Things to do in donegal

35 Things To Do In Donegal [Fun & Affordable] 2022

There are so many things to do in Donegal,that it can be hard to know where to start! 

I remember when I first discovered Donegal, I had absolutely no clue about what or where to start my adventure, as I had no guide then. 

So I started googling : ‘Fun things to do in donegal and free things to do in donegal’ and ended up with a really cool list that keep me happy exploring donegal for ages!

Anyway, I don’t want you to be in the same position as I was a few years ago- feeling a bit clueless and bored, not knowing what to do or see in Donegal. So I have prepared a list of 35 epic things that will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Ireland.

So what are you waiting for? Open your travel planning app and add these bucket lists to your Irish trip!

From these 35 epic things to do in Donegal, I hope this list will help you and your loved one to fully explore this magnificent county, from hiking and fishing to golfing and sightseeing (there is always something for everyone in Donegal!)

If you’re under a time constraint, don’t worry, as we have a list of several best things to do in Donegal, Ireland (that can be suitable for you and your loved one based on your traveling style). 

The Best Natural Things To Do In Donegal: Slieve League

The Best Adventurous Things To Do In Donegal: Sea Kayaking In Donegal 

The Best Family-friendly Things To Do In Donegal: Bundoran Adventure Park

35 Epic Best Things To Do In Donegal

Best Natural Attractions to do in Donegal

1. Slieve League

2. Secret Waterfall

3. Fairy Bridges

4. Ardnamona Woods

5. Owenwee River Waterfalls

6. Caves of Maghera

7. Assaranca Waterfall

8. Mountain Errigal

9. Glenveagh National Park

10. Ards Forest Park 

11. Glenevin Waterfall

12. Malin Head

Best Adventurous Things To Do In Donegal: Activity Adventure

13. Hike In Horn Head

14. Explore Donegal By Cycling Tour

15. Play Golf At Cruit Island Golf Club

16. Horse Riding At Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre

17. Halfway Karting In Buncrana

18. Cliff Climbing in Malin Head 

19. Sea Surf beaches In Donegal

20. Sea Kayaking In Donegal 

21. Scuba Dive At Arranmore Island

22. Eco Atlantic Adventures

23. Sea Adventure Waterpark

Best Family-friendly Attractions In Donegal: 

24. Bundoran Adventure Park

25. Dunlewey Centre

26. Donegal Bay Waterbus

27. Donegal Castle

28. Lough Eske Castle

29. Doe Castle

30. Glenveagh Castle

31. Fort Dunree

32. Doagh Famine Village

33. Tropical World Zoo

34. Arena 7 Entertainment Complex

35. Waterworld Bundoran

Things to do in donegal

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When you visit Ireland you want to be prepared because it can get COLD! And it also rains a lot O_O If you want to enjoy this charming country in comfort, make sure you pack some essentials that we ALWAYS pack:

Best Things To Do In Donegal: Natural Attractions

Donegal is truly a natural wonderland in Ireland, especially for fellow nature enthusiasts who enjoy scenic walks. Thanks to its stunning natural landscape, hiking and walking in nature is truly one of the best things to do in Donegal County.

1. Slieve League

This sacred and iconic mountain, Slieve League, is truly one of the best places to see in Donegal. With stunning coastal views as well as plenty of hiking trails to explore, it’s easy to understand why this place attracts so many visitors every year.

Things to do in donegal

As a matter of fact, Slieve League is actually one of the top three highest sea cliffs in the world, with a staggering height of 1,972 feet (601 meters), which offers you the most breathtaking panoramic view of Donegal.

To put things in perspective, Slieve League is actually (3x) times higher than Ireland’s popular Cliffs of Moher and twice as tall as Paris’s Eiffel Tower (which is really high!)

It’s an hour’s drive away from Donegal Town and is located in Teelin, on the southwest coast of Donegal. The Slieve League has 2 car park spots that you can choose to park near the cliffs.

Important notes:

  • Has 2 car park spots:
    • Lower car park: a 45-minute+ moderately strenuous walk away from the viewing point (Go spot for those who prefer to do some exercise)
    • Upper car park:  next to the viewing platform.
  • Carpark fee: €5 ($5) for 2 hours or €15 ($15) for the day
  • Time: 2-3 hours 

2. Secret Waterfall

If you like to discover secret natural landmarks, then this secret waterfall in Largy will surely keep you thrilled and excited.

