10 Things To Do in Letterkenny & Surrounding Areas
Astound and amaze family and friends alike in Donegal’s very own slice of the Amazon, an unmissable experience with hundreds of amazing tropical butterflies of all shapes and sizes, all in free flight. Be greeted by the sounds of lorikeets, turacos and birds from around the globe serenading you through our exotic aviaries and on to the lemurs and miniature monkeys that call Tropical World home, along with the raccoons, meerkats and more.
Step back in time by entering Jurassic Land and walk through dinosaurs in a prehistoric Tropical World, as well as their modern day descents in our brand new Bug World, the amazing world of insects live!
Tropical World is 80% under cover and facilities include an indoor play area, full disabled access as well as an on-site cafe, so a great day out for all is guaranteed.
- Fanad Drive, Fanad Light House
The Fanad Peninsula Scenic Drive is a well-signposted 72km circuit of this picturesque Donegal peninsula, which affords some magnificent land and seascapes, beaches and attractions: Start Your Journey from Letterkenny and head towards Ramelton. It is approximately 13km from Letterkenny. Then take the R247 north-eastwards and enjoy magnificent views over Lough Swilly all the way to Rathmullan. Continue for a short distance along the coast to the harbour where the Flight of the Earls Heritage Centre is located and the glorious beach at Rathmullan. Then follow the signs for Fanad Drive and Portsalon. As the road rises around Knockalla Mountain take time to enjoy the breathtaking views across Lough Swilly to Dunree Head. Take in the sights of Malin Peninsula and beautiful Ballymastocker Bay, as it sits below bedecked with a trilogy of golden beaches and punctuated by fingers of grassy dunes.
Resume your journey of discovery by continuing to Portsalon village and beyond to Fanad Head, a Wild Atlantic Way Signature Point, via the coast road following the signs for the lighthouse. From the grounds of this very attractive lighthouse you can see the rugged horn of Dunaff Head across the bay (Lough Swilly) and further east, the long finger of Malin Head, the most northerly point in Ireland, stretching out into the Atlantic Ocean.
Then retrace your steps, this time ignoring the sign for Portsalon and keeping to the coast by travelling in a southwest direction. Continue on the Fanad Drive past the inner lakes of Mulroy Bay and over a small bridge. Join the R246 and follow the signs for Milford, which lies at the most southerly point of Mulroy Bay.
At the T-junction continue into Milford village and onward on the R245 to Ramelton and back to Letterkenny.
- Letterkenny Activity Centre
No 1 in Donegal for Airsoft, Karting, and Archery. Letterkenny Activity Centre is 3 miles outside Letterkenny on the Ramelton Road.
It’s the perfect way to kick start any Stag, Hen or Birthday Parties. We cater for all and with packages to suit all budgets. Let your adrenalin run loose on our 800 meter Karting Circuit and then test your skill level in our Indoor Airsoft and Archery Range. You can mix and match different options to suit your requirements.
For more info visit http://lkactivitycentre.com/
- Extreme Adventure
The most northerly Outdoor Activities Centre in Ireland, located in Letterkenny, Donegal. Our natural woodland facility with competition sites has 4 purpose built Paintball Game areas, Archery Field, Raft Building, Military Style Obstacle Course, Zip Wire and Water Slide.
Whether it is a Personal Challenge, Stag or Hen Party, or a Corporate Event day out you are after, we promise you an action packed experience of pure adrenalin, putting your own and team’s abilities to the test!
For more info visit: http://letterkennypaintball.town.ie/
- Lurgybrack Open Farm
Lurgybrack Open Farm is a special place where all the family can spend the day together seeing the animals and having fun. The centuries old farm building is home to a range of friendly farm animals that children can come face to face with.
There is ample space to play safely, wander by the riverside, walk or just sit back and unwind with a tasty snack from our tea room or have your own family picnic. We cater for Parties, School Tours and groups.
For more info visit http://lurgybrackopenfarm.town.ie/
- Sliabh Liag
Some of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe, County Donegal’s Sliabh Liag (Slieve League in English) are not to be missed. To make the most of your visit, it’s best to leave your car in the car park and walk the few kilometres to the cliffs. As you climb toward the top of Sliabh Liag – which at 601m high is not a place for the faint-hearted – there are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, Donegal Bay and the Sligo Mountains. Sliabh Liag was also the site of a Christian pilgrimage for more than 1,000 years, although it’s believed to have been a sacred place long before the Christians arrived. Given the landscape’s rich history, there is a lot you can learn at the visitor centre, where you’ll also get a taste of the local food, culture and unique sense of humour.
- Letterkenny History Walk
- Glen Veagh National Park
9. Arena 7
Arena7 Entertainment Complex is a must visit on a trip to Letterkenny. Opened in 2004 the complex has been a hub of activity in Letterkenny since, with entertainment for people of all ages. The venue currently boasts:
- Bowling World with Ten State of the Art Bowling Lanes
- A VIP Private Bowling Room
- Arcade Games
- Laser Quest (Tag Laser)
- Private Karaoke Bar
- Waynes World Kids Adventure Centre
- Wood Berry Grill Bar & Restaurant
- Two Function Rooms with Private Bars
- Championship Pool Tables
- Bite n Bowl Fast Food Diner
There are loads of extra value packages so both kids and adults can enjoy a few of the many choices at Arena7.
For more info visit http://www.arena7.ie/
Leaving Letterkenny heading out on the N13 and then your first stop is –
Inch Island Fowl Reserve. Inch Island is home to a variety of birds, The most visible of these are Mute Swans, Whoopers and Bewick’s can be seen. The Mute Swan is the common swan that can be found in city parks but the other two species are winter visitors from Iceland (Whooper) and Siberian (Bewick’s) but for some years past a few Whoopers have been staying throughout the summer.
Six species of wild geese are present in winter and they are White Front, Greylag ,Barnacle, Brent, Pink Footed, which breed in the arctic, mainly Greenland and Iceland and Canada Geese which are not visitors from Canada but naturalized birds originally escapees from parkland.Great Crested Grebes are usually easily seen from the lakeside road into Inch, as for Little Grebe, Tufted Duck and Coot. On the top of the bank on the other side of the road many different waders can be seen feeding on the mudflats at low tide. Among them are Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit and Redshank. There are two places near the lake where Herons nest in trees in groups (known as rookeries). There is a small islet in the lake where is a colony of nesting Common Tern, Arctic Tern and Sandwich Tern which depart for the coast of Africa in the Autumn, Some of the smaller birds present around the lake are Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Reed Bunting. The Kingfisher is sometimes seen at the lock gates at Blanket Nook and at the small streams that run into Inch Lake. Among the animals found here are Otters which venture into the salt water as well as the Lake.
Then Dunree Head. Dunree Head is accessible by road over a twisting cliff top route along the side of Urris Hills. The curving approach road offers a variety of great views over Lough Swilly. This location marks the site of Fort Dunree and Military Museum. Given the expansive coastal views Fort Dunree played a vital role protecting the entrance into the deep waters of Lough Swilly.
Fort Dunree was first opened to the public in 1986 and has attracted tourists from all over the world ever since, using the latest DVD and interactive technology.
The unique history of Fort Dunree is fully explained and recreated in vibrant and colorful displays. In its spectacular natural location Fort Dunree is rich in wildlife some of it unique for the area. This is detailed in a beautiful wildlife exhibition, the Wildlife Discovery Room, in the Old Fort Hospital. There are also numerous scenic walks to explore along with opportunities for some whale watching.
Then onto Ballyliffin for some lunch at Pollan Bay. Ballyliffin town has some beautiful local cafes and pubs where you can enjoy beautiful views of the Atlantic and treat yourself to some fine Irish cuisine.
Then Donegal’s Malin Head. Malin head is steeped in history and offers activities such as walking, fishing, swimming and bird watching. Here, north of Trawbreaga Bay, you can view Five Finger Strand, home to some of Europe’s largest sand dunes. At low tide, you can even spot the wreckage of the ‘Twilight’, which sank in 1889 while sailing to Derry. For more history, follow the coast road. You’ll pass the old radio station, built in 1910, and The Tower, a derelict signal station located on Banba’s Crown, the most northerly point in Ireland. It’s the perfect place to relax with a picnic, as the stunning panorama includes Inistrahull and Tory islands, as well as the Scottish hills on a clear day. Plus, you can work off any extra indulgences with a walk along the cliffs to Hell’s Hole, a chasm where the tide rushes in with impressive force. If treasure hunting is more your speed, head east to Ballyhillion beach, which dates back to the ice age and is known for its many semi-precious stones.
( Found @http://www.wildatlanticway.com/directory/signature/malin-head/128/)
The final stop on the trip is a visit to Shrove Lighthouse. Strove Lighthouse is located on a beautiful beach where Lough Foyle meets the wild Atlantic. This shipping lane was used extensively by ocean liners carrying immigrants to America and Australia. The coast along this part of Inishowen is very rocky and rugged resulting in numerous shipwrecks. To prevent further wrecks, on the 1st December, 1837, two lighthouses were built at Dunagree Point in Shrove. They were constructed of stone; the East Tower being 49 feet high and the West Tower 74 feet high. However, in 1870, the West Tower had 25 feet added to it bringing it to a height of 99 feet. The lamps were originally oil-powered but in 1961, the oil light was replaced by an electric one in the West Tower and the East Tower was discontinued. The new light was able to create an arc of 180 degrees. The lighthouse was originally manned by three keepers, but with the advent of modern technology, the light became automatically-controlled and now only one caretaker remains in the attached quarters.
After visiting Shrove Lighthouse you can take the N13 back to Letterkenny Town.
( Found @ http://curiousireland.ie/shrove-lighthouse/)