Welcome to the Go Visit Donegal Blog

Friday, 25 April 2014

Explore one of the Ireland's most intriguing highlights- The Donegal Gaeltacht and Donegal Islands


The Gaeltacht is the area in Donegal where, many claim, one of the purest forms of the Irish Language has survived and where the traditions of Irish song, dance and folklore prevail. The largest geographical Gaeltacht in the country, and part of the newly established Wild Atlantic Way, spreads from Glencolumbcille region of the south up along the west coast and through Donegal's Gaeltacht Lár (central) region of the Derryveagh range and the scenic Poisoned Glen; and north through the Rosses on to Fanad Head.


Sitting proudly in the Atlantic Ocean, are the jewels of Donegal's Gaeltacht. On the islands of Donegal, one can experience a vibrancy to the Irish culture that is both inspiring and engaging.  Wild and beautiful; the islands have captured the imagination for thousands of years and provided stimulus for artists and writers alike.

A visit to these any of these islands by ferry is an experience that will broaden your horizon and linger in your heart but foresight is forewarned. Accessible by boat, any trip to the islands should be researched to maximise your experience. For example, high season (July & August) can be quite busy on some, but out of season may require appropriate clothing to appreciate the rugged beauty of these jewels on the outer reaches of Northwestern Europe.


The island is approximately one mile from the mainland at Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore). Evidence of past life remains in the form of the stone homes of families, who have long since moved to the mainland. A number of houses have been restored by former residents and their families. A regular ferry service and the growing interest in ecology and cliff climbing are bringing new life back to the area. Gola Island can be explored in a few hours over easy walking terrain.
 Gola Island Ferry Service
Tel: +3538387 660 7003


Located two miles from Machaire Rabhartaigh (Magheroarty) on the North West coast and has been relatively untouched and unspoilt. A rocky coast with cliffs, sea arches, caves and sandy beaches can be explored. Inland, fields are home to the globally endangered Corncrake and many other bird species. Barnacle Geese fly in to winter here. It is renowned for its water sports with surfing, kayaking and rock fishing growing in reputation annually.


Inhabited for 4,000 years, this Gaeltacht Island has its own distinctive Irish Culture and tradition which is preserved by remoteness. Historical sites include a round tower, a ruined church, the Tau Cross (one of only two found in Ireland).
As well as the unique flora and fauna, visitors can enjoy diving, fishing, rock climbing, whale or dolphin watching or walk a portion of the scenic Donegal Way.
A signposted 4km looped walk starting at the Pier with exceptional scenery will take your breath away. When in Tory, is also famous for its school of artists, whose work has been exhibited all over the world.


Probably the most accessible of all the Gaeltacht islands, Árainn Mór has a resident population of approximately 600. From the island’s rolling hills, observe views of the Rosses region (Na Rosa), the islands and the Donegal Mountains as a backdrop or visit some of the islands lovely beaches. A place to get away from it all and yet mainland Donegal is just a 15 minute boat journey.

Arranmore Island ferries
Tel: +35383 749520532
Arranmore Car & Passenger
Fast Ferry Service
Tel: +3538387 3171810


Inishfree Island, approximately one square mile of sandy beaches and beautiful scenery, the island was home to thirty six families in a tightly-knit, caring community. Subsequently deserted, the island has been re-inhabited recently and Inis Fraoich’s new residents are eager to help visitors benefit from the spiritual atmosphere that seems to pervade this unique place. Cultural courses are organised on the island at specific times and cover topics such as music, dancing, arts, crafts, poetry, nature and heritage.

Inishfree Charters, Burtonport Pier 

                                                                                    Tel: +35383 87 9253534 or 086 2209508
Try a few words 
Dia dhuit Hello
Cadé mar atá tú How are you?
Tá mé go maith, go raibh
maith agat, agus tú fein? I’m fine, thanks. And you?
Cad is ainm duit? What is your name?
Maidin mhaith Good morning
Oíche mhaith Good night
Cá bhfuil an oifig fáilte? Where is the tourist office?
Go raibh maith agat Thank you
Más é do thoil é Please

Slán, Slán go fóill Goodbye