Things to do in donegal

This secret waterfall can be found in a secluded area between the towns of Killybegs and Kilcar, and there are several ways you can reach this hidden waterfall, which you can discover here. (Insert link to Slieve League article)

Important Notes:

  • The path to this secret waterfall can be extremely slippery and dangerous 
  • Must always check the tide times before visiting this secret waterfall
  • Free entry
  • Suggested Time: 1 hour

3. Fairy Bridges

Fairy Bridges is a series of peculiar rock formations that form natural arches near Ballyshannon beach, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

This natural splendor was formed due to the constant barrage of seawater over the past hundred years.

However, back in the 1700s, Irish locals believed that these arches were formed and haunted by local fairies, as some claimed these fairies could be heard when passing the bridge. 

Hence, the name “The Fairy Bridges.” 

If you have some time, look for the famous wishing chair, where you will find a unique rock formation that you can sit on (in fact, there’s a way to actually sit on the wishing chair).

The Best Way To Experience The Wishing Chair:

  1. Carefully sit down on the chair
  2. Place both arms on the chair
  3. Take 15 seconds to enjoy a panoramic view of Donegal Bay on the left and Tullan Strand on the right.
  4. Reflect on past figures and great individuals who have sat on this wishing chair
  5. Close your eyes 
  6. Make a wish in silence and privately! (Some say it increases the chance of a wish becoming true)
  7. Once done, gently tap on the chair twice as a commitment. 

Ultimately, this award-winning landmark is certainly one of the best Donegal attractions worth visiting!

Important notes:

  • A family-friendly natural attraction
  • Nearby Bundoran Beach 
  • Free entry
  • Suggested time: 1 hour

4. Ardnamona Woods

Ardnamona Wood nature reserve is a 456.6-hectare native oak woodland located roughly 5 km (3.1 miles) north-northeast of Donegal Town.

 This is one of the best spots to bring your loved ones (be it family members, friends, or even pets) for a nature stroll near Donegal.

Most of the walking trails are approximately 2 km (1.2 mile) from start to finish, with stunning floral landscapes such as mosses, bluebells, and streams for little kids to explore.

(though there are some areas that are quite steep). 

Hence, making it one of the best Donegal things to do that is family-friendly!

Important notes:

  • Kids-friendly but not suitable for pushchairs/wheelchairs user due to uneven terrain
  • Free entry
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes

5. Owenwee River Waterfalls

Here’s another hidden and sacred gem in Donegal that we have recently discovered!

The Owenwee River Waterfalls, also known as the Belclare River, were formed on the slopes of Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holiest mountain. In fact, Croagh Patrick was formerly a gathering place for the pagans to mark the beginning of the harvest season.

This stunning natural river is truly one of the best places to visit in Donegal, especially for fellow Christians, as it is filled with historical religious events.

Important notes:

  • Only 2-minutes away from Maghera Beach
  • Wheelchair is accessible
  • Nice spot to have a quick break or picnic
  • Free entry
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes

6. Caves Of Maghera 

Located near the Maghera Strand, this pristine 5km white sand beach will be greeted by a few of the 20 caverns located under Slievetooey Mountain.

This magnificent caves of Maghera beach offers a refreshing view of the Atlantic Ocean along with 20 unique sea caves, 8 arches, and 5 coastal tunnels to explore either by foot or by kayak.

If you enjoy marveling at natural geological rock formations, the caves of Maghera are certainly for you.

Important notes: 

  • Not ideal for swimming due to dangerous rip tides
  • Parking fee: €3 ($3) with a nearby toilet with a small fee of €0.50 ($0.50)
  • Very near to Assaranca waterfall
  • Suggested time: 1 hour

7. Assaranca Waterfall

Things to do in donegal

Assaranca Waterfall (also known as Eas a’Ranca) is one of the most popular and jaw-dropping waterfalls you can find in the land of the Emerald Isle as it is secluded in Meentashask, which is only 5-minutes away from Maghera Beach.

You may visit Assaranca Waterfall at any time of year, but some have recommended that you visit this waterfall after a rainstorm, as you may catch a glimpse of rainbow rays near the stacked rocks from the top. 

