Isolated from the rest of the country by windswept peaks and the Northern Irish border, this county’s unique character is in its rugged scenery and remote villages.
Visit Ireland’s northwestern crown to revel in County Donegal’s spectacular mountain landscapes and jagged coastline. Donegal contains Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) area and its far-flung coastal towns present a rich cultural identity, where Irish is the common tongue and traditional fiddle music is played in local pubs. Check out quiet beaches sheltered by towering cliffs or gaze up at the region’s craggy mountains from green valleys and pristine lakes.
The county’s most populous town is Letterkenny, situated on the edge of the River Swilly. Nicknamed the Cathedral Town, Letterkenny is a thriving university hub with an eclectic mix of architecture. To the town’s northeast is Glenveagh National Park, an area with rolling hills, woodlands, lakes and marsh. The Victorian-era Glenveagh Castle sits in the center of the park on the lakeshore of Lough Veagh. Explore the estate’s botanical gardens or venture into the wider expanse of Ireland’s second-largest national park.
More magnificent scenery surrounds the towns of Gweedore and Cloughaneely, which sit at the foot of Mount Errigal. This steep quartzite peak is the highest among the mountain range known to locals as the Seven Sisters and can be climbed on calm days.
Find out about the country’s Iron Age roots at the striking hilltop fort Grianan of Aileach on the Inishowen peninsula. This peninsula marks Ireland’s most northerly point and contains the large town of Buncrana and the rugged beaches of Kinnagoe Bay. Visit Donegal’s southern coast to explore the seaside resort town of Bundoran, a popular town also renowned for its surf beaches and picturesque golf courses. If you’d prefer to sit back and watch the action, be sure to catch a local match of Gaelic football or hurling while in County Donegal.
Experience Donegal’s rich artistic culture at the annual Earagail Arts Festival in July or check out the Inishowen International Folk Song & Ballad Seminar in March. You can attend Gaelic cultural events at the 15th-century Donegal Castle.
Fly into Donegal via its regional airport, located in Carrickfinn on the northwest coast. Donegal’s coastal villages and mountain passes are best explored by car. Get an insight into Ireland’s ancient heritage in Donegal.