What to see:
There is so much to see in Donegal, getting lost can just be as enjoyable as planning where to go. Turning every corner brings a surprise and I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of seeing water everywhere. Of course there are some tourist hot spots, so make some time on your trip for these:
Known as O’Donnells Castle, this 15th century castle was built by Hugh O’Donnell, chief of the O’Donnell clan. The rectangular keep of the original building is still there but was added to over the centuries, the main addition was built in the early 1600s when a manor house in Jacobean style was added. The O’Donnells had another castle in the area, Lough Eske Castle. The actual castle ruins lie to the north east of Lough Eske castle (now a five star hotel, Solis Lough Eske).
These sea cliffs are higher than the Cliffs of Moher though not as vertical.
Grianán of Aileach
Perched 800 ft. above sea level on a spectacular hilltop, the Grianán of Aileach fort is a former home of the Irish High Kings. The impressive stone fort dates back to 1700 BC, and has important connections with the ancient monasteries of Donegal, its history stretches far beyond the era of Christianity and is steeped in legend. The terraced fort is an enigmatic place in which to immerse yourself in the past and survey the landscape. Sweeping views take in patchwork fields and lakes as well as the wider hilly countryside.
Glenveagh Castle and National Park
The second largest park in Ireland with 40,000 acres of moorland, mountains and lakes is open everyday of the year with free admission. Once owned by American millionaire Henry P. McIlhenny and now in the hands of the Irish government. There is a visitor’s center and after a lovely 4km walk from the car park along the shores of the lake, you will find the castle where tours and tea rooms are available.
We stopped in the small town of Dungloe. The Gaelic (Irish) name for Dungloe, ‘Clochan Liath’ means Grey Stones. The real attraction for the sportsman in the Rosses though is fishing. With over 130 lakes in the area fishing is so cheap that an outlay of a few pounds buys sport of a quality which elsewhere could cost hundreds.
Ireland’s most northerly point.
Where to eat and drink:
Unfortunately, they don’t serve any food but The Cottage Bar in Letterkenny is a quirky bar you can’t miss! With crockery hanging from the ceiling, it’s the perfect little pub to enjoy a pint or two.
Open since 1999, Lemon Tree is a family run restaurant that offers a true taste of donegal with everything locally sourced.
Tip: A car is mandatory if you want to fully explore what Donegal to offer.