One of the best things about Assaranca Waterfall is that it is highly accessible, even for those who have mobility issues, as the parking lot is just beside the waterfall, making it wheelchair friendly. 

If you want to enjoy this place for yourself, we suggest that you visit after the holiday weekend as it can be crowded at times.

Important notes:

8. Mount Errigal

One of the best things to do in Donegal, Ireland, is to visit Mount Errigal

This gigantic natural mountain in Gweedore, with its dramatic contours and a number of adrenaline-pumping hiking trails, will certainly leave you breathless (literally!). 

This Irish mountain is recognized as one of the tallest and steepest in Donegal’s Seven Sisters Mountain Range, with an astounding height of 2,464 feet (751 meters), which is higher than Slieve League and makes it one of the county’s most popular and challenging hiking treks to conquer.

Important notes: 

  • Limited parking spots as it can fit around 10 to 12 cars (it will be harder to find a parking spot in summer)
  • Requires some level of fitness as the terrain can be quite steep and windy
  • Free entry
  • Suggested time: 2 – 3 hours

9. Glenveagh National Park

Visit the Glenveagh National Park, which spans over 16,000 acres and is a true haven for nature lovers. There are a number of walking and hiking treks you can choose from if you’re seeking to enjoy some fresh Irish air.

If you have some time, be sure to try the Derrylahan Nature Trail, as it is one of the most popular hikes in the park as it is beginner-friendly (and kids-friendly) while providing stunning views of the Glenveagh Valley.

If you’re not sure what else to do in the park, be sure to visit the park’s visitor center to get help from friendly staff. This center is located near the car park, and it is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Do visit the grounds of Glenveagh Castle and have a cup of coffee at the castle’s cafe while you’re there too! 

Important notes:

  • Has a large car park area near the entrance of the park that is open 24/7
  • Has nearby toilets in the car park 
  • One of the best parks to visit in a large group as they have various tours to choose
  • Has a varied admission charges
  • Suggested time: 2-3 hours

10. Ards Forest Park 

This 1,200 acres of Ards Forest Park is just a short drive from Dunfanaghy, and it is managed by Coillte, one of Ireland’s best forest custodians, that helps manage this lovely woodland park with a nominal entrance fee of €5 ($5). (This fee helps to maintain and upkeep the park.)

Ards Forest Park is indeed one of Coillte’s most diverse parks as it has a wide variety of plants and forest critters to discover, as well as beautiful natural landscapes from beach sand dunes to woodland parks. 

If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of wild rabbits, red squirrels, foxes, and even hedgehogs within the park if you’re lucky! 

This park also has a children’s playground, a picnic spot, and even archeological tombs to explore, making it one of the best places to visit in Donegal, Ireland, for families or groups of nature enthusiasts.

Important notes:

  • Entrance fee of €5 ($5)
  • Has car park space, cafes and toilets nearby
  • One of the best parks to visit for families!
  • Suggested time: 2-3 hours
Things to do in donegal

11. Glenevin Waterfall

When it comes to waterfalls in Donegal, Glenevin Waterfall is one of the most stunning waterfalls to visit. With a height of over 40 feet (12 meters) and a steady stream of freshwater that cascades through its natural rocks, it is certainly a sight to see!

Located on the Inishowen Peninsula, you can easily reach this waterfall by walking from the parking lot. While parking is plentiful, it is important to note that it can be quite congested during the summer due to higher traffic.

Nonetheless, it is still one of the best places to visit in Donegal!

Important notes:

  • Free entry
  • Flat ground, making it wheelchair friendly.
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes 

12. Malin Head

Malin Head is a place where you can truly enjoy the Donegal coast in all its splendor without any distractions. This is Ireland’s northernmost point, with beautiful walking trails to explore by the shore and a number of historical places to see.

Given its natural location, it is one of the best places in Ireland to see the Northern Light (Aurora Borealis). The northern lights in Ireland are usually visible from 9 pm to 1 am during the period from September through March.

If you are a hardcore fan of the Star Wars movie franchise, then you must certainly visit Malin Head as this is where “Star Wars: Episode VIII (The Last Jedi)” was filmed back in May 2016.

