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Friday, 30 January 2015

Check out what Donegal has to offer this Valentine's Day


Yes folks, it’s that time of year when cupid sharpens his little arrows to make sure he hasn't lost his touch. The time when lovers replenish, rekindle, and re-ignite the fires of passion and those feelings that stirred something in you at a stage when worries were irrelevant; be it long ago or just last week. So whether you are in the hectic throes of new love, feeling safe in the warmth of old love, or just on the lookout for any love, Donegal is the place to be for St. Valentine’s Day.
The scenic beauty of this county provides the perfect backdrop to those who want to shake off the rigours of daily life, and get a little introspective. Romance can blossom like the wild flowers of Errigal and love can be built as solidly as the ring fort at Grianan Aileach. The many splendours of Donegal are waiting for couples, old and new to set the scene for the latest chapter in your own personal love story. Walk hand in hand by the Feile Grainan Aileach where kings and queens have graced this county many centuries ago; before joining the locals for some of the greatest hospitality you will ever encounter among a people renowned for a disarming charm that will stay with you long after you visit.
Perhaps it could be time to pop that question in a special spot that sums up who you are more than words ever could. Or maybe, it’s an opportunity do a ‘recce’ for planning the perfect wedding on home soil, whether that’s in the church across the road from your mum’s, or in the land of your ancestors. It makes no difference; the famous Donegal welcome extends to all! As the song goes,
“And then to see a welcome free, for traveller’s one and all,
Your hearts are like your mountains in the homes of Donegal”.

Dining in Donegal
St. Valentine’s Day is synonymous with the almost obligatory romantic meal and this county has an abundance of choice for those of you looking for that something special. Donegal has an array of fine dining establishments throughout the county bearing mouth-watering menus that will not disappoint even the most discerning of customers. Top class restaurants stretch from Inishowen in the north of the county, to Bundoran and Ballyshannon in the south. So much so that we feel compelled to present to you just some of what is on offer in various locations throughout the county.

Inishowen

The most northern peninsula on the island of Ireland has an abundance of fine dining restaurants,
Why not choose the:
The Red Door, Fahan
Renowned for relaxed dining, luxury accommodation and breathtaking views, The Red Door Country House is nestled on a 4 acre site overlooking Lough Swilly in Inishowen in the North West of Ireland and is sure not to disappoint.
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This restaurant is the sort of classy, professional restaurant that you dream of stumbling upon, a place which makes the most of its gorgeous location by bringing great food and great service to a truly spectacular setting.


Described as "one of Inishowen's hidden treasures" the Firebox Grill offers one of the most homely of Donegal welcomes to all its guests. Come and enjoy a drink in front of the  huge open fire with your love while enjoying some fine cuisine.

East Donegal

The perfect venue for a romantic meal, Castle Grove is set among one of the few private estates in the East of Donegal. Pass through the gates and you realise you are in a different world, an oasis of privacy and tranquillity. The restaurant offers excellent cuisine that is prepared with dedication and care by an award winning chef and is renowned for quality and service.

 
Situated in the heart of Letterkenny, this family operated restaurant offers an intimate, relaxed ambience where customers can experience classically inspired dishes.

Set in idyllic wooded grounds overlooking Lough Swilly and just a few steps from a two-mile long golden beach, this luxury hotel and restaurant is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the good things in life. Five star quality food is served in the beautiful Weeping Elm, with its wooden floors, tented ceiling and views of Lough Swilly. 


West Donegal and the Gaeltacht



An Chúirt Hotel has become renowned for its beautiful setting located in one of West Donegal's most scenic regions, which lends itself quite magically to becoming a dream wedding location.


For intimate dining and sumptuous wine in the Gaeltacht this is certainly worth a visit.
Danny Minnie's is located in the village of Anagaire (Annagry) between the rugged mountains of north-west Donegal and the Atlantic Ocean. Close by is the beautiful white-sanded Carrickfin beach, which has blue flag status.
This renowned restaurant is just two miles from Donegal International Airport which is serviced daily by FlyBe from Dublin Airport.


