Glenveagh National Park covers over 16,000 hectares of dramatic Irish scenery and is one of Ireland's largest natural attractions. Explore varying landscapes such as woodland, bogs, lakes, and mountains.
Bask in nature
The park's diverse landscapes make perfect habitats for plenty of wildlife. See mountain hares, birds of prey, badgers, and foxes. Glenveagh National Park is also home to one of Ireland's two herds of wild red deer and has successfully been part of a project aimed at re-introducing Golden Eagles to the country. As you walk around, you'll notice the grounds are full of song from birds both native and migratory, including siskins and crossbills. The freshwater lakes and rivers are ideal for fishing brown trout, salmon, and Arctic char.
Take full advantage of the walking trails to get the most out of your visit to the park. You can hop on the Trail Walker Bus to be dropped off at a starting point, then walk back to where your car is parked. There are also plenty of looped walks available, each helping you discover different areas of the park. Try the popular View Point Trail for a short, looped walk that starts and ends at Glenveagh Castle. You can also bring your bike or rent one at the park to cover more ground on your visit.
Nestled amid the hills of Donegal, within the park boundary, is Glenveagh Castle and gardens. This 19th-century castle was inspired by the Victorian notion of a "romantic highland retreat." Interestingly, the structure is not technically a castle, but a "castellated mansion," meaning a house built in the style of a castle. Regardless of its label, it is a picturesque historic building open to visitors and ready to be explored.
After a tour of the castle, the gardens offer a serene place in which to relax among exotic plant life, surrounded by a striking mountain backdrop. The impressive Victorian gardens started as two main parts: the Pleasure Gardens and the Walled Garden. Throughout the years, the gardens have been updated and maintained to offer many unique sections such as the Gothic Orangery or the Italian Terrace. Though the gardens are probably most known for the impressive Rhododendron collection which peaks from late March through May, there are fantastic displays to see all year round.
You can start your visit at the Visitor Centre. Learn about the park's history, get information about the trails, explore the flora and fauna, and hear about the park's facilities. The Visitor Centre has its own restaurant offering full meals or snacks. If you're looking for a souvenir you can try the gift shop. Stop in at the Glenveagh Castle tearoom for a lovely afternoon break. There are events at the park throughout the year and you can even host your own private events. Spend some time exploring this park, just 15km from Letterkenny.