Things to do in County Donegal

There are few places in the world like County Donegal. A place where time stands still, traffic does not exist and you are never too far from a scenic view or a pub! Your cottage holiday in County Donegal will be everything that you have dreamed a holiday in Ireland would be.

Donegal is framed by its stark barren mountains, rocky cliffs, huge beaches and fishing rivers and is the type of place that after a while draws you in and makes you feel at home. Despite its rugged appearance, this is a place of welcoming faces and true scenic beauty. Sheep can often be seen wandering along the roads and life seems to move at a different pace, Donegal truly is the place to come to for a relaxing weekend cottage break.

There is a familiar saying in Ireland that someone ‘can experience four seasons in a day’ when it comes to the weather and this is certainly true of the second largest county in Ireland. Your Donegal cottage holiday will be an experience regardless of the weather, beaches roll on forever and sometimes it can seem like you are the only person in the world. Coming prepared for all weather is definitely a must but don’t let the weather keep you inside. Half the fun of a holiday in Donegal is experiencing all that it has to offer and returning to your cottage with an open fire to warm your toes.

Donegal is the most mountainous county in the province known as Ulster, with two mountain ranges, the Derryveagh mountains in the north and Bluestack Mountains in the south, the highest of these being Mount Errigal which is perfect for those wanting a good hike, beautiful views and to simply get away from it all.

The scenary of the coastline around Lough Swilly and Slieve League are not to be missed on your cottage holiday and below you will find a video showing you some of the hiking routes at Slieve League.

But if mountains and beautiful coastlines are not your thing there is plenty more to do. The Famine Museum on Doagh Isle, is well worth a visit for those looking to connect with possible ancestors from this county who emigrated at this time. Suitable for a visit in both rain and shine, the museum offers a glimpse into life in famine times for the people of Donegal, the importance of the wake in Irish culture and various other social aspects of those times.

Castles are abundant in Donegal as it was once the home of the Clann Dálaigh, whose most famous branch were the Clann Ó Domhnaill better known in English as the O’Donnell Clan. This important ruling family reigned from early 13th-century through to the start of the 17th-century and evidence can still be seen today at Donegal Castle in Donegal Town. Glenveagh Castle is another stunning example of castle architecture and the quiet aura of the surrounding area and the beautifully defined landscaped gardens are not to be missed.

Nightlife in County Donegal takes on a life of its own if allowed. The pubs are crawling with traditional musicians who are easily coaxed into a session with the promise of a pint and the hospitality of the people knows no bounds to visitors. Donegal is an escape like no other and as it is known as the ‘Home of the Festivals’ you will not be short of things to do on your cottage holiday in Donegal.

The musical tradition is strong in Donegal and it boasts its own unique style of fiddle playing that is known throughout the country and most pubs will have a session going in high seasons. A stop to Ardara just outside of Glenties and Portnoo will reinforce everything that you will come to love about Donegal with its great restaurants, historic pubs and musical nights to remember.

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