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6 Wonders of Donegal

Doe Castle, Cresslough, Donegal.

Doe Castle

Doe Castle sits deep in Sheephaven Bay, in a spectacular location on the shore near Creeslough village. It was a stronghold of the MacSweeney Clan who came to Donegal from Scotland as Gallowglasses (professional fighters).
The central keep dates probably from the middle of the 15th century and was later enclosed by a bawn wall with flanker and gun loops. Surrounded by water on three sides, a deep fosse was carved out of rock to protect its landward side.
It is said that survivors from the Spanish Armada were sheltered here by the MacSweeneys and it was here that the young Red Hugh O’Donnell was fostered.
The castle saw many changes in its fortunes in the turbulent 17th century surviving siege and cannon fire. It was finally restored and extended by General George Vaughan Hart who transformed the castle into a country manor in the early 19th century complete with crenulated battlements. His initials can be seen above the doorway on the east side of the keep.
In 1934 it came under the protection of the Office of Public Works. They carried out extensive restoration work in the late 1990s. The grounds are open each day from dawn to dusk and weekend tours inside the keep will be available during the summer.
Grounds, excluding the tower house
Daily from 9am - 6pm
Guided tours of the tower house are facilitated by the local community group, Moving Mevagh Forward, Friday to Sunday during July and August.
Admission Free, For Guided tours, a fee of 3 euro per person is applicable to all persons aged 12 and over.
Facilities: Coffee shop nearby.

Fort Dunree, Dunree Head, Donegal.

Fort Dunree

Fort Dunree, Dun Fhraoigh in Irish means, Fort of the Heather and indicates that this site has been an important defensive site down through history. Today, however, its stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife are drawing increasing numbers of visitors to one of Inishowen's most beautiful and peaceful locations. Fort Dunree was first opened to the public in 1986 and has attracted tourists from all over the world ever since. Fort Dunree also boasts a network of walking paths, a wildlife exhibition, further military displays, a shop, and a waterfront cafeteria. Fort Dunree now hosts art exhibitions, wildlife talks, yoga classes and even weddings. It is a must-see for every visitor to the Inishowen peninsula.
Open All Year Round Monday - Sunday 10.30 am - 6.00 pm.
Adult - €7
Kids - €5
Seniors - €5
Family - €15
Group (10) - €3 each.
Facilities: Scenic Walks
The Guns of Dunree Exhibition
The Wildlife Discovery Room
The Rockhill Collection
Coffee Cup- The most scenic Coffee Shop in Ireland!
Kayaking, Snorkelling, and Coasteering can now be pre-booked
Exhibition/Conference Space

Glencolmcille Folk Village

Glencolmcille Folk Village

The Glencolmcille Folk Village is built in the form of a village in which each house is an exact replica of a dwelling used by the local people in each of the three successive centuries (18th, 19th 20th) and is equipped with the furniture, artifacts, and utensils of its particular period.
This thatched-roof replica of a rural village in Ireland’s most northwesterly county offers a glimpse into daily life as it was during past centuries.
The Folk Village Museum is a cluster of several small cottages, called a ‘clachan’, perched on a hillside overlooking the sandy curve of Glen Bay Beach in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) of South West Donegal. Designed, built and maintained by the local people, the Folk Village is one of Ireland's best living-history museums.
The Folk Village is open from Easter until the end of October.
Dé Luain (Monday) - Dé Sathairn (Saturday) 10 am - 6 pm
Dé Domhnaigh (Sunday) 10.00 to 18.00 hrs (July and August)
From 1st of October
Monday to Sunday 11.00 to 4.30 pm
**End of October, ring in advance to clarify exact date of closure.
Tour prices are as follows:
  • Adults €6.00
  • Senior €5.00
  • Group €5.50 (over 11 pax.)
  • Students €5.00
  • Children over 7 year €2.50 (Under 7 years free)
  • Family €15.00 (2 Adults and 2 children only) - please note that 3 or more children will be a €1.00 extra per child.

Glenveagh National Park, Donegal.