Important notes:

Best Things To Do In Donegal: Activity-Based

If you are an adventurous person, you’re probably wondering, “What is there to do in Donegal, Ireland?”

Donegal is home to some of the best kayaking and canoeing in Ireland. Try paddling through the Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for something truly unique.

13. Hike In Horn Head

If you’re looking for a short hiking trek by yourself, then hiking in Horn Head is truly one of the best things to do in Donegal (perfect for quick hikes!).

This straightforward yet breathtaking coastal hike is only 2.6 kilometers (1.6 mile) long, and it can be completed in under 54 minutes. As you hike along this path, you may discover an Old Signal Tower, which was built during the Napoleonic Wars.

As you hike your way up, you may see several Atlantic wildlife, such as grey seals, nearby. However, do note that the weather can get very windy at times, so we strongly recommend that you hike cautiously.

Most importantly, do not get too close to the edge of the cliffs as it is a sheer drop of 250 meters down to a rocky beach. Just follow the hiking trail, and you’ll be safe!

Important notes:

  • Free 
  • One of the shortest hikes in Donegal
  • Suggested time: 1 hour

14. Explore Donegal By Cycling Tour 

If you plan to enjoy the stunning views of Donegal on a bicycle, then be sure to try this 55-km (34 miles) cycling loop through Inis Eoghain Cycleway, which connects County Londonderry with Donegal’s Lough Swilly through the River Foyle. 

Most of this cycling route is completely traffic-free, and as you leave the city, the path ascends to An Grianán Aileach ( a famous hillfort in Inishowen that is part of the Irish National Monument) for stunning views of the Sperrin Mountains, Lough Swilly, and the Inishowen Peninsula.

Those who have tried this beautiful cycling path have suggested that the cycling path falls between an easy to moderate cycling route with hilly terrain and steep inclines to  An Grianán Aileach.

Important notes:

  • Free entry
  • One of the best scenic cycling routes in Donegal!
  • Near An Grianán Aileach
  • Suggested time: 3 hours

15. Golf at Cruit Island Golf Club

One of Donegal’s hidden gems for those who wish to test their golfing skills under the coastal Donegal breeze, then be sure to play golf at Cruit Island Golf Club ,  one of the best golf courses in Donegal.

Michael Doherty, a professional golfer from Derry Gold Club, first built Cruit Island’s 9-hole golf course back in 1986

Additionally, the club takes great pride in being one of the first golfing clubs in Ireland to grant membership to women. Eileen Oglesby served as the club’s first female president in 1994, making it the first Irish golf club to do so.

This 9-hole golf course is a great training ground for experienced golfers as it has a few undulating sand bunkers and coastal wind that can tease your golf game. 

Nonetheless, it is still one of the most enjoyable golf courses to try and one of the most fun things to do in Donegal!

Important notes:

  • Entry fee: €22 per person for 18 holes game.
  • We recommend checking with the golf course management first as it is weather dependent.
  • Suggested time: 2 hours

16. Horse Riding At Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre

If you enjoy horse riding, then you’ll surely love this family-run equestrian center as they welcome visitors from all over the world.

Things to do in donegal

Enjoy horse riding along the stunning coastal view of Inishowen’s peninsula with a refreshing sea breeze and the beautiful terrain of Northern Ireland.

What we do like about Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre is that they also provide riding lessons, pony camps, beach & trail rides, birthday parties, and horse holidays with on-site lodging for those who wish to stay in a more outdoor setting.

Do note that all riding activities are run by the hour. So, If you want to go for an outdoor ride, be sure to contact the management first.

Important notes:

  • There are a few different riding packages you can check out!
  • This is one of the best ways to view Donegal
  • Suggested time: 2 hours

17. Halfway Karting

If you are in the Northwest of Donegal, be sure to try this thrilling outdoor circuit of Halfway Karting

Things to do in donegal

For a fun and adventurous experience, you can whizz your way through this breathtaking circuit overlooking the Northern Ireland countryside. This place welcomes all individuals, groups, birthday parties, and family outings for a fun outdoor activity.

Do note that they have 2 types of karts for your family to enjoy:

  • Senior Karts ( a 175cc Honda Engine Kart): Must be at least 16 years old.
  • Junior Karts ( a 50cc Honda Engine Kart): Must be at least 4ft tall.

