The Best of Inishowen, Co. Donegal
Suddenly…all of the mountains of cancellations and fear from March, April and May 2020 compiled themselves into one huge swarm of re-bookings, optimism, excitement and hope from a nation bound and tied at home for a quarter of a year. The past few weeks has been a learning curve for us all. With many of us being forced to stop – together with all the frontline workers and essential service workforce compelled to keep going during a dark and scary time – we’ve all been forced to re-assess our lives, look for the light and throw off some of the shackles that have been tying us down.
This week I’ve been both delighted, excited and nervous as our first holidaymakers arrived in Donegal. DELIGHTED that tourism is booming with so many people choosing to travel within Ireland and staycation this year; EXCITED to see all the happy faces of the adults and kids finally escaping the small zone that they’d been tied to for so long – its the small things that really matter now as we’d taken so much for granted for too long; and lastly NERVOUS as a holiday home owner putting all the new measures in place, informing our staff of what’s required to ensure a safe staycation and worried that everything will work out now that people are beginning to re-circulate….talk of a second wave is somewhat unsettling as we all try to fit into this “new” normal.
It’s so lovely to see that people are arriving and happy and really the reason for this blog is to aid all of our guests as they explore Inishowen safely so that they can make the most from their “Staycation”.
Inishowen in one blog with all its best bits – this is a tough one as there really is so much and I’m afraid to leave anything out….
***Note that many of the highlighted words can be clicked to direct you to the main site of the attraction where you can get further information***
There are too many to mention. Just follow the shoreline around the head of the peninsula and expect nothing less than sandy beaches and spectacular sights. The “Inishowen 100” drive is a great way of viewing the coastlines best bits. A swim can be really refreshing in the fresh saltwater during summer season.
Kinnagoe Bay is also a hidden treasure that should not be missed.
Inishowen has a few hot spots where the surf is best enjoyed – mainly Tullagh Bay, Culdaff and Dunree. I would highly recommend hiring Dan Gallanagh from Inishowen Surfschool to take your family/friends group out for a few hours. Dan arrives in his surf van full of boards, wetsuits, beach shoes – everything you need. He chooses the location based on the surf that day – he really does know best. His instruction is fabulous – he caters for all age groups and his rate is very competitive. A fun filled day for all the family.
Inflatable Water Park & Kayaking
Summer 2020 has just seen the launch of Inish Adventures floating arena just off Movilles shore path. If you have lively older kids and teenagers then this will be a dream for them (and for you parents – as it will tire them out! lol)
Inish Advetures also offers instructed kayak hire aswell as summer camps during July and August
Animal sanctuary which houses Brown Bears, Wolves, Barbary Macaque Monkeys, Wild Boar, Lynx, Red Deer and Aviary with Golden Eagle. A lovely family day out – up close with nature and the wild.
If there’s one museum to visit in Donegal then this is it. Doagh Famine Village is an education for both Irish and visitors alike. Everytime I visit I learn something new! Story tellers lead guests through the history of Irish life from the Great Famine of the 1840s right through to the present day. Attractions include thatched cottages, an eviction scene, Orange Hall, Republican Safe House and Irish Wake to name a few.
An exciting outdoor racing track with top of the range Sodi Karts and Stock Cars. Great for all the thrill seekers who fancy a competitive race.
Set on the stunning Knockamanny bends at Malin Head, you can now enjoy the spectacular scenery with views from Malin Head to Glashedy Rock to the Isle of Doagh and beyond, all while exploring the hills of Donegal with your very own Alpaca to guide you.
There are two ferry services in Inishowen. The Lough Swilly Ferry links Buncrana with Rathmullan and The Lough Foyle Ferry service links Greencastle with Magilligan Point in Northern Ireland. A trip on these as foot passenger or by car makes for a fun day out and allows greater exploration of the wider surrounding areas.
