Donegal Travel Recommendations - Part One

by Ward Gahan
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Donegal Travel Recommendations - Part One

First things first -  as with many Irish things and places  -  how to say Donegal?

DON-eh-gol or Dun - ee - gaaaaawl - What?
It’s a sure giveaway when you put the emphasis on the first syllable– It’s not DON-eh-gol.
Instead use more even emphasis on the 3 syllables and extend the last syllable as in
Dun - Ee - Gawl  with more emphasis on the “Gawl” than the “Dun”.  Now you’re a local! ;)


We had a great few days recently at Showcase - the annual gift show in Dublin. It was the first time in 2 years that it was being held. Some of our suppliers were not on hand so we had to get on the road and go see them. ‘Tis a tough job but somebody has to do it…..

So after a busy morning at the show we headed up to Donegal.  We wanted to get out of Dublin before afternoon rush hour as it’s about a 4 hour drive across the country.. 


Key points: 


Rental Car restrictions in traveling through Northern Ireland -  when driving a rental car,  the car companies (except Enterprise) will want to know if you are taking the car into Northern Ireland as it will affect your insurance coverage. Always best to be up front about these things. While you can no longer tell that you’ve physically crossed the border, you will be able to notice these indicators of being in another country:
-  Speed limit is in miles per hour instead of km/hour,
-  The direction signage is only in English - not dual English & Irish, and.
-  Lines on the side of the road become white and not yellow or is it the other way round?? Either way they change


Don’t trust Google Maps: 

Remember while Ireland is a small country, it takes 3 times as long as you think to get anywhere. Google Maps is great for navigating but be careful with the directions it gives you as it will take the most direct route – which may be a one lane road with grass growing up the middle or an isolated mountain pass!  I'd stick to roads that have 2 digits in the name such as N54 as these are “National” main roads. Avoid the R1234’s and definitely don’t do like us and start up the R2356 mountain road and THEN decide after a few miles to turn back. It's bloody hard to find a place to maneuver and the sheep are not impressed with your 6 point turn!!


Bookings for restaurants: 

Always call ahead at the start of the day and verify if a booking or reservation is necessary. It may sound crazy but even on Tuesday night in March we needed to make a reservation at a great seafood pub. Especially post COVID, restaurants really appreciate the ability to plan their menus and employee time while doing their best to keep locations clean and safe.  Locals will ask you if booked ahead – always good to do so.

Where to stay??

Do you like castles, quaint cottages, city, remote locations?  You can get it all in Donegal.  (You said it right, if that just rhymed!)  We’ll tell you our favorite places along the Wild Atlantic Way…in the next newsletter.  Stay tuned and keep reading!


#donegal #wildatlanticway #travelireland #ireland #irishtraveller #irishtraveltips #travel_ireland #codonegal #downings #cietravel

by Ward Gahan


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