Welcome to the Go Visit Donegal Blog

The Many Faces of Donegal

For many years now, County Donegal has been firmly established as one of the premier tourism destinations within Ireland. Throughout this time, Donegal has been many things to many people. Anyone who visits this truly unique county, will take away with them memories and experiences that are highly personalised that will live long after the encounter.

So what is it about Donegal that makes it so special?

Donegal is a county of vast expanses, extremes and excitement. Situated in the North West of Ireland, the ingredient of the tourist experience of this magical county is the people who inhabit it. Indeed, it is a testament to the friendliness and welcoming nature of the people of Donegal, that many who now reside there are not necessarily native to the region. Many of these people of the ‘new’ Donegal have since become some of the county’s greatest ambassadors, at home and abroad. And why not?! It is the jewel in the crown of a country renowned for its tourist attractions. A cradle of the Irish tradition of music, song and craic that almost permeates the countryside.

When one visits Donegal, the unique welcome that is afforded the visitor does not come from its rugged landscape, nor its many islands, or from its glorious coastline either. It comes from the greeting of the lone walker on one of its 13 Blue Flag beaches or mountain walks. From the chatter of the family descending Errigal mountain. From the socialising shopper in any of its bustling towns. 
From the assured guidance of the surf instructor in the world class surf of Bundoran.  From the jovial banter of publican and punter savouring one of the county’s fine craft beers. From the shrieks of excited children in any of its numerous playgrounds and adventure parks.

Donegal is one of three counties of Ulster that is not in Northern Ireland. It is the most northerly point of the island that remains in the south! It is a county that is steeped in Irish culture and heritage that transcends borders and traditions. The county’s many regions are connected by many newly established cycle routes and the longest stretch of the famous Wild Atlantic Way, a coastal tourist route that spans the western seaboard of Ireland.

Donegal is also a mystical county of ancient sites and folklore, where little minds can be fired up to take flight across the realms of imagination. A place where all cultures, old and new, are accepted wholeheartedly. Where smiling faces are generous with their time and with their surroundings. It’s as if they realise just how special this extreme North West corner of Europe is; and want to share its treasures and secrets with all who take the time to take in the splendour of the county that has so much to offer.

 Donegal is an area of outstanding natural beauty but is also a county of people who are the face of modern Ireland. Optimistic and open-minded, with an eye for detail who excel in customer service. Where luxury accommodation, superb cuisine, and easily accessible amenities are part and parcel of the visitor experience.

A county where you can take in the breath-taking scenery of places like Malin Head, Fanad Lighthouse, and the sea cliffs of Slieve League as you begin your Wild Atlantic Way adventure, or settle into the welcoming cosiness of a relaxing stay in some of the most unspoilt countryside in the whole of Ireland. A county with an array of activities that are second to none, and a variety of regional landscapes within its vastness that make it appear like a miniature province. All that is left is for you to explore it, create your own memories and discover the many faces of Donegal.

Experience a place where everyone feels welcome and everyone feels at home.  Donegal, has it all! 

Foodie Destinations 2016

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is on the search for Ireland’s top Foodie Destination for 2016. Formerly known as Foodie Towns, the initiative was formed as part of the Irish Restaurant Awards 2014 but proved to be so popular it became its own entity in 2015.

Their aim is to celebrate Ireland’s unique and wonderful food offerings and to encourage local food tourism initiatives across the country.

Applications are now being accepted. A minimum of three groups/businesses/organisations must apply together. Please read the eligibility criteria/guidelines below before applying.

The process:

- Applications will be accepted between the 14th of July and the 11th of August
- Applications will be reviewed by a panel of experts and ten finalists will be announced
- Each of these ten finalists will receive a two hour visit from two of Ireland’s top food critics
- Online voting will commence and the public vote will count for 50% of the total score
- The overall winner will be announced in September

How to Apply:

- Read the eligibility criteria/application guidelines HERE
- Fill out the application form HERE
- Pay the application fee of €150 + VAT (our team will contact you)

For further information please contact the RAI Team on 01 677 9901 or email media@rai.ie

Wishing you the best of luck!

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. 

Donegal Creatives release their 'One day ..' wishes

The Creative Industries in Donegal got the chance to shine during Enterprise Week this year (March 7th -11th, 2016). The Local Enterprise Office facilitated an exhibition of work produced by creators in the business of making a living from their creativity. An eclectic array of products and services from the creative sector were on display for the week in an unused commercial property in Letterkenny: textile designers and makers, potters and painters, sculptors, film-makers and photographers, fine artists and graphic designers were all represented. 

DNK Media Productions produced mini profile videos of a number of the creators introducing themselves, their work and declaring their 'One day …' wishes for release to the 'internet fairies' on social media.

All mini profile videos are available on our
  Go Visit Donegal YouTube Channel

Click to watch

The exhibition will be run again as part of The Earagail Arts Festival, 15-17th July in The Town Centre Building, Scally Practice Place, Justice Walsh Rd., Letterkenny.

For more information visit: