Donegal’s Greatest ‘Shrines’

From the sacred to the sublime, here are 24 special parts of the county that are worth discovering. Come enervated, leave energised.

Two of the great sacred cows of 20th century Ireland seem to be inextricably linked to Donegal, the Irish language via Gaeltacht schools and penitence via Lough Derg. They may well have cast a cloud over the appeal of the county and God knows we have enough clouds up here already. There are other places in Donegal that could rightly be called ‘sacred’ where the mind, body and heart are devoted to and where people faithfully return to as sites to encourage and inspire.

We could have mentioned atmospheric places like the Maghera caves or Lough Altan, scenic splendour like Creevy pier or Glenveagh, but the places we have chosen stand out for being just that little bit special for some and have entered a pantheon that others should seek and enjoy. Each has an aura stretching from the sacred to the salutary. Anticipation and belief occur in some, for others pure enjoyment and spontaneity and the rest are iconic sites of what we are and where we came from. ‘To each their own’ we say.

We bring you a handful of exceptional places where man has been edified, enlightened, enthroned and enraptured. These are places that have made innumerable lives that little bit richer and will perhaps be just the sort of places you need to find and savour, if only for a short while. For completely different reasons, each of these places has been singled out as somewhere that has at some stage in history made a difference – all aspects of culture are covered, from the historic to the celebrity age. From the very southern tip of the county to its pinnacle, the top ‘shrines’ of sorts are here, some secret, some known the length and breadth of the county and the country.

As for your recollection of Donegal, consider this an overdue 21st century reboot for there is nowhere in Ireland quite like it. If you can appreciate the fact that its remoteness serves as its strength, then you too will be rewarded for travelling the extra road time to get here with this guide; regard it as a pilgrimage, a chance to remove any lingering prejudice and to rejuvenate the spirit.

Ensure you familiarise yourself with the route beforehand. There are some breathtaking scenes along the way with plenty of stops required. As you are covering the full county, it would be best to do this drive over a few days, with plenty of sightseeing along the way. Come back revitalised.

NOTE: Please note that the tour is subject to acceptance of our Licence.

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