10 Top Things to Do in Donegal with Kids

 Inishowen 100 Scenic Drive

If you’re on a family visit to Donegal, there’s heaps of fun things to do. Here’s our Mykidstime Top 10 things to do in Donegal with kids, in no particular order!!

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#1. Glenveagh National Park

family vacation glenveagh national park

Entry to Glenveagh National Park is free and the scenery is jaw-dropping and is a truly great day out for all the family.

There is an abundance of things to do and see. For example, you can wander through the beautiful gardens which are signposted and takes about an hour.

A guided tour of the castle (paid tickets) takes approximately 30 mins. 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 Story-time, bird of prey display, medieval weaponry display and more.

#2.  Lurgybrack Open Farm

The kids will love this place….and so will you! Lurgybrack Open Farm is only a stone’s throw outside of Letterkenny, the Farm 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, which is not “over-priced”, 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’s a bouncy castle, barrel ride, ground-level trampolines…. oh we won’t tell you everything, except be prepared to spend the day because neither you nor the kids will want to go home in a hurry.

#3. Ards Forest Park

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) and a children’s play area, 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. Lots of options and great scenery, and plenty to see and do.

Related: 4 Great Family Walks in Donegal

#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 mins in the purpose built Waterbus, Dun Na nGall.

The tour includes a full commentary on the history and geography of Donegal Bay by the experienced and fully trained crew, combined with a sprinkling of Irish humour, which insures 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

#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 and woodlands, sea, coast and islands, and rivers, ensures that it is well placed to provide a wide variety of courses at any level of competency.

There’s orienteering, archery, canoeing, and wind sailing to name a few. Booking in advance is essential. I love the fact that you can do lots of these activities together as a family.

#6.  Doagh Famine Village

Stroll around Doagh Famine Village and explore the outdoor museum of life-size cottages and see what life was really like in Ireland during the famine times.

Admission covers a 45 min guided tour and includes a tea/coffee, 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.

#7.  Oakfield Park and Gardens

difflin lake railway oakfield park

This is one of my personal favourites. 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 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!

Related: All Aboard! Steam Trains and Fun Train Rides in Ireland

#8.  Donegal Beaches

donegal beaches

We all know we’ve got the best beaches in the country, if not the world. But one of my favourites is Murvagh Beach, a large, flat, Blue Flag beach just outside of Donegal town. Patrolled by a lifeguard service during the Summer season. There is a car park but access to the beach is via a sandy path which is a bit of a struggle with the buggy!

The two kilometre long beach has ample space for families to play beach games whilst the network of sand dunes, which are a designated Special Area of conservation, and the forest which flanks the beach,offers another area for your little explorers.

The waters here always seem warmer than anywhere else, because the tide has to come in over a kilometer of shallow sandbanks, which gives the sun plenty of time to do its thing, which makes it an ideal beach for children, being both warm and shallow.

Related: Top Donegal Beaches

#9. Inishowen 100 Scenic Drive

 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.

Related: Best Outdoor Spots for Families in Donegal 

#10. Waterworld

Waterworld, located on the seafront in Bundoran, is a fun Aqua Adventure playground.

Once admitted you have unlimited use of the Wave Pool, Rapids & Water Features. Slide Pool – Tornado & Twister Flumes, Scute Shute, Snake Spray. Whizzer Slide, the Fastest Indoor Waterslide in Ireland!

There are splash Features for Toddlers and small water slides and Sauna & Steam Room for the Adults. Also a member of Fáilte Ireland’s Family Friendly Initiative, with Changing Village & On Deck Buggy Park.

Related: Activities for Families in Bundoran

Do you have a favourite place to go in Donegal with kids? Share it in the comments below.

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