The walk up to Glenevin Waterfall takes the walker on a safe, well sign posted route. Picnic areas, Footbridges and stepping stones all make for the path that leads to the pretty waterfall at the end of the 1km walk
An Grianan Of Aileach
The Grianan of Aileach (Sun Temple of Aileach) is one of the largest and most impressive circular stone ringfort, hill top enclosures in the whole of Ireland. The stone fort, which is located in Donegal, Ireland, sits on the top of Greenan Hill, and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area.
If you cant choose which drive to go on – don’t miss this!!! Fort Dunree is a coastal defence fortification located on the west side of the Inishowen Peninsula. Today its home to a military museum but the views from this vantage point are some of the most spectacular that Inishowen has on offer. To top it off you can sit and have a coffee in one of Irelands most scenic coffee shops – The Coffee Cup – while the kids pier jump from the slipway beside the beautiful caves.
Explore Irelands north coast aboard the Amazing Grace. The yacht comfortably sleeps 9 people and you can create your own bespoke package to explore the Norths Wild Atlantic Way by sea!
Why not make the most of the Lough Swilly when you are here. This company provide boat rental for any occasion From Family Days out, Fishing trips or Sightseeing Tours. 2.5 Hour Tours, Half Day and
Full Day rentals available.
Inishowen is a walkers dream. With so many mountains and hills to climb with background scenery to die for…The trail guides attached are a great starting point for you to choose what you prefer. If company is more your thing then why not go on one of the many organised treks set up by local company “Northwest Hiking and Hill Walking Tours“.
Leisureland is recognised as one of Ireland’s leading Indoor Fun Parks. Catering for children of all ages, they offer a safe and secure environment loaded with fun.
Indoor soft play frame area for younger kids with tea/coffee station for parents to relax while the kids play.
There are a number of great free play parks located throughout Inishowen and mostly beside the beaches. A few locations in particular are Festival Park, Buncrana; Moville playpark along the shore green walk; Culdaff beach playpark and Ballyliffin Beach play park.
Buncrana has a large tennis court that can be used by the public. You must bring your own equipment.
Inch Level Wildlife Reserve and Loop Walk
As Ireland’s premier wetland site, the Inch Wildfowl Reserve is a Special Protected Area under the EU
Birds Directive. It is an internationally significant destination for thousands of migrating birds from three different continents; including geese, swans, ducks and other waders. The infrastructure at the reserve caters for outdoor recreational activity such as walking, running and cycling on a popular 8km looped path with seating, and viewpoints.
Malin Head and Banbas Crown
Malin head is the most northernly point in Ireland. It is always worth a trip if you want to dust off the cobwebs and feel the wind in your face. Not for the faint hearted with spectacular views and Hell’s Hole to teeter around. Malin head was more recently famed for its location set of the Star Wars movie “The Last Jedi” in 2016.
There are numerous Golf Courses on offer. Ballyliffin recently acclaimed fame when it hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in 2018. There are also golf courses in Redcastle, Greencastle and two in Buncrana – North West Golf Club and Buncrana Golf Club
Buncrana cinema is one of Irelands oldest cinemas and a little gem in the heart of Buncrana. The old fashioned setting with balcony and stalls brings the movie enthusiast a step back in time with its old world charm. Adults and kids will love this!
Inishowen Welcomes You
From the friendly “Hello” or “What’s the craic?”
To “May the wind be always at your back”
From the rolling hills and rugged coastline
To the quaint little towns and villages where rustic Irishness lies instilled.
“Up here it’s different”, the saying goes…well surely that’s a Pro!
Steeped with beauty and friendly chat this mystical land of Eoghan awaits you…
Try the “Tae”. Look for the hay. Cut the turf. Head for the surf.
Beaches, Golf, Mountain walks, cycle routes, sea, diving, sailing, fishing, lobster pots, music, dance, great food and drink…the list is endless….in Donegal we have it all!!!
A whistle stop guide to all the fun places you can visit and see during your Inishowen staycation