Donegal Travel tips
Donegal Ireland, it is one of the places in this world where you can truly get lost in the magnificence of the view. It’s a part of Ireland that needs to be toured, hiked, driven and explored. Now I know you are saying that all of Ireland needs to be seen, but Donegal with its rugged ever changing climate and scenery, calls for your attention. My personal experience is only of a few sections of Donegal, centered around Letterkenny and surrounds. We took trips up through Malin head on the Inishowen peninsula, beautiful, raw, and wondrous. Now as a tourist there would be some things to look out for;
Donegal travel advice.
- Drive defensively and don’t be afraid to pull over and let locals pass. There can be some distance between peoples houses and destinations for local people, this can make for a speedy trip for most and the last thing they want to do is crawl behind some tourist.
- The more remote the place you are the more polite you should be. That doesn’t mean you can’t be social, and once accepted in a group a bit of “slagging” might be in store.
- Slagging you ask? Well it’s nice to have a resource close to the source, and Emerald of emerald82.com would be the expert on all things Donegal. She was nice enough to give me a few do’s and don’ts to help we unkowing tourists. Slagging is a good game of give and take, and as emerald puts it “Us Donegal folk, we love nothing more than a bit of a slagging… and no one is safe…. but be careful… slagging or taking the mick is not for the fainthearted or sensitive souls… ” or in American jargon, don’t give it, if you can’t take it.
- Emerald tip two, “Never wear a fannypack or an Aran sweater/ tweed cap combination as it will make you stand out like a sore thumb.” Now if you want to stand out like a sore thumb go ahead, it won’t be the only thing that does. Usually it’s the pair of shorts and sneakers that give you away, and then there is always the words that come out of your mouth.
- Bring your surfboard, or rent one from the many surf shops around Donegal. Yea surfing is a big past time on the Donegal shoreline.
- Be prepared for swings in the weather, Donegal especially with it’s unique position on the northern most point of the Republic of Ireland jetting out into the Atlantic Ocean can be warm and wonderful one hour and downright cold the next.
- Enjoy the emerging local sourced vegetables and meats in the new Irish cuisine.
- Have a cup of Lyons tea. If visiting relatives or chatting with the B&B keeper a cup of tea may be in order. As Emerald82 suggests “Tea is our answer to every occasion…always stay at least for one cup of tea ( cuppa Tae ) when offered. It is considered rude not to.”
- Brush up on your GAA teams and have a little background on the teams, just be careful not to back a rival team. Never publicly announce your admiration for Pat Spillane in Donegal in terms of Gaelic Football, he is Donegal’s no 1 villian and seeming to be sided with Pat’s theories on Donegal GAA will not go down well with the locals.
Oh by the way I think Donegal may still be celebrating winning the Sam Maguire Cup this year.
Donegal Travel tips.
- Pick a spot and stay two days at least, popular regions, Donegal Town, Buncrana, Killybegs, Ardara, Greencastle. Really pick a spot and explore it.
- Use proper pub etiquette, be polite, enjoy the differences.
- Dress in layers, be prepared for temperature swings, be prepared for a bit of rain on occasion, be ready to chat about the weather.
- Have a nice cup of soup and a sandwich in the pub for lunch, washed down with a nicely poured guinness, and take your time.
- Take a trip along the Atlantic, either in a car, or with many of the day tour operators. See the Glenveagh Castle, Slieve League ( highest cliffs in Europe ) Fanad , The North Atlantic Drive and Inishowen 100.