Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland
Ballynahinch Castle, where you can stay on our castle tours of Ireland The sun setting over the Irish coast Irish locals fishing on the lake at Kylemore Abbey Glendalough, monastic site visited on some of our Ireland tours Traditional Irish music performed for visitors on a Tour of Ireland Sheep grazing on the Irish coastal clifftops

Donegal and Sligo Ireland Travel Guide

Donegal, Sligo & North West Ireland

When it comes to sheer wild beauty, the landscapes of Ireland's Northwest have no equal on the Emerald Isle or perhaps anywhere else. Rugged coastlines, windswept moors and plunging valleys capture a sense of poetic drama which the Yeats brothers, proud natives of this region, could scarcely have expressed in their own artistic works. Ireland's North West is truly a hidden gem in any Tour of Ireland

Offering perhaps less tourist infrastructure than the likes of Dublin, Cork, Beflast and Killarney, this wild expanse of Ireland is one for those who like to get outdoors. Northern Ireland Tours offer so many beautiful and varied terrains that your camera and your walking boots become almost essential.

Plan Your Tour of Ireland's North West

A Golfer's Paradise

You might equally pack your clubs and your golf shoes, for this is the home of links golf in the Republic. Courses such as County Sligo, Buncrana, Ballyliffin, Portsalon and Rosapenna could scarcely offer a more alluring backdrop to their notable fairways and greens.

Birdseye view of Sligo Birdseye view of Sligo

Sligo Town & Surrounding Areas

Sligo Town

Sligo offers much of the "authentic Ireland" feel which many seek out on the West Coast but, without the sheer volume of tourists you might find in other parts of your Ireland Tour, there is perhaps more opportunity to mingle with the locals and feel the beating heart of Ireland for yourself.

Let Sligo invite you into its myriad of pedestrian streets with small, independent shops guiding you from one entertaining diversion to the next. As you travel further south toward County Clare, listen out for traditional music and dancing, as the Irish folk music nights ("trad sessions") and céilidhs invite you into traditional Irish pubs along the way.

Sligo Town, Ireland

Sligo Shopping & Dining

Sligo's Markets

Recovering after a Friday night session with the locals, head for one of Sligo's Saturday-morning markets: Beltra Country Market, Benbulben Craft Village Farmers Market, Sligo Farmers Market and Sligo Flea Market all offer a great local atmosphere and, while you might not need to buy many groceries while you're here in Ireland, there will plenty of other little temptations to keep you entertained. When looking for a relaxation and tranquillity on your vacations Ireland is generally seen as great choice and the North West of Ireland goes one step further.

Donegal Town in the North West of Ireland Donegal Town in the North West of Ireland

Donegal Town & Surrounding Areas

Donegal

Like Sligo, Donegal town makes an ideal base for its surrounding attractions and should be viewed as such, rather than as a thriving tourist destination in its own right. Visitors will find plenty of pleasant places to eat, drink and make merry, as well as lots of places to lay their weary heads in comfort. The town itself will provide curiosities and distractions for a daytime of discovery, but the region's most engaging attractions arguably lie outside the towns themselves.

Historically, Donegal owes its prominence to its strategic location at the mouth of the Donegal bay, a fact borne out by the presence of the impressive and imposing Donegal Castle. Located on a curve of the River Eske, the castle was built in 1474 and would remain an enduring monument to the power of the O'Donnells until the downfall in 1607. When all was lost, leader Rory O'Donnell destroyed the castle himself before fleeing to France.

Restored in 1623 and again in the 1990s, the castle which visitors find today is in very good condition and, with guided tours every hour, it certainly merits a visit.

Worth the Trip Notable Detours and Diversions in Donegal

The Glengesh Pass

This part of Ireland has some fantastic country routes, and self-drive visitors to Sligo and Donegal will not be short of photo opportunities along the way. One which is sure to please is The Glengesh Pass which runs from Ardara to Glencolumbcille. Passengers with a delicate stomach might want to take their travel sickness tablets before they embark on this narrow and tumbling sequence of tight hairpins, but if you keep you camera at hand you will have every excuse.

