If you’re on a visit to Donegal, there’s heaps of fun things to do! Here are our top 10 things to do in Donegal with kids for a great family day out packed with memories!
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Donegal boasts some of the best beaches in the world, as well as national parks, history, folklore and plenty of nature’s finest to explore. What are you waiting for? Start planning your trip with our guide to exciting things to do in Donegal with the kids!
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Things to Do in Donegal With the Family
#1. Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park offers plenty of fresh air, as well as a stunning and scenic backdrop for family photos.
Entry is free and there is an abundance of things to do and see, including wandering through the beautiful gardens, a guided tour of the castle (paid tickets) takes approximately 30 minutes, and there is also a Visitor’s Centre and restaurant.
Throughout the summer months, family events are organised for most weekends. These often include Children’s Storytime, bird of prey display, medieval weaponry display and more.
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#2. Lurgybrack Open Farm
The kids will love this place, and so will you! Lurgybrack Open Farm, just outside of Letterkenny, is family-run and it shows. It is clean, well thought out, with lots and lots for the kids to see and do – and very reasonably priced.
Although there is a cafe on site, most families seem to pack a picnic. There are picnic benches all around the place to sit and relax (and plenty of places to shelter under if it rains).
It’s not just all about the animals either. There are also bouncy castles, barrel rides, ground-level trampolines and lots more to enjoy.
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#3. Ards Forest Park
On the coast with lots of facilities for families, Ards Forest Park is one of Ireland’s finest forest parks. At the Park you can enjoy many forest walks and cycle paths, a car park (there is a fee to park for the day), a children’s play area, and the beach. It also has many features of historical and archaeological interest to explore.
The remains of four ringforts are to be seen in the park, as well as a number of megalithic tombs. Legend has it that these were the beds of Diarmuid and Grainne in their flight from Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
A Holy Well (the Ague Well) which is reputed to have curative powers, can be seen on Bealach na hArdaigh Walk. On the same walk there is a Mass Rock where Mass was celebrated in defiance of the Penal Laws.
There are numerous viewing points on the walks and trails with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.
#4. Donegal Town Waterbus
Buy a ticket for Donegal Town Waterbus in the little ticket office on Quay St, Donegal Town and cruise around Donegal Bay for 75 minutes.
The tour includes a full commentary on the history and geography of Donegal Bay by the experienced crew, combined with a sprinkling of Irish humour, which ensures that passengers are kept both informed and entertained during the voyage.
Highlights on the tour include a close encounter with Seal Island and its 200-strong seal colony and unparalleled views of the Bluestack Mountains and the gorgeous Donegal coastline
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#5. Gartan Outdoor Education Centre
Feeling a bit energetic? Then why not head to Gartan Outdoor Education Centre. Located 15 minutes outside Letterkenny, nestled on the lakeshore and close to mountains, woodlands, river and coast ensures that it is well placed to provide a wide variety of courses.
There’s orienteering, archery, canoeing, and windsailing, to name a few. Booking in advance is essential.
#6. Doagh Famine Village
Admission covers a 45-minute guided tour and includes a tea/coffee and wheaten bread/biscuit at the end. You are free to wander around after your tour and the kids will love exploring the cottages while you take photos.
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#7. Oakfield Park and Gardens
Oakfield Park in Raphoe has 100 acres of magnificent parkland, woodlands and gardens. The house is not open to the public, but the gardens are between May and August.
There’s a wonderful miniature railway, with over 4km of track. The train winds around the lake and woodlands and offers an excellent view of the lower gardens in comfort. There are two trains operating – The Earl of Oakfield diesel locomotive and the Duchess of Difflin steam engine. Train rides are only available on Saturday and Sundays, and the Steam train only comes out to play on the last Sunday of every month.
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#8. Donegal Beaches
Donegal beaches are some of the best beaches in the world, not just in Ireland! One of our favourites is Murvagh Beach, a large, Blue Flag beach just outside of Donegal town with a lifeguard service during the summer season. There is a car park but access to the beach is via a sandy path.
The 2km beach has ample space for families to play beach games, while little explorers will enjoy the network of sand dunes, which are a designated Special Area of conservation, and the forest which flanks the beach.
The waters here always seem warmer than anywhere else, because the tide has to come in over 1km of shallow sandbanks, giving the sun plenty of time to do its thing. This also makes it an ideal beach for children, being both warm and shallow.
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#9. Inishowen 100 Scenic Drive
If your guys are happy in the car then you’ll love the Inishowen 100 Scenic Drive, voted one of Ireland’s Top 10 Scenic Drives.
Highlights include the breathtaking Gap of Mamore, a scenic roadway that rises to a height of 800 feet above sea level before following a twisting corkscrew descent with panoramic views of the entire northern coastline; Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point; and Fort Dunree, a magnificent viewing outpost.
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Waterworld, located on the seafront in Bundoran, is a fun Aqua Adventure playground.
Once admitted you have unlimited use of the wave pool, rapids and water features like the slide pool, tornado and twister flumes, Scute Shute, Snake Spray and Whizzer Slide, the fastest indoor waterslide in Ireland!
There are also splash features and small waterslides for toddlers, as well as sauna and steam room for the adults.
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Do you have a favourite place to visit or things to do in Donegal with kids? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!