I just wanted to express my excitement that this is my 100th post! Wahoo!
Settled on Lough Beagh within Glenveagh National Park, Glenveagh Castle is a great stop if visiting County Donegal. The castle was constructed between 1867 and 1873 for John George Adair, a businessman. John’s wife, Cornelia, added the gardens to the castle. The castle hosted many hunting guests and parties and even soldiers. Two different no-Irish owners occupied the estate before being donated to the Office of Public Works in 1975. Glenveagh National park opened to the public in 1984, and the castle opened in 1986.
Follow the signs to the visitor center. After parking your vehicle, check into the visitor center for tour times. Since it was National Heritage Month, we did not have to pay for admission. Take the shuttle to the castle grounds or walk along the Lough until you reach it. With various day hikes around the area, a whole day can be spent taking in the unique and picturesque Glenveagh National park.
Upon arrival to the castle, take notice of the tower and painted doors. The door color matching others throughout Ireland. While waiting for the tour to start, stop in the small cafe to grab a drink or food or walk around the outside of the castle. Climb the tower stairs for an overview of Lough Beagh and the park, along with the swimming pool.
The tour lasts about an hour and walks you through the history and rooms of the castle. The tour starts with a short video of the castle’s history, including the owners and the park. The rooms are decorated by various residents of the castle. The antique styling is a great way to see how it was to live wealthy roughly a hundred years ago. Pictures are not permitted during the tour, so I am unable to share the uniqueness of the castle’s interior. However, after the tour, we were able to walk around the gardens, where photos are permitted.
For a view of the castle grounds, climb up the steps and hillside. Since I was low on time, I only made it up to the first tier before turning around. I enjoyed the variety of the gardens and walked a slow pace to take in my surroundings. Andy found time to walk to the top and take this picture.
Photo by: Andrew Crampton
Glenveagh Castle is a great stopover if driving through County Donegal and is a short drive from Letterkenny. All guided walks cost €5 per adult with children being free of charge. All ranger walks cost €10 per adult. For more details on Glenveagh National Park and the castle, check out their website.
Castles are a dime a dozen in Ireland, but I found that this one was moderately priced and a great sight for the area. I wish I could have spent more time in the park exploring and doing mini hikes, but we were on a time crunch to get to Killybegs.
Do you try to visit national parks on your travels?
More in this series:
- Planning for Ireland
- Accommodations for Ireland
- How to Save Money in Ireland
- An Ireland Road Trip Photo Essay
- Newgrange – A Prehistoric Site
- Walking through the Titanic Belfast
- Reasons to Stay at a Bed and Breakfast in Ireland
- Treated like a “President” at Solis Lough Eske Castle
- Giant’s Causeway and Cliffs of Moher
- Review of the Guinness Storehouse
- Meeting Irish Locals
- Why I am Glad We Detoured to See Kilkenny
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