Donegal and Castle

donegal holiday castleIn Donegal town itself you'll find the Castle which was built in 1474 along with the Abbey further along the river, which is mostly built of limestone and sandstone after many years of weathering has enjoyed a restoration in recent times. The earliest parts were originally built when the Chieftan O'Donnell and his clan moved from the ruins of a castle at Lough Eske. 

The present Donegal Castle now sits high on a rock above the River Eske and dominates the town below with its rocket-shaped tower topped by a cross. The castle itself is built from limestone and sandstone and green lawns in the peaceful garden in the centre of the castle quadrangle provide a romantic view of the ruined parts of the castle.

The English were not always quite so welcome for a holiday!  The keep was partly destroyed by the O'Donnells to make it less hospitable for the new English owner Captain, Basil Brooke in 1607, however he quickly rebuilt it, and added a large wing in the Jacobean style.  Sadly, the castle then fell into ruin over the next few centuries and was donated to the Office of Public Works in 1898 by the then owner, the Earl of Arran. 

This unique and historic castle has recently enjoyed a full restoration, with a new roof of gracefully curving oak roof beams and is open to the public as a venue for cultural events.  It is now furnished with oak furniture and carved chairs typical of the Elizabethan age with French tapestries on the walls reminiscent of a bygone age. 

From the busy town centre, a few minutes out on the road and you're plunged straight back into the countryside for a fantastic sightseeing holiday in Donegal - with all the country tracks and trails of Donegal to explore.  From the Bluestack mountains where the rocks glow with a blue sheen giving the mountains their name, follow winding paths and roads through forests and plains and ancient Bogs with mysterious old Irish names such as Meenagarranroe, Cashelnavean and Barnesmore, which are now designated Natural Heritage Areas for the protection of wildlife and preserve the last remnants of natural and unspoilt upland blanket bog in Donegal from the ravages of sheep grazing and the encroachment of forestry and the ever-increasing demands of modern human activity.

A holiday in Donegal - it's once seen, never, ever forgotten.