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10 Great Reasons to Visit Donegal

Go Visit Donegal has put together a list of 10 great reasons to visit Donegal to whet your appetite to pay us a visit. 

1. Donegal has been Named the Coolest Place in the Planet to visit in 2017

Donegal has been named by NationalGeographic Traveller (UK) as No. 1 place for 2017 in it’s an annual “Cool List” of recommendations for people who love to travel. 

Among plenty of other “culture capitals, hipster hot-spots, wild escapes and places generally keeping it cool” Donegal beat other great destinations to visit such as Santiago, Greenland, Sudan and Seoul. 

So, what attracts people to Donegal? Well, the people here keep it real, tell it like it is, and welcome travellers like long lost friends. How cool is that?!

2.    The Northern Lights
Image - Ronan McLaughlin 
Also known as the Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights are defined as a natural electrical phenomenon in the skies. Charged particles from the Sun's atmosphere collide with gaseous particle's of the Earth's atmosphere creating beams of bouncing light streaming across the night sky with green, yellow & pinkish tones.  The best places to see this spectacular masterpiece is in coastal regions such as Malin Head, Culdaff and Shrove in Greencastle, Inishowen, Co.Donegal. A heavenly experience that will leave you appreciating how special the county is.

Image - Bren Whelan
A county of stunning natural beauty that dazzles the eye and sparkles with Craic. After a visit to Donegal, you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated 
and determined to return! The 
scale of the county, coupled with
 its attendant islands makes Donegal a destination that is impossible to fully experience in
 one visit. We in Donegal are quite used to repeat visits from our 
visitor friends, and many have 
taken the ultimate step and put down permanent roots. Our welcome is legendary because we appreciate    what we’ve got here and are more than willing to share it!

4.    It’s the Beginning of Your Wild Atlantic Way Journey

From Malin Head to Fanad Head to Slieve League, Donegal's section of the Wild Atlantic Way route is the longest of any county and full of stunning surprises. It’s got three Signature Points 36 discovery points…and thousands of personal highlights to uncover!
Over millions of years the Atlantic has carved dramatic crevices into the rugged headlands that are stunning to behold. Marine sea-stacks, arches, and in the dramatic Slieve League cliffs, some of the best and highest examples of marine cliffs in the world.

5.    It’s light years ahead of other locations

As evidenced by the filming of Star Wars, travellers have even come from far distant galaxies to experience the wonder of the place.
This year Donegal was chosen to film "Star Wars: Episode VIII". 
A set resembling Han Solo's spaceship was set up  on the cliffs at Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point. Mark Hamill – who plays the iconic Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series commented on Donegal saying“I love it, it’s gorgeous,” he replied. “(Everyone) has made us feel like part of the family.” Pretty good endorsement all round! 

6.    The Highest Number of Blue Flag Beaches in Ireland

With a coastline of 1235 km /772 miles, the longest on the island, Donegal is blessed with many beautiful sandy beaches, thirteen of which are Blue Flag Beaches. Come and experience beaches of a quality that some appear to be man-made; but all are, in fact, a product of nature at its finest, and as pure and clean as could be wished for.

7.    The music, the music, the music!!!
Donegal has one of the richest traditions of Irish traditional music in the country and is home to some of the most talented musicians that this country has ever produced. There is a host of intimate theatre venues throughout the county that are second to none, but the real gems are the myriad of informal pub sessions that can be stumbled upon throughout the length and breadth of the county. A word of warning though… when you do happen upon such a musical treat, it is advisable to remove your watch, pocket it, and immerse yourself in an atmosphere that almost seeps from the walls and makes visitors feel 'at home' with the locals!      

8.    Outdoor Activities
From hill walking to rock climbing; golfing to surfing; bird watching to horse riding, Donegal has some of the finest outdoor activity opportunities in the country. This county of amazing natural landscapes can provide an amazing backdrop, and suitable challenge for any level of thrill-seeker and outdoor enthusiast. From the moment you arrive, it’s literally on your doorstep, just waiting to be explored.

