Full Day in Donegal | Travel Blog


Published: January 25th 2024

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Glenveagh Visitor CenterGlenveagh Visitor CenterGlenveagh Visitor Center

had a nice movie about the history of the Castle/Park, gift shop, and some local artisans set up.

Today, we left Northern Ireland and returned to the Republic of Ireland to Donegal. Why, if this is a tour of Northern Ireland? You might remember that when the country was partitioned and Northern Ireland was created, the counties that were to make up Northern Ireland were chosen specifically to provide a protestant majority. Donegal, which is part of Ulster, is mainly Catholic so was left in Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement specified that there would be no hard borders on the island. Again, we could tell we went from one to the other when the km became miles and the line down the side of the road changed color.

We headed to Glenveagh National Park, formerly Glenveagh Castle. Situated on a lake, it is a beautiful locale. From Wikipedia (and the movie in the Visitor Center): Captain John George Adair (1823–1885), an Anglo-Irish businessman, built Glenveagh Castle and founded the Glenveagh estate. Adair came into dispute with his Irish Catholic tenants over hunting and fishing rights and trespassing sheep. During the 1861 famine, Adair evicted 44 families (224 people total) from their blackhouses on his land, earning him the nickname “Black Jack Adair”.<sup id=”cite_ref-irelandxo_5-0″ class=”reference” style=”color:???? font-family: sans-serif; line-height: 1; unicode-bidi: isolate;

Glenveagh path to Visitor CenterGlenveagh path to Visitor CenterGlenveagh path to Visitor Center

will be gorgeous when all leafed in

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The estate passed to his wife Cornelia Adair. It was then bought by Arthur Kingsley Porter in 1929, before being bought by Henry Plumer McIlhenny in 1937. McIlhenny bequeathed Glenveagh to the Irish state in the 1970s, but continued to use the castle as a part-time residence until 1982.

The park is home to the largest herd of red deer in Ireland and the formerly extirpated golden eagle were reintroduced into the park in 2000. In winter 2018 and spring 2019, many native and non-native trees and plants were cleared from the park, and the water and pipe system was updated.

The ‘Castle’ was open to tour; most of the furnishings were from the 1900s. The gardens were extensive and planned. Lovely little tea room also.

Near the village of Crolly, home of the musical group Clannad which included Enya. We visited Leo’s Tavern, the tavern her parents owned and ran and which is now run by her brothers. We enjoyed lunch and some music by other local musicians.


Glenveagh CastleGlenveagh CastleGlenveagh Castle

the way back, we made a little diversion to see the Bridge of Tears. When a family member was leaving the area to go to Derry and beyond, the family would accompany them to this spot and then bid farewell, knowing they would probably never see them again or even know what became of them.

Lovely vistas and scenery all along the way back to Derry.


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