Attractions In Donegal

Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park, located 24 km northwest of Letterkenny and only 10 minutes from the Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse is the top attraction in the northwest of Ireland and covers nearly 17 hectares of mountains, lakes, glens and woods. The Scottish style castle is surrounded by one of the most beautiful gardens in Ireland, with a multitude of exotic plants that are in contrast with the surrounding mountains.

Glebe House & Gallery

This Regency House built in 1828 is set in woodland gardens, decorated with William Morris textiles, Islamic and Japanese art etc. The collection includes 300 works by leading 20th century artists; Picasso, Kokoshka as well as Irish and Italian artists. Exhibitions are shown in the adjoining gallery. Access to ground floor of the Gallery for people with disabilities. Only a 10 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Newmills Corn & Flax Mills

One of the oldest surviving building in the area is said to be 400 years old. The whole complex is an interesting reminder of a stage in the industrial development of this country which has now given way to a more sophisticated, but usually far less fascinating technology. The visitor to Newmills can experience the pleasure of seeing one of the largest waterwheels in Ireland in action as it drives the machinery of the corn mill. Only a 15 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Colmcille Heritage Centre

Colmcille Heritage Centre is located at Gartan, Churchill, Letterkenny. This centre houses a unique interpretative exhibition featuring the life and times of Saint Colmcille (Columba) – Patriarch of the Irish monastic system and founder of the Scottish Church. The exhibition is housed in a beautiful stone building on the shores of Lough Gartan, within the Derryveagh mountain range overlooking the pier. Only a 10 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Doe Castle

Doe Castle was built in the 15th century. Sometimes the date given is 1425.

The first or early occupants were the Mac-Sweeney’s. the Castle remained in their possession for about 200 years. The Mac-Sweeneys ruled the area’s of Rosguill (now Downing’s & Carrigart). Doe (now Creeslough & Dunfanaghy) Cloughaneely (now Falcarragh ) and Tory Island, from Doe Castle.

Sir Cahir O’Doherty had his headquarters here when he attack Derry 1608. The Mac Sweeneys are back by 1641 and Eoghan Rua O’Neill landed at Doe Castle on 6th July 1642 on his return fron Spain. Around 1660 an English garrison take possession of the castle but by the 1690’s the Mac Sweeneys are back.

The Castle changed hands many times over the years. One of the owners: George Vaghan Harte who bought the castle in 1800 left his initials (GVH) embedded on the wall above the door of the eastern entrance.

The Castle was occupied up until 1909. In 1932 the Irish Land Commission (Office of Public Works) bought the Castle and vested it as a National Monument. In recent years the castle has been restored to it former glory. Many legends and stories are told about the castle and the people that lived there. Only a 15 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Dunlewey Centre

You can take a step back in time and visit the homestead of the world renowned weaver Manus Ferry and enjoy stories of times gone by from experienced tour guides or take a trip out on the Dunlewey Lough on our tour of the lake where you will pass the Guinness estate (keep an eye out for the green lady who is said the haunt the house). If you prefer to stay on dry land you can take a ride on the train and for those little ones who have plenty of energy to burn off we have an adventure play area full of swings, slides, climbing frames, zip-wires, rodeo bull, climbing walls, pedelos, kayaks, zorb-balls and bouncy castles. Only a 20 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Mount Errigal

At 751 metres, Mount Errigal is the highest mountain in Donegal and it’s majestic glittering quartzite peak dominates the northwest corner of Ireland. For many, it is quite simply the most beautiful mountain in the country and it is certainly among the most climbed despite its remote location. Mount Errigal has the magical quality of appearing to change shape depending on what direction you view it from.

Your first glimpse of the mountain when you start to climb, low-lying clouds appearing to dust it’s summit. The mountain completely dominates the small village of Dunlewy from where it appears as a huge mass with impressivly steep scree-covered slopes. From other angles, the serrated summit ridge resembles a series of dorsel fins. Only a 15 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Horn Head

This is probably the most dramatic of the beautiful Donegal peninsulas. You get a real sense of the power of the sea and the resilience of the land on this wild peninsula. There are two splendid viewpoints, one on the north side where the cliffs dominate the scenery and the other on the south side overlooking Dunfanaghy, with the backdrop of Muckish and the Derryveagh mountains. Before you cross the first cattle grid where the drive swings east, a narrow road ahead will bring you to a tower where you can enjoy the wild beauty all around you and even spot the houses on Tory Island to the west. Take your car a short distance on this road, park in the lay – by provided and walk the well used trail to the tower. Return to the junction to continue your drive where you emerge again in Dunfanaghy. Turn right in Dunfanaghy. As you head out of the village, the famine centre is on the right and chronicles the local effects of the terrible famine, which wreaked havoc in Ireland between 1845 and 1847. This famine and subsequent emigrations, reduced the population of the country from eight million people to under four million. Beside the famine centre there is a very good craft centre and art gallery. Only a 20 minute drive from the Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Lough Salt

Lough Salt is a Tarn Lake located at the base of Lough Salt Mountain. A Tarn Lake is a small mountain lake, particularly one set in a glaciated steep-walled amphitheatre known as a cirque. As with most lakes in Ireland, this was formed due to the actions of glaciers in one of the Ice Ages (more than 40,000 years ago). Lough Salt takes it name from the Irish words for lake and cliff – Lough agus Alt – which refers to the steeps slopes of the mountain overlooking the lake.

The lough measures approximately 1.6Km long and 0.4Km at its widest. The exact depth is not known. A survey of water resources in the early 1980’s put the depth somewhat in excess of 60m (this was the maximum depth of the depth sounding equipment used at that time). Tradition has it that the lake is as deep as the mountain is high (210m). Some old guide books give 72m as the depth. The lake supplies much of the water to the town of Letterkenny. Only a 5 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Downings

Downings is a lovely seaside village located amid the spectacular scenery of north Donegal. The village is blessed with superb beaches and has fine views across Sheephaven Bay to the Ards peninsula (with the remains of Ard House on the point of the peninsula) and the distant flat-topped peak of Muckish. It has a long standing tradition of tweed making and fishing. Downings is traditionally a Irish speaking area where you are likely to hear Irish spoken but English is the language generally in use. Sheephaven Bay is ideal for water sports and deep sea angling. The Rosapenna Championship Links Golf Course is just half a mile from the village. This small peninsula area jutting out into the Atlantic also has interesting walks and drives. Only a 15 minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

Fanad Lighthouse

Standing between idyllic Lough Swilly  and sandy Mulroy Bay, Fanad Head Lighthouse has been voted one of the  most beautiful lighthouses in the world.

Its location within the Donegal Gaeltacht (an Irish speaking area), on the eastern shore of the Fanad Peninsula, is truly breathtaking. No wonder it’s a highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Give yourself plenty of time here. Time to take in the spectacular scenery. To explore the wild and wonderful natural world around you: the area is regularly visited by whales, porpoises and dolphins. To learn more about Fanad Head lighthouse and this very special area in the small Visitor Centre at the lighthouse. Only a 20minute drive from The Lagoon Restaurant & Guesthouse.

To find out more on what to do while touring Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way, log onto

http://www.govisitdonegal.com