Donegal Ireland: 'Coolest' Place 2017

Atlantic Sea Stacks, Slieve League Cliffs, Donegal Ireland. Europe's Highest Marine CliffsSlieve League Cliffs, sea stacks

Discover 10 Key Attractions That Make Donegal Ireland A Top Travel Destination
Number One On National Geographic 'Cool List' For 2017

Wild captivating ancient beauty.  Misty highlands, dramatic seascapes.  And a rich multi-layered Celtic heritage...

We're not at all surprised that the National Geographic (link opens new window) selected Donegal Ireland as the world's coolest place for 2017.  Apparently the county's magnificent Atlantic coastline dotted with sea stacks, remote pristine beaches, and even more remote satellite islands made a big impression on the UK magazine's travel team.

Here are the ten top Donegal attractions that we love best.  You might like them too...

Trabane Beach, Cliffs And Doon Point, Past Sites Of Ancient Celtic Forts, Donegal IrelandTrabane beach, cliffs, Doon Point. Former site of ancient Celtic forts. Near Glencolmcille

Donegal Ireland's Celtic Attractions

Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle In Donegal Town, Northwest IrelandDonegal Castle in Donegal Town

This historic castle, near the heart of Donegal Town, was built by Celtic Chieftain, Red Hugh O'Donnell the First in 1474.

The castle was the stronghold of the O'Donnell dynasty until 1607.  In that year, all the noble families of Ulster, including those of Donegal, were forced into exile by foreign invaders.

Donegal Castle Description...
Donegal Castle's Celtic History...
Donegal Castle Tour...

Donegal Abbey

Historic Donegal Abbey In Donegal Town, Northwest IrelandHistoric Donegal Abbey in Donegal Town

The ruins of this historic Celtic abbey, built in 1474, are located at the mouth of the scenic Eske estuary in Donegal Town, just a short walk from Donegal Castle.

The Four Masters, authors of 'The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland' (Annals of the Four Masters), had links with this abbey.

Donegal Abbey's Celtic Origins...
Donegal Friary's Legacy...
Donegal Abbey's Historic Graveyard...

The Abbey Assaroe Area

The Historic Celtic Ruins Of Kilbarron Church, County Donegal ÉireThe historic Celtic ruins of Kilbarron Church, South Donegal

This area near diversely historic Ballyshannon holds multiple layers of dramatic history, from the earliest Celts to remarkable saints, and beyond.

Neighboring Kilbarron Castle was the home and birthplace of Brother Michael O'Cleary, who co-wrote 'The Annals of the Kingdom of Ireland'.

Bundoran Day Trips Part 2 (Ballyshannon)...
Bundoran Day Trips Part 3 (Abbey Assaroe)...
Bundoran Day Trips Part 4 (Kilbarron Church)...
Bundoran Day Trips Part 5 (Kilbarron Castle)...

Slieve League Cliffs

Slieve League Cliffs, Near Killybegs In Southwest DonegalSlieve League Cliffs near Killybegs in Southwest Donegal

These are the highest sea cliffs in Europe, at over 600 meters above the Atlantic.  Visiting this hill-walkers' paradise will surely be one of the most exciting experiences of your vacation.

The cliffs are in the southwest Donegal Gaeltacht region and are part of historic Slieve League mountain near Killybegs.  They are on the International Appalachian Trail.

Slieve League Donegal Sea Cliffs...
Slieve League Cliffs Picture Gallery...

Glencolmcille, Kilcar, Remote Southwest Donegal

Traditional Irish Cottage In A Celtic Village, Glencolmcille Folk Museum, SW DonegalTraditional Irish cottage in a Celtic village, Glencolmcille Folk Museum

Immerse yourself in Celtic heritage and culture.

Explore the ruins of pre history Neolithic Era burial tombs.  Trace the footsteps of Saint Columba and other great Celtic saints.  Discover early Christian crosses, monastic sites and holy wells.  Visit thatched cottages at Glencolmcille Folk Village.

Plus experience some of Ireland's finest rock climbs, and more in this scenic remote region.

Kilcar Heritage: The Spaniard's Chapel...
Rock Climb In Donegal...

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh Castle, Derryveagh Mountains In Glenveagh National Park, DonegalGlenveagh Castle and Derryveagh Mountains, Glenveagh National Park

Donegal Ireland's magnificent Glenveagh National Park offers walking trails and a whole lot more in vast, hauntingly beautiful highlands.  The park spans most of the Derryveagh mountains and is rich in flora.  Wildlife includes Irish deer, golden eagles and falcons.

This pristine wilderness boasts one of the most beautiful castles in Ireland.  A tour of the excellently preserved historic Glenveagh Castle holds a few surprises and is a 'must' on your itinerary.

More at (opens new window)

Grianan Of Aileach

Grianan Of Aileach, Ancient Fort Of Celtic Kings, Inishowen DonegalGrianan of Aileach, ancient Celtic fort

This ancient Celtic fort with magnificent hilltop views is among the most intriguing places to visit in Ireland.  Grianan of Aileach was built on the site of a former Tuatha de Danann palace in Inishowen, Donegal Ireland.

The original fortress served as a seat of Celtic kings and High Kings of Ireland for millennia.   Grianan of Aileach was a stronghold of the O'Neill and MacLoghlin dynasties.

St.Patrick baptized King Eóghan Mac Néill there.


St.Patrick's Celtic High Cross Detail, Carndonagh, Inishowen, County DonegalSt.Patrick's Celtic High Cross detail, Carndonagh

The pretty town of Carndonagh is in the northern part of Donegal Ireland's Inishowen Peninsula.  The town has a strong Celtic Christian history going back to St. Patrick, who established a monastic settlement there.

Look for St.Patrick's Celtic high cross and 'the marigold stone' on the outskirts of town.

Carndonagh is near Malin Head, where the dramatic Wild Atlantic Way touring route begins, and where the Milenium Falcon landed recently for a scene in the upcoming Star Wars Episode 8.

Errigal Mountain

Errigal Mountain Near Glenveagh National Park, Northwest County Donegal ÉireErrigal Mountain, Donegal County

Donegal Ireland's highest mountain, dramatic Errigal towers over Poison Glen and the Dunlewey lakes.

At over half a kilometer high, the contrast between Errigal mountain and the sheer depth of the enchanting valley below it is one of the most captivating sights in Donegal.

Part of the Derryveagh mountain range, Errigal is located between Gweedore and Glenveagh National Park (see above).

Tory Island

Tory Island, Northwest Ireland, Is Rich In Celtic History And CultureCeltic Tory Island, Northwest Ireland

Believe it or not, this spectacular 'rock' some eleven kilometers off County Donegal's Northwest shore is inhabited, and has been for millennia.

Past residents range from pre history Fomorian pirates of the Atlantic to the much later Celtic Saint Columba and his monks.

See the lighthouse, ancient bell tower, tao cross, flora and fauna, meet the king, marvel at the island's colorful Celtic history.

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