Welcome to the Go Visit Donegal Blog

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Communities come together to ‘Green’ County Donegal for St. Patrick’s Day!



Donegal Tourism Ltd in association with Donegal County Council recently launched an initiative to help make ‘Donegal the Greenest County in Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day 2015’ and have been encouraging the trade in Donegal to get involved in the greening of their local area. Whether it is the greening of an attraction, business premises, local beauty spot or church, all sorts of locations will be turned green this coming weekend!

Communities and businesses in Donegal have embraced the Wild Atlantic Way initiative from Fáilte Ireland and understand the potential benefits of showcasing County Donegal to the world and attracting visitors to this beautiful world class tourism destination. Greening of Donegal for St. Patrick’s Day is an excellent way to kick start the season and offers an excellent opportunity to show that Donegal is very much connected and that communities are ready and waiting to welcome visitors.

Old Church Visitor Centre An Grianan

Already confirmation has been received from a wide variety of locations across Donegal that they will be greening local attractions, businesses and other sites. The Old Church Visitor Centre and An Grianan Hotel are green, plans are underway to green Banba’s Crown at Malin Head, in Bundoran the Tourist Office, Kicking Donkey and lots of other locations will go green, the Radisson Hotel in Letterkenny, the Castle in Donegal and Magees Shop will go green. These are but examples of the many locations going green this weekend and full lists will be available in the coming days. 


Mr. Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council and Chairman of Donegal Tourism has been delighted with the response to the greening initiative 2015 saying that “interest in greening this year has been huge and local communities and businesses have really come together to work as teams to organise lighting, green gels and bulbs, generators and everything needed to go green. We are very proud of the effort that has gone into this initiative and look forward to seeing our ‘green’ county promoted extensively in the coming days, well done to everyone concerned”.


A plan is in place to promote the greening through a variety of Donegal Tourism Ltd and Donegal County Council websites, social channels and e-mail marketing campaigns. Groups and individuals that have organised the ‘greening’ of any location are asked to e-mail photos and details to greeningdonegal@gmail.com From there they will be circulated online. Local people and visitors are encouraged to take photos of greened locations and post them online using the hashtag #greeningdonegal

Greenings mean so much more than just the vast amount of worldwide publicity they receive, in particular via the web. Greenings are a symbol of the warm welcome that people from Donegal extend to the Diaspora and indeed to the world. Greening Donegal in line with other countries around the world showcases that County Donegal is open for business and extend a hand in friendship and respect to visitors.



Bundoran Tourist Office


You may have seen other famous buildings, landmarks and world heritage sites go green around the world such as the Taj Mahal in India, the Moulin Rouge in Paris and the Pyramids of Egypt to name but a few, all of which receive extensive media coverage online and offline to promote Ireland as a world class tourism destination. This year Donegal will be put firmly on the map when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day Greening thanks to this initiative! The benefits of which are far reaching and will positively impact on visitor numbers in the future.

Check out all of the greening Donegal locations on this new map from Donegal County Council then visit the locations, take some photos and share using ‪#‎greeningdonegal‬ and #GoGreen4PatricksDay‬. 


Friday, 13 March 2015

Gay Byrne launches New Brochure and App for Donegal Tourism

Gay Byrne launching New Brochure and App
for Donegal Tourism

The launch of a brand new tourism brochure, highlighting all that Donegal has to offer, was launched on Thursday, 12th March 2015 by none other than Mr. Gay Byrne in the magnificent setting of Glenveagh Castle. Gay and his wife, Kathleen Watkins, were in the county to promote this full colour brochure that has been produced by Donegal Tourism, along with a brand new app which has been newly designed to complement the www.govisitdonegal.com website. Gay and Kathleen are no strangers to Donegal and have been visiting the county for many years now being the proud owners of a holiday home in the county.

Gay delighted the audience when he recalled his memories of visiting Glenveagh Castle with his wife Kathleen when it was home to the McElhinney family.  He talked about how he was first introduced to Donegal and Dungloe over forty years ago and his message to the people of Donegal is to continue to smile and welcome every visitor as a friend of the county.