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park is one of six national parks in Ireland, encompassing some 16,000 acres in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains.
Glenveagh National Park is open all year round.
Castle, Visitor Centre, and Gardens open every day apart from Good Friday and the Christmas period.
Glenveagh Visitor Centre
The Glenveagh Visitor Centre is located on the northern end of Lough Veagh, near the edge of the National Park. Its award-winning design incorporates a living heather roof mimicking the surrounding landscape causing the minimum disturbance. The extensive displays contained within provide an introduction to the parks natural and built history as well as providing information on walking trails events etc. Guides on duty will also be happy to provide visitors with information about the park and surrounding area as well as tickets for the park buses.
The visitor centre provides the following facilities:
Tourist Information
Car Parking
Audio Visual Displays
Bus Tickets
Baby changing facilities
Restaurant (Open at Easter and then June to September only)
Glenveagh Castle
Glenveagh Castle is a 19th-century castellated mansion and was built between 1867 and 1873. Its construction in a remote mountain setting was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat. It was designed by John Townsend Trench, a cousin of its builder and first owner, John George Adair, with whom he had been raised in Co. Laois. The designer appears to have imitated the style of earlier Irish Tower-houses adding an air of antiquity to the castle. The building stone chose was granite, plentiful in Donegal but difficult to work and allowing for little detail. The forbidding architecture of the castle is quickly forgotten amidst the varied comforts within. Henry McIlhenny, the last owner of the castle, served the Philadelphia Museum of Art as Curator of Decorative Arts and his expertise in this field is evident throughout the castle. Through time, each room acquired a different character, some roughly in keeping with the period of the house, others freely inventive. Few of the great houses of Ireland are preserved in this condition, with their original furnishings, and in Glenveagh Castle one catches a glimpse of a lifestyle belonging to an earlier age. Access to the castle is by guided tour which lasts approx. 30 mins
Glenveagh Castle Tearooms
The tearoom is located in the castle courtyard and opens daily from 11am to 5.30pm. Serving delicious home-baked scones, cakes, bread, soups, and sandwiches, it is the perfect place to relax and take a break during your visit to the beautiful gardens or after your tour of the castle.
bookings@glenveaghtearooms.com       http://www.glenveaghnationalpark.ie/               
November - March the Visitor Centre is open from 9.00am to 5.00pm. The last bus to the castle and garden is at 3.45pm. The last bus return from the castle is at 4.45pm.
March 17th to 31st October - The Visitors Centre is open from 9.15am to 5.30pm. The last bus to castle and garden is at 4.45pm. The last bus return from the castle is at 5.45pm.

Adult Bus Return                            €3.00
Concession Bus Return                  €2.00
65 years & over, a student with a valid student card & children over the age of six years
Single Ticket                                   €1.50

Adult Castle Ticket                           €7.00
Concession Castle Ticket                 €5.00
Family Castle Ticket                         €15.00
65 years & over, a student with a valid student card & children over the age of six years  
Castle Tours will be limited during the off-peak and busy season
The last tour of the castle will be 4.30pm

Donegal Castle, Donegal Town.

Donegal Castle

Built by the O'Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle has extensive 17th-century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle owners from the O'Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family. Limited access for people with disabilities to the ground floor.
Location: In the centre of Donegal Town
Guided Tours:
Available every hour.
Max. No: 35
Duration: 30 mins
Leaflet/Guide Booklet: English, Irish, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Easter - Mid September
Daily. 10.00 - 18.00
Mid-September - Easter
Thursday - Monday
09.30 - 16.30
Admission Fees
Adult: €5.00
Group/Senior: €4.00
Child/Student: €3.00
Family: €13.00


An Grianan Aileach, Burt.

An Grianan Aileach

The Stone Fort of Grianán of Aileach is sitting on a hilltop in Inishowen County Donegal. 250m above sea level, the stone fort was probably first built on an earthen rath.

The view from Aileach is breathtaking. The glistening waters of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly are clear, as is the form of the entire peninsula. A windy and exposed place, Grianán has been a silent witness to the history of Ireland.

The origins of the Grianán of Aileach fort are dated back to 1700 BC. It is linked to the Tuatha de Danann who invaded Ireland before the Celts and built stone forts on top of strategic hills. They worshipped Dagda (the Good God) and he too is associated with the origins of Aileach. It was he who ordered the building of a stone fort to act as a burial monument to his dead son.

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