Donegal is the place where the great outdoors holds sway and here are some of the best things to do. Its biggest mountain, Mount Errigal, in Gweedore, rises to nearly 800 metres and, with its Alpine shape and pinkish hue, it’s perhaps the most striking mountain in Ireland. Not surprising, then, that conquering it is on many a visitor’s to do list.
Whether you’re on a family day out or Wild Atlantic Way adventure, Oakfield Park in Donegal is a wonderful place to escape with family and friends. Located in Raphoe, this beautiful landscape of parkland, woodlands, lakes and formal gardens is set around a restored 18th-century deanery. The grounds include walled gardens, ponds, a lakeside Nymphaeum, a hedge maze and sculptures; children can make a wish at Oakfield Park’s Faerie tree, while navigating their way through extensive walks and trails.
For something different, try the Castle Adventure Open Farm near Ballyshannon, built on the grounds of the 17th-century Wardtown Castle, now an impressive ruin in its own right. One advantage of this attraction is that it is not seasonal; a winter wonderland is promised every year. Being a largely agricultural area, animals are crucial to Donegal, none more so than the horse. Horses have been co-workers, a means of transport, and more recently, material for the many riding schools, such as Dunfanaghy and Carndonagh. What better way to blow away the cobwebs than a gallop along the Lag Shore?
Tullaghobegley Irish, Falcarragh, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Unique Ascent specialise in providing exceptional outdoor adventure holidays, outdoor activities and mountain training courses with a difference. All the time these activities take place in locations untouched and unspoilt by the relentless march of the modern world. You will be in the domain of the gannets, fulmars, puffins, basking sharks, bull selkies, grey seals and even the odd killer whale. Visit website
Sliabh Liag Distillery
Line Road, Roxborough Glebe, Carrick, Co. Donegal, F94 X9DX, Ireland
Founded in 2014, the Sliabh Liag Distillery is the first distillery in Donegal for over 175 years. The company have two award-winning brands, An Dúlamán Irish Maritime Gin, distilled within a mile of the coast in the village of Carrick and the independently-bottled legendary Silkie Irish Whiskey. Just as Donegal is often thought of as a place apart, the Sliabh Liag brands are intentionally challenging and seek to be very different. The philosophy is simple: liquids and recipes which rely on strong local provenance; striking designs that challenge conventional codes and brands rooted in local folklore and heritage. Visit website
Hazelwood House, Loughnagin, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Astound and amaze family and friends alike in Donegal’s very own slice of the Amazon, Tropical World is an unmissable experience with hundreds of amazing tropical butterflies of all shapes and sizes, all in free flight. Be greeted by the sound of lorikeets, turacos and birds from around the globe serenading you through the exotic aviaries and on to the lemurs and miniature monkeys that call Tropical World home, along with the raccoons, meerkats and more. Visit website
Dunree View, Leophin, Linsfort, Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Fort Dunree, Dun Fhraoigh in Irish means, “Fort of the Heather” and indicates that this site has been an important defensive site down through history. Today however, its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife are drawing increasing numbers of visitors to one of Inishowen’s most beautiful and peaceful locations. Fort Dunree was first opened to the public in 1986 and has attracted tourists from all over the world ever since. It is a must see for every visitor to the Inishowen peninsula. Visit website
Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre
Tullagh, Clonmany, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Make your holiday truly memorable and trek across beautiful beaches with Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre. Begin your Wild Atlantic Way journey of discovery trekking across the beautiful beach at Tullagh Bay. Create unforgettable memories that will stay with you forever. Children’s pony camps, riding lessons, lots of fun for all the family. Suitable for all ages and no riding experience required, all safety equipment is included. Visit website
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