Just 15 minutes drive from the Sandhouse Hotel, Donegal Town is a fairytale of a place, featuring a charming harbour, serene beaches and stoic stone remains of centuries past.
Plan your trip around the annual summer festival with an eclectic mix of music and family entertainment, or the popular food festival to indulge in the culinary delights of the region. Check out Donegal Castle, built by the O’Donnell chieftains in the 15th century, and catch the Donegal Bay Waterbus for a one-hour cruise taking in the historical, natural and geographical sights of the area.
Donegal Town

Donegal Castle

In the very heart of the county town, towering over the River Eske, stands Donegal Castle. Red Hugh O’Donnell himself built it as his personal fortress in the fifteenth century. It is said that, leaving to seek succour in Spain in the wake of the Battle of Kinsale, Hugh determined to make sure his castle would never ever fall into English hands – by setting it on fire.

But he was to be disappointed. English captain Sir Basil Brooke became the castle’s new lord in 1616. As part of a massive programme of improvements, Brooke built a handsome manor house beside the tower. He also commissioned the magnificent chimney-piece, finely decorated with carved fruit and his own imperious coat of arms.

The building complex fell into ruin in the twentieth century, but was brought back to its former glory in the 1990s. Currently, a suite of information panels illuminates the chequered history of the castle and its disparate owners.

Donegal Bay Waterbus

The Donegal Bay Waterbus is a 80 foot long 130 metric ton, welded, steel boat built in Killybegs, Co Donegal in 2006. It has toured around Donegal Bay since July 2006 and operates all year round up to Christmas Day and New Year, carrying approx. 35,000 passengers annually.

There is a detailed live commentary on the history of the bay and on the wildlife of the surrounding area throughout the duration of the outward trip. On the return leg we have live entertainment comprising of music,song and craic! to give you an unforgetable experience aboard the Donegal Bay Waterbus.

Sailing times are usually morning,afternoon or evening, but are dependant upon weather and the tides. Tickets can be obtained from the ticket office which is the white cottage-like building on Quay St. beside Dom’s Pier 1.

Donegal Craft Village

Donegal Craft Village is a creative collective of craft and art studios and shops all clustered around a beautiful courtyard. This is a small community of skilled independent hand-crafters who invite you into their workshops to view their creations of glass, hand-woven textiles, painting, jewellery, printmaking and handmade felt art. Situated 2km outside Donegal Town on the Wild Atlantic Way, the Craft Village is also home to the award winning Aroma coffee shop and mini bakery famous for its divine cakes, homemade brown bread and mouthwatering lunches.