This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Donegal. To help you make friends with Donegal before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Donegal town is situated in the county of its own name, in the northeast corner of Ireland. Meaning “fort of the foreigners,” Donegal has become a tourist attraction in recent years. The town is the picturesque location of the Eske River, Donegal Bay, and Blue Stack Mountains. Visitors can experience the raw, powerful vibe of Donegal’s people and history while exploring old landmarks, points in nature, and deserted areas, as well as experiencing life in the cultural town center and staying in an accommodation in the midst of the hauntingly beautiful countryside.
Donegal is easily accessible via several roads. There are a handful of buses, private as well as public, which stop at the town. Many travelers choose to join a tour or rent a camper in order to explore the town and surrounding region.
Tourists who are looking for hostels in Donegal could have a hard time as there might be only one hostel available at any given time. If traveling in a larger group, visitors can receive an economical deal by sharing a room in a lodge or inn, a cottage, or a vacation apartment rental. All of these options are available within the town.
Another accommodation option would be to stay in a hostel in one of the many other towns of Donegal County. Located close to Donegal town, those nearby hostels provide the perfect chance for exploring the greater region and taking an enjoyable side trip over to Donegal town. Hostels in Donegal County tend to receive very positive feedback from guests due to topnotch cleanliness as well as welcoming, kind hosts who create a very authentic feeling within the hostels. Hot showers and included bedding are the norm, as are clean kitchen facilities for cooking meals. It is recommended that guests bring their own towels. Wifi is offered only in locations that are not too removed from the towns. Certain establishments also offer camping grounds with access to bathroom and kitchen facilities.
If you appreciate the genuine Irish feeling conveyed by your hostel, then you will be eager to explore the rich culture of the town. Your first stop might be The Diamond, the town’s center where locals share music and poetry. Nothing conveys the aura of a place like immersing yourself in the midst of the town square’s daily life.
If you are looking for some souvenirs, visit the Donegal Craft Village where you won’t find a single kitschy knick knack. Instead, you will find true treasures galore, with choices including pottery, handmade fabrics and jewelry, as well as ironwork. You can even sip a tasty drink at a cafe as you gloat over your treasure finds.
If historic architecture is your persuasion, then you could head over to Donegal Castle. Beforehand, inquire at your hostel regarding open days and times so that you are not disappointed upon arrival at the old castle. Originally built in the fifteenth century and twice restored, in 1623 and again in the 1990s, it is a small structure of three stories that can be viewed alone or with a guide. As you walk along its thick lime- and sand-stone walls, you will get a sense of what life was like for the O’Donnells who lived here until 1607.
If you happen to be staying in accommodations in nearby Glencolmcille, you could take a walking trail to Donegal town’s deserted Port village. The fishermen families who inhabited this village by the water only recently abandoned it. Today, their homes are left in ruins, but you might find a restored hut available for rent if you would like to spend a night in the forsaken ghost town. Alternately, some visitors pitch a tent in order to camp out and gain a deeper feel for the village life of yesteryear.
Written by local enthusiast for Donegal hostelsJakob Lombardi