Ireland Guide

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County Donegal

Golden eagles are no mere flight of fancy in Donegal. Glenveagh National Park in the northern part of the county is the focal point of a programme for the re-introduction of this magnificent bird to Ireland – it was last seen here in 1912. The first six Scottish-born chicks of the new wave were released at Glenveagh in June 2001. By the end of 2004, 15 adult birds were soaring over Donegal, with a further nine sightings to the south in Sligo and Leitrim.  Over a five year period, 50 birds have been released, and the high expectations of success for the project began to be fulfilled with the first chick hatched and fledged in 2007.

Travel at sea level is also an increasingly significant element in visits to Donegal, one of Ireland's most spectacularly beautiful counties. It is much-indented by the sea, but the introduction of local car ferry services is shortening journeys and adding interest. The ferry between Greencastle and Magilligan across the narrow entrance to Lough Foyle has become deservedly popular, and another car ferry – between Buncrana and Rathmullan across Lough Swilly – adds to the travel options, albeit at a more leisurely pace.

For many folk, particularly those from Northern Ireland, Donegal is the holiday county par excellence. But in recent years, despite the international fluctuations of trading conditions, there has been growth of modern industries and the re-structuring of the fishing, particularly at the developing harbour of Killybegs, home port for the largest fishing vessels. This Donegal entrepreneurial spirit has led to a more balanced economy, with the pace being set by the county town of Letterkenny, where the population has increased by 50% since 1991. More recently. Letterkenny has become home to an impressive Arts Centre, a masterpiece of modern architecture. And if a more traditional townscape is preferred, Glenties in the southwest of the county has been national winner of the Tidy Towns competition five times in the past fifty years, and was the first title-holder in 1958. 

But much and all as Donegal county is increasingly a place where people live and make a living, nevertheless it is still a place of nature on the grand scale, where the landscape is challenged by the winds and weather of the Atlantic Ocean if given the slighest chance. Yet at communities like Bundoran and Rossnowlagh, where splendid beaches face straight into the Atlantic, enthusiastic surfers have demonstrated that even the most demanding weather can have its sporting uses.

For most folk, however, it is the contrast between raw nature and homely comfort which is central to Donegal's enduring attraction. For here, in some of Ireland's most rugged territory, you will find many sheltered and hospitable places whose amenities are emphasised by the challenging nature of their broader environment. And needless to say, that environment is simply startlingly utterly beautiful as well.

Local Attractions and Information

Arranmore Ferry Burtonport-Arranmore +353 (0)74 952 0532

Ballintra Ballymagroarty Heritage Centre +353 (0)74 973 4966

Buncrana Lough Swilly Ferry +353 (0)74 938 1901

Buncrana National Knitting Centre +353 (0)74 936 2355

Bundoran Tourism Information +353 (0)71 9841350

Churchill Glebe House & Gallery (Derek Hill) +353 (0)74 9137071

Donegal Airport Carrickfin +353 (0)74 954 8232

Donegal Highlands Hillwalking/Irish lang.(adults) +353 (0)74 973 0248

Donegal town Donegal Castle +353 (0)74 972 2405

Donegal town Tourism information +353 (0)74 972 1148

Donegal town Waterbus Cruises +353 (0)74 9721148

Dunfanaghy Workhouse Visitor Centre +353 (0)74 913 6504

Dungloe Mary from Dungloe Int. Festival (July/August)

Dungloe Tourism Information +353 (0)74 952 1297

Glencolumbcille Folk Museum +353 (0)74 973 0017

Glencolumbcille Tourism Information +353 (0)74 973 0017

Glenties Patrick Mac Gill Summer School (August)

Glenveagh National Park (Castle, gardens, parkland) +353 074 913 7088

Greencastle Lough Foyle Ferry +353 (0)74 938 1901

Greencastle Maritime Museum +353 (0)74 938 1363

Inishowen Inishowen Tourism (Carndonagh) +353 (0)74 937 4933

Letterkenny An Grianan Theatre +353 (0)74 912 0777

Letterkenny Arts Centre +353 (0)74 912 9186

Letterkenny Earagail Arts Festival +353 (0)74 912 9186

Letterkenny County Museum +353 (0)74 912 4613

Letterkenny Newmills Watermill +353 (0)74 912 5115

Letterkenny North West Tourism +353 (0)74 912 1160

Lifford Cavanacor Historic House +353 (0)74 914 1143

Rathmullan Lough Swilly Ferry +353 (0)74 938 1901

Tory Island Ferry +353 (0)74 953 1320

Gardens

Glenveagh Castle Gardens - County Donegal Ireland
Glenveagh Castle Gardens
Glenveagh, Co. Donegal
The more improbable the location the more exotic a garden seems, like some silken tent pitched in a savage wilderness. There could hardly be more Gothic setting for Glenveagh Castle than the wild vastness of Lough Veagh. The isolated ice age vall ...
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Golf

Ballyliffin Golf Clubhouse
Ballyliffin Golf Club
Ballyliffin, Co. Donegal
Course Type: Links
Situated on the spectacularly beautiful Inishowen Peninsula, 40km from Derry City airport, lies one of Ireland's finest golf complexes. The exact date of origin of the game of Golf in the Ballyliffin area is difficult to pinpoint but by the middl ...
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Self Catering

Selfcatering
Termon House
Dungloe, Co. Donegal
Termon House, an 18th Century land agent's house in Maghery, near Dungloe, is located in the heart of the Gaeltacht area. The property is situated directly on the seashore and consists of the house and adjoining barn within a three acre plot - a ...
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What's On

There is no featured What's On in this county

Tourist Attractions

Newmills Corn & Flax Mills - Letterkenny County Donegal ireland
Newmills Corn & Flax Mills
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
The visitor to Newmills can experience the pleasure of seeing one of the largest waterwheels in Ireland in action as it drives the machinery of the corn mill. The millrace is 1 km long and powers two separate mill wheels, one for grinding oat ...
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Wedding Venues

Castle Grove Country House Hotel - Wedding Venue - Letterkenny County Donegal Ireland
Castle Grove Country House Hotel
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Parkland designed by “Capability” Brown in the mid 18th-century creates a wonderful setting for Raymond and Mary Sweeney’s lovely Georgian country house overlooking the lough. The atmosphere is more country house than hotel and ...
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Town Information

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