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The Essence of Donegal

County Donegal is a place to sample all that is best about Ireland. Whether you come for a family holiday, a relaxing break or to take part in active pursuits, you will discover people with an easy-going nature. Vibrant towns such as Letterkenny, Donegal and Buncrana hum with activity and there is a warm sense of community in the villages.

Drive along the coastline and drink in the sights exploring the Wild Atlantic Way where secrets lie hidden in remote peninsulas. And on the mountain roads, the sweet aroma of turf smoke will greet you as you make your way around.

Walking and cycling on way-marked trails, fishing, golf, horse-riding and watersports are all waiting for you – and it doesn’t matter about your level of fitness. From leisurely forest park or bracing coastal walks to a ride from the seat of a bike or horse there are endless choices.

If you want an adrenaline-fuelled experience then Donegal is firmly on the international
 stage of big wave surfing. In recent years surfers in Bundoran have pioneered waves previously thought untouchable. You can take a Surfing Holiday in Donegal at any time of the year. Donegal’s beaches have excellent waves and breaks from Summer to Winter.

Sightseeing is always on the agenda for visitors. In the north of the county, the fairytale Glenveagh Castle with its formal gardens is one of Ireland’s premier National Parks and links culture with nature.

With its family-run hotels, cosy time burnished pubs,  Donegal’s pleasures should be enjoyed slowly.

The county can justifiably make many claims: the highest sea cliffs and the largest sand dunes in Europe, the biggest waves in Ireland … and Donegal restaurants aim to bring you a genuine taste of Donegal by obtaining the very best fresh, local ingredients and serving them with lashings of pride so  you can satisfy your appetite for good food, good company and good music.

Donegal has no fewer than 13 unspoilt golden strands, it proudly boasts the largest number of Blue Flag beaches of any county in Ireland.

Where, the visitor may ask, is the essence of Donegal?

 There is not one particular spot since it is to be found everywhere: from the burstingly fresh local seafood, in the rollers of Rossnowlagh, at the summit of Errigal mountain, on top of an ancient hillfort,in the Killybegs fishing boats bringing home the catch, in the ruins of a medieval castle, on a ferry ride to Tory Island - the northernmost outpost of Donegal’s thriving Gaeltacht culture, Tory is home to its own King, Iron Age forts, and medieval round towers. The finest musicians, storytellers, and dancers host sessions that linger into the early hours.

What are you waiting for? There’s much to see and enjoy in Donegal…