Iniskeel tidal island off Portnoo was the early ecclesiastical site of Conal Caol,
which was founded in the 6th Century AD.The ruins of two early Christian churches are to be found there.
The old graveyard contains ornamental cross slabs dating from the 7th and 8th century.
The island is accessible on foot during low tide from Narin beach St.Conal was both a contemporary and relative friend of Colmcille and a friend of the distinguished blind Irish poet and scholar, Dallan Forgaill, who was killed by a raiding party while visiting the island and interred there beside his friend. Some of the tombstones date back two centuries and display engravings as startling as the skull and crossbones.
Historic Railway Baile na Finne, Co. Dhún na nGall
This Railway is the only operational narrow gauge railway in Donegal. On the 3rd June,1995, the re-opening of the first section of the Fintown/Glenties Railway Restoration Project commemorated the centenary of the original opening in 1895.
An Mhuc Dhubh translates as the Black Pig. This was how locals christened the arrival of the first steam engine 100 years ago. Re live that nostalgia in Fintown amidst Donegal's most spectacular mountainous scenery set in the heart of the Gaeltacht.
You can enjoy a three-mile return trip that will take you along the beautiful waters of Lough Finn, through one of the most scenic valleys in Donegal.
Sheskin More Nature Reserve
Sheskin More is regarded as one of the most important Nature Reserves in Ireland. It encompasses an area of approximately 1,000 acres, and is situated near Kiltoorish, Rosbeg. Sheskin More is open to the public all year round and offers families and nature enthusiasts all the beautiful wonders of nature only to be found in Ireland.
Between 15-20 different types of butterflies can be seen throughout the year. Green and White Front Barnacle geese and Canadian geese can be seen in the winter time, until April when they emigrate to Greenland for the summer. Ducks and swans are regular visitors all year round and look at Sheskin More as their home.
Hunting birds such as falcons, like the Merlin and Pereqine varieties breed in Dawros Bay & Sliabh a’Toughe, and hunt in Sheskin More. Also on the hunt are the countless badgers, foxes and otters that all run wild on the reserve. Another highlight is the "Chuff", little known but regarded in ornithological circles as one of our most important native birds. It looks quite similar to a crow, but has a red beak and red legs.
Glenveagh National Park:
Glenveagh National Park ia a major visitor attraction. It lies in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the northwest of Co.Donegal.
The Parkland includes the two highest peaks in Donegal (Mt.Errigal and Slieve Sneacht). It also has the largest herd of Red Deer in Ireland. There are also a lot of frequently sighted birds in the Park and the Golden Eagle was reintroduced in 2000.The Castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens which provides the focal point for visitors to the park. The Park is particularly spectacular when the prolific Rhododendron Ponticum are in bloom in early Summer.
There are various walks and nature trails for the visitor to explore at their own leisure. Glenveagh Castle is open to the public and viewing is by guided tour only. Tours are booked on arrival at the visitor centre.
The Visitor Centre has dispays explaining the Park along with an audio- visual display.
The Dolmen Eco-Tourism Centre
Kilclooney, Portnoo. The first Eco-Tourism and Community Centre in Ireland. It is a "Green" energy designed building. It is called an Eco-Tourism centre because it aims to encourage tourism in an unspoilt rural area and to promote clean, efficient use of natural resources while being used for both tourism and community activities. It has a year round integrated field studies centre and is wheelchair accessible.
The Kilclooney Dolmen
The Kilclooney Dolmen is a prehistoric burial site located beside St. Conal`s Church, Kilclooney.
Eas a`Ranca Waterfall (Assaranca Falls)
On the way to the Maghera Caves, along the seashore, you will see the falls. A Picnic area is provided at this beautiful waterfall.
Europe's highest sea-cliffs are to be found at Slieve League and offer a stunning view of the surrounding coastline inspiring sight of the waves and the awe from the mighty Atlantic Ocean as they crash Into the shore some 1972ft (600m) below.
Bonny Glen Wood
Bonny Glen wood is located about 8km north of Glenties on the N56 to Portnoo.There are directional signposts along the way. Facilities at Bonny GlenWood include Picnic sites, seats and forest.
Length of trail:
Bonny Glen Loop-1km.
