Donegal, Derry, & Antrim Coast

We've recently heard about the beauty of Donegal County & plan on staying in Donegal one night in order to go to Slieve League the next day and then on to see Derry. Are there any recommendations of sights to see on this route? Also, a friend just told me that I should be aware that Derry is "a little rough around the edges," but a worthwhile visit. Should we try to stay outside Derry? Our rough itinerary for this part of out trip is: arrive Donegal in afternoon (driving from Clifden). Next day Slieve League, perhaps the national park, & Derry (overnight?). Then on to Giant's Causeway/Bushmills & stay a night in that area. Any suggestions are appreciated!

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Hi Cathy,
We spent 5 nights in Donegal Town (Rosemore Manor) in April, 2012, so we explored the area pretty thoroughly. The most scenic area was the peninsula where the Slieve League cliffs are located. After you visit the cliffs, drive around that peninsula and stop at Ardara which has several good woolen shops. The other peninsula we enjoyed was the one that's northwest of Derry / Londonderry. Both of these peninsulas felt remote. We also enjoyed the Beltany Stone Circle, a few miles south of Raphoe. The circle was quite large and in a very scenic location.The other County Donegal peninsulas were littered with holiday homes. Americans often have the misconception that all of Donegal is remote, but the coastal areas are very popular with people from Northern Ireland....Derry was interesting for a few hours, but it is pretty grubby and didn't seem to have much for tourists. It felt more like a typical market town. You might consider staying two nights in Donegal town which has lots of dinner options, then stop at Derry mid-day enroute to the Giant's Causeway.....The area around Sligo town has several sites of interest.

Posted by Cathy
Orlando, FL, USA
29 posts

Thanks, Cynthia. That is very helpful! All I can find that sounds interesting in Derry is the old wall & maybe a cathedral or two. We don't really want to spend a lot of time inside in museums. If you have a minute to expand on what you mentioned about the Sligo area, it would be appreciated. We're driving up to Donnegal from Clifden, so it is on our way.

Posted by Cynthia
Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
1202 posts

Hi Cathy, In the Sligo area are two important megolithic sites: Carrowmore and Carrowkeel. I can't remember which is which, but you can google them. We enjoyed both. If you are interested in Yeats, it's worth a stop at his gravesite - the church is pretty. Also in that area is the "Lake Isle of Innisfree." We didn't go into Sligo town itself, but I'm sure you could find at least one decent lunch spot there......Derry's walls are worth a walk - that takes about an hour. You can see some of the murals from the wall. If you have been to York, I wouldn't make a Derry stop just to see a walled city, because York has so much more atmosphere.

Posted by Tom
Chicago
2876 posts

If you're going to County Donegal, I highly recommend a visit to Glenveagh Castle which is located in Glenveagh National Park. Beautiful rugged scenery and the guided tour of the Castle is very much worth taking. Glenveagh Castle was a vacation spot for some old-time Hollywood'ers such as Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, and Greta Garbo. We also very much enjoyed the wildly beautiful north coast. We had lunch in the quaint little coastal town of Dunfanaghy. Spent the night at the Ardeen House B&B in Ramelton, which also had a great old pub.

Posted by Bonnie
Boston, MA
109 posts

I have to disagree in regards to Derry, I absolutely loved Derry, spending two and half days visiting and will definitely be making a return trip there I stayed outside of the city walls, but very close. It is such a friendly city and this year is the UK City of Culture. If you have any interest in learning more about The Troubles, I highly recommend visiting the Museum of Free Derry and going on their walking tour. It was a really moving experience for me. Cross over the Peace Bridge to visit across the river - I love the Peace Bridge! There are walking tours of the town and the walls. If you spend the night in Derry itself, visit Peader O'Donnells for live traditional Irish music.

Posted by Cathy
Orlando, FL, USA
29 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions. We appreciate it!

Posted by Cathy
Orlando, FL, USA
29 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions. We appreciate it!

Posted by Amy
Clarksville, TN, USA
808 posts

Hi Cathy! We took the bus from Galway to Derry when we were in Ireland, and the sights on our way were AMAZING. I don't even know how to put it into words... I didn't know if you were asking for suggestions for the Giant's Causeway/Bushmills area, but we stayed in Portstewart. What a lovely little sea town! (We took the bus to Derry but it was just on our way to Portstewart...) There was a bus route from Portstewart that took you to every sight in that area. In one day, we did Bushmills, Carrick-a-rede Bridge, Giant's Causeway, then a stop to take photos at Dunluce Castle. I'm so glad we did the Antrim Coast. I don't know anyone else that's ever been there! I think we met one American our entire stay there! Enjoy!