Errigal Mountain

This ascent will require more than just your walking boots: a knowledge of mountain safety and possibly a local guide might be called for, especially on days where the weather is anything less than bright and dry. At a fairly towering 752 metres, Errigal Mountain is a pleasant but challenging climb for any hobbyist hillwalker, and the main paths are not of the best quality. A hike on Errigal Mountain can really set your tour of Ireland apart.

However, the rosé quartzite haze of the summit almost invites you to make you way up and drink in the intoxicating views that await you there. This is the wild country at its best.

The Cliffs of Moher on the West Coast of Ireland The Cliffs of Moher on the West Coast of Ireland

Visit Donegal on these Tours

Kylemore Abbey in Connemara, Ireland

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County Leitrim

With less mileage on the Wild Atlantic Way, and a more inland location, County Leitrim is perhaps overshadowed by the neighbouring counties of Sligo and Donegal. But visitors who pass by without exploring the glens, lakes and loughs for which Leitrim is famed will most certainly be missing out. Find out more about Leitrim tourist attractions by visiting www.leitrimtourism.com.

Leitrim Lough in North Western Ireland Leitrim Lough in North Western Ireland

Leitrim Lakes and Loughs

An Irish Trad Session in full flow...

Worth the Trip Notable Detours and Diversions of Ireland's North West

Maghera Beach and Caves

If you have enjoyed the Glengesh Pass, then rest up and take the family on the kind of adventure that demands a barbecue and a bucket and spade. Although weather-dependent, this is an old-school family day out which won't cost much but is sure to please. (Drivers will have to pay €3 for parking. Don't go home without eating an ice-cream!)

The beach itself looks like it belongs in a different hemisphere: stretches soft white sand are gently ironed flat by an enticing turquoise sea. Fair warning: only the stout of heart should head for the sea until the latter stages of the summer season: Ireland is not famed for its warm sea water. Those who do venture out will find a gentle gradient underfoot, making the water ideal for swimmers and paddlers alike.

The caves are no less beautiful than the beach itself, with multicoloured rock formations forming an artistic array of dizzying shapes. A very atmospheric space away from the more established tourist destinations.

Slieve League

Westport is a charming town in County Mayo. Located about 1hr 30 mins from Galway, this remote area of Ireland retains all of its rugged beauty. There's plenty to see and do around Westport including the Great Western Greenway, Achill Island, Clare Island, Clew Bay with it's 365 Islands, Westport House and Croagh Patrick.

Glencolmcille Folk Village

Situated 50 minutes' drive from Donegal Town or 25 minutes from the fishing port of Killybegs, the Glencolmcille Folk Village (also known as Father McDyer's Folk Village Museum) is a thatched-roof replica of a traditional Irish rural village. Comprising a number of small cottages, called a "clachan", the village atop a hillside with a commanding sea view over Glen Bay Beach in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) of South West Donegal. A popular living-history museum, Glencolmcille was built and is maintained by the people of the local area.

Accommodation in North Western Ireland

Hotels in The North West of Ireland

Inishowen, Co. Donegal

Inishowen Gateway, Donegal, Northern Ireland

Inishowen Gateway

Located in the Inishowen peninsula in North-East Donegal and only a 15 minute drive from Derry. Amazing views of Lough Swilly.

  • Great Location
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Leisure Breaks
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Farnham Estate, Co. Cavan

Farnham Estate, Ireland

Farnham Estate

A stunning 4 star spa and golf hotel. One of Cavan's top hotel with superb bar and dining facilities. Midweek spa deals.

  • Great Food & Drink
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Ideal for Business
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Monaghan, Co. Monaghan

Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan, Ireland

Hillgrove Hotel

A great selection of personal and event rooms for every occasion in the beautiful surroundings of Monaghan Town.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Cavan Town, Co. Cavan

Farnham Arms, Cavan Town, Co. Cavan, Ireland

Farnham Arms

A great option for both the commercial and touring market at a great price. Overnight carparking available.

