Ardara..Woolen Mills and Shops. Pretty Village.
A trip to Ardara for the day is a nice outing especially if it is rainning and damp and cold.
A pretty small village (some have voted it to be the prettiest in Co. Donegal ) that is the Woolen center of Co. Donegal, many mills and shops to look and buy the famous Donegal Tweed Plaids. I got carried away here and bought a sweater, scarf and woolen rug all in one day.
One Woolen shop gives you a fashion show. There is also a weaving museum here with lots of examples of antique looms, etc.Related to:
- Road Trip
- Arts and Culture
Go on the Scenic Atlantic Drive
On one day during my stay, I went with someone else from the workshop on the scenic Atlantic Drive which is a short, but very spectacular road around the Rosguill Peninsula. Just about everywhere on this drive, the views are impressive!
Fish from Downings Pier
Downings Pier is in a sheltered spot along Sheephaven Bay -- and it's a good place for fishing. From Downings Pier, it is possible to catch a variety of species of fish.
On my visit, I didn't go fishing. However, I did walk near the entrance to the pier.
Go to Downings Beach
Downings Beach is a curved, sandy shoreline on the calm, sheltered waters of the Sheephaven Bay. During the summer season, it is very popular with swimmers, boaters, and windsurfers. This EU Blue Flag beach is ideal for children as the water is very shallow for a long way out.
During my visit in November, I walked to the beach with some others from the workshop. At low tide, there is plenty of sand on which to walk; at high tide, there is considerably less. There are also spots along one side of the beach that are quite rocky.
See Lough Salt
"Lough" is a Hiberno-English form of the Old Irish word loch, which means lake, or bay. Lough Salt is a lough on a side road between the villages of Glen and Termon in County Donegal. Along the lough, there are viewing areas. The lough itself is over 245 feet deep -- and is used as a natural reservoir by the Donegal County Council.
Dungloe beaches and Gweedore walks
Donegal has beautiful scenenery. The whole coast has acres of beach all of which are mostly desolate all year round - you won't meet a soul for miles with the exception of the odd dog walker here and there. If you like to climb then Errigal, in the area of Dhun Luiche, has spectacular views on a good day. The only razzamataz you will find in these parts is the once a year Mary from Dungloe festival.
The national park
It would be very easy to declare the whole county of Donegal a national park. Superb views seem to follow you wherever you go. The national park - Derryveagh - is located west of Letterkenny. Much of it was in private hands as a hnting estate, but it is now managed along with the obligatory castle as a national park.
I adore the fact that there is so little commercial development. The only sign of humanities footprints appears to be a couple of roads and half a dozen worried sheep. Too often in other places (like the UK) the national parks seem little more than an excuse to cram assorted lay-bys with Ice-cream vans, Burger vans and the like. Not here - there is nothing there. Fantastic.
I would , by the way , especially recommend the very quiet road up from the coast at Falcarragh into the National park area.
Visit Gartan Lake and Glenveagh National Park
Stunning scenery and a wilderness not too far away from Letterkenny. There is some magnificent bird life around here, including herons, kingfishers and Ireland's only eagles. You can enjoy some outdoor pursuits at Gartan.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Sailing and Boating
Ards Forest Park
Ards Park is nice wooded peninsula with several loop trails, a tranquil beach and several places of historical and archaeological interest. There are toilets at the car park as well as a children's play area. You can follow any of the several signposted paths to visit the various points of interest and scenic spots. Birdwatching is a popular activity here.
The park takes up a small peninsula which juts into Sheephaven Bay, along the n56 between Creeslough and Dunfanaghy.
We went looking for the bed of Diarmuid and Grainne (a dolmen) that was marked on our map. We passed it about three times before we found this tiny tomb hidden under brush a few feat off the trail. I was covered in ticks afterwards. Not the most enjoyable moment of my trip. Though this park is a lovely spot, some of the "points of interest" might leave you underwhelmed. ;)Related to:
- Family Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Magnificent Ring Fort: Grianan Ailligh
This massive ring fort rests on a hill that was sacred to ancient people, and commands breathtaking views of Lough Swilly, Lough Foyle, and Counties Donegal, Derry and Tyrone.