 Important notes:

18. Cliff Climbing In Malin Head

Enjoy a wide range of rock climbing and mountaineering experiences by cliff climbing in Malin Head, Inishowen. All guests, regardless of their level of competence in rock climbing or mountaineering, are able to participate in its custom-tailored adventure climbing programs.

If you feel anxious or find rock climbing as a new sport, worry not as you are in the good hands of Mr. Bren Whelan (one of the best rock climbing guides with more than 30 years of experience all around the globe). 

If you’re a Star Wars fan, you should definitely take on this Malin Head Walking Tour too! (and take a cool photo of yourself with some obi-wan robe and lightsabers!)

Important notes:

  • They have several adventure climbing packages to choose from.
  • Required at least moderate fitness level
  • One of the best adrenaline-pumping activities to do in Donegal.
  • Suggested time: 2 hour
Things to do in donegal

19. Surf Beaches In Donegal 

You can try and surf on 15 of the best beaches in Donegal, which are some of the best beaches to surf in Ireland (and even the world!), as Donegal is home to the highest number of blue flag beaches in Ireland.

A prestigious award that recognizes some of the best beaches in the world, which can only be qualified after fulfilling its strict requirements. 

With excellent surf breaks as well as nearby surfing schools such as Surfworld Bundoran, Rossnowlagh Surf School, and many more, you can expose your little one to surfing. Some offer beginner-friendly classes as well as board rentals to try!

Important notes:

  • FREE entry
  • Check the tidal time and weather conditions before visiting
  • Best place to surf in the world
  • Suggested time: 2 hours

20. Sea Kayaking Donegal

Sea kayaking in Donegal is is truly one of the top things to do in Donegal, Ireland, as Ireland is truly blessed by its breathtaking coastal view. 

Discover the gorgeous Donegal coastline and islands by sea kayak as you experience the Atlantic Ocean like never before! Paddle your way through some of the hidden gems through giant coastal cliffs, sea arches, dark sea caves, and barren sandy beaches.

Things to do in donegal

The guided sea kayak tour (a group of 6 people) can run anywhere along the Donegal seaboard (between Slieve League (add link to easy guide of Slieve League) and Horn Head).

Do note that this outdoor sea kayaking is weather dependent, as the sea can be unpredictable (hence the tour time may change). There is a maximum weight limit of 95kg per paddler.

Important notes:

  • €80 fee per person (full day of kayaking)
  • Only available for those aged above 14 years old
  • Suggested time: 6 – 8 hours

21. Scuba Dive At Arranmore Island

This is one of the more adventurous things to do near Donegal, Ireland, where you can scuba dive at Arranmore Island and explore the Irish seabed and ship wreckages. 

With Dive Arranmore, you’ll sail across the Atlantic Ocean and marvel at the diverse aquatic life that inhabits it. Make sure to keep an eye out for a pod of dolphins leaping out of the water, as well as seals playing in the water with flocks of birds soaring above.

Things to do in donegal

If you’re an angler, be sure to bring some fishing rods, and good luck catching the cod, mackerel, or pollock too! If the sea gets rough, the Arranmore Charter will temporarily close until the weather improves. 

Important notes:

  • Great place to dive, enjoy coastal wildlife animals and fishing
  • Pre-booking is required for trips and private charters
  • Suggested time: 2-3 hour

22. Eco Atlantic Adventures

If you’re looking for an Atlantic adventure in Donegal, then be sure to head to Eco Atlantic Adventures, which is located in Lough Swilly (one of the most beautiful sections of Ireland).

They offer a wide range of adventure activities like kayaking tours, hill walking, rock climbing, abseiling, coasteering, gorge walking, and more. 

However, most people visit Eco Atlantic Adventures for their iconic session of sea kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean. However, it is important to note that this place is highly dependent on good weather conditions.

Ideally, we recommend that you visit or try their sea kayaking sessions between the periods of May to October as the seas are generally calmer with great sunny weather to enjoy during those 3-4 hours of kayaking.