Lough Namanlagh Walk-3km
The site is adjacent to Bonny Glen Lough and close to the Tourist resorts of Narin and Portnoo. It is easy accessible by road from Glenties and Ardara. The whole region is one of great natural beauty and is wellworth a visit.
Ten minute`s by car from Ardara brings the visitor to Ireland's wildest mountain pass.
Baile beag deas ar an taobh ó thuaidh de Ghleann Cholm Cille is ea an Port. An Port is an uninhabited townland in the north of Gleann Cholm Cille.
It is a scenic area with spectacular views out across the Atlantic and is well worth a visit. Siobhan Ni Bhaoill drowned here in1576. Her father, Tarlach Neill, was the head of Clann Ui Bhaoill, the Boyle Clan, one of the most powerful families in west Ulster at that time. Her death is mentioned in Annala Rioghachta Eireann, historical annals compiled by a group of Franciscan scholars known as the Four Masters in the early 1600’s.
According to the annalists, Siobhan drowned when learning to swim in Abhainn an tSratha Bhui, the river which runs into the sea in An Port. Seanchas offers a different explanation of the drowning: Siobhan was engaged to marry a man she did not love and fled to An Port; he learned where she was hiding; surprised her in An Port and drowned her.
Maghera Caves & Beach
The caves are accessible at low tide.
Lough Eske is approximately 12km to the north of Donegal Town and set at the foot of the majestic Bluestack mountains with waterfalls at both North and South.
Lough Eske which means Lake abounding in fish is 3 miles in width at its widest point. Lough Eske has 12 islands. The whole area is peaceful and picturesque.
This area of Donegal is rich in terms of wildlife and archaeological sites. Take an opportunity to discover this beautiful part of Donegal by taking part in the Lough Eske trails.
Dunkineely, Bruckless & St.John`s Point
The history of this area can be traced back some 5000 years, evidence of which is to be found in the castle and friary ruins, wedgetombs and ring forts located nearby.
Whilst in Dunkineely, a visit to St.John`s Point is recommended, at some six miles in length, it is one of the longest headlands in Ireland and is known as Donegal`s answer to the Burren.
Bloody Foreland is so called because the sun, particularly at evening, lights up the rocks to a reddish hue. The name has no background of history to warrant the title bloody. The play of light on coast and water beauty of the place is a handsome reward for stopping.
Fáilte chuig Oileáin Gaeltachta Thir Chonaill!
This is an Ireland of traditional landscapes where the Irish language thrives and time stands still. It lies in the islands off the northwest coast.
We bid you a céad mile fáilte - a hundred thousand welcomes - to six of thise islands in northwest Donegal, rare jewels in the blue Atlantic : Toraigh (Tory), Gabhla (Gola), Árainn Mhór (Arranmore), Inis Bó Finne (Innishbofin), Inis Fraoigh (Innishfree) and Oileán Ruaidh (Island Roy). Journey with us through this precious Celtic twilight,to these timeless Gealtacht, Irish-speaking islands of Donegal.
Experience a distinctive language, culture, heritage and way of life. Soak up to warm welcomes, tranquility and companionship. Here`s the chance to be active or simply get away from it all, recreating or rediscovering yourself.
Four of the islands are accesed by ferry boat, one (Inis Fraorigh) by charter boat only, and one (Oileán Ruaidh) by car across a tidal causeway at low tide.
Remember, Irish weather is changeable, so always dress accordingly. Please respect ancient sites and monuments, dwellings, old stone walls and wildlife habitats.
An Gealtacht is the term used to refer to those areas of Ireland where the Irish language (Gaeilge) is spoken as a community language, and its cultures and traditions are alive and thriving.
The Irish-speaking communities are situated mainly along the western seaboard, and the Gealtacht covers extensive areas of counties Donegal, Mayo, Galway and Kerry.
Set in clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, it is a joy for Scuba divers and deep-sea anglers. Take a leisurely walk around and see the spectacular cliff scenery and long white sandy beaches,the many wild birds and flowers, the lakes filled with trout...