Donegal County Council Chief Executive and Chairman of Donegal Tourism Mr. Seamus Neely stated “this 58 page brochure beautifully captures many images that display the diversity and majesty of Donegal.  It sets out an array of activities, places of interest, and services that are available to potential visitors. Over 20,000 copies of this brochure have been printed and distributed worldwide and a PDF version has also been circulated to many tourism providers for inclusion on their websites”.
Speakers at the Launch L-R:
Anthony Douggan, Inishowen Development Partnership;
Cllr Nicholas Crossan, Donegal County Council;
Gay Byrne, Joan Crawford, Fáilte Ireland;
Seamus Neely, Chief Executive, Donegal County Council.


He added “the new app will serve to assist visitors by providing a first class mobile friendly interface with www.govisitdonegal.com. With travellers using their mobile devices on the go to find out information, this app will let them access up to the minute information that is available on the website through their mobile devices”.

The brochure uses over forty different themes and headings from popular activities, such as Surfing, Golf, and Angling; to unique Donegal amenities and resources, such as Local Produce, Islands and the Gaeltacht, and Festivals, to allow the reader to easily plan their visit.

The photography is captivating and demonstrates the strengths of Donegal as a major player in the tourism sector. The themes are all complemented with useful information and contacts for whatever your interest may be and it brings to life a strong visual image of Donegal for the potential visitor. The brochure also offers the visitor six recommended touring routes for different regions of the county in addition to the newly developed Wild Atlantic Way route that has been rolled out in recent months.

Click Image below to view & download the Brochure


County Donegal Tourism App is Available on Google Play Store and the App Store.



Monday, 9 March 2015

Rock Climbing in Donegal


 The mountains, coastlines and islands of Co. Donegal offer some of the most beautiful and unspoilt scenery you will find anywhere in Ireland. What these outstandingly beautiful places offer the adventurous rock climbers is many lifetimes of world class rock climbing. There is more available rock climbing in Donegal than the rest of Ireland combined and in this article we will show just some of the highlights of what Donegal can offer you.


Ireland’s Most Developed Climbing Venue
 Cruit Island sits at the western tip of The Rosses area of western Donegal. It is one of the most developed rock climbing venues in Ireland containing a tad over 350 recorded rock climbs from very easy climbs to climbs graded extreme.
 The climbing on Cruit is on over 20 different granite sea cliffs located around the islands rugged coast line. The immaculate rock is characterised by it's mixture of coarse granite crystals and it's pristine smoothness where the sea has scoured it over the centuries. In the main the cliffs are 10m high with the largest cliffs at 20m high being found in "The Albatross Zawn" climbing area. Climbing is possible at all tide states and in all sea conditions as the multitude of cliffs on the island have many orientations allowing climbing on lea cliffs whilst other are being battered by the monsterous seas that frequently roll onto the island from the Atlantic Ocean.

 Cruit Island is an outstanding location for a family visit with the coast line comprising immaculate granite sea cliffs and separating these sea cliffs are some of the most beautiful sandy beaches it is possible to imagine. Download the free rock-climbing guide to Cruit Island and go and explore this beautiful island.
http://www.uniqueascent.ie/cruit_island_guide




Ireland’s Highest Sea Stack
 Tormore Island is a gigantic leviathan, a sentinel of the deep standing guard at the nautical gates to the Slievetooey coastline. At 150m at it's highest point above the ocean it is Ireland's highest sea stack. This huge square topped stack can be seen for many kilometres along the coast either side of it. It can even be clearly seen from the Dungloe/Kincaslough road some 40KM to the north.
 Access is a very involved affair and entails gaining the storm beach as for Cnoc na Mara, Lurking Fear and Tormore Island. From here it is a 500m paddle around the headland to the north of the storm beach and a further 250m paddle through the outstanding channel separating Tormore Island and Donegal mainland. At the northern end of the land ward face there is a huge ledge just above the high water mark.
 In 2008 a team of four climbers took a 250HP RiB and landed on the land ward face of the stack. Two members of the party had made several  attempts to land on and climb the stack in the past. We were aware of the story of the man who was buried here. During our climb of the stack we searched any possible place where someone could be buried and found no possible burial site or any trace of the passage of people on the stack prior to our ascent. We found no evidence or trace of previous visitors on the summit. To get off the summit back to sea level we made four 50m abseils leaving behind two 240cm slings and 4 pegs as abseil anchors.
 The route we took to the summit was climbed in 5 long pitches following the easiest line up this huge feature. The descent was by 4 50m abseils down the route back to our start point on the huge ledge above the high water mark.
 This is without a doubt one of the best and most adventurous rock climbs in the country.



