10 Top Attractions Near Donegal Town
In addition to a rich and varied Celtic heritage, Donegal County offers an abundance of fun activities to make your vacation memorable.
One of the best ways to experience this magnificent, and large, county is by taking day trips.
You'll find the following 10 attractions on the Donegal stretch of Ireland's 'Wild Atlantic Way' coastal touring route. They are all within 50 kilometers of historic, picturesque Donegal Town . . .
This delightful, remote peninsula provides a long, scenic, dramatic frame for Donegal Bay. A favorite of fishermen, divers, nature-lovers and walkers, it is punctuated by the village of Dunkineely at the northernmost end, while a pretty lighthouse adorns its southwestern tip.
Celtic heritage includes a unique pre history triple wedge tomb and the early Christian Killaghtee Cross.
St Johns Point Donegal Heritage, Nature...
Killybegs is Ireland's main fishing port. It is also 'gateway' to the stunning, remote Southwest region of County Donegal, which includes the awesome Slieve League sea cliffs.
Take an exhilarating stroll along the waterfront and watch fishermen maneuver their fish-laden trawlers at the pier. Go diving, bird watching and deep sea angling. Visit the Slieve League cliffs by boat.
Celtic heritage includes Saint Catherine's church, graveyard, and nearby holy well. The ruins of Saint Catherine's Church date back to the 1400s. The earliest recorded reference to Saint Catherine's Well is for the year 1553, in the Annals of the Four Masters. You'll also find the elaborately carved grave slab of Celtic warrior and Chieftain, Niall Mór Mac Sweeney, who died in 1524.
One of Donegal's greatest attractions, the Slieve League cliffs are a 'hill-walkers' dream'. These spectacular sea cliffs, on the very edge of Europe, rise dramatically out of the restless, wild Atlantic Ocean by over 600 meters. They are among Europe's highest sea cliffs and are part of the International Appalachian Trail.
Ardara is a great place to shop for Irish and locally made souvenirs. Look for handwoven Donegal tweed fabrics and clothing, aran knitwear, pottery, jewellery and lots of other lovely temptations!
Take a stroll through the picturesque village, see a live hand-weaving demonstration, and a pretty rose window by artist Evie Hone in the Holy Family Church.
The dramatic dolmen (portal tomb) at Kilclooney, near Ardara, is over 4,000 years old. It consists mainly of two parts, a large stone 'chamber', with a smaller one beside it. The roof-stone on the larger chamber is more than 4 meters long, almost 4 meters at its widest point, and just under a meter deep.
Click to see a photo of Kilclooney dolmen...
What's a portal tomb or dolmen?...
Take a stroll across the Narin sands at low tide to visit this heritage-rich tidal island. An early Christian monastery was founded here by the Celtic saint, Conald Coel in the 6th century AD. Saint Conald Coel is one of eight Gaelic Celtic saints from Donegal who are descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages.
Celtic heritage includes early Christian Celtic cross carvings, also two church ruins from the 12th century.
Important safety tip for visiting Inishkeel...
(See the second tip!)
The serene Bluestack Mountains, together with Barnesmore Gap form the perfect backdrop to the town of Donegal.
Take a drive, cycle or walk along the exquisitely scenic Lough Eske at the foot of the mountains.
This wonderful attraction is less than thirty minutes from town.
You'll find the challenging Championship links of Donegal Golf Club on the scenic Murvagh peninsula, just a short drive from Donegal Town. Considered one of the top 100 golf courses in Ireland and Great Britain, this course has been played by such golfing greats as Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy. Enjoy magnificent panoramic views of Donegal Bay and the Bluestack Mountains as you play.
This lovely long sandy beach near Donegal Golf Club is just a short drive from town. The exhilarating Atlantic waters are warmer and shallower than average here. Extensive sand dunes back onto woodland with trails and picnic areas.
Ballyshannon, on the lovely river Erne, is Ireland's oldest town. This is where the people of the Celtic Parthalon tribe settled when they arrived in Ireland. A Gaelic Celtic High King of Ireland is buried in this town. He died in 667BC. The poet William Allingham is also buried here.
Nearby Celtic heritage includes Abbey Assaroe and Kilbarron Castle.
If you're wondering about hospitality and travel options for this town, you'll find an overview here...
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