Nestled along Ireland’s north coast, Donegal is a vast county with so much to offer. From its stunning beaches and impressive coastline to the many picturesque towns and villages spread around the county, it’s a county worth exploring in 2018. To give you a taste of what lies ahead, here are eight reasons to get yourself along to Donegal this year.
8 Top Reasons to Visit Donegal This Year
1 Ireland’s Most Northern Point
A site fit for the big screen having featured in Star Wars, Malin Head is one of Donegal’s most-visited tourist attractions, and the most northern point in Ireland. Malin Head has many wonderful viewpoints, and provides a great vantage point for bird-watching, while the nearby Malin Beach is perfect for horse-riding or an evening stroll.
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2 Explore Inishowen
The Inishowen Peninsula is a popular holiday destination for many families come holiday season, with the coastal towns of Ballyliffin, Buncrana, Moville and Letterkenny, in particular, a hit. The area provides a wealth of activities including scenic coastal walks, hiking and rock climbing, while you can also find many stunning driving and cycling routes to explore. Inishowen Peninsula is home to many of Donegal’s most famous bars, with Letterkenny a popular location for a weekend break. The area is also famous for its golf courses, which you’ll find out more about in reason three.
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3 2018 Irish Open
Donegal is the location for the 2018 Irish Open, with the Ballyliffin Golf Club playing host to one of the European Tour’s highlight events. Donegal has several popular golf courses, but this year will be the first year in which the county hosts the Irish Open, so it’s sure to be a great celebration, and just another reason to visit the county this year.
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4 Grianán of Aileach
© Tourism Ireland
One of Donegal’s most historic attractions is the ancient stone fort of Grianán of Aileach, which is believed to date back to around 1700 BC. There are many spectacular historic attractions in Ireland, and Grianán of Aileach is up there with the very best, and is a must see when visiting Donegal. The stone fort is some 250 metres above sea level and provides some of the best views anywhere in Donegal, as it overlooks Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly in the distance.
5 Stunning National Park
As well as being the location of Ireland’s most northern point, Donegal is home to the country’s second-largest national park, Glenveagh National Park. With some 170 square kilometres to explore, Glenveagh is well worth visiting if you are seeking a hiking break to Donegal. The national park has great views of the Derryveagh Mountains and Mount Errigal (Donegal’s highest peak), while Glenveagh Castle is also worth exploring. If you’re planning a trip to Donegal in 2018, be sure to set aside time to take in the splendour of Glenveagh National Park.
6 Beach Breaks
Forget about jetting off to Europe for your next beach break; Donegal has some of the finest beaches in Ireland, with Ballymastocker Beach one such beach to consider getting along to this year. Ballymastocker was once voted the second best in the world by readers of The Observer Magazine. Other beaches in Donegal to consider getting along to include Bundoran, Dunfanaghy, Fintra and Rosnowlagh.
7 Ireland’s Surfing Capital
The town of Bundoran is a great venue for a weekend break or an extended family holiday and has so much to offer. Sports and outdoor activities in particular are a hit in Bundoran, and none more so than surfing. Considered by many to be the surf capital of Ireland, hit the water in 2018 by trying your hand at a spot of surfing. The Bundoran Surf Co can provide a great introduction for newbies to surfing.
8 Stunning Cliffs at Slieve League
The Cliffs of Moher in Clare often grab the attention when it comes to stunning Irish cliffs, but Donegal is actually home to some of the largest sea cliffs in Ireland at Slieve League. At just over 600m, Slieve League is twice the size of the Cliffs of Moher, and this imposing coastline certainly makes for a memorable day out when visiting Donegal. The mountain was once the site of an ancient Christian pilgrimage, and today there are many cliff walks to enjoy, with the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay providing the perfect backdrop as you go.
What Are Your Favourite Things to do in Donegal?
Are you a regular visitor to Donegal, or perhaps you’re a Donegal native? Let us know your top things to do in Donegal below.
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Images via Fáilte Ireland