South Donegal

Often referred to as the “Best Restaurant in the Northwest”, this romantic award winning restaurant located to the front of the hotel overlooking the rugged Donegal Coast, maximises the impact of the dramatic view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the ruins of McSwyne’s Castle (floodlit at night) and an open fire makes for real warmth in this unspoilt location, even in winter.
The Fox's Lair Bar & Restaurant is a family owned business situated in the beautiful seaside town of Bundoran. The atmosphere is relaxed, service is friendly and food is fantastic. A walk through the picturesque seaside village of Bundoran would not be complete without a visit to The Fox’s Lair.
Located opposite the picturesque bay in Donegal Town and a two minute walk from the Diamond,the Harbour Restaurant, is one of County Donegal's premier seafood and steak restaurants and winner of "Best Casual Dining in County Donegal" at The Irish Restaurant Awards...........
Escape to the mystical realm of Solis Lough Eske Castle while you relax and enjoy the ambience of Cedars restaurant. Savour the carefully selected, fresh local ingredients which have been masterfully prepared and beautifully presented by an expert team of culinary and service professionals.
Those looking for relaxation and time to reconnect will enjoy whisking away a loved one for a Valentine’s Day hotel getaway in Donegal. Go Visit Donegal have put together a range of great value romantic Valentine's hotel packages that will not only whisk you away from the stresses of everyday life, but will also ensure you are truly indulged while spending time with your significant other. To find out more click here

Valentine's Cottage Breaks

Forget flowers and chocolate, why not treat you significant other to an Authentic Donegal Experience - thatched cottage, turf fires and king size beds. With its remote landscapes and charming villages, Donegal is the ideal destination for a Valentine's Break. Surrounded by spectacular landscapes, blue flag beaches, crashing waves, inspiring and exhilarating walks, great restaurants with fantastic local produce, amazing fresh seafood, charming and welcoming pubs, traditional Irish music and the freshest air in Ireland.

Stay in a Castle 

All around the county of Donegal are dotted ruins of old castles. Tucked within the woodlands of Donegal is the five star Solis Lough Eske Castle, a luxury Castle in a meticulously restored 17th century castle. Winner of the World's Best Luxury Country Hotel and topping My Guide Ireland’s Top 10 Hotels in Ireland, this lovingly restored castle hotel in Ireland blends its historic past with a dash of contemporary elegance and will have you in the good books for months. 

Discover the Outdoors

Bunbeg Wreck 
The Gaeltacht is a place untouched by predictable tourism, where the Atlantic ocean meets the mighty Errigal mountain in a union that breeds adventure, release and true spirit. The local language, culture, people and the captivating powerful beauty of the countryside are the mainstay of this experience. mng have put together a romantic package this Valentine’s weekend and voilà – you have the perfect break! Rock & Roam will take you to breath-taking undiscovered areas, going off the beaten track to rugged and unspoilt places where golden eagles fly and the views are mesmerising, a truly romantic experience for your significant other. Check out their package here.

Glenveagh Castle is a wonderful idea for a romantic getaway,  taking its inspiration from the concept of a romantic highland retreat. Glenveagh is the most northerly of the nation's six national parks in Ireland and is situated on 24 kilometres. The castle appears like a fairy tale dream and the park contains wonderful nature trails, encompassing moorlands, mountains, lakes and forests.

So this Valentine’s make sure to tap into all that Donegal has to offer to create the perfect romantic day for your beloved. For more ideas on all that romantic Donegal has to offer this Valentine’s Day and all year round, visit:
www.govisitdonegal.com

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Own your own plot of land in the Donegal Gaeltacht!

An innovative Irish woman with Donegal connections has come up with a novel business idea that could instigate increased tourism to Donegal in the coming years and also boost international connections to the county. Irish Landowner.ie is the brainchild of Anne Marie Mcloughlin Sparks from County Wicklow whose parents hail from Co Donegal.
 Irish Landowner is a business concept where the public are invited to purchase a piece of Irish land as a gift idea or for one’s own personal piece of the ‘auld sod’. For $25 plus p&p, the purchaser will receive a beautifully produced certificate of ownership, a personal plot identity number, and a photograph of the region surrounding the ‘plot’. All of this comes in an attractive gift box and legal ownership of the plot can then be certified when the recipient registers their newly attained plot on the company’s website, irishlandowner.ie which also provides further details of the purchase that lies in the Moyra Glebe area of Falcarragh, Co. Donegal. The plot itself is probably not suitable for development as all plots are1in² in size but sure that’s not the point is it?
The point is the holder of each certificate can claim to be a legally recognised Irish Landowner! The company also point out that the owners of these plots are not liable for the upkeep of their land as Irish Landowner will maintain all plots.
These plots are an ideal gift option for anyone with an affiliation to or love of Ireland who may live abroad. In addition, Anne Marie states that she has developed links with local farmers and residents to promote holiday packages were the lucky owners of these limited plots can visit their land and witness at first hand the majesty of the area which is situated at the foot of Muckish Mountain in Donegal. After all, wouldn’t any self-respecting landowner make it their business to come and view their land at least once in their lifetime even if they don’t plan to settle down there?
Anne Marie is currently in talks with major US based television show, to be included in their upcoming Irish-themed St. Patrick’s Day edition of the show. If successful, an appearance on a TV show with such astronomical viewing figures, could see these plots sell out in record time.
We wish all at Irish Landowner every success in their venture. 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

5 Donegal Ways to make 2015 a year like no other

Another year starts and with it, new hopes and aspirations. Once again, Donegal has seen a steady increase in visitor numbers for 2014. But whether you plan on visiting our county in 2015 or you are living here, Go visit Donegal has some suggestions for you to get the most from what is on offer and to whet your appetite because Donegal has it all! 
So here goes......

