EXPLORING SOUTH DONEGAL
A day exploring can be done without even leaving Lough Mardal Lodge which is set on 90 acres of private land which you are welcome to roam at your leisure. The landscape is a wild mix of meadows, heather-covered hills and blanket bogland and is humming with wildlife in every direction during the warmer months. We highly recommend a hike up the hill from where you can see stunning panoramic views of the lakes, Donegal Bay, Dartry, Sliabh League and the Bluestack mountain ranges.
Venturing further afield there is no shortage of places to check out. Wild, stunningly beautiful, full of character and utterly unspoiled Donegal is a county traditionally less travelled to than other more popular parts of Ireland. The incredible success of the Wild Atlantic Way has shone a new spotlight on Donegal however and it is eing re-discovered as the hidden jewel in Ireland's crown. Re-affirming this National Geographic Traveller named Donegal the ‘Coolest Place on the Planet for 2017’.
Wild Atlantic Way
“The longest defined coastal touring route in the world”, Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way stretches along the rugged and dramatic Atlantic coast from Donegal to West Cork. The route takes in iconic landmarks and 'Discovery Points', breath-taking scenery, an itinerary of adventure and cultural, natural & gastronomic gems. Lough Mardal Lodge is perfectly positioned between Rossnowlagh and Murvagh Discovery Points on the Donegal route of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Some of Ireland's most beautiful blue-flag beaches are within a short drive; Rossnowlagh & Murvagh which received the International Blue Flag award for 2018 and Tullan Strand 20 minutes away in Bundoran (be warned it can tend to get a bit crowded in the Summer). South of Tullan the cliffs have formed bizarre shapes, like the Fairies' Bridge (a bridge of rock) or the Wishing Chair.
Sliabh League - 69km
It takes just under an hours drive but so worth it (and the drive itself is beautiful)..the majestic Sliabh League. Located in the Irish-speaking Gaeltacht region of County Donegal Sliabh League are the highest accessible sea cliffs in Europe rising over 600m above the ocean. There are plenty of walks and trails for varying skill and fitness levels up along the cliffs with breath-taking panoramic views of Donegal Bay.
World famous Belleek Pottery Museum, Visitor Centre & Tea Rooms. The museum contains pieces dating back to when the pottery was started in 1857.
Castle Caldwell - 13km
A beautiful forest walk and hidden gem on the shore of Lough Erne, just a short drive across the border in Co. Fermanagh.
Donegal Craft Village - 18km
Meet the artists in their workshops, Donegal Craft Village is a showcase for contemporary arts and crafts in Ireland, located just outside Donegal Town. Pottery fans definitely visit Kevin Callaghan's Pottery.
St. John's Point - 47km
One of the longest peninsulas in Ireland and a thrilling drive with stunning scenery. Discover a coral beach along the way before reaching the striking Lighthouse and clifftops at the end of the wild and rugged tip of the Point. Also a popular diving spot.
Donegal Castle - 18km
Built in 1474 by Hugh O’Donnell, chief of the O’Donnell clan, Donegal Castle was among the most impressive castles in the country. Located in Donegal Town it is open to the public all-year round with guided tours available on the hour every hour.
Cruise Donegal Bay - 18km
Donegal Bay Waterbus - Donegal Town Cruise around Donegal Bay, view the seal colony on Seal Island, The Bluestack Mountains and Donegal Bay's many islands with full commentary. Journey time 1hr 15 mins.
Glenveagh National Park - 81km
Glenveagh National Park - A bit further away the remote and hauntingly beautiful grounds of Glenveagh Castle, a late 19th century castellated mansion, built as a hunting lodge. "Literally heaven on earth." Trip Advisor, 2017.
This is just a very small selection of places definitely worth exploring while in Donegal. There are endless others. For more information and further inspiration see:
Go Visit Donegal and Donegal Tourist Office
Read Irish Indepdent Travel Writer Pól Ó Conghaile's recommendations here: Secret Ireland: Donegal Bay
You can also download Go Visit Donegal's Tourist Brochure.
And if Donegal is just one stop-off along your journey through Ireland more ideas and information on where to go after your glamping experience can be found at Discover Ireland.