Important notes:

  • Here are some of the fees (based on activity)
  • Best time to go for a tour: May to October (Calmer summer sea)
  • Suggested time: 3- 4 hours

23. Sea Adventure Waterpark

Along the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland’s County Donegal is where you’ll find Inish Sea Adventures Waterpark, an outdoor activity center that’s located in Moville. 

This adventurous waterpark has vibrant inflatable water parks as well as various outdoor activities that are appropriate for participants of any age or ability level and are open to both groups and individuals.

Over 20 fun land and water-based activities are available, such as sea kayaking, open boating, white water kayaking, gorge walking, river rafting, sailing, stand-up paddling, hill walking, archery, mountain biking, and island camping trips. 

We strongly recommend that you check the weather and contact the management first, as this place can operate well under good weather conditions.

Nonetheless, it is truly one of the best things to do in Ireland in the summer for those who are with the family!

Once you’re done, be sure to catch the sunset at one of Ireland’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, The Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast which is only 48 kilometers (29.8 miles) away and takes about a 1-hour drive long.

Important notes:

Best Things To Do In Donegal: Family-friendly

If you are visiting Donegal with your family, then be sure to check out these top 12 Donegal places to visit that are family-friendly. From an indoor kid’s park to historical castles in Donegal to marvel at!

24. Bundoran Adventure Park

It doesn’t matter if you’re a kid or an old fart—Bundoran Adventure Park has something for everyone! 

You can choose from a variety of kiddie rides, or opt for more exhilarating rides like big wheel rides, bumper boats, bungee trampolines, or go for a spin in go-karts. There are also plenty of snacks that you and your kids can enjoy too!

Here’s another great news: there is no entrance fee, so you’re very welcome to come and have a look before purchasing a ride token (each ride’s token may vary). If you love deals, consider getting ride wristbands with 2 options to choose from:

  • Megaband wristband: unlimited access for 2 hours (€19.95)
    • For all large* and smaller rides 
    • Access to the Bouncy Castle
    • 1 complimentary ride on the Big Wheel

*Note: not inclusive of bungee trampolines, bumper boats, go-karting, and golf.

  • Tinytot wristband: unlimited access for 2 hours (€14.95)
    • Small kiddies rides 
    • Mini roller coaster
    • Access to the Bouncy Castle

This fun, family-friendly adventure park is located just near the popular Bundoran beach, with plenty of parking spaces nearby. It is usually open daily from 1 pm to 9 pm (from July to August), subject to weather conditions.

Important notes:

  • Free entry 
  • Different rides have different tokens
  • Open daily from July to August (subject to weather conditions)
  • Near the popular Bundoran beach
  • Suggested time: 2-3 hours

25. Dunlewey Centre

Looking for another family-friendly place that can help burn your kid’s energy so that they can sleep longer at night?

Then send your little one here to the Dunlewey Centre, one of the fun things to do in Donegal for families.

This center offers a glimpse into the life of an Irish weaver (a person who makes high-quality fabric) with a stunning background view of Mount Errigal. 

For €27 (2 adults and 3 kids), you will get a tour guide, a 20-minutes boat ride, access to a small playground, and a visit to animal farms. Kids under 2 can enter this place for free!

Alternatively, you may try other activities such as zorbing, wall climbing, bumper cars, inflatable water walking, rodeo bull riding, and many more! (Though some of these rides may have a separate fee!)

Visiting Dunlewey Center is one of the best things to do in Ireland in the summer, as this place will be closed during the winter. If you plan to visit this place in a large group of 10 or more, be sure to contact the management first. 

Important notes:

  • €27 (for 2 adults and 3 kids): a tour guide, a 20-minute boat ride, an animal farm visit, and access to a playground
  • Near Mount Errigal
  • Suggested time: 2-3 hours

26. Donegal Bay Waterbus

Have you ever rode a waterbus before? If you haven’t, then the Donegal Bay Waterbus is certainly one of the unusual things to do in Donegal. 

This 75-minute boat trip from Donegal Town’s harbor will cruise around seven green islands near Donegal with plenty of amenities, such as an air-conditioned lounge or open-aired deck to enjoy the majestic Atlantic Ocean view and witness real Atlantic wildlife such as grey seals.

This 160-seated vessel boat ride has made 2-3 trips daily since 2006, subject to weather conditions, and is fully equipped with a bar and toilets. This boat ride also allows pets to be onboard and has wheelchair access.