1.    Experience Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland’s newest tourist trail is a 2,500km driving route that captures the majestic beauty and awe-inspiring ruggedness of the western Atlantic seaboard. The route stretches from Ireland’s most northerly point at Malin Head to Kinsale, Co. Cork. With over 550 km of this route passing through the scenic landscapes of Donegal, the Wild Atlantic Way offers an experience to native and traveller alike that is unsurpassed anywhere on the planet. Highlights include Donegal’s three signature discovery points of Malin Head, Fanad Lighthouse and Europe’s highest sea cliffs at Sliabh League; but the real thrill of this route is the chance to find your own unique, as yet undiscovered, signature point that is awaiting your arrival…




2.    Embrace our language

Whether it is a chance to embrace a few conversational phrases or to deepen your knowledge of the rich tapestry of the ancient Gaelic language and literature, Donegal has the appropriate starting point for you. There is a deep love of the mother tongue within the county and an unrivalled enthusiasm among the people to share this conversational style. The county boasts the largest geographical Gaeltacht in all of Ireland and it has been said that the Gaelic tongue that has been preserved here through the centuries is one of the purest forms of the language due to the county’s remoteness. "— Fiachna Ó Braonáin ó The Hothouse Flowers put it very well when he said "Rich in its complexity, soulful in its expression and resonantly inspirational, the Irish language, too often perceived as a burden, is as important to our identity as the very land upon which it is spoken. Life without it would seem empty and unfulfilled — with it we nurture our sense of place. Too often we hear the cries of regret in advanced years, as if a part of us is missing, and, to remedy this, our challenge is to pass it on to the next generation and to encourage them to do likewise, for the fact remains and always will, the Irish language, battered as it may be, is far too strong to just simply go away”.


3.    Experience Outdoor adventure and culture in Donegal

With its traditionally rural history, Donegal is a naturally outdoor kind of place. However,
when it comes to outdoor adventure, the place is anything but old-fashioned. These days you are as likely to turn a corner and encounter kayakers, climbers, or surfers as you might meet a goat or a sheep. The great strength of adventure in Donegal is that the people have managed to marry the cutting edge excitement of the world’s most modern outdoor activities while remaining respectful and true to the natural beauty of the landscape. This synergy provides the visitor with an experience that is second to none that will remain with you long after your (temporary!) departure.
Donegal is a place where you can avail of such activities all year round because there is no such thing as bad weather; it is only a matter of inappropriate clothing!!


4.    Unlock your musical potential

Whether you’d like to learn a rhythm for the bodhrán (Irish traditional drum), or to master the
intricate art of the unique traditional Donegal playing style of the fiddle, the county’s host of exceptional traditional musicians are very pleased to demonstrate their talents and impart
their knowledge to the willing enthusiast. The friendly informal, natural style that is the Donegal way is also infused with the craic and humour that accompanies all things traditional within the county. The resilience of the Donegal people down through the years has been born out of indeterminate patience and a wicked sense of humour. These character traits are very common to our traditional musical tutors and sets the scene for a very enjoyable musical experience for those of you willing to take that leap of faith!


5.    Donegal Marathon and half marathon 

As you begin to count the personal cost of a festive season of over-indulgence and search
for a new year’s resolution that will be both rewarding and beneficial, why not consider getting out and active over the coming months. 2014 saw the birth of the Donegal Marathon in August where a top class athletics challenge was provided to the people of Donegal within their own county. The competition will run for the second year in 2015 and we would like to take this opportunity to invite you to be a part of it. Now is the perfect time to begin your preparations and whether you are a seasoned athlete, or a budding long distance runner merely trapped in a couch potato’s body, 2015 can be a year where you rise to reach your personal goals and accomplish personal bests beyond your greatest hopes. Running and jogging has seen a resurgence in popularity throughout Donegal in recent years and the Donegal Marathon and Half-marathon provides the perfect platform to indulge this pastime or competitive endeavour in equal measure. So whatever your goals may be; or wherever you may come from; why not put the Donegal Marathon on your 2015 calendar and into your things to do list. Remember, getting fit is a lifestyle choice and investment that will repay you with interest, and you may achieve something that you thought you could never do into the bargain. In the splendid surroundings of Donegal, you’ll be a winner all round!

Click here for more information

So there you have it, 5 ways to make 2015 a year like no other. #donegalhasitall

For information on all things Donegal, visit www.govisitdonegal.com