Bundoran is blessed with so many great things to do in the local area – some of these are in the town and some are within a short driving distance. If you’re here for a few days then there’s no better base for going to explore the region – Check out some of our favourite top attractions in the locality below!
The Gleniff Horseshoe
One of the hidden gems of the area and guaranteed to make you go “Wow”, the Gleniff Horseshoe is located in north County Sligo and is 15km from Bundoran via the N15 Sligo Road. The “horseshoe” is a 9km (5.6 miles) looped drive within a valley surrounded by the Dartry Mountains, the rear of Benbulben, Tievebaun and Truskmore. There are convenient parking facilities at the start of the loop with picnic tables and some nice forest walks.
As you begin your walk or drive, you can’t help but to notice the wide landscape of forestry and mountainous terrain but don’t forget to glance behind you to see wonderful panoramic views of Mullaghmore and Donegal Bay. As you get half way round you’ll see a cave nestled high in the cliff face. Known as Diarmuid & Grainne’s cave, the story dates back to Irish mythology one of the best warriors of the legendary Fionn McCumhaill.
Diarmuid decided to run off with Fionn’s fiance Grainne, hotly pursued around the country by Fionn and his men, eventually cornering them on Benbulben but not before Diarmuid met a grisly end courtesy of a wild boar – said to be the only creature who could harm him. Legend has it that they were found in the cave. Read more on the story here and here.
Another spectacular attraction just a 35 minute drive from Bundoran (via Manorhamilton, 40 mins via Grange). Glencar Waterfall is 50ft high and is situated at Glencar Lough. The lake, waterfall and its surrounding served as an inspiration to the William Butler Yeats and features in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’
‘Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,’
The attraction is free of charge to visit and there is also free parking. A cafe added in recent years serves tea, coffee and snacks as well as selling souvenirs. Nearby you can also check out Ireland’s Tallest Waterfall – the Devil’s Chimney. The waterfall is unique in that during stormy weather, the water flows upwards!!!
One of the 15 signature discovery points on the Wild Atlantic Way, historic Mullaghmore Head offers views of Donegal Bay, Benbulben and the Dartry mountains. Also visible as you drive around the head is Classiebawn Castle, once the home of Lord Louis Mountbatton until his death in 1979.
Lissadell is famous as the childhood home ofConstance Markievicz, her sister Eva Gore-Booth and her brother Josslyn Gore-Booth. Constance was one of the leaders of the 1916 Rising, and was the first woman to be elected to Dáil Eireann, where she served as Minister for Labour (thus becoming the first woman minister in a modern Western European democracy), and was also the first woman to be elected to the House of Commons at Westminster, London (where she declined to take her seat).
Eva was a poet of distinction and an active suffragist, clashing with the young Winston Churchill over barmaids’ rights in 1908. Josslyn created at Lissadell one of the premier horticultural estates in Europe. This horticultural enterprise has now been recreated at Lissadell. The great poet W. B. Yeats was friendly with the Gore Booth sisters and stayed at Lissadell in 1892 and 1893. He immortalised Lissadell and the Gore Booth sisters in his poetry.
Lissadell House is just 25 minutes drive from Bundoran via the N15 and then turning off at Ballinfull or Drumcliffe. The house and gardens are open until September 30th for tours. More details at http://lissadellhouse.com/
Top local attractions in the area
Donegal Castle was once the seat of Red Hugh O’Donnell and the castle today is mostly in good repair offering daily tours in the heart of Donegal Town. Built by the O’Donnell chieftains in the 15th Century, beside the river Eske in Donegal Town, Donegal Castle was rebuilt in Jacobean style in the 16th Century by Sir Basil Brooke, after Hugh O’Donnell burnt it to the ground rather than let it fall into enemy hands. Information panels chronicle the history of the castle.
Opening Hours: Easter – Mid September: Daily, 10:00 – 18:00 | Mid September – Easter: Thurs – Mon, 09.30 – 16.30 | Last Admission: 45 mins. before closing Average Length of Visit: 45 mins. – 1 hour.
Glenveagh National Park
This is the second largest national park in the country and located in the heart of the Derryveagh mountains. Glenveagh is steeped in history. It comprises pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls, rugged mountains and enchanted native oak woodland. At the centre of the park lies Glenveagh Castle. It was built in the late 19th century as a hunting lodge.
In 1983 the castle was bestowed unto the Irish state along with the gardens and many of the contents. The national park opened to visitors in 1984. If you are a walker there are many trails to take. Indeed you could spend a whole day exploring this wonderful amenity which sits in the north west of the county.
A little bit further than the previous attractions, the park is 95km away via Letterkenny but well worth the trip. If time permits after your visit to the park, then you should take the chance to visit the ruined church at Dunlewey and Errigal mountain.