Donegal is one of Ireland’s quieter counties and so does not suffer from the overwhelming surge of international visitors felt in other parts of the country. Accordingly, it is also one of its cheapest areas as well as being less susceptible to fluctuation. June to August is the peak season, with many visitors from Northern Ireland coming in the second week of July. Visitors should be able to find cheap flights to Donegal any time outside of the summer months.
The town hosts many special events, throughout the year. The critically acclaimed A Taste of Donegal is one of the most popular, showcasing the finest in local food, drink and inventions. Celebrity chefs make appearances throughout the event, while sommeliers are on hand to take tutored wine classes.
Alternatively, book flights to Donegal to coincide your trip with the ever popular Muff Festival, an annual fair held for over 30 years in the seaside town of Muff, or make your way to August’s DylanFest to enjoy tribute acts serenading the waters of Lough Foyle with the sounds of Mr. Tambourine Man himself.
Donegal is the archetypal Irish coastal town, a charming rural settlement where narrow streets sweep down to the sea. The town has long been a popular destination for tourists, both local and from afar, flocking on flights to Donegal to seek the promise of a romantic escape on the misty shores of Ulster. Some come for the dream of the Irish love affair, while others are attracted to the sounds of the town.
Music is big business in Donegal, the streets beating to the pulse of the bodhrán and the fiddle every night of the week. While at the music, be sure to spend some time speaking to the locals, for they most certainly will speak to you. The town’s colourful pubs are popular gathering places for young and old alike, carrying an important sense of civic unity that goes beyond the all-consuming ‘craic.’
Donegal, like the rest of Ireland, is a place very much rooted in its history. Family, culture and place are all very important makers of Irish identity, and this can be seen across the local area. The town itself is centred upon a 15th century castle, but even this venerable edifice is but a youthful descendent of The Iron Age fortress at Grianán Ailigh. Even older is the Kilclooney dolmen, a stone tomb dating back almost 6000 years. With such a fascinating historical tapestry, be sure to hire a car and get out and explore.
Donegal Town is also a jumping-off point for explorers and lovers of the great outdoors. Climbers are known to enjoy the slopes of Mount Errigal in the Derryveagh Mountains, while thrill seekers see how far they dare tread at the Slieve League cliffs, among the highest in Europe.
Finally, the ton is also within easy driving distance of Derry, Enniskillen and Sligo. Belfast is a bit further away, but is certainly worth a visit and will require an overnight stay.
Donegal is very small with every section accessible by foot.
The closest international airport to Donegal is Aldergrove, Belfast Airport (BFS) just outside Belfast, with flights to Donegal arriving from across the United Kingdom and Europe. Donegal does, however, have its own regional airport (CFN), connected with Dublin and Glasgow. Bus services to and from Donegal run daily, while Aldergrove can also be reached by bus, with departure once every four hours. It is highly recommended that you hire a car for your stay as many attractions are not accessible by public transport.