11 Delightful Things to Do in Inishowen, Donegal

Updated on December 2, 2019
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The author is a graduate of Queens University Belfast, Ireland. He deeply appreciates the natural beauty his country has to offer.

Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, was recently used as a set for a Star Wars movie.
Malin Head, Ireland's most northerly point, was recently used as a set for a Star Wars movie.

1. Take a Trip to Banba's Crown

A visit to Banba's Crown on Malin Head's most northerly point is a must when in Inishowen. You can write your name in white stones on the grassy slope leading to the shore. Many visitors have done just that, close to where a giant EIRE was marked out during World War Two to remind crews of the various airforces that they had strayed into the airspace of neutral Ireland.

The Admiralty Tower at Bamba's Crown is one of Ireland's most recognizable landmarks, and for the time of your visit, you will be the most northerly person in Ireland.

2. Test the Waters at Five Fingers Strand

Five Fingers Strand, at Lagg, is just a few kilometres around the coast from Malin Head. The water is surprisingly warm, probably due to the Gulf Stream, which brings warm water all the way from the coast of Mexico. Without the Gulf Stream, Ireland would probably have icebergs floating offshore, as we are on similar lines of latitude to Moscow and Nova Scotia.

A large IRA consignment of weaponry from Libya was discovered here back in the late 20th century, which included an assortment of assault weapons and SAM missile launchers.

There are two isolated, whitewashed country churches nearby, with cemeteries like pulled teeth, on the fringe of Five Fingers Strand. One of the churches is Catholic and the other is the most northerly Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Fishing Off the Coast of Inishowen
Fishing Off the Coast of Inishowen

3. Grab a Bite at the Fisherman's Inn

You can eat a damn good meal at The Fisherman's Inn, in nearby Glengad, where quite incredibly, you can eat a sirloin steak and get a drink for under 15 euro! The bar staff are friendly and helpful, and the views from the bar are excellent.

4. Go Sea Fishing

Go sea fishing on one of the many local boats that can be booked at any of the harbours dotted around the coast of Inishowen. Rods and tackle can also be hired, and even the inexperienced sea angler can touch lucky, as it requires no more skill than the ability to drop a line over the edge of the boat with a trace of feathers and a few heaves upwards to lure hungry fish towards your bait!

Various types of rays, including stingray and skate, inhabit the waters off Malin Head and can give the angler quite a fight!

Greencastle to Magilligan Ferry
Greencastle to Magilligan Ferry

5. Ride the Ferry From Greencastle to Magilligan

There is not a lot to see in Magilligan except the prison and the British Army training base there, which is strategically placed at the very tip of Magilligan Point, but it's only a few miles from the Causeway Coast in North Antrim, and the ferry ride itself is gorgeous.

6. Take the Youngsters to Leisureland

If you have little ones, you could do worse than take them to Leisureland in nearby Redcastle, which is a few miles around the coast from Malin Head. Disneyland it is not, but their rides are reasonably priced and they don't overcharge for food and games.

Leisureland's adventure play area will pacify and amuse even the most contrary child, giving the adults the time to have fun on the dodgems or indulge their slot-machine habit. There is a nightclub attached to the amusement park which apparently caters to kids of a more sophisticated age at the weekends.

Doagh Island Famine Village
Doagh Island Famine Village

7. Pay a Visit to Doagh Island Famine Village

This historical facsimile of Irish life since Famine times even has a Republican safe House, an Orange Hall and numerous other living history exhibits on its guided tour! It opens each day from 10am to 5pm, and for a reasonable admission fee, one is treated to a guided tour of the village with a local Historian, tea and traditional Wheaten bread included.

Fort Dunree
Fort Dunree

8. Check Out Fort Dunree Military Museum

Fort Dunree is a military museum just a few miles outside Buncrana and situated at the mouth of Lough Swilly. Dunree Military Museum contains underground bunkers, video presentations and the Guns of Dunree exhibition and is well worth a visit.

9. Explore the Inishowen Maritime Museum

Explore the delights and wondrous exhibits of the Inishowen Maritime Museum and Planetarium at Greencastle, on the Eastern coast of Inishowen. They even do rocket launches at the planetarium on the last Sunday of each month! The museum and planetarium are open from April to August.

Inishowen 100 Signs Along Lough Swilly and Lisfannon Beach
Inishowen 100 Signs Along Lough Swilly and Lisfannon Beach | Source

10. Drive the Inishowen 100

The Inishowen 100 is a scenic route of wild, meandering country roads, which takes the curious visitor on a spectacular tour of the Inishowen area and includes breathtaking scenic routes.

The signs for the Inishowen 100 route are on a brown background and offer the motorist the unforgettable Donegal driving experience. Route 66 it is not, as for most of the drive the roads trickle into little more than country lanes and some care is required, but it is well worth it to experience the wild isolated beauty of the Inishowen area.

Bring some food, a few drinks (except for the driver) and your camera for a real taste of the Inishowen coast.

11. Don't Forget to Visit the Local Pubs!

Make a night of it in one of the many pubs in Inishowen. Local pubs are famous for their hospitality and traditional music, which is known as the craic! The licensing laws are fairly relaxed and Inishowen's pubs are a great way of meeting local people in a highly convivial setting.

Happy Travels!

This is unspoilt, rural Ireland at its best and one of the best places in the world to forget the rat-race of modernity and chill out. Having a few euro on you helps, but touring Inishowen can be done relatively cheaply. Experiences like wandering along the isolated, unspoilt beaches of Inishowen with your feet in the North Atlantic tide cost absolutely nothing but are also priceless.

It would be fair to say that anywhere that you may travel in the Inishowen area, you will be met by decent, friendly people and breathtaking scenery, which will make you return again . . . . . . . . and again!

Malin Head, Ireland:
Ardmalin, Malin Head, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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Five Fingers Strand:
Five Finger Strand, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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The Fisherman's Inn, Glengrad:
Glengad, Malin, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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Eleven Ballyboes, Greencastle, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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Magilligan Point, Limavady BT49 0LR, UK

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Culineen, Redcastle, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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Doagh Island Famine Village:
Lagacurry, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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Fort Dunree Military Museum:
Dunree View, Leophin, Linsfort, Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Ireland

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Inishowen Maritime Museum:
4 Coastguard Station, Eleven Ballyboes, Greencastle, Co. Donegal, F93 T2KA, Ireland

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© 2019 Liam A Ryan


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    • Seven Stars Media profile imageAUTHOR

      Liam A Ryan 

      7 months ago from Ireland

      Thank you, Liz.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      This is a very interesting and useful article for anyone planning a visit to this area. The photos give a good indication of what's available here.


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