Travel to Donegal- A one in a Lifetime Experience

If you are a traveler and fond of road trips then Ireland is the best place for you to travel and explore. The wild Atlantic Way is a highly ranked west coast road trip and is recommended by travelers from all over the world. But before thinking of such trips you must be careful about few things before you arrive here:

  • Make sure you have a valid driving license with international permit.
  • Don’t forget to bring one of your credit card as most of the car rental companies don’t accept the debit card and it will not be easy to get a credit card here being an international student.
  • If you have a DSLR kit then it’s the perfect place to keep them happy.

Renting a car will be cheaper and in fact the places can be properly reached and appreciated by car, and those that make it never regret it. Just try to avoid renting during festive occasions and from airport as it will dig a big hole in your pocket. Mostly the rentals are cheaper during weekends. Now I will write about the experience of my road trip to Donegal “Coolest place on the Planet for 2017” by National geographic traveler.

With breathtaking scenery, golden beaches, rugged islands and a beautiful array of wildlife, this northern – almost untouched – stretch of the Wild Atlantic Way is an absolute essential, any time of year. Being passionate about photography, all the pictures are clicked by me which adds more value to my experience.

Murder Hole Beach, Donegal:

Donegal is crammed with dramatic beaches, but the adventure it takes to get to Murder Hole makes it extra special. No roads will get you here. You should know what you’re looking for, though locals on the Rosguill Peninsula will be happy to point you in the right direction. First, there’s the cross-country walk from Melmore. Then the steep incline down its hills and dunes – the price of admission is a dirty backside.

“Do it, and you’ll arrive at your own private beach, kitted out with small caves and stunning cliffs. With a picnic in your backpack, there’s no need to leave until the tide comes in.

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Fanad Head Lighthouse, Donegal:

Fanad Head Lighthouse has been voted one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world. Its location within the Donegal Gaeltacht (an Irish speaking area), on the eastern shore of the Fanad Peninsula, is truly breathtaking. No wonder it’s a highlight of the Wild Atlantic Way.

Give yourself plenty of time here. Time to take in the spectacular scenery. To explore the wild and wonderful natural world around you: the area is regularly visited by whales, porpoises and dolphins.

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Arranmore Island:

Arranmore Island lies 5 km/3 miles off the coast of the port of Burtonport, County Donegal and can be reached by the ferry which operates from Burtonport daily. At seven square miles in size, the island is the second biggest inhabited island of Ireland and the biggest of the Donegal islands. There are seven lakes on the island and Arranmore’s lakes are some of the only in Europe where rainbow trout breed naturally. It is essential to take your own transport to the island as the climbing areas are scattered along the more remote seaward coast. The island is well serviced by a full range of accommodation providers from adundant wild camping to hostel, hotel and B&B’s in Leabgarrow Village.

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Leabgarrow, Donegal

Leabgarrow is one of the villages on Arranmore island, which is to the west of County Donegal about three miles from Burtonport. The island’s post office, secondary school and ferry port are located in Leabgarrow. Leabgarrow also hosts a restaurant, a games room and numerous pubs and bars. If you want some peace and want to get close to nature, this is the place for you. Spend some time at the top hill and it feels amazing. To get to this place, a car is must as there are no bus facilities and traveling around the places won’t be any easier.

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Letterkenny, Donegal:

Letterkenny is the largest town in County Donegal.  It sits on the River Swilly which is a tidal river and has a second river running beneath it.  Temporary exhibitions are held all year round in the Ground Floor Gallery. The town also has a leisure centre, cinema and bowling centre – perfect for the rainy day. If it’s dry and you fancy a birdie, tee off at Letterkenny Golf Course on the banks of Lough Swilly.

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Portsalon Beach, Donegal:

Ballymastocker Bay is a spectacular Blue Flag beach located on the Fanad Peninsula in county Donegal. It was once voted the 2nd most beautiful in the World by readers of the Observer Magazine. It is located on the western side of Lough Swilly between Rathmullan and Fanad Head and has fabulous views towards the Inishowen Peninsula. The best views can be seen from the viewpoint on the Knockalla coast drive on the way from Rathmullan to Portsalon.

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Burtonport, Donegal:

Burtonport is a small fishing village on the coast of Donegal. It is from here that one can take the ferry to the nearby island of Arranmore with sailings daily. The name is, like many places in Donegal taken from a landowner in earlier times. Burtonport is the gateway to the island of Aranmore. Daily sailings to and from the island attract a constant flow of visitors throughout the summer months. Every ferry departure is a social event, attracting bustling crowds of locals, visitors, greeters, and curious onlookers. Everything consumed on the island passes through Burtonport Harbour.

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This is a county of extremes: at times desolate and battered by brutal weather, yet also a land of unspoiled splendor where cliffs and sweeping beaches shine in glorious sunshine, and port-side restaurants serve majestic food.

This trip was one of the lifetime experience for me and I enjoyed a lot. There are many more places which are hidden and you just need to explore them. Soon I will be sharing my other experiences too in Ireland. Be a traveler, not a tourist. Please feel free to contact me on Instagram- born_confused_me.

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Sanjeev Kumar
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