Image by Shutterstock
Donegal, the northernmost county of the island, is beyond beautiful. Words can’t describe the rolling landscapes and miles of beaches that adorn this Ulster county. There is a reason it’s difficult to acquire a holiday home in Donegal during peak seasons. And even on off seasons the ruggedness of the county is beyond breath-taking.
No visit to Donegal is complete without a trip to Slieve League cliffs. Ask anyone where to visit while in Donegal and this will always be at the top of their list. So it’s no wonder why it’s at the top of mine! These Donegal cliffs put the popular Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare to shame because at 1,972 feet, they’re three times the height. Being among some of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and nearly twice the height of the Eiffel tower, you can only image the spectacular views that this spot boasts.
Malin Head is the most northerly point in the whole of the country. The scenes here are otherworldly. So much so in fact that parts of Star Wars: The Last Jedi were filmed here. If any of your kids are big Star Wars buffs they’ll be ecstatic to visit. This area is steeped in history and has been visited by the Vikings, the ancient Celts and Saint Columbkille over the centuries.
Having only opened its door to the public in 2019, Wild Ireland sanctuary is one of the newest things to do in Donegal and is a must see. Wild Ireland is located only a half an hour away from Malin Head so it is ideal for a two in one visit while in Donegal. It’s here that you’ll find an ancient woodland that’s inhabited by some very exotic wildlife, like brown bears, wolves, red deer, monkeys, wild boar and lynx. Definitely not something you’d see every day.
Wild Alpaca Way
Kids who are animal lovers who didn’t quite get enough of their furry friends while visiting Wild Ireland will love this activity. You can now go walking with alpacas around Malin Head. Those that head off on the Wild Atlantic Alpaca tour can navigate the hills of Donegal with their very own alpaca as a guide. You’ll get to marvel at the spectacular views of Malin, Glashedy Rock and the Isle of Doagh and do some in the company of a friendly alpaca. www.wildalpacaway.com/
Glencolmcille Folk Village
One of Ireland’s best living-history museums, the Glencolmcille Folk Village is a replica of a rural village that offers a glimpse of the daily life for those who lived in the area during the 18th, 19th and 20th century. Each thatch cottage is an exact replica of the homes of this particular period, equipped with all the furniture and equipment of the time. With a reconstructed schoolhouse, fisherman’s dwelling and a pub/grocery shop your family can be thrown back in time with a visit here. www.glenfolkvillage.com/
Surfing in Bundoran
One of the best parts about Donegal is the coast and because of that water is central to the lives of people who live there who use it for travel and income. However, they also use their stunning coastline for leisure activities and Bundoran worldwide is renowned for its surfing. For the members in your family that love the water, why not go for a surf with one of the many surf schools that the town of Bundoran has to offer. Or for those who prefer to stay warm and dry, how about a walk along the beach to watch the surfers ride the waves instead.
The Harbour, Glebe
The Harbour has a diverse menu that includes seafood, steaks, and pasta dishes. Families are welcomed with open arms. For smaller children, there are toys, and for older children, there is colouring material. It has its own pizzeria, which is visible at the back of the restaurant and provides excellent fun for the kids!
Ahoy Café, Killybegs
A family-run café in a beautiful renovated cottage by the shoreline in the fishing village of Killybegs. A perfect stop on the way to the cliffs at Sliabh Liag. Serving coffees, home-baked treats, breakfast, lunches and all-day seafood specials.
The Silver Tassie, Letterkenny
The Silver Tassie in Letterkenny is well known for its carvery on Sunday. The restaurant also has spectacular kids menu and children under four go free. The play corner that is available will be a great distraction when the adults want to sip coffee and relax in the tranquil atmosphere after their meal.
- Donegal Town Playground, Donegal Town
- Community Park, Gweedore
- Ballymacool Park, Letterkenny
- Mall Park, Ballyshannon
- Lough Eske Castle, Donegal Town
- The Silver Tassie Hotel, Letterkenny Harvey’s Point,
- Tawnyvorgal Ballyliffin Lodge, Inishowen
- The Mill Park Hotel, Mullans