Donegal

Travel Guide

Donegal sits on the Atlantic-washed northwest coast of Ireland, straddling the Eske River in lush, green County Donegal. Nestled between the Barnesmore Mountains and the Eske as it flows into Donegal Bay, this charm-laden town serves up pastel-painted houses, a quaint harbourside and narrow lanes edged with welcoming restaurants, shops, pubs and bars. Any walk around Donegalwill bring you to The Diamond, the pedestrianised square at the heart of the town, with its stone obelisk, and imposing Donegal Castle, dating from the 15th century.

Best of DonegalDonegal is small enough to feel at home in right away, and there’s no shortage of things to do in this welcoming town. There’s something for history and culture buffs, keen walkers, foodies and night owls.

Explore the harbourside to enjoy the postcard-perfect views of the Eske and Donegal Bay; admire enchanting St Patrick’s Church; and view the Four Masters Obelisk at The Diamond, which honours the four monks who penned the ‘The Annuals of the Four Masters’, a historical account of Gaelic Ireland.

Take a guided tour of Donegal Castle, once home to the O’ Donnell family who ruled the area, to see its grandiose rooms and furnishings, and roam the atmospheric ruins of Donegal’s 15th century Franciscan Friary, set against beautiful bay views.

Other must-sees include the Railway Heritage Centre, a museum commemorating the long-gone local railways, and a cruise on the Donegal Bay Waterbus, a journey around the unspoilt islands, seal-inhabited crags and green hills that bound the bay, all backed by views of the Bluestack Mountains.

History of DonegalThe site of prehistoric forts, Donegal town was settled by the Vikings in the 9th century, becoming known as Dún na nGall, which translates as ‘Fort of the Foreigners’. After the Vikings were forced out by the Gaelic family of the O’Donnell clan, the town became the capital of the O’Donnells’ Tir Chonaill territories, before being seized by the English crown and developing into the town it is today between the 17th and 20th centuries.

Sights around DonegalDonegal is an excellent gateway for the sandy beaches, craggy coastlines, mountains and untouched countryside. Head for the nearby lake of Lough Eske for scenic walks along its banks, go hiking in the Bluestack Mountains, relax on the Blue Flag beaches of Murvagh, Rossnowlagh and Bundoran, or hit the Wild Atlantic Way touring route to ogle Donegal’s magnificent coastline, including the Slieve League cliffs. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for angling, horse riding and golf, and Donegal town is a perfect base for those who love the outdoors.

Enjoying DonegalDonegal bursts with shops, restaurants and pubs to keep you busy day and night. Stroll around Main Street and The Diamond to discover a great choice of traditional stores, including clothing, arts, crafts and book shops — all perfect for souvenir-hunting.

When you’re peckish, visit any of Donegal’s restaurants in the town centre or edging Donegal Bay. With everything from seafood, pasta and Chinese to fish and chips and fine dining on the menu, there’s something for everyone.

Later, sample the Irish craic at Donegal’s cosy pubs and inns. Along with a famously warm Irish welcome, traditional Irish music is a draw at most drinking spots, making Donegal great for nightlife.

The Abbey Hotel Donegal
The Abbey Hotel Donegal
3 out of 5
The Diamond, Donegal, County Donegal
The price is £92 per night from 22 May to 23 May
Stay at this 3-star hotel in Donegal. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 bars/lounges and a nightclub. Our guests praise the restaurant and the helpful staff in their reviews. ...
3.9/5 Very Good! (355 reviews)
"Beautiful spot right in the Center of donegal, excellent shopping and walking distance to everything needed"

Reviewed on 12 May 2022

The Abbey Hotel Donegal
Mill Park Hotel
Mill Park Hotel
4 out of 5
The Mullins, Donegal, Donegal
The price is £125 per night from 23 May to 24 May
Stay at this 4-star hotel in Donegal. Enjoy free WiFi, a children's pool and room service. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in their reviews. ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (354 reviews)
"Friendly welcoming staff Very clean Would definitely visit again"

Reviewed on 6 May 2022

Mill Park Hotel
Lough Eske Castle
Lough Eske Castle
5 out of 5
Lough Eske, Donegal Town, County Donegal, Donegal, Donegal, F94 HX59
The price is £315 per night from 22 May to 23 May
Stay at this 5-star luxury hotel in Donegal. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking and 3 restaurants. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in their ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (509 reviews)
Lovely stay
"Beautiful setting. Staff can’t do enough for you"

Reviewed on 14 Feb 2022

Lough Eske Castle
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
The Manor - 4 bedrooms all ensuite, 7 beds, sleeps 12
The Manor - 4 bedrooms all ensuite, 7 beds, sleeps 12
Donegal, County Donegal
The price is £895 per night from 3 Jun to 4 Jun
Stay at this family-friendly holiday home in Donegal. Enjoy on-site parking, a garden and a patio. Popular attractions Donegal Castle and O'Donnel's Castle are ...
The Manor - 4 bedrooms all ensuite, 7 beds, sleeps 12
The Suite on The Diamond Donegal Town on the WAW
The Suite on The Diamond Donegal Town on the WAW
3 out of 5
Donegal, County Donegal
Stay at this 3-star holiday home in Donegal. Enjoy free WiFi, a TV and cable TV. Popular attractions Donegal Castle and O'Donnel's Castle are located nearby. ...
5/5 Exceptional! (1 review)
Great place for a family getaway
"Had a lovely stay in the Studio. We used it as a base for a few day trips around Donegal. Perfect to come home to. All amenities, quiet though bang in the middle of town. Easy access to restaurants. We knew parking space around the house was limited but we found space quite easily. Isabel very efficient ..."

Reviewed on 11 Aug 2020

The Suite on The Diamond Donegal Town on the WAW
The Manor - 8 bedrooms all ensuite, 16 beds, sleeps 30
The Manor - 8 bedrooms all ensuite, 16 beds, sleeps 30
Donegal, County Donegal
Stay at this family-friendly holiday home in Donegal. Enjoy on-site parking, a garden and barbecues. Popular attractions Donegal Castle and O'Donnel's Castle ...
5/5 Exceptional! (1 review)
Wonderful
"We had a wonderful stay in this beautiful house. It is in a Great location just 5 minutes from Donegal town. The house is well equipped with everything you need, perfect for large gatherings and Sian was more than helpful. Would highly recommend."

Reviewed on 1 Mar 2022

The Manor - 8 bedrooms all ensuite, 16 beds, sleeps 30
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Donegal

Top things to do in Donegal

Cities near Donegal