Browse through our suggestions on the most popular local activities in Donegal
Wild Atlantic Way - Ballyliffin Lodge - The most Northerly 4 star hotel on the Wild Atlantic Way Route
Stretching from Inishowen in Donegal to West Cork – a total length of 2,500km 'The Wild Atlantic Way' showcases Ireland’s magnificent Atlantic coastline. Inishowen is going to be one of its icon places to visit! with Malin Head a Signature Discovery Point and Pollan Bay in Ballyliffin a Discovery Point its a great start!
The world famous Ballyliffin Golf Club
is within 2km of the Ballyliffin Lodge Hotel & Spa. Two outstanding links courses set in natural terrain and incredible dunes presents an enjoyable challenge to every golfer. There is also a driving range recently opened beside the Golf Course which is open daily to visitors.
Inishowen is Ireland's most Northerly Point and has some of the most consistent waves in Ireland due to its exposure to South West/ West and Northerly/ Northeasterly Swells. Its long stretches of golden sandy beaches make for safe conditions to learn how to surf. The Inishowen area has many great surfing spots with Breathtaking Scenery. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Phone - 0877773323 and talk to Daniel to organize Lessons. Visit - www.inishowensurfschool.com
Pony trekking at Tullagh beach, Glenevin Waterfall, Doagh Famine Village & Others. Riding Lessons are available for individuals & groups to suit all ages and levels.
Full Livery - services available or they can tailor a DIY livery package to suit your needs.
Beach Walk Way
A beautiful walk way has been created over the past 2 years to allow people to enjoy a scenic walk through the dunes at Pollin Beach. The walkway offers easy walking for all ages with unbeatable views of the Atlantic Ocean, The Golf Courses and the Pollin Beach. Strongly recommended for all visitors to the area and perfect for an early morning jog.
With the spectacular panoramic views of Malin Head and the Inishowen coastline from the hotel itself it is no wonder that the area is a favourite with artists. The golden sands of Pollan Bay and the Atlantic coast is within 1km.
For the experienced hill walker the village of Ballyliffin is sheltered by awe inspiring mountains. Bulbin, Raghtin Mor, Binion and Slieve Sneacht Close to the village you can enjoy the popular walk to Glenevin and the Pol an Cas waterfalls a popular day out for the family with picnic/bbq facilities. If you prefer a walk by the beach, why not try the new sheltered walk way along the sand-dunes of the pollan beach where you can take a leisurely ramble across to the castle ruins.
Ballyliffin, Clonmany & Urris Walks
The Four new walking trails include: Glenevin Waterfall Walk, Urris Lakes Loop, Butler's Glen Loop and the Mamore to Straid/Clonmany Trek. Situated in the North West of the Inishowen Peninsula, In County Donegal, it is an area of stunning natural beauty with a wide range of opportunities for walkers of all levels of fitness and experience. Contact the Community Development Group for further information on, 00353 74 93 76745. While Maps of the walks are available from Tourist offices and Hotels receptions.
Cycling is a great way to explore Inishowen and see things at your own pace. If you want to hire a bike or join a guide for a day tour along the Wild Atlantic Way to Malin Head - Irelands most northerly point - Cycle Inishowen
can help you. They have a range of bikes and accessories for all the family,with group discounts and family rates available too. Bikes can be delivered to the Ballyliffin Lodge and Spa,so it couldn't be easier! For more information and to book please visit the website on www.cycleinishowen.com
or call 00353 879722532
Shopping in Carndonagh, Buncrana and Derry is only a short drive away from Ballyliffin with buses regularly passing through. All have a blend of modern and traditional shopping options as well as many coffee shops, restaurants and bars. Derry offers all the biggest names in high street and designer fashions with two large shopping Malls in the centre of town called Foyleside and Richmond Centre.
Doagh Island Famine Village
During the summer you can have a guided tour through houses and outdoor centres depicting the Penal Times and the famine years in Ireland.
Clonmany Family Festival
The Firstweek in August each year hosts one of the most popular festivals in Donegal featuring Open Air Concerts, Crafts & Arts Exhibitions, Song Writing & Pub Talent Competitions, Fun Fairs, Market Sales.
Other activities/attractions available in the area:
The McGlinchey Summer School (June), capturing the history of Inishowen - www.mcglinchey.ie
Charles Macklin Autumn School (Oct), a festival of drama.
Horse riding, Malin Town (10km from the Ballyliffin Lodge Hotel)
Angling Inishowen Boating, Culdaff (12km)
Fort Dunree Military Museum, Buncrana (15km)
Inishowen Maritime Museum & Planetarium, Greencastle (20km)
There is an excellent sheltered harbour and marina, with a well-marked channel, which can cater for 400 yachts of varying sizes at the village of Fahan, which is on your Port side if arriving by sea from the mouth of Lough Swilly and just along the coast from the town of Buncrana. All along the coastline of Lough Foyle from the harbour at Greencastle there are good facilities for either launching, anchoring or tying up any size of yacht. (A southerly wind can prove tricky and you need to be careful). Plans are currently afoot for marinas at Moville and Bunagee near Culdaff.
