Taste the fresh seafood of Donegal Bay, experience the might of the surrounding mountains, explore the expansive beaches and dramatic coastlines and enjoy the charm of the people on your visit to breathtaking co donegal …
Main Image; Malin Head, www.ireland.com
Celebrate an Irish summer with our Fly The Flag Destination Guides featuring travel tips, restaurant recommendations, luxurious hotel stays and a focus on Irish shops and produce. If you are planning an Irish getaway – scroll and save for your next trip …
WHERE TO STAY
Lough Eske Castle Hotel
Lough Eske Castle in the tranquil hills of Donegal, is the ultimate luxurious escape along the Wild Atlantic Way. You can pamper yourself in the Cara Organic Beauty Spa with one of their luxury spa packages, followed by an afternoon tea. Guests can explore the grounds of the castle using the hotel’s complimentary bikes. One can fish on Lough Eske or take part in a unique whiskey tasting in the hotel’s brand new whiskey cellar. In the evening, one can enjoy a drink at one of the hotel bars followed by an incredible gastronomical experience in the award-winning AA Rosette Cedars Restaurant. A one night stay with a full breakfast included, a delicious chocolate treat in your room on arrival and a three course dinner in Cedars Restaurant, with a welcome glass of Prosecco starts at €315; www.lougheskecastlehotel.com.
Redcastle Oceanfront Golf and Spa Hotel
Seascapes, sandy beaches, superb Voya spa treatments and a great nine hole golf course: Redcastle offers everything needed for a top family holiday. This family-owned hotel is an ideal base for exploring the surroundings, especially Lough Foyle and Inishowen, (as well as Leisureland and Wild Ireland Nature park – sure to be a hit with the kids!). An overnight stay in one of its spacious double bedrooms is from €199; www.redcastlehoteldonegal.com.
Situated on the shores of Lough Swilly, just a short walk from a two-mile stretch of golden sandy beach, a stay at Rathmullan House offers both adventure and total tranquillity. Guests can explore the beauty of the Fanad peninsula, and in the seaside village of Rathmullan, try a range of watersports, or take a trip on the ferry to Buncrana for access to gems along Inishowen, including Malin Head, Fort Dunree and Kinnagoe Bay. After a day exploring, relax at the this family-owned hotel has been managed by the Wheeler family for over 60 years. The decor is comfortable and charming; bedrooms range from romantic doubles with garden views to large garret rooms for families. There is also a heated indoor swimming pool on the premises, as well as several relaxing sitting rooms, the Cook & Gardener restaurant, serving seafood, and The Pavilion, where pizzas, homemade ice cream and locally brewed beer from the Kinnegar Brewery are popular. All this can be explored on a two-night bed and breakfast escape from €370; www.rathmullanhouse.com.
WHERE TO SHOP
Paula Flynn of TheShopkeepers.com and THE GLOSS collated a fabulously diverse and exciting list of independent retailers around Ireland for The Best Shops Ireland and we couldn’t resist featuring some of them in our Irish Destination Guides for the summer. Look no further, here is where to shop in Co Donegal.
Magee 1866, The Diamond, Donegal Town
The Magee store has stood on the same site since it opened in the 1800s and is a true destination shop for womenswear, menswear and gifts (with a great café too). “Our ethos has always been one of ‘slow fashion’, with high quality, natural fabrics our focus,” explains creative director Charlotte Temple. “This season we dipped into our archives and revived some exciting patterns, adding a contemporary slant and new colour palettes.” www.magee1866.com. Charlotte wears the Rebecca dress in a Liberty print, from the AW22 collection
Harbour Road, The Crossroads, Bunbeg
A charming gift shop by the sea in coastal Donegal, Lorraine Quinn has stocked her shop, Harbour Road, with unique Irish and European giftable goods and homeware. There is a range of Frenchic chalk paints, a go-to for upcycling projects, while the coffee corner serves coffee, Italian hot chocolate, and sweet treats to enjoy whilst browsing. www.shopharbourroad.com
WHERE TO EAT
Killybegs Seafood Shack, Shore Rd, Cashelcummin, Killybegs
If you are a seafood lover, Killybegs Seafood Shack is sure to tickle your fancy. Located on the old pier Killybegs, the shack serves locally sourced fish seven days a week. From breaded scampi to battered haddock, to chips and all the dips – the seafood shack makes all the classics with care. Throw in a lovely harbour wall to plonk yourself on so you can take in the stunning surroundings and enjoy your fresh meal. Famous for their award winning chowder – it is certainly a spot to tick off the list. @killybegseafoodshack
Harbour Bar, Quay Street, Glebe
Located in the heart of Donegal Town, Harbour Bar, owned by Mary and Paul Kennedy, is the perfect spot to enjoy Donegal seafood with big groups of family or friends. The bar boasts stunning views over Donegal Bay, and offers a wide range of dishes with a speciality in fish, steak and pizza. Something for everyone! All dishes are made with local produce, fantastic flavours and exceptional value. Their mains include all of the family favourites from freshly caught fish and chips, to pizzas, to a classic Harbour Bar Surf and Turf. Hang around for a spot of music or an evening of stories… any event at the Harbour Bar is sure to be a great one. www.harbourdonegal.ie
