sea.

Cafes

Choose from the plenty of cosy cafés all across Donegal to stop for an afternoon tea or to satisfy your sugar cravings: you will find that chocolate-watered fudges and fruit-filled cakes and pies are baked here just like at home.

Bars & Nightlife

Loud taverns overflown with Irish music, beer taps, and cheerful locals: no visit to Donegal is complete without experiencing the Irish craic!

Shopping

Donegal is world-renowned for its traditional products and crafts, rich in history and offering fantastic quality. Textures and vibrant colours of wool & tweeds that blend in naturally with Pottery, Crystal, and Art. You will find these types of shops dotted throughout the county. knitwear.

Tourist Information