Ireland’s Longest Rock Climb
The Sturrall Headland is one of the most outstanding sea cliff features in Ireland it is a true monster of a headland sitting isolated and very far from anywhere in the real world. It sits equidistant between Glencolmcille Village to the South and the An Port road end to the North. The ridge is approx 800m long and 180m above the Atlantic at it's highest point.
 The first recorded climb to the summit was by WP (Walter Parry) Haskett Smith in about 1890. His route ascended the skyline ridge from the landward side and provides a very exposed 400m mountain ridge scramble to this excellent summit. The second ascent of the ridge
 The Sturrall Headland is an extremely inaccessible and foreboding place to visit. Access is by a steep scary scramble down the north spur followed by a 300m sea passage deep into the realms of chaos.
 The ridge is climbed in two very distinct parts. The first being from sea level to the summit which follows a 350 meter long knife edge ridge. The second half is an airy scramble along the ridge towards land, from the summit follow the ridge past several towers and maximum exposure for approx 350m of outstanding alpine ridge climbing back to land.




Ireland’s Longest Ice Climb 
Overlooking Dunlewey from the south is the Poison Glen a huge and extremely beautiful valley of unspoilt granite mountains. At the furthest reaches of the glen is a 300 meter high wall of sheer granite known by climbers as Bearnas Buttress. This huge North facing wall is home to most of the longest mountain rock climbs in the country and contains rock climbs more alpine in nature. Running up the centre of this face is a cascade type waterfall, in January 2010 this waterfall froze solid and was climbed from the valley floor to the lofty mountain summit 450 meters above. Winter climbing conditions are a rare commodity in Ireland but when they do come, the Irish mountains are transformed into an amasing winter wonderland of snow and ice, and solitude is guaranteed.






Ireland’s most Popular Sea Stack


Cnoc na Mara is one of the most iconic sea stacks on earth, its sits 100 meter out to sea in an outrageous amphitheatre of 250 meter high sea cliffs. It is safe to say this stack represents all that is great about adventure climbing. It's impressive soaring 150m long landward arete provides one of the most rewarding and adventurous rock climbs in Ireland. It is easily an equal to the mighty Old Man of Hoy off the Orkney Islands in the north of Scotland.


 Gaining the summit is like being reborn into a world where anything is possible it truly is a surreal and magical place to be. The whole world falls away below and around you, as you are perched on a summit far from anything else. The descent back to sea level is an involved affair and involves two abseils and great deal of care and guile. This sea stack requires a great deal of care and attention to detail as the potential for epics are huge but the rewards are even greater.



http://www.uniqueascent.ie/ have spent the last 5 years exploring the better and lesser known climbing locations thoughout the county and have developed and recorded over 500 new routes in all areas of Donegal.They have explored and developed the Island of Cruit, recording over 300 rock climbs making Cruit Island the most developed rock climbing location in Ireland. They have played on the previously unclimbed sea stacks creating some of the most adventurous and atmospheric rock climbs in the country.

 What they offer at Unique Ascent is the opportunity for people of all abilities to visit and climb in places of outstanding natural beauty where solitude and a truly great outdoor experience is guaranteed. We offer a full range of experiences, courses and holidays with the goal of maximizing your potential and knowledge by building on your previous experience and knowledge. Our goal with every client is to educate, instruct and guide you to allow you to reach, achieve and fulfil all your rock climbing and hill walking ambitions.