Donegal is one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland and a great place to visit either for a Staycation or if you’re visiting from abroad. The county itself is quite large and takes about 3 hours to drive from one end to the other. I have put together a list of the 5 places to see in Donegal, so keep reading to learn more!
One of the signature points on the Wild Atlantic Way, Sliabh League or Slieve League should be the first place on your list! The sea-cliffs are amongst some of the highest in Europe and it attracts more than 160,000 visitors a year. The surrounding towns Kilcar, Carrck and Glencolmcille are also Gaeltacht areas with great local amenities. The Visitor Centre and café opened in 2019, which you can by-pass just to climb up the cliffs. At the top you will see the famous ‘Eire’ sign which was used during World War 2 to prevent the German soldiers bombing Ireland thinking that it was England. You can take a boat out with Sliabh Leag Boat Trips.
Muckross Head is a great spot to visit in the lovely little village of Kilcar and it is just 10km away from Killbegs. It’s a small peninsula with a popular rock-climbing area and is known for its unusual horizontally layered structure. The spectacular panoramic views you can see from here are St. John’s Point, Ben Bulben in Sligo, Croagh Patrick in Mayo and Sliabh Liag. There are also two beaches at Muckross Head – trá na nglór which means “beach of the noise,” is where a lot of surfers will go. The other beach –trá bán, meaning “white beach,” is a popular family beach which is safe for swimming but has a risk of rockfall.
This island is a great day out or even a weekend visit if you have the time. You can take the red ferry from Burtonpoint that usually departs every hour. You get there in just 20 minutes and when you land on the island there are a line of cafes and restaurants to grab a bite to eat. You can bring your car on the ferry to explore the island. Colaiste Arainn Mhor is where a lot of Irish students go during the summer to learn and improve their Irish language skills. The best-known part is the famous ‘steps’ beside the lighthouse. These 151 steps are carved into the stone, and they run right down to the choppy Atlantic Ocean below.
If you’re a fan of hiking then you should climb to the highest point in the county, Mount Errigal. The mountain has a distinctive white conical peak which can be seen from miles away. Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and dressed in the right gear will be able to reach the top in about 2 hours. The summit is as high as 2,466 ft. and seeing the views from the top will make the hike worthwhile. You will get a view of the beautiful countryside along with a glimpse of the islands of Inishbofin, Inishdooey and Inishbeg.
The Fanad Peninsula has a dramatic coastline that stretches from Milford to Fanad Head. When you get to Fanad Head you will see the iconic white lighthouse that dates back as far as 1817. The lighthouse sits on a rocky promontory and over 100 feet above the sea. You can visit the lighthouse from 10AM-6PM and the local community offer guided tours along with a café.
You can even stay in the lightkeepers house. Fanad Lighthouse has been voted one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, so it is definitely worth a visit!