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Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort A Family Friendly Coastal Escape on the Wild Atlantic Way

There is nothing quite like the blissful feeling of escaping to the coast of Donegal to take in the panoramic views, to refresh the senses in the sea breeze and to invigorate the body and mind with some fantastic outdoor activities along the Wild Atlantic Way, this is why we booked the 4 star luxury hotel that is the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort in Redcastle, Donegal. As an active family that also likes to relax and unwind, we were looking for the perfect coastal destination that offers something for everyone and this is exactly what the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel delivers. 

Ideally located on the shores of Lough Foyle, the hotel offers a truly an unforgettable family friendly break where memories are made and to which you will wish to return time and time again.
Our recent family break at the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel, Golf & Spa Resort was just what the doctor ordered after a busy couple of weeks at work and school. We packed up the car and set off for Redcastle with two kids and their granny, who were all very excited about their upcoming trip. Less than an hour from Ireland’s Tidiest Town 2016 Letterkenny, we did not have far to drive, but we decided to stop off along the way to take in some of Donegal’s most famous attractions such as Grianan of Aileach, a 1700BC Ancient Stone Fort that sits majestically on a hill overlooking the breathtaking Inishowen Peninsula and Inch Levels Wildlife Reserve, a haven for all kinds of wild birds. The drive to the hotel takes you along the Inishowen 100, which is a 160KM scenic drive along the stunning Inishowen Peninsula.

On arriving at the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel, you will be struck by the beauty of the extensive landscaped grounds and the fantastic golf course, as you make your way down the driveway to the hotel. On entering the gate, you will instantly sense the long and vibrant history of the place. The original owner of the estate died in 1601 in the Battle of Kinsale. The estate then became part of the plantation of Ulster in 1607 before it was purchased by a naval captain named Cocherane and eventually became a hotel, which is now owned by Pat Doherty. This estate has a lot of stories to tell and a great deal of fantastic grounds to discover. Situated on the banks of Lough Foyle, this really is an oceanfront location as you can relax in your room listening to the waves lapping on the shore. The grounds are perfect for a family stroll and safe for children to burn off some of that energy before bedtime!

We were greeted at reception by reception staff and the concierge Gerry, who really made us feel welcome. With two lively children, sometimes 4 star hotels can seem a bit of a challenge, but we instantly felt at ease and could sense that this was a really family friendly hotel. Gerry showed us to our room, which had two adjoining bedrooms. Spacious, luxurious and comfortable with a lovely ensuite bathroom, we settled in immediately. The chocolates on the bed, sweets for the kids and delicious cookies to have with our tea were all wonderful surprises, which we really enjoyed.

As Granny relaxed in one room, and the kids and I settled into the other room and we were delighted to see that there was a DVD player with movies available from reception, just in case we wanted to watch something before bed, or very handy for a rainy day. 

We were also delighted to discover that Leisureland Redcastle is just a short walk across a connecting bridge from the hotel, an indoor adventure centre with all kinds of go carts, dodgems, ball pool, merry go round, slides and much more to keep the kids busy while you relax.After unpacking, we made our way to the Leisure Centre, located just on the floor below our room. Towels were provided in the Leisure Centre, so there was no need to carry them with us. The swimming pool was clean and spacious, with a kiddie’s pool for the little ones and lots of spa jets for the older ladies like Granny and I who were in need of an aquatic massage. The Leisure Centre also has a sauna and steam room, plus a luxurious spa using Voya products offering a wide range of amazing treatments. This is the perfect place to melt away the stresses of life and to really sit back and unwind.

Following our swim, we took a walk along the sea front before dinner, which really gave us an appetite for some fresh local foods. We went to the restaurant, which overlooks stunning views of Lough Foyle and were seated by the window. The menu is extensive with lots of fresh seafood options, pasta dishes, international cuisine such as the lamb curry and a very good selection of kid’s meals. The tiger prawns were especially delicious and the kids really enjoyed their homemade pepperoni pizzas. The views from our table were breathtaking and the kids were excited to see all kinds of birds, a large shipping tanker pass by and were also looking out for whales and dolphins, which we know visit the Lough regularly. We finished our meal with some ice cream and honeycomb for the kids and a warm chocolate brownie with caramel salted ice cream for the adults. Watching the sunset over Lough Foyle, this was the perfect way to end an unforgettable day at the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel.

Breakfast the following morning started with an extensive buffet selection of homemade pastries, breads, fruit, cereal, yoghurts and cheeses served in the award winning restaurant overlooking Lough Foyle. The freshly squeezed juices were delicious and the fresh fruit was sweet and juicy, not bitter as you can find in other hotels. The hot buffet had something to suit all tastes, from locally produced sausages and bacon, to organic scrambled eggs and fresh mushrooms, tomatoes served with black and white pudding, plus traditional potato bread. The delicious breakfast fuelled us up for our day ahead as we had an action packed day of adventure planned along the Wild Atlantic Way.

The local area around the Redcastle Oceanfront Hotel has much to offer, with picturesque coastal villages such as Moville and Greencastle close by and just a short drive from some of Donegal’s most stunning blue flag beaches and scenic walking and cycling routes. We made the short drive over to the heritage town of Moville. A large children’s play park with parking close by was our first stop off on our way to Inish Adventures where we had booked a morning’s kayaking on Lough Foyle. Inish Adventures is one of Ireland’s top watersports activity centres offering everything from kayaking to gorge walking, banana boating to sailing plus a wide range of watersports training opportunities, summer camps and local watersports events such as Europe’s top kayaking weekend Crana Fest.

Granny took the youngest boy down to the beach where he gathered sea shells and built sandcastles and waited for our debut in our kayaks! 

The oldest boy aged 11 and I were kitted out in our wetsuits, lifejackets and helmets. The staff at Inish Adventures were extremely professional and friendly with a focus on our safety at all times. My son Jack was anxious before our kayaking trip that he would fall out into the water, but the staff explained how to keep the kayak afloat with balancing techniques and also what to do if he did fall into the water to get back in his kayak safely. We also learned some top tips on how to paddle and control the kayak. This instantly put us at ease and we were ready to hit the water.

There was a swimming competition taking place in Moville the same day and also a search and rescue demonstration event hosted by the Irish Coast Guard, so we were delighted to see so much exciting activity happening along the shore. After kayaking along the stunning coastline, we made our way back to shore and finished up with a hot chocolate at Maud’s CafĂ© just a short walk into town. As first time kayakers this is definitely an experience we will be doing again in the near future and the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal is a top kayaking location for watersports enthusiasts of all abilities.
For anyone who is seeking an adventure off the beaten track in Donegal, then the Redcastle Oceanfront Golf & Spa Hotel is the perfect base for exploring the Inishowen Peninsula. We are already planning our next visit and looking forward to another family break in this idyllic Wild Atlantic Way location in Donegal.