National Geographic doesn’t dish out the title of ‘coolest place on the planet’ on a whim. To be given this title is a huge honour, one which Donegal enjoyed in the December 2016 issue of National Geographic. This often overlooked, county of the Emerald Isle was thrust into the limelight, but why? Here we reveal just some of the reasons why you should come and see for yourself:
It’s good enough for Star Wars
Any fan of the Star Wars epic will want to hot foot to Donegal straight away when they realise that part of The Last Jedi was filmed here. Filming took place at the most northernly point of the isle, at a small village called Malin Head. The dramatic, wild and rocky landscape and coastline of the movie can be found here, along with some restaurants, pubs, stunning beaches and lighthouses.
The best seaviews ever
Donegal boasts the longest stretch of coastline of any of the Irish counties. When you hear of the iconic Wild Atlantic Way, you might think of County Clare or Mayo, but Donegal does it just as well, if not better. You’ll discover the most breath-takingly beautiful windy roads with unspoilt vistas across the ocean. Imposing cliffs, peninsulas jutting out into the sea and a million places to get the best photos of a rugged and wild landscape. Get here with Irish Airports like https://irelandwestairport.com/
Climb the cliffs
Way taller than other cliffs in the country but with a lot less visitors, the Slieve Cliffs are well worth the climb to enjoy the incredible view when you reach the top. These cliffs are among the highest in Europe, at a whopping 2,000 feet of cliff drop and their relative anonymity makes them a perfect destination for unspoilt views and wide-open space.
Castle in a park
Take a stroll through a grand old castle located on the side of a lake. Sounds delightful, but this castle has a darker past. It was constructed during the 1860s and 70s, but hundreds of families were evicted from their homes to make way for the castle. The grounds now feature a beautiful National Park of 40,000 acres including lakes, mountains, gardens and castle tours.
Immerse yourself in Irish culture
Donegal is the perfect destination for learning more about Irish culture. An Irish word used to describe areas where Irish is mostly spoken is Gaeltacht and Donegal has the second biggest Gaeltacht and thought to be purest example of the language. You’ll discover all the culture and traditions associated with this and a must-visit destination for all should be the Folk Village Museum in the Gaeltacht of the South West of the county.
County Donegal is famed for its seafood chowders and you’ll even find an annual chowder championship held in Killybegs. You might think of chowder as an American dish, but last year Donegal was represented by Ballyliffin restaurant Nancy’s Barn in the World Chowder Cook Off in Rhode Island, New York. They won too!