From the island`s hills, view the beauty and grandeur of the Donegal coastline and islands from Cnoc Fola (Bloody Forelands) to Ceann Ghlinne (Glencolmcille), set against the backdrop of the Donegal mountains. Examine the numerous traces of the island`s history under landlordism, or find out more about the island`s music, song and dance traditions. Or simply relax in a traditional Irish pub beside the sea.
Getting there by Ferry:
Three to eight crossings daily depending on season and day of week. The ferry seats 128 passengers and can take vehicles of all sizes. It is necessary to book in advance if you wish to take a vehicle onto the island.
Aranmore Island Ferry Service
Leadbh Gharbh, Árainn Mhór,
Co. Dhún na nGall
Tory Island (Toraigh)
The boat trip to Toraigh is not just a panoramic sea-trip from An Bun Beag (Bunbeg) or Machaire Rabhartaigh(Magheroarty); it is a journey through time to visit the most remote of Ireland`s inhabited islands, where time seems to have stood still.
Toraigh is an island of mystery and antiquity. It has been inhabited since the earliest of times and is rich in archaeological and monastic sites from the Iron Age and Early Christian periods.
Surviving harsh winters, Toraigh Islanders are resilient and independent. Many of Toraigh`s ancient customs survive, such as the tradition of appointing an island king, or Ri Thorrai. The story-telling, music, song and dance of the people of the island are vibrant expressions of a distinctive Gealic language and culture.
Take the opportunity to visit Toraigh and see its sheer rugged beauty, dive in crystal-clear waters, or explore its wealth of Celtic heritage. Meet the people of Toraigh and the island king in the hotel or Céili club. Meet the island`s painters and view traditional crafts. See rare birdlife, listen to the cornflakes and visit the monastic sites.
Donegal Coastal Cruises (Turasmara). Access to Tory is by ferry, An Tor Mor, which departs from the harbour of An Bun Beag (Bunbeg) and Machaire Rabhartaigh(Magheroarty).
Inis Bó Finne
Inis bó Finne (Inishbofin) is a small, enchanting island far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life. Situated two miles off the north Donegal coast, the island has beautiful white sandy beaches and unusual cliffs and caves.
The islanders, along with the island itself, seem lost in time, having only recently had electricity and running water provided in their homes. Irish, or Gaeilge, is the first language of this close-knit community.
The island is a birdwatcher`s delight, supporting a population of the rare and elusive cornfake, while large numbers of barnacle geese fly in from the Artic each autumn to remain for the winter.
Visitors could learn from these rare birds and take this marvellous island on the northwestern edge of Europe, with its stunning beaches and strange rock formations, to the centre of this heart.
Oileán Ghabhla (Gola Island)
Set foot on Oileán Ghabhla ... and listen to the silence! The sounds of the modern world rarely penetrate this unspoilt and tranquil oasis, yet it is only one mile from the mainland at Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore).
Its ocean inspires and photographers, while its natural habitats delight walkers and birdwatchers alike. Towering cliffs pose challenge for daring rockclimbers.
This beautiful rugged island will take you away from all and allow you to unwind with the sound and harmony of the sea. With beautiful sandy beaches, many wildbird species and an abundance of angling opportunities, the visitor is guaranteed a unique, exciting experience.
Getting there: A ferry sails from Machaire Gathlán (Magheragallan) hourly from 11:00 am, seven days a week, in peak season (July-August).Other seasons by booking.
Inis Fraoigh (Inisfree)
Inis Fraoigh lies tantalisingly close to shore in the sheltered sea bay between Dungloe and Burtonport. The explorer within you cries out to visit charming island and soak up its special atmosphere.
Inis Fraoigh - meaning "island of heather" - is not much more than one square mile in area, and yet once held a thriving community of farmers and fisherman. In the quiet solitude of island, you can picture them doing their chores, resting for a moment to scan the scintillating panorama of the Donegal coastline or grazing out over broad Atlantic. Most would have spend their entire life within this compass. Small numbers now live on the island again..
Visit inis Fraoigh and wander its lonely beaches and rocky coves, explore heather meadows and secret hollows, or relax in the tranquillity of very special place.
Getting there: Contact Inishfree Charters, Burtonport pier.
Phone: Oscar Duffy mobile 087-9253534
or Liam Miller mobile 086-2209508