The Inishowen peninsula is surrounded by many wrecks, including some of the following: One near Portaleen, one between Culdaff Head and Glengad Head, 18 near Inishtrahull Island including, from 1918, a World War 1 German sub. U.B. 109 and a Greek cargo ship, the Argo Delos, which in 1960, was heading for Cuba.
There are 9 wrecks near Inishowen Head, and in Kinnagoe Bay there is the famous La Trinidad Valencera of the Spanish Armada, which foundered in 1588. In Lough Swilly there lies The Laurentic, which was carrying a fortune in gold to repay British War Debts.
Near Malin Head there are over 30 wrecks quite near the coastline due to both World Wars and a treacherous coastline. There is now a fully equipped diving school based at Malin Town.
Here is a region approximately 26 x 26 miles criss-crossed with a spider’s web of rivers and lakes for the fresh-water angler after a salmon or trout to Beach-Casting for flounder, dabs, plaice and occasional sole, bass and sea trout and Dogfish and spurdog in autumn.
There are also 12 piers and innumerable locations for rock fishing. Details on all fishing locations and where to gather suitable fresh bait can be got on Inishowen Tourism’s web site at www.visitinishowen.com
Licences can be purchased at the Inishowen Tourism office in Carndonagh.
The Inishowen peninsula is renowned the world over for this activity, especially places such as Burt, Inch, Trawbreaga Bay, Loughs Swilly and Foyle and Banba’s Crown. Such is the variety and depth of detail on this subject that Inishowen Tourism recommends a visit to their web site at www.visitinishowen.com where the most comprehensive information available can be accessed.
Aurora Borealis/ The Northern Lights
With Ireland’s most northerly point at Latitude 55.23.05 degrees North and Longitude 007.22.29 degrees West there is almost no darkness during June/July and there have been numerous sightings of this phenomenon. Indeed over the winter of 2003 following a fierce electrical storm on the surface of the sun, the area was treated to such a spectacular display that over half of the sky was illuminated for weeks.
Long summer days: At the north of the peninsula on June 21st sunrise is at 3:47am and sunset is at 22:15 giving a maximum of 19 hours and 27 minutes of daylight.
If you want to get to the real heart of Inishowen’s beauty, history, highways and by ways, there are a number of fully-qualified and CERT approved tour guides who will be only too happy to supply and in-depth accompanied tour of the area. The hotel can supply details of these guides on application.
The “Cairn Theatre” in Greencastle presents a show entitled “Shades of Ireland” daily during the summer. This theatre also carries a wide programme of music, drama, dance and fun. Musical lessons can be arranged.
Arts & Crafts
In Buncrana there is a workshop and shop where precious and semi-precious stones from the Raised Beach at Banba’s Crown, a world-famous geological rarity, are cut, polished and mounted onto rings, bracelets, necklaces etc. Special works can be commissioned.
The town of Moville hosts a purpose-built pottery workshop where the words “mass-production” are frowned upon and the skill of the hand is the order of the day. The potter can still be watched “throwing” the clay for the creation of the next unique item. Bogwood sculptures: Thousands of years ago Inishowen would have been covered in trees and it is while cutting peat in our many bogs that thousand-year old pieces bogwood have been uncovered.
Between the villages of Culdaff and Gleneely there is a gallery where you can view and purchase a sculpted piece of this ancient material.
With the scenery that is on offer in Inishowen it is no wonder that many artists have taken up a brush to put on canvas the beauty surrounding them? Just outside Malin Town on the road to Malin Head look out for signs pointing to an art gallery where beautiful pieces of local artwork are on view and available to purchase. In the village of Carrowmenagh, which is on the “Inishowen100” there is the Ard Rua art studio where you can browse and/or purchase work by a local artist.
Over the last two years in different locations in Inishowen there have been summer gatherings that have brought together people from all walks of life that wish to contribute to the expansion of an Eco-Friendly way of living locally. At this gathering you can see houses bring built from straw and mud, windmill generated power, basket weaving and many ways of conserving energy.
Foyle Ferry ( Donegal - Limavady)
The biggest boost to tourism in Inishowen in many years has come from the introduction of the Foyle Ferry, which travels back and forth from Magilligan Point under the shadow of Beniveneagh, near Limavady to Greencastle. This ferry has opened up convenient and fast access to Inishowen to visitors coming from Ballycastle and the Causeway Coast including the world-famous Giant’s Causeway.
It has also been a boost to everyday travellers and visitors alike including golfers who now have a closely linked series of courses at Royal Portrush, Portstewart, Castlerock and onwards to our six courses and of course, vice-versa.
This ferry has now been followed by it’s sister ship which plies between Buncrana, on the west coast of Inishowen and Rathmullan on the Fanad peninsula. Close by is the town of Ramelton, both of which are closely associated with the famous historical event: “The Flight of the Earls” when a large number of Ireland’s nobles sailed for France, Spain & Portugal and have since created dynasties in those countries.
This location is a wonderful starting point to tour the Fanad peninsula, and there is work ongoing on a bridge, which will, in the future, link this area with the Gaeltacht or Irish-Speaking areas of Donegal.