The Republic of Ireland is a beautiful island, and perhaps one of the most beautiful counties of them all is Co. Donegal in the far north west of the island. When I lived in Belfast and before I knew Phil, I took a couple of day trips there with Ulster Bus, and was never disappointed. This year Co. Donegal was where we spent 8 days camping on the Rosguill Peninsula. We were surrounded by beautiful beaches and wilderness, and yet there was still a lot of wonderful things for the whole family to enjoy. Here are 5 things to do in North West Donegal.
1. As I mentioned, we camped on the Rosguill Peninsula at the Rosguill Holiday Park. It was just beautiful, with our tent looking out onto a small bay with a gorgeous beach, a golf putting green, 2 playgrounds, and within walking distance to additional beaches and scenery. Rosguill Peninsula is part of the Wild Atlantic Way which spans the whole west coast of Ireland, and at times it does get a little wild.
2. The next peninsula to the east is Fanad. Drive to the top and you can visit the Fanad Head Lighthouse. It sits precariously on the cliffs with spectacular views all around. From Easter 2016, there are now tours available of the lighthouse and you can climb to the top of the tower where the light sits.
Unfortunately, the children weren’t tall enough to climb the spiral concrete staircase, but they we in on the rest of the tour. We had a very knowledgeable guide, and we learned a lot. If you’re interested, you can also spend a night in one of the lighthouse keeper’s previous homes.
The drive up and the views here were definitely one of the highlights of our entire week.
3. To the west of Rosguill is the Horn Head Peninsula which consists of a gorgeous drive up, up, up to the top where you’ll see cliff faces straight down to Sheep Haven Bay. Park at the lay-by and take a windy walk along the paths. They are somewhat water-logged, being peat bogs, so be prepared. If you’re adventurous enough, you can walk to the tower, which we didn’t do on this occasion, but it gives us reason to return.
4. Take a stroll through Ramelton. There are pubs with thatched roofs, historical buildings, an abandoned and rusty boat (I’m only assuming it’s abandoned – maybe it lovingly owned), and watch the herons as they fish the river at low tide for fish. Then watch where they fly and you may just be lucky enough to spot a nest and some hungry little balls of fluff waiting for a parent to return with lunch.
5. Speaking of lunch, if all of the driving and walking has worked up an appetite, be sure to seek out the best place in the area for fish and chips. In fact, while we were wandering around Ramelton a random elderly gentle man stopped in the street – litterally – in the middle of the road – to chat to us. He told us about his life and following the crooner bands around Ireland and the UK. He told us the best place to go is John Bridgee’s Cafe in Falcarragh. So we drove down there not once, but twice as it was so delicious and it was a vacation, after all. The fish is fresh Pollock from Killybegs and the chips are the only ones around that are cut fresh, not cooked from frozen.
We were in Ramelton a couple of time after our first meal and we always kept our eye out for that gentleman to thank him for the recommendation. He was such a character, and added some interest to our visit, as well as helping to support the local area.
Stay tuned to learn about more fantastic things to do and see in north west Co. Donegal, as I share a little more about our trip with you in a week or so.
In the meantime….let me leave you with a 6th place to visit – Doe Castle
What have you been doing this summer? Share with us in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it!