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10 Things to do in Donegal

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From the windswept, wave-hewn coastline of the Northern Headlands to the uppermost expanses of the action-packed Surf Coast, County Donegal is truly a wild wonder.

It’s the place visitors to the Wild Atlantic Way come to find the country’s highest cliffs, longest coast, and least-explored terrain, and it will bowl you over with its rousing vistas and fierce independence.

Here are 10 of the best ways to experience County Donegal:

  • Fanad Lighthouse

1. Fanad Head Lighthouse

One of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, the blinking beacon at Cionn Fhánada (Fanad Head) is the jewel in the crown of County Donegal’s wealth of visitor attractions. Perched on a rocky outcrop at the mouth of Lough Swilly, its light has been shining out to sea since since 1817. 

2. Tory Island

Mysterious and remote, the rocky island of Tory is home to a carefully preserved way of life full of ancient Gaelic traditions - including the appointment of an island king - that make a visit here one of the most unique things to do in Donegal. 

  • Tory Island

3. Ards Forest Park

The lush green reserve at Ards Forest Park invites nature lovers of all stripes to enjoy its network of trails stretching from woodland to sandy beach. 481 hectares in area, it’s home to a variety of plants and animals and boasts picnic and play areas for the little ones.

4. Doagh Famine Village

Using life-sized attractions and genuine artifacts - including an authentic thatched cottage - to portray life in Ireland from the 1840s onward, this informative and often humorous attraction is one of the most unique and rewarding ways to step back in time in Donegal.

  • Sliabh Liag
  • Mount Errigal
  • Glenveagh

5. Sliabh Liag (slieve League)

Blow away the cobwebs with a visit to some of the highest sea cliffs in all of Europe at Sliabh Liag (Slieve League). This holy mountain, for over a thousand years a Christian pilgrimage site, rises 600m above the waves, offering arresting views over the Sligo Mountains and out to sea.


6. an Grianán of Aileach

One of Ireland’s most compelling megalithic sites, the stone fort of Grianán of Aileach dates back to 1700 BC and is linked to ancient invaders in the days before the Celts. The view from Aileach is breathtaking, with Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly glistening in the distance.


7. Mount Errigal

Just a short drive from the Wild Atlantic Way, the tallest peak in County Donegal rises from the landscape not far from Gweedore. Known for its rosy glow at sunset, Errigal is an unmissable sight as well as a climbable peak, with a twin summit reachable across a narrow pass. 

8. Glenveagh National Park

Deep in the Derryveagh Mountains, the 16,000 hectares of Glenveagh are a haven for wildlife and one of the best places in Donegal to reconnect with nature. Officially opened to the public in 1986, today the park welcomes visitors from all over Ireland and the world. 

9. Narin-Portnoo Strand

Where else but Donegal would you find such a ravishing coastline as the one at Narin-Portnoo? Sheltered by Dunmore Head in a designated natural heritage area, its sandy length is wonderful in summer - when a lifeguard watches over the waves - as on a bracing winter walk. 

10. Arranmore Island

Tranquil yet buzzing, the Gaeltacht island of Arranmore near Burtonport Harbour is the largest inhabited island in Donegal. From diving and dolphin watching to angling, sea stack climbing or simply enjoying island pub culture, a visit to Arranmore is not to be missed. 

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