As well as its famous coast, County Donegal is home to some breathtaking countryside made up of shimmering lakes, glorious woodlands and magnificent mountains. Wherever you’re staying, you won’t be far from a relaxing spot where you can enjoy some amazing scenery.
Situated on the banks of Lough Eske, meaning “lake of the fish”, Ardnamona is a fine example. It is idyllically peaceful, the perfect place to escape for a few hours and wander through a wonderful natural landscape. The nearest place to stay is Donegal Town, located about three miles away.
Donegal Town is a great base for exploring the county. It has lots of affordable accommodation to choose from - hotels, numerous guesthouses and bed and breakfasts and several holiday homes and hostels. Many of the hotels are located around an open, pedestrianised area in the centre of town. Known as The Diamond, it’s also where you’ll find the majority of its pubs, restaurants and shops.
Hotels Close to Nature
Ardnamona is known for its nature reserve, a native oak woodland covering around 1,100 acres. It lies about three miles from Donegal Town and, as well as oak, contains a diverse mix of alder, ash, rowan, birch, holly hazel and willow. The main path runs through the site and leads you on a walk of just over a mile, but unfortunately it’s not really suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs as it is steep in places and can get wet.
Hotels Near Glorious Gardens
Ardnamona Gardens was a wilderness until the 19th Century but is now home to a thriving collection of trees, shrubs and rhododendrons. It was declared a National Heritage Garden in 1991.
Work on the manor house began in the 1830s, with planting on the garden getting under way soon after. The first rhododendrons went in during the 1840s and it was soon being described as one of the area’s most romantic and picturesque locations.
The Wray family built Ardnamona House, living there until 1870. They planted an impressive conifer garden to provide some shelter to the more delicate specimens and the grounds were well maintained by subsequent owners for many years. However, from the mid-1950s to 1990, little attention was paid to them and they became overgrown.
They were then brought under control again and in 1991 received their national accolade. The award has helped secure additional funding which has helped pay for essential conservation work to be carried out by students and representatives of the National Botanic Gardens. Today, the gardens offer fabulous views of Lough Eske and boast some spectacular plants that will delight gardening enthusiasts.
Hotels Close to Ardnamona
With its wide range of high quality and affordable accommodation, Donegal Town might be the most convenient place to stay when you’re visiting Ardnamona, but the peaceful, picturesque town of Ballyshannon offers an alternative. If you have a young family you should consider Bundoran, the county’s busiest seaside resort. It’s home to a world-famous surfing beach, a water park and lots of other traditional attractions.