  • Ideal for Business
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Budget Friendly
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Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

Donegal Manor, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal,  Ireland

Donegal Manor

Great value for money, a superb location and a warm welcome from one of Ireland's top 25 small hotels on TripAdvisor.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Budget Friendly
  • Leisure Breaks
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Lough Eske, Co. Donegal

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Harvey's Point

Ireland's number-one hotel in the 2015, 2014 and 2013 TripAdvisor Travellers' Choice Awards, ranking 6th in Europe and 22nd in the World.

  • Great Location
  • Ideal for Business
  • Leisure Breaks
Find out More

Mohill, Co. Leitrim

Lough Rynn Castle, Mohill, Co. Leitrim, Ireland

Lough Rynn Castle

Four-star luxury castle hotel on the north-east shore of Rinn Lough. It is hard to imagine a setting more picturesque or more inspiring.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Great Location
  • Great Food & Drink
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Virginia, Co. Cavan

Lakeside Manor, Co. Cavan, Ireland

Lakeside Manor

Set on the shores of the beautiful Lough Ramor Lake. Known for it's relaxed atmosphere, reasonable prices and friendly staff.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Budget Friendly
  • Great Location
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Sligo, Co. Sligo

Sligo Park Hotel, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Sligo Park Hotel

In the Heart of Yeats' country, The Sligo Park Hotel is set in quiet parkland and surrounded by some of Ireland's most scenic countryside.

  • Great Location
  • Great Food & Drink
  • Ideal for Families
Find out More

Sligo, Co. Sligo

Strandhill Lodge, Sligo, Ireland

Strandhill Lodge

Stunning scenery coupled with luxury accommodation. The beautiful scenery in Strandhill has to be seen to be believed.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Ideal for Families
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
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Killybegs, Co. Donegal

Tara Hotel, Killybegs, Co. Donegal, Ireland

Tara Hotel

Located in the beautiful Killybegs Tara Hotel caters for your every need. Great conference and leisure club available.

  • Ideal for Business
  • Great Location
  • Leisure Breaks
Find out More

B&Bs and Guesthouses in the North West of Ireland

Inishowen Peninsula, Co. Donegal

Inishfree Bed & Breakfast, Donegal

Inishfree B & B

Inishfree Bed & Breakfast is modern and spacious resting stop located on The Inishowen Peninsula, one of Ireland's hidden gems.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Ard na Breatha B&B

Situated just 1.5km from Donegal Town, Ard na Breatha Guesthouse and Restaurant offers award winning quality in a breathtaking location.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Sliabh Liag, Co. Donegal

An Scrín B&B, Ireland

An Scrín B&B

Self-catered accommodation, ideally situated for groups looking to explore the Donegal coastline and the awe-inspiring Sliabh Liag.

  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Ideal for Families
  • Great Location
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Lettermacaward, Co. Donegal

Eagle's Nest B&B, Donegal, Ireland

Eagle's Nest B&B

A newly built cottage with a traditional aesthetic, Eagle's Nest B and B is welcome break from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Leisure Breaks
Find out More

Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Ard na Breatha B&B

Situated just 1.5km from Donegal Town, Ard na Breatha Guesthouse and Restaurant offers award winning quality in a breathtaking location.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Laghey Village, Co. Donegal

Mairead's Bed and Breakfast, Donegal, Ireland

Mairead's B&B

Charming B&B just walking distance to the 7 Arches Bar and The Dew Drop Inn Lounge Bar and Restaurant with its Traditional Music and Song.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Great Location
  • Budget Friendly
Find out More

Grange, Co. Sligo

Mount Edward Lodge Grange, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Mount Edward Lodge

An award-winning luxury bungalow situated in beautiful Yeats Country, Mount Edward Lodge is ideal for relaxing holidays or a business trip.

  • Ideal for Business
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Luxurious Setting
Find out More

Ballinfull, Co. Sligo

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Ocean Heights

A charming B&B near Lissadell, set on the picturesque coastline of the Wild Atlantic Way. The perfect place to relax in a tranquil coastal setting.

  • Ideal for Families
  • Leisure Breaks
  • Great Location
Find out More

Grange, Co. Sligo

Rowanville B&B,Grange, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Rowanville B&B

Four-star accommodation and warm, friendly Irish hospitality with hotel-style bedrooms at B&B rates. All rooms en suite, wifi throughout.