Archeologists expect it was built somewhere around the birth of Christ, and that prior to that it was a burial ground dating back to 3000 b.c. It served as the seat of the Ui Neill from the 5th to the 12th century. I can understand why people were compelled to revere this place, as it has a deeply spiritual feel to it as well as a great vantage point to see people (possible enemies!) approaching for miles around.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
Doe Castle: A nice spot for a stronghold
Doe Castle is a relatively simple fortification built on the edge of Sheephaven Bay in Creeslough, County Donegal. It's a wonderful, serene location and you will have access to a lot of the areas of the castle. You can walk along the battlements, and around the outer wall. Look for some curious carvings over the gate house. At the time of writing this, there is no fee to get in and no tours and such. I suppose It's a bit off the beaten path which is what keeps it from getting tourist-ized.
It's a really nice visit if you are in the areaRelated to:
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
- Budget Travel
Mount Errigal is one of the highest mountains in the region, it's 752 m high. That doesn't sound too high, but trust me, when you are climbing it, it sure feels high!
There is a parking place about 1km from Dunlewy. From there you can walk up to Errigal Mountain. It takes about 1,5 hours to walk up to the top, at some points it gets really, really steep. From the top you will have spectaculair views! You can see the Atlantic Ocean and it's islands, Glenveagh National Park, all the mountains around. It's great!
Make sure you wear good shoes!! At the beginning you'll have to walk through some very boggy ground and once you have had that part, it becomes very rocky. Also be careful with the weather: if the top is in the clouds and/or it is windy, you should reconsider getting up there. It's very steep and you might walk the wrong way and you sure don't want to fall down there. (and what's the point in getting to the top if you won't see the fantastic view because of the clouds...)
I love a good mountain
Carrauntuohill, at 3414 ft high is the highest peak in Ireland. It is in the Macgillycuddy's Reeks. But, for sheer beauty the mountains of Donegal win on points for me.
The costal scenery is as stunning as Antrim's, and is worth a visit to the county by itself, but the inland mountains are, if anything, more bewitching.
Chief amongst them is Errigal, which has a very definite pyramidical (is that a word) shape. It rathers looks as if it should be an active volcano with a few wisps of smoke coming out of a summit crater that holds the Celtic Gods. It is in fact an enormous lump of granite. Wouldn't mind a bit of it for my new kitchen, but I guess that wouldn't really be the done thing.
With a name like that you would think it was a rest home for retired conservative politicians. Not a bit of it, Tory Isalnd is like travelling back to the 1930's.
The Island is situated 11 kilometres off the North West Coast of Ireland. The people of Ireland regard Tory Island as being the jewel in the crown of islands off the coast of Ireland.
The people of Tory Island (Gaeltacht) refer to the mainland as "the country". Tory Island derives its name from the high pinnacle cliffs eroded by the battering swells of the Atlantic.
Tory Island has been populated since the age of Neolithic farmers four thousand years ago. Legend, which dates Tory Island back to the Bronze Age, has it that the island was occupied by a race of pirates whose god - chief was Balor of the Evil Eve.
Please feel free to visit my Tory Island pages, which will give a much greater variety of information including :
* how to meet a real-life king
* How to shop (in the massive hyperstore)
* how to get totally legless of illegal booze
* how to get freindly with seal
It awaits in intrepid traveller....
Wow - what a view
Whilst not exactly short on impressive views, the one from horn head has to be one of the finest. Tory Island (see seperate tips) seems to look like a a postage stamp just off the shore.
The wild scenery is now a nature reserve, although there are a number of neolithic remains and geographical features to explore. I missed most of these due to the fact that there seemed to be force 9 gale blowing at the time.
I did, however, manage to get to the highest point (a grueling 50 meter trek from the road) where stand a couple of lookout towers. One goes back to the Napoleonic wars and the other (both now ruins) to world war I. Most sources claim it is from WW2, but this is clearly wrong - Donegal was part of the Republic by that time.
So, fantastic views, good walking and plent of seabirds - Donegal in a nutshell.
County Donegal Hotels
The Sandrock Hostel at Malin Head is by far the best hostel I have stayed in so far. It is located...more
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