The Lemon Tree, Letterkenny
Nestled in the heart of Letterkenny, along Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way is the family-run and Michelin recommended, Lemon Tree Restaurant. The Lemon Tree offers contemporary, seasonal dishes, in relaxed surroundings. Their philosophy: contemporary Irish cooking using the finest locally sourced ingredients. Starters include exciting dishes such as seared scallops or a pork croquette with fresh apple and fennel salad. Mains vary from succulent slow cooked pork belly to crispy mushroom arancini for the vegetarians. For dessert… perhaps a salted caramel tart or a Dulaman Gin Cheesecake with Honeycomb? Book for a decadent and delicious eating experience you won’t forget. www.thelemontreerestaurant.com
WHERE TO VISIT
Where To Hike: The Donegal Camino
The 2023 Donegal Camino takes place from Sunday September 3 to Saturday September 9. The Camino is in its third year running and takes hikers on a seven day walk and hike on a series of stunning loop walks and coastal trails along Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way coastline. Walkers will be able to take in the majestic mountains, the unique Gaeltacht region and of course the famous hills of Donegal. Founded by Inishowen business woman, Peggy Stringer (pictured above) who now resides in Dublin, the Donegal Camino is centred around the true ethos of a Camino and pilgrimage which brings people together for an outdoor experience like no other. What a way to take in the Donegal scenery. The Donegal Camino raises much needed funds for Cancer Care West services across the country so be sure to research or get involved if Donegal is your destination; www.donegalcamino.ie.
Malin Head, Inishowen
Well of course, you must visit Ireland’s most northerly point Malin head (pictured in the main image) if you are in the area! Visiting the point alone inspires awe and wonder to those who see it, with the breathtaking scenery, along with its historical, scientific and geological importance. Enjoy a walk but take care, go fishing, swim in the water or see the unique rock formations. www.discoverireland.ie
Where To Swim: Murvagh Beach, Murvagh Upper Glebe
The beautiful Murvagh beach is the perfect location for a day of exploring, strolling, swimming and in sunny weather, relaxing. Murvagh is a long and wide stretch of sandy beach that extends for 2km along Donegal Bay, next to Donegal Golf Club. If you peer across the bay you can see the exceptional views of Mountcharles and Raneely and even in the car park there are wonderful views north to Crownarad Mountain and the Sliabh Liag Cliffs. www.discoverireland.ie
Where To Go As A Family: Oaklands Park, Raphoe
Oakfield Park in Raphoe, is a privately owned estate and heritage railway. Open every day this summer from 11am to 6pm it is a magical, family-focused spot where you can spend the day in magnificent parkland, strolling through wild woodlands or take a scenic journey on one of their idyllic trains. There is a maze, a playground, a sculpture garden and beautiful private gardens to explore. Keep an eye out for their family-orientated special events that they host throughout the summer, including a theatrical dining experience on the train and an American country music night. Post-day-out; Buffers Restaurant in Oakfield Park is certainly worth a visit. They create a delightful array of light bites, hot dishes and sweet treats using produce from their walled garden. General park admission for adults is only €9 and €6 for children. www.oakfieldpark.com
Where To Go In The Evening: Seanchoíche x Guinness at The Harbour Bar
After a long day of beautiful excursions; a night of good storytelling will complete your magical Donegal adventure. Guinness has launched an exciting one-of-a-kind partnership with Seanchoíche and it is coming to The Harbour Bar in Donegal on August 3. Seanchoíche (pronounced shanna-key-ha) is a magical storytelling experience founded in Dublin where ordinary people tell extraordinary stories. On this evening, attendees will hear from some of the most prolific storytellers hosted since these events began in 2021, and over a pint of the delicious, creamy black stuff. Listen to stories from all walks of life and experience the charm and magic of the seaside community of Donegal. You can come as a spectator or you can come and tell a story. Book tickets for Donegal here; www.eventbrite.ie. This event will also take place in The Guinness storehouse in Dublin on July 27, and go on to Dick Mack’s in Dingle on August 10 and Matt Molloy’s in Mayo on August 24 so keep an eye out on your travels around Ireland this summer! www.guinnessopengate.com
If you visit any of these spots on your next trip to Co Donegal, be sure to let us know! Tag us on Instagram using #FlyTheFlag and @theglossmag. Or email us on email@example.com, we would love to hear from you …