County Donegal is a county in the farthest northwestern corner of the Republic of Ireland. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on two sides and Northern Ireland on the third; it is only connected to the Republic by a tiny strip of land to the south, which is County Leitrim. Donegal is in the Ulster province and the Borders Region; Lifford is the county town, but the town of Letterkenny is the largest. The town of Donegal, which gave its name to the county, is a hub for music and culture although it is bypassed by the main highways. In late 2016, National Geographic Traveller ranked Donegal at its top destination for 2017.
County Donegal is steeped in Irish culture, especially from the Christian era; St. Patrick returned to Donegal after his capture by the clans and as a result, the region was one of the first to convert to Christianity. Donegal was one of the hardest hit regions during the Great Famine. Huge swaths of the population emigrated, leaving the region one of the least populated in modern Ireland. The remaining inhabitants are strongly rooted in the Gaeltacht; many older residents speak little English and in remote parts, signs are in Gaelic only.
Travellers looking for accommodation in County Donegal should look for hostels or other budget accommodation in the main town of Letterkenny. There are also hostels, guesthouses and b&bs in the small fishing town of Killybegs; for an authentic experience, consider staying in one of these. Killybegs is well-placed for ventures to some of the more remote beaches and towns in Donegal. Other good areas for hostels are the coastal regions near surf beaches.
The landscape of Donegal is vast and varied. The coastline is extensive and very rugged. Once you have your hostel sorted, explore the region and hike along one of the many trails. Experienced trampers can hike Mount Errigal, which is a 2-3 hour hike with little to no trail to follow up and along the summit ridge. The Slieve League cliffs, near Carrick, are the 6th highest sea cliffs in Europe and are much more dramatic than the more well-known Cliffs of Moher.
County Donegal is rich in both culture and outdoor pursuits and is one of the don't-miss regions in Ireland. Whatever you choose to do here, you will enjoy it!
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for County Donegal hostels. Welcome.