Heritage and Folklore around Donegal

Discover Donegal's unique charm...

From charming villages to the rich cultural heritage and folklore, around Donegal, you’ll find it all. If you’d like to discover one of the purest forms of the Irish language, you’ll need to visit the Donegal Gaeltacht - the largest geographical Gaeltacht in the country and part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Explore traditions of Irish song, dance, and folklore which still prevail in the area. Or find peace on one of the islands, where you will experience the Gaeltacht heritage and an opportunity to island hop if you so wish!

Grianan of Aileach

For a look into ancient times, visit Grianan of Aileach, a fort dating back to 1700 BC. This Iron Age stone fort is located at the bottom of the Inishowen Peninsula, perched atop the heather-capped Greenan Hill. The fairly rural Grianan of Aileach was once the headquarters of the ancient kings of this corner of Ulster, one of the four ancient kingdoms. In order to get to the location, you would need to either drive or you can rent a bike and cycle through Donegal and enjoy the vast panoramas and rich heritage.

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Glenveagh Castle and National Park

Visit Glenveagh National Park, a naturally beautiful place with a vast amount of opportunities to explore and experience the great outdoors. Take a guided tour of Glenveagh Castle to learn all about its heritage and the wilderness around it. Glenveagh Castle is a 19th-century castellated mansion built between 1867 and 1873. Its construction in a remote mountain setting was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat, rather than medieval times. Glenveagh National Park is steeped in history, and the natural beauty of the place will leave you speechless.

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Toraigh Island (Tory Island)

If you fancy venturing to one of the islands, take a ferry to Toraigh Island from Magheroarty, where you’ll get to explore enduring local traditions, unique historical sites and rare bird life. Toraigh Island is the most remote of Ireland’s inhabited islands. Due to its remoteness, the island has kept its traditions, and the islanders’ way of life resembles that of ancient Gaelic culture – their music, dance, song and stories. On Toraigh, you can visit historical sites such as a round tower that once protected monks from Viking raids, the ruins of St Colmcille’s 6th-century monastery, and the intriguing Tau Cross that suggests early seafaring links to the Coptic Christians of Egypt. If you visit between March and September, make sure to look out for puffins, as they tend to nest on the island at that time of year!

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