Ten Tips for Things to Do in County Donegal, Ireland

Here are our tips for things to do in County Donegal, the northernmost county in Ireland.  Which might not sound all that interesting until you realize that parts of Co. Donegal are actually north of Northern Ireland. Aside from just a small strip of border touching Co. Leitrim, you’ll technically have to go through the United Kingdom to get there.

Donegal Coast by mjmkeating

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Trace your roots at the Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum

Because of the many eras of emigration from Ireland, many people return to explore their Irish roots. The Glencolmcille Folk Village Museum is a great place to get a window into the world that so many left behind while also exploring the world that has shaped current day Ireland.

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of sludgegulper

Travel back to the Iron Age at Griana an Aileach

Stay at the town of Burt and visit the nearby Iron Age ring fort, Grianan an Aileach. Sitting atop a hill, the fort looks out over Co. Donegal and offers views that are hard to beat. The area was most likely once a seat of power and culture in ancient Ireland. Today, it is one of those ancient ruins that just shouldn’t be missed.

Grianan an Aileach by Steve Cadham

Visit Donegal Castle

Take a guided tour at the 15th century Donegal Castle in Donegal Town. There is a small fee to visit the castle, but the castle has been nearly completely restored and is well worth the entrance fee.

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of Marcus Murphy.  More pictures by Marcus Murphy here.

Learn to speak Irish

Learn Irish at the Oideas Gael Language camp. For over 25 years, the camp has been offering education in both the Irish language as well as Irish culture for adults. While the course does not necessarily come cheap, it offers a unique opportunity to learn the Irish language in one of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes.

Things to do Donegal

Spectate at the Donegal Car Rally

Enjoy (from a safe distance) the Donegal International Car Rally.  On the third weekend of June, the three day event brings rally fans from around the world to the competition. The course winds through breathtaking scenery and offers world class racing.

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of leppre

Explore the region on foot or bike

People from around Ireland and Europe flock to Co. Donegal for the nature. With good reason. So go for a walk or go cycling. Anywhere. The countryside is beautiful so get out there and explore.  You can head off on your own, either having rented a bike or by foot, but be sure to head out there.

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of Jule_Berlin. More pictures by Jule_Berlin here.

Go swimming or surfing

Boasting some of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland, Co. Donegal has plenty of white sandy beaches to choose from. Bundoran is a great place to enjoy the sea as well as get a little surfing in.

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of dusi_bbg. More pictures by dusi_bbg here.

Go Diving

Not only can you go swimming, but you can even go diving.  Mevagh Diving Center offers dives for all experience levels as well as dives to various wrecks and plenty of scenic dives. They are a PADI 5 Star certified dive center and the only dive center in Co. Donegal.  They’ll even take you diving every single day of the year.  Although, unless you’re braver than me, diving in December, that far north is better left to others.

Explore Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park offers guided walks with park rangers throughout the year, although booking is essential. The lakes, forests, and mountainous areas offers a beautiful countryside and the park prides itself on its ongoing efforts to reintroduce the Golden Eagle which was classified as extinct in the area in 1912.

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of rejflinger. More pictures by rejflinger here.

Admire the views from Slieve League

And finally, go to the Slieve League. The sea cliffs are actually much higher than the Cliffs of Moher in Co. Clare and due to the lack of notoriety you’ll find fewer people swarming the cliffs.  As always though, be safe!

Things to do Donegal

Picture courtesy of Dr.epsylon. More pictures by Dr.epsylon here.

Find the best deals on hotels in Donegal

Click here for great deals on Donegal hotels on the HotelsCombined price comparison site.


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About Marcus Cederstrom

I was born in Sweden and moved to the US just before my 6th birthday. I grew up in the United States eventually graduating from the University of Oregon. After graduation and about 17 years in the US I made the decision to move back to Sweden. I have been living in Stockholm since the summer of 2007. Since graduation I have traveled throughout eastern Australia as well as in Sweden and Europe.