This is truly one of the best things to do in Donegal Town!

Important notes:

  • Varied fee price
  • Pet-friendly & wheel-chair-accessible boat ride
  • Near Donegal Town
  • Suggested time: 1 hour 30 minutes

27. Donegal Castle

If you and your family enjoy visiting historical landmarks, then Donegal Castle is truly one of the best historical places to go in Donegal.

Things to do in donegal

This 16th-century castle was built by Red Hugh O’Donnell (one of the well-known Irish noblemen) as his own personal fortress. This historical castle was burned down by Hugh himself in the Battle of Kinsale, and eventually fell into ruin in the 20th century, but was then revived to its former glory in the 1990s.

To this date, this castle stands as an iconic landmark in Donegal and is open throughout the year for all visitors, with the last admission 45 minutes before closing time.  

Those who are traveling with kids will truly enjoy this place as it has pictorial treasure trails that will transform your kids into mini-adventurous historians while exploring this stunning castle.

Important notes:

28. Lough Eske Castle

This newly renovated Lough Eske Castle, which was once ruined 15 years ago, has been transformed into a luxurious 5-star hotel.

Nonetheless, it is still one of the best things to see when you visit Donegal, as this castle was once built by the O’Donnell family, who dominated most of Donegal in the 15th century.

If you are interested in knowing more details about this unique historical castle, then be sure to spend a night here and join Lough Eske’s complimentary in-house historical tour, which usually starts at 11 a.m. daily

You can even make this castle your getaway spot or honeymoon accommodation with your partner as it has plenty of things to do in Donegal for couples, such as a complimentary bike ride, afternoon tea session, and even a pampering spa session at CARA Organic Beauty Spa!

Important notes:

  • No fee was mentioned for the historical tours, price per night may vary subject to selected dates.
  • A great spot with a couple of activities: fishing, biking, and many more
  • Has a popular beauty spa to enjoy!
  • Suggested time: 1 hour

29. Doe Castle

If you want to avoid Donegal tourist attractions, then go ahead and explore Doe Castle, (or Caisleán na dTuath) which is located near Creeslough, County Donegal. 

This 14th-century historical castle was once home to the stronghold clan of Suibhne (McSweeney’s clan) with over 13 McSweeney Chiefs and shares architectural similarities with the Scottish tower house

This marvelous and stunning castle is open all year round with no entrance fee! Once you’re done, be sure to visit a small coffee shop across from the castle. 

It is one of Donegal’s best secret places to visit in Donegal!

Important notes:

30. Glenveagh Castle

For those who enjoy mystery and haunting tales, then visiting Glenveagh Castle should certainly be one of the top things to do in Donegal, Ireland, when you visit Glenveagh National Park.

Things to do in donegal

This 18th-century castle-looking mansion was built using granite stone overlooking Lough Beagh. It has been said that this castellated mansion has a dark history, which you can discover if you are there.

On a lighter note, celebrities like Marylin Monroe and Audrey Hepburn once gathered here at Glenveagh Castle to enjoy the grounds and swim in the lochside pool. 

One of the things we do like about this place is that it has well-maintained toilet facilities, a car park, a visitor center, and most importantly, a tearoom!

Important notes:

31. Fort Dunree

This rocky military museum was first built back in the 17th century in Buncrana, which can be found in northern Donegal, on the peninsula’s western tip.

Because it’s a historical site, Fort Dunree (meaning “Fort of the Heather” in Irish) has long been an important military stronghold back then in World War 2.

People looking for Donegal attractions with a rich history would enjoy a trip to Dunree Head and its fabled fort, along with several scenic walking trails to enjoy along the Inishowen peninsula (be sure to watch out for these coastal artillery guns too!)

Important notes:

32. Doagh Famine Village

This Famine village is one of the best things to see in Donegal, and this place will help you reflect on your life as you watch the displays of past challenging times faced by local Irish folks, especially during the Great Famine of the 1840s!

It is truly an educational, emotional, and at times amusing experience when touring Doagh Famine Village, which covers a wide range of topics about Northern Ireland’s historical journey.

Visit here as you get to learn about all aspects of the Irish lifestyle, such as food, treatments, and burial practices, which are well-documented at Doagh Famine Village.

