by Josh Davies
Discover one of Ireland’s most beautiful areas in the Glenveagh National Park. With rivers, lakes, and a castle, Glenveagh has something for the whole family.
In County Donegal, Glenveagh National Park spans over 170 kilometres and is home to the Derryveagh Mountains.
Whether you are visiting in winter or summer, Glenveagh National Park is perfect for groups of friends, children, dogs and the whole family.
Find out everything you need to know about Glenveagh National Park below…
In the 17th-century, Captain John Adair built Glenveagh Castle.
The estate passed down through the family until Arthur Kingsley Porter bought it in 1929 and Henry Plumer Mcllhenny in 1937.
In 1975, the castle passed hands to the Office of Public Works. And from there, the land around the castle developed into what we now know as the national park.
Since 1984, the national park has been open to the public.
Check out more of these amazing things to do in County Donegal.
This Donegal National Park is the second-largest national park in Ireland.
You can find a mixture of woodlands, waterfalls, mountains, and beautifully clear lakes.
If you want to head out for a walk with your dog, there are a variety of trails that explore everything the national park has to offer.
There are plenty of places to hike, cycle, fish and explore in the park.
Why not pack a picnic and head out to the national park exploring Ireland’s beautiful outdoors?
March – October
Visitor Centre: 9:30 – 17:30
Tea Room & Restaurant: 10:00 – 16:00
November – February
Visitor Centre: 9:00 – 16:45
The national park has several facilities to keep your visit as stress-free as possible.
If you want to know more about Glenveagh National Park, the visitor centre has audio guides displays and general information about your visit.
Here you can also find the toilets and a convenient parking spot or charging point for any electric car users.
Throughout the Donegal National Park, you can pick up refreshments from the Synge & Byrne outlets. They can provide you with fresh coffee, tea, snacks, or cold drinks.
Or, if you want to enjoy a sit-down meal at the end of your hike, the restaurant is at the Glenveagh visitor centre.
If you are only visiting Glenveagh for the morning, why not check out one of these Donegal restaurants once you leave.
With over 170 kilometres of national park, Glenveagh has a variety of walks for all abilities.
At the visitor centre, the national park has a trial walker bus that drops people off at the starting point for many of these walks.
That gives you the chance to leave your car in the car park and enjoy the facilities around the visitor centre.
If you want a longer walk, you can head out to places like Errigal Mountain or head along Glen Path.
For those looking for a shorter walk with children or pets, The Lakeside Walk is a short 40-minute walk. The route takes you from the visitor centre to the castle gardens.
And although this walk isn’t a loop, there is a bus service that can take you all the way back to the visitor centre.
To learn more about Ireland’s stunning National Parks, visit our blog on The Best 7 National Parks in Ireland.
The national park is free to visit all year round. However, paying for a few additional extras can make your visit easier.
Child (6 and under): Free
Child (6 and under): Free
Prices can change, so be sure to check online for up-to-date prices.
The costs of these attractions help to maintain the Glenveagh National Park and keep it accessible to visitors from across the world.
Dogs are allowed in Donegal’s Glenveagh National Park. However they must be kept on leads.
They are not allowed in any of the park’s buildings or on the park bus.
Guide dogs are allowed in all parts of the park.
There are so many things to do at Glenveagh National Park. Whether you enjoy fishing, hiking, scuba diving or something else, the national park is a great spot to explore.
Some of these activities require a permit. So be sure to check the Glenveagh website before you arrive.
You also have a change of seeing the Northern Lights from Glenveagh, but you can find some of the best places in Ireland to see the Aurora Borealis here.
Below are some of the best things to see and do at Donegal national park:
At the heart of the Donegal national park is Glenveagh Castle.
Built in the 1800’s, it has a beautiful Victorian aesthetic with the romance of a highland retreat.
One of the best ways to see the national park and castle is following the Lakeside Walk. That way, you can enjoy a walk along the beautiful lake, embracing nature.
The Glenveagh Castle is currently closed to visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the castle grounds and gardens are open for you to explore.
You can take a free virtual castle tour online here.
The Glenveagh National Park is home to a range of plants and animals.
These creatures make the Donegal National Park one of the best in Ireland.
On your visit, you can find a range of woodland, upland and peatland flora. Or keep an eye out for one of the rare, protected flora like the Killarney Fern.
If animals are more of an interest to you, the park is home to reptiles, birds, and mammals.
One of the rarest animals to see at Glenveagh is the common lizard. While the name suggests it is common, it is the only native reptile in Ireland.
A large animal, easier to spot, is the Red Deer. You may want to try one of the ‘Rut Walks’ with a local expert during mating season.
There are so many magnificent animals at Glenveagh. However, wild animals can be dangerous, and it is best to keep your distance.
The Glenveagh National Park is one of the best places to get out and explore nature in Ireland.
Whether you are with your family or friends, there is something to keep everyone entertained.
Make the most of your visit and explore the whole park with a break in one of these County Donegal holiday homes.
Image Credits – Natural England – (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Hi, I'm Josh. I joined the Sykes team in 2019 and love all things travel.
I enjoy spending my time travelling throughout the w...
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