9.    A jam-packed Calendar of Events

With world renowned festivals and events, such as the Mary from Dungloe Festival, the Rory Gallagher Music Festival, Earagail Arts Festival, or the Donegal Rally, to name but a few, Donegal has got a lot going on! That’s not counting the hundreds of smaller community festivals, clan gatherings, and traditional events that happen in almost every community within the county that may be of personal interest to you through family or acquaintances.
For information on more exciting events taking place in Donegal in 2017, visit www.govisitdonegal.com and www.donegalgathering.com

10. Fly into Donegal Airport - Voted one of World's Top 10 Scenic Landings in 2016

In 2016, PrivateFly revealed the top rated airport approach in the world as Malta International with Donegal Airport coming in at number 7 out of 117 nominees, ahead of far more famous approaches including London City, Los Angeles LAX and St. Maarten in the Caribbean.
Set between ocean and mountains at Carrickfinn, in the Gaeltacht region of Rosses/Gweedore, Donegal Airport operates twice daily flights to Dublin, and a four-times weekly service to Glasgow, both by Aer Lingus Regional.
"You arrive in the Emerald Isle adjacent to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world; Carrickfinn with a backdrop of the majestic Mount Errigal on one side and an array of craggy islands on the other," gushed one travel fan. Talk about one hell of an entrance!!

So what are you going to do about it?!

This summer, why not let the road take you on a journey of discovery through Donegal, a county of wonder and magic?! 

You can tailor your stay to suit you. One thing is certain; Donegal is a county that everyone should experience at least once in their life.

 Where heritage, history, tradition, and culture sit hand in hand with excitement, exhilaration, nightlife and craic; like star-crossed lovers in an idyllic corner of the world that knows its own strength and revels in its own confidence. Yes folks, it’s true to say… Donegal; has it all!! 

For all things Donegal check out: www.govisitdonegal.com 

The Coolest Crown on the Planet

In December 2016, Donegal was voted by National Geographic, the ‘Number 1’ place on the planet to visit in 2017.

 A key location within Donegal is the truly iconic Malin Head. As Ireland’s most northerly point the location marks the start / finish of the World’s longest defined coastal route, the Wild Atlantic Way (WAW).

Malin Head, Co. Donegal, Ireland

During May 2016, the area became the only location in Donegal where scenes for the latest edition of the Lucas Film production, Star Wars Episode IIIV were filmed (due to be released in December 2017).

Millennium Falcon, the set of the new Star Wars film. Malin Head, Co. Donegal, Ireland.
So what has the area got to offer those who travel to this stunning location at the top of Ireland?

At Malin Head, often referred to as ‘Banba’s Crown’, visitors will find a wild, rugged coastline that has been scoured by the downward forces of gargantuan ice sheets. They’ll also find a beautiful coastline, festooned with off shore islands, stunning cliff faces and beautifully elegant sea stacks that have been shaped by the constant tidal surge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Banba's Crown, Malin Head, Co. Donegal, Ireland
This area is known internationally for its coastal history, heritage, geology, ornithology and also for its diverse range of flora. It’s known as one of the World’s best places to see mega ocean fauna, such as basking sharks and it is often frequented by whales and dolphins too. For those keen on all things adventure, there are many venues for outdoor activities to suit families and solo travellers alike, such as walking, cycling, sea kayaking, rock climbing, photography, fishing and scuba diving.

Rock climbing, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland. Image © Bren Whelan
For the tired and weary adventurous traveller, the area is also home to Ireland’s most northerly pub, Farren’s Bar, which has great Guinness and pizzas too. Tasty fresh seafood is available at the Seaview Tavern, which as the name suggests has an amazing view out over Ireland’s most northerly bay and lighthouse!

Finally, staying overnight? You might just be lucky enough to catch a beautiful Northern Lights display over Malin Head! So, for a good night’s rest, look no further than the Sandrock Hostel, White Stand B&B or the aptly named Malin Head View B&B or the nearby Malin Hotel where you will receive a very warm Donegal welcome!

Northern Lights, Inishowen, Co. Donegal, Ireland

© Bren Whelan
Wild Atlantic Rock Climbing & Photography

*Visit also: www.visitinishowen.com for more details & a Step by Step Guide to chasing the Northern Lights in Inishowen.