County Donegal Tourist Attractions List of sites and attractions in County Donegal
Donegal, County Donegal
The town is set in a valley girdled by Barnesmore Mountains and Donegal Bay and overlooking the town can be seen the remains of several earthen forts.
There is a record of an early Danish fortress being destroyed in the town by Murtagh Mac Lochlainn, High King of Ireland in 1159. The O'Donnell Castle in the town was built by the first Red Hugh and his wife Lady Nuala. They also brought the Franciscan Monks to Donegal. The Abbey was built in the same year, 1474. As you know there were two Red Hughs. The last one was the most colourful. He was captured by the English and thrown into Dublin Castle but he eventually escaped and managed to make his way back to Donegal. It was said that he suffered frostbite during his escape and as a result lost a big toe and had to ride into battle from then on.
Beleek, County Donegal
Belleek, gateway to Fermanagh and Donegal, is in a strategic position on the River Erne. In earlier times Neolithic settlers appeared around the village and legend has it that Fionn Mac Cumhaill's men sharpened their swords on the big limestone rock at Belleek Falls.
Nowadays Belleek is a thriving market town with a variety of pubs, shops, restaurants and a hotel. It is also now linked to the River Shannon and is part of the most extensive inland waterway in Western Europe. Crusiers can be hired at the Marina and this is fast becoming a popular holiday activity.
Major attractions in the area are, guided tours of Belleek Pottery, Explore Erne, an exhibition telling the story of Lough Erne and Castle Caldwell forest Park.
For the active tourist, Belleek is located on the Kingfisher Cycle Trail. Fishing can be enjoyed on the Erne and nearby loughs. Walkers are spoilt for choice as the village is close to Lough Navar, Breesy Mountain and a network of quiet country lanes. There is also a Horse Riding Centre located nearby and this is an ideal way to explore the local countryside.
Slieve League, , County Donegal
The Slieve League peninsula stretches for 30 miles (48km) into the Atlantic and is 12 miles (19km) across at its widest point. Its wonderfully pigmented bluffs are the highest sea cliffs in Europe, and can be gazed at from Carrigan Head or walked along, if you dare. From below or from above, Slieve League serves up some of the most dazzling sights in Ireland.
Doe Castle, , County Donegal
Location, location, location. This tower house is surrounded on three sides by the waters of Sheep Haven Bay and on the fourth by a moat carved into the bedrock that forms its foundation. With its remote seaside setting and sweeping views of the nearby hills, this is one of the most beautifully situated castles in Ireland.
Donegal Castle, Donegal, County Donegal
Built by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the castle has extensive 17th century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the castle owners from the O'Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family. Limited access for visitors with disabilities to the ground floor. Access to the site is available for group bookings in the off-season by prior arrangement
Killibegs, Killybegs, County Donegal
Killybegs (Na Cealla Beaga in Irish) is an important harbour town in County Donegal, part of the Province of Ulster in Ireland. It is located on the coast of the county, north of Donegal bay, near Donegal Town. The Killybegs fishing port is the most productive in Ireland, and over 60 boats may be in the harbour at any given time. It is well known as a famous fishing town throughout Ireland. In the summer, there is a street festival celebrating the fish catches and incorporating the traditional "Blessing of the Boats". Population 1,280
Dungloe, County Donegal
Dungloe is a lively and thriving town with a population of about 900. During the August Bank Holiday weekend each year the 'Mary from Dungloe Festival' is held in the town. It is the principal town in the Rosses, is an important game angling centre and colourful resort situated on an island-studded bay. It is an ideal base to explore the Gaelic speaking Rosses and Gweedore, where, for much of the drive, you will see shop signs in the Irish language. The signposting may be bilingual or just in Irish. Where the latter applies, you will find the English place name in parenthesis.
Buncrana, County Donegal
The chief place on the Inishowen Peninsula is Buncrana, a popular seaside resort on the east side of Lough Swilly, with a 3mi/5km long beach, Lisfannon Strand (golf courses). Beautifully situated on the lough is O'Doherty's Keep, a well-preserved but architecturally undistinguished stronghold (14th/17th C.: National Monument).
Ballyshannon, County Donegal
A lively trading town originating in 1613 when it was created a borough. Two handcrafted pottery industries Celtic Weave and Donegal Parian China, are situated here. Belleek Pottery is crafted just across the border in Northern Ireland. Abbey Assaroe, near the town, has a restored mill complete with waterwheels. The Abbey Centre has conference facilities. An amenity area, including a waterbus, is located on Assaroe Lake. The Ballyshannon International Folk and Traditional Music Festival is celebrated each August.