Important notes:

  • You can check the fee here 
  • It is wheel-chair friendly indoor attractions
  • One of the best historical things to see in Donegal (an educational trip!)
  • Suggested time: 2 hour

33. Tropical World Zoo

This vibrant, tropical world zoo in Letterkenny is a fun option for all seasons of Ireland, with plenty of activities you can do. To keep the tropical animals of this zoo warm and cozy, the zoo is almost entirely enclosed.

Things to do in donegal

If you like birds and bugs, be sure to try Tropical World’s free-flight Butterfly House, where you can see butterflies in flight and other exotic birds in their aviaries.

As part of its mission, this little zoo is dedicated to conservation, educational outreach, and scientific research. In addition to Bug World, there is also Jurassic Land, which gives visitors a glimpse into our Jurassic past.

This tropical world welcomes its guests daily from January to September. Additionally, guide dogs are also welcomed.

Important notes:

34. Arena 7 Entertainment Complex

This is another good option for those of you looking for the best things to do in Donegal for families.

For some rainy-day entertainment, go to Arena 7 in Letterkenny, where you can play 10-pin bowling, laser games, arcade games, or let little toddlers burn off some of their energy in the Kids Adventure Centre.

Teenagers will enjoy getting lost in the arcade before heading to the in-house restaurant for some food. It’s indeed a great place for all ages, and it’s open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (10 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays).

For families with a mixture of toddlers and teenagers, this is definitely the perfect spot for you!

Important notes:

35. Waterworld Bundoran

If you are near Bundoran, be sure to check out Bundoran’s Waterworld, as it is one of the best things to do in Ireland in July with family.

Things to do in donegal

You and your loved one can enjoy various slides, including tubes, flumes, multi-slides, and other speedy rides with light effects inside. 

However, those under 1.1 meters (3 ft 7in) (i.e. toddlers) are not permitted to use the slides or enter the stairway of the above slides as a safety measure, as it can get rowdy with teenagers.

Another thing we liked about this waterpark is that they also have swimming classes for children aged 8 to 12.

Important notes:

FAQs On Best Things To Do In Donegal

Is Donegal Worth Visiting?

Yes, absolutely Donegal is worth visiting! Thanks to its dramatic landscape of jagged limestone cliffs, the province of Donegal in Northern Ireland is one of the country’s top tourist destinations. 

With a thousand-year-old history, ancient castles, and rugged coastline views, these are just some of the few attractions that Donegal can offer; hence, it’s no surprise that Donegal is considered one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations.

What Is The Nicest Part Of Donegal?

There are a lot of nice places in Donegal, but if you have limited time throughout your stay in Donegal, then here are the 10 of the most beautiful places to explore if you’re in Donegal.

What Is Donegal Best Known For?

Donegal is best known for its wild, rugged beauty, and it is also home to Bundoran, which is recognized as the “surfing capital of Ireland.” 

Other interesting places that you certainly have to visit if you are in Donegal are the Slieve League Cliffs, Glenveagh National Park, Assaranca Waterfall, Donegal Castle, and even the coastline road known as the Wild Atlantic Way. 

On top of that, Donegal also has a lot of fun, affordable activities that are family-friendly as well as for solo travelers too!   

Does Donegal Have Beaches?

Yes, Donegal does have beaches. There are over 100 beaches in beautiful Donegal that you can choose to visit, from the popular stretch of beachy sand to secluded sea cliffs. 

In fact, Donegal beaches are one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world as they extend for more than 1,100 kilometers all across North Ireland, and all along its length, you’ll come across stretches of magnificent golden sand, unique geological structures, and, of course, the stunning blue ocean of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Boom! 35 epic things to do in Donegal! 

Who says Donegal is boring? It’s certainly one of the best Irish counties that you should consider exploring as it offers all sorts of adventures for young families, solo travelers, and many more. 

Plus, since the Irish weather can get a bit wet on certain days, I’ve also covered 27 fun things you can do in Donegal even when it rains!

This is just a small preview of all the great things that this part of Ireland has to offer. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today! And don’t forget to share your photos with us when you’re done! 

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35 Best Things To Do In Donegal [Fun & Affordable] 2022