This list of cool things to do in Donegal Ireland span the rugged Wild Atlantic Way and explore unique hidden gems of the “Coolest Place on Earth.” Surf and ride at beautiful beaches, hike dramatic cliffs, sip tea in a castle, and travel a less-visited side of Ireland.
Donegal Tourism hosted us for four wonderful days in order to provide the McCool Travel audience a peek at our favorite cool things do in Donegal Ireland and along the Wild Atlantic Way.
1. Sliabh Liag (Slieve League)
Perhaps the natural highlight of Donegal Ireland is the sea cliffs at Sliabh Liag (Slieve League). These cliffs are three times taller than the uber-popular Cliffs of Moher, further south along the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal. McCool Travel tip: Go Visit Donegal!
2. Glencolmcille Folk Village
Glencolmcille Folk Village has reconstructed typical Irish buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Very cool, especially since I have traced some McCool family history to the 1660s. Nice to see how ancestors (and all people, of course) would have lived during those time periods.
3. Nancy’s Barn
This cute place with the very non-Irish name, Nancy’s Barn in Ballyliffin, is not a barn (well, it may have been) and has no one there answering to the name Nancy. Owner/chef Kieran Duey won the World Chowder Cookoff in 2017 in Newport, Rhode Island so you know that seafood chowder is amazing (it was!).
4. Glenveagh National Park
The Glenveagh Castle is one highlight of the remote wilderness of Glenveagh National Park in County Donegal Ireland. The property was formerly owned by a Harvard University professor. After strolling the trails, visit the tearoom for some of the yummiest sweet treats I had on our 25 day Ireland trip.
5. Surfing in Donegal Ireland
With a name of Fin McCool’s you know it must be amazing. The patient and enthusiastic surf instructor at Fin McCool’s Surf School in Rossnowlagh taught four of us how to navigate the powerful waves and pretend to surf for a minute. So much fun!
6. Horse Ride on an Ireland Beach
The small family operated Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre provided an excellent horse riding experience on a Donegal beach.
7. Gorgeous Views in Donegal Ireland
The rugged coastline of Donegal Ireland inspires countless photo opportunities.
My travel writer friends and I had some fun at Grianan of Aileach, a fort dating back to before the 7th century. Click on the below image to play the video. What do you think?
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The epic fun #travelwriter group visiting Donegal, Ireland this week. . #tbexireland #govisitdonegal #wildatlanticway #coolestplace #travelblogger #traveltheworld #seetheworld #funness #mccooltravel @mytanfeet @contentedtraveller @funinfairfax @girlgonetravel @realadvicegal @failteireland_intmedia @tbexevents @govisitdonegal
8. Creevy Pier Hotel
After surfing with Fin McCool’s Surf School, this was a great stop. Delicious and hot seafood chowder and yummy fish & chips. With a splendid view.
9. Wild Atlantic Way
The entire Wild Atlantic Way trail traverses 2,500 km through 9 counties of Ireland. While I wish I had time to travel the entire Wild Atlantic Way itinerary, I was thrilled to see most of the Donegal portion. Experts say it is the coolest and most rugged.
10. Yeats Grave, Sligo
On the way into Donegal, stop and see the grave of W. B. Yeats just north of Sligo. I loved these swan door handles to enter the church where his grandfather was pastor.
11. Where to Stay in Donegal, Ireland
What are some of your favorite things to do in Donegal Ireland?
Note: Go Visit Donegal hosted us—Julie at FuninFairfaxVA.com and I—so that we can discover and explore things to do in Donegal Ireland and share findings with our network.
For information on fun things to do in Ireland:
- Fun Things To Do in Dublin
- Ireland Luxury Lodging: Where to Stay in Ireland
- 8 Great Places to Visit in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland: In the Footsteps of Finn McCool
- Genealogy Travel: McCool homestead in Northern Ireland