Bundoran, County Donegal
One of Ireland's main seaside resorts, Bundoran has a fine situation on the southern shore of Donegal Bay, with the Sligo-Leitrim mountains behind it to the south and the hills of Donegal across the bay to the north. Tthe strand, a fine sandy beach fronting the promenade, has at either end a range of cliffs carved by the waves into fantastic shapes. Waterworld, a new watersports centre on the beachfront features a spiderslide and a wavepool. Other recreations include tennis, horse-riding, sea and river fishing.
Ballyliffen Course, Ballyliffen, County Donegal
(6,524 Yards / Par 72) Nick Faldo called this course the Royal Dornoch of Ireland. It's Ireland's most northerly course and in windy conditions can challenge the best golfers at the top of their game. It has two holes that really stand out, the par 3 fifth, known locally as "The Tank" and the highly difficult par 4 third hole with narrow fairway and sloping green are it's signature holes.
Carndonaghs Cross, , County Donegal
One of the most important Early Christian relics in Britain and Ireland, Carndonaghs Cross of Saint Patrick is located in the grounds of a church which was originally founded by Saint Patrick for the Bishop of Clogher's brother. Seventeen miles north of Derry.
Tory Island, , County Donegal
For a thousand years the monastery founded by Colmcille flourished until sacked by the Elizabethans. The ruins are mostly in the west of Tory. Of the five churches recorded in the middle ages only the ruins of one remain. Cursing stones were used to keepout tax collectors. The tau stone cross is very special. Access to the island by ferry from Magheraroarty, Bunbeg and Portnablagh.
Inishmurray, , County Donegal
On this small island, abandoned by its inhabitants in 1948, is a remarkable assemblage of Early Christian remains that fives a good idea of what monastic settlements were like. The monastery was founded by Saint Molaise, probably in the 6th century, and was one of the first to be plundered by the Vikings in the 8th century. A stone wall, rebuilt in 1880 when many original features and details were removed, surrounds the site, this oval enclosure is divided into three unequal sections.The largest containsTempall Na Bfear and in the same section in the tiny, early Teach Molaise. A wooden statue of the saint, which was inside, is now in the National Museum in Dublin.
Kilclooney Dolmen, Kilclooney, County Donegal
On the East of the lane behind the Kilclooney church lies this magnificent site, composed by two dolmens within the remains of a 25m (82ft) long cairn. Both their chambers face eastwards and are about 9m (20ft) apart. The larger has a capstone which is some 4m (13 ft) long and about 6m (20 ft) across, almost matching the giant capstone at Browne's Hill Dolmen, co.Carlow. It is supported by twin uprights 1.8 m (6 ft) high. The western chamber, now partially collapsed, is almost identical but smaller. The site hasn't been excavated and it is distinctly possible that the two dolmens were built in more than one phase.
Saint Patricks Purgatory Lough Derg, , County Donegal
Lough Derg began, probably in the sixth century, as a monastic retreat, a place of prayer and contemplation away from social and commercial life. In today's noisy and turbulent world, pilgrims appreciate a haven of peace, a remote corner where the discomfort of physical discipline is more than compensated for by getting away from the stress of modern-day living. The traditional three day pilgrimage season runs from June - August. This involves three days of fasting, praying and keeping vigil. One day retreats during May and September are structured days of prayer, particularly suited to those who are unable to make the three day pilgrimage.
Glenveagh National Park, , County Donegal
Here within a late 19th century setting in a rugged and remote mountain valley, Henry Mc Ilhenny from Philadelphia created one of the most celebrated gardens in Ireland. Woodland gardens and pleasure grounds, an Italian terrace with antique sculpture and terracotta pots, all these different themes have been skillfully interwoven against the wild and beautiful Donegal landscape. There is an important collection of trees and shrubs, some rare, some tender. A neo Gothic conservatory overlooks the jardin potager, a pretty area of vegetables, flowers and fruit, edged with hedges and curlicues of box. Built in 1870-1873, the Castle consists of a four storey rectangular keep.
Ards Forest Park, , County Donegal
Sheephaven Bay is situated in the north-west corner of Donegal. The area has some magnificent scenery including Horn Head, the Rosguill Peninsula and the 11km Atlantic Drive. Horn Head is a 600ft cliff, with great views of Inishbofin and Tory island. Ards Forest Park, a 10,000 acre woodland with wildlife and nature trails is situated on the Rosguill Peninsula. Doe Castle, a ruined 16th century castle is also located here. This peninsula includes Tra na Rossan Bay, Muckish Mountain and Melmore Head, and this area has the most photographed views in Donegal.
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