  • Leisure Breaks
  • Budget Friendly
  • Great Location
Find out More

Carrick, Co. Donegal

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Cairnsmore B&B

Cairnsmore is the ideal place to stay if you want to climb Sliabh a' Liag, go hill-walking or or experience true Irish fishing.

  • Budget Friendly
  • Great Location
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
Find out More

Ballymote, Co. Sligo

Temple House B&B, Ballymote, Co. Sligo, Ireland

Temple House B&B

A traditional Irish guesthouse in an idyllic rural setting. Expect a unique and luxury country house offering a truly authentic Irish experience.

  • Luxurious Setting
  • Ideal for Families
  • Perfect for Sightseeing
Find out More

Redcastle, Co. Donegal

The Mill Times Hotel in Westport Ireland

Washington House B&B

Located alongside Inishowen Peninsula this B & B offer fantastic views of Lough Foyle. Comfort is assured with 5 en suite bedrooms.

  • Great Location
  • Budget Friendly
  • Ideal for Families
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Hostels in the North West of Ireland

Ballintrillick, Co. Sligo

The Benwiskin Centre, Ballintrillick, Co. Sligo, Ireland

The Benwiskin Centre

An EU Ecolabel accredited hostel, The Benwiskin Centre provides an ideal base for families or groups to explore the North West of Ireland.

  • Perfect for Sightseeing
  • Ideal for Short Breaks
  • Budget Friendly
Find out More

My Ireland Travel Guide

Barrels at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin City

Ireland's much-loved capital and the gateway to the Emerald Isle. A vibrant, modern and outward-facing city, most Ireland tours and vacations begin here. Read more...

  • Guinness Storehouse
  • Trinity College
  • Temple Bar Quarter
  • The Book of Kells
  • Dublin Castle
About Dublin
Lighthouse in Hook Head

Wicklow & the East

This wild landscape of gorse and bracken is home to many of Ireland's most significant archaeological finds, as well its grandest estates. Read more...

  • Powerscourt Estate
  • Glendalough Settlement
  • Brú na Bóinne
  • Battle of The Boyne
  • National Stud
About the East
The Cliffs of Moher

Galway & the West

Pack walking boots, a camera and a sense of adventure as you head west for Galway, County Clare and the Wild Atalantic Way. Heritage, tradition and Read more...

  • Kylemore Abbey
  • Cliffs of Moher
  • Clonmacnoise Settlement
  • Clare Music Sessions
  • The Burren Landscape
About the West
Kilkenny Castle by the riverside

Kilkenny & South-East

The sunny South East. Ireland's warmest and driest region is also one of its most popular destinations with tourists and locals alike. Read more...

  • The Rock of Cashel
  • Waterford Crystal
  • Lismore Castle
  • Tintern Abbey
  • St Canice's Cathedral
The South East
Sheep in Kerry, Ireland

Cork and Kerry

Wind-swept, welcoming and rugged, Ireland South West typifies what visitors expect Ireland to look like – vibrant, vivid and verdant. Read more...

  • Cork English Market
  • Blarney Castle
  • The Ring of Kerry
  • Killarney Nat. Park
  • Skellig Michael
The South West
Trad Session in Donegal, Ireland

Donegal and Sligo

Less well-trodden than Dublin, Belfast or Killarney, this picturesque region invites you to get outdoors. Don't forget your camera! Read more...

  • Slieve League Cliffs
  • Lakes and Loughs
  • Maghera Beach
  • Errigal Mountain
  • Glencolmcille Village
The North West
The Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland

Belfast & The North

In peace, Belfast and the North have staked their rightful claim as some of the Island of Ireland's most iconic and cultural regions. Read more...

  • The City of Belfast
  • Titanic Belfast
  • Giant's Causeway
  • Carrick-a-Rede
  • The City of Derry
Northern Ireland
Solo traveller admiring the coastal view in Ireland

Ireland Solo Travel

Whether you're looking to meet new people or just yearning get away from it all, Ireland is a great place to travel independently. Read more...

  • Experience the Culture
  • Find Your Inner Peace
  • Discover New Paths
  • Start a Course
  • Experience the Nightlife
Northern Ireland

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