Welcome to the Go Visit Donegal Blog

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

Oakfield Park this Easter

Oakfield Park is an 18th Century Georgian Deanery which has won several national awards for the restoration of its gardens and buildings. Sitting in a lush landscape of parklands and mature woodlands, overlooking the Croaghan Mountain, the grounds include a traditional walled garden and kitchen garden. Flowers, meadows, lakes and streams, as well as wild and wetland areas are entwined with over 4km of narrow gauge railway.
In the 1950s Oakland Park was effectively stripped of all its oak trees by a previous owner. This has now thankfully been reversed and over 60,000 trees have been lovingly planted by the current owners with a mixture of hollies, limes, a lot of beech, chestnuts and, of course, oak. In fact there are up to 140 species of oak now planted.
 A hugely popular feature of Oakfield Park is a wonderful miniature railway. This railway is based on the now defunct Co. Donegal Railways. Over 4km of track has been laid and the narrow gauge railway has a miniature steam engine and carriages in the old CDR livery.

The train winds around the lake and woodlands and offers an excellent opportunity to view the lower gardens in comfort. There are two trains operating at Oakfield Park – The Earl of Oakfield diesel locomotive and the Duchess of Difflin steam engine.
This Easter join the Easter Eggstravaganza’ for the Childhood Cancer Foundation on Easter Monday (21st April) between 12 and 6pm. There is lots to do and see and the children will be entertained. The event will feature Easter-themed activities including an egg trail, face painting and a balloon artist, as well as train rides around the park and a visit from Emerald Garrison, Ireland’s premier Star Wars costuming club. There will be a vintage-themed tea tent for grown-ups and home-baked goods, perfect for an Easter picnic.
In the gardens of Oakfield Park the visitor can discover willow tunnels, oak circles, boardwalks, a par terre and a classical Nymphaeum by the formal lake. The gardens include:-
·                       Formal Walled garden & Kitchen Garden
·                       Parkland, Woodland and Riverside Walks
·                       Abundant Wildlife
·                       Train Rides (Saturday & Sunday only)
·                       Garden Group Tours by arrangement
·                       Picnic Benches
·                       Free Car Parking

Oatfield Park, a video of the railway at Oakfield Park 
and its connection to Percy French. 

Oprah Prime loves Donegal is Happy

The Oprah Winfrey Network has been in contact with Shane Wallace of Wallace Media and Donegal TV to give him surprising news.  Donegal is Happy has been  viewed by the production team for Oprah Prime, the popular show that is hosted and  produced by Oprah, and they love the feel-good video.  Oprah Prime has an upcoming episode of Oprah and music producer / artist Pharrell Williams.  They want to include a segment of Donegal is Happy in a compilation of videos representing all the different countries who have celebrated the song Happy.

Donegal is Happy is already a viral YouTube success with over 130,000 views. Donegal Tourism via www.govisitdonegal.com  are delighted to have supported this production and a clip of the website is featured at the end of the video, so here is hoping that Oprah will pick up on this and promote Donegal on a worldwide stage.

Oprah Prime will bring an unbelievable opportunity to showcase the county and the wonderful spirit of its people.  Shane Wallace of Donegal TV has just returned from a very successful trip to Washington and New York and he is delighted  with this news from Oprah Prime.
Oprah Prime with Pharrell Williams will be broadcast on Sunday April 13th.

Donegal TV http://www.donegaltv.ie/