Top 10 Things to Do In Inishowen, Donegal

From stunning beaches to dramatic cliff walks, alpacas to brown bears, there are so many things to do in Inishowen. I’ve selected my top ten for you to enjoy.

I visited the Inishowen Peninsula for the first time this summer, and was captivated from the moment I arrived. It’s stunning beaches, rugged coastline and the abundance of things to do in Inishowen really surprised me, but what I loved most was how unspoilt and peaceful it was.

Despite being Ireland’s largest peninsula, locals told me that Inishowen is often referred as Ireland’s 33rd county – because it is often forgotten. While this might be a sad truth for residents, it is the opposite for holidaymakers. If you decide to holiday in Inishowen you will be treated to a peninsula bursting with hidden gems that have yet to be discovered by the masses.

Being Ireland’s largest peninsula, I am sure you can imagine there are lots of things to do in Inishowen. I have selected some of my favourites below, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. If you want to see some more details of our eight-day trip, check out my Donegal highlights on Instagram.


1. Beaches, Beaches and more beaches…

Donegal’s coastline stretches for 772 miles and is home to 12 Blue Flag beaches, so I think it is safe to say that some of the best beaches in Ireland are in Donegal. While Murder Hole Beach and Ballymastoker Bay may get all the headlines, the Inishowen Peninsula has plenty to rival both of these and more.

I love the variety available here, from idyllic coves to expansive golden beaches, there are 14 different beaches to choose from. My personal favourite was Kinnagoe Bay. It reminds me of a beach in Malaysia or Bali – it is without a doubt one of Ireland’s hidden gems and should certainly be considered as one of Ireland’s best beaches.

Despite being there over the June bank holiday weekend, we were the only people on this beach. However, I am told that it can be busy during the summer months, and the narrow winding road leading to it can get extremely crowded – so make sure you arrive early.

If you prefer wide expansive beaches, don’t miss Five Fingers Strand. Swimming is not recommended here due to dangerous under currents, so you are unlikely to find many visitors, making it the ideal choice for a beach walk.

The Blue Flag Culdaff Beach is another gorgeous golden sandy beach and is great for swimming and surfing. There is a playground here too, so it is very popular with families. There are many more great beaches to choose from on the Inishowen Peninsula, see them all here.

2. Explore Malin Head

Inishowen is home to Ireland’s most northerly point – Malin Head. It is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, and trust me, it lives up to the hype. The Malin Head Walk is the perfect way to explore this headland. It is a purpose built path that is suitable for all fitness levels and takes approximately one-hour round trip.

3. Drive through Mamore Gap and Visit Glenevin Waterfall

Drive through Mamore Gap on the Inishowen Peninsula

The Gap of Mamore is one of Donegal’s best kept secrets. For many years it was the only roadway between Urris and Buncranna. There are two viewing points but the drive itself is the destination. Try to drive it south to north for the most impact.

Make sure to visit nearby Glenevin Waterfall in Clonmany too. There is a car park at the side of the road and the short walk through the park is delightful. It is an ideal location for a picnic as there are many tables scattered throughout.

4. Visit Wild Ireland

WIld Ireland is one of the top things to do in Inishowen

Wild Ireland is a unique wildlife sanctuary, and is home to many rescued animals, including Brown Bears, Wolves, Lynx and Wild Boar. Located in an ancient Celtic rainforest, it seems that some of these rare animals have returned to their home – these animals inhabited this area a few centuries ago.

The visit is short but very rewarding. Make sure you take time to talk to the staff about the animals, and learn about their journey to Ireland, most of which are fascinating.

See more here

5. Take day trips to Fanad Lighthouse & Rosguill Peninsula or Northern Ireland

While this post is all about things to do on the Inishowen Peninsula – you can very easily visit other parts of Donegal during your stay. I recommend taking the Lough Swilly Ferry from Buncranna to Rathmullan to visit Fanad Lighthouse and the Rosguill Peninsula.

The beaches at Downings are stunning, but my personal favourite was Tra na Rosann beach. Depending on how much time you have, you can hike the headland to get the picture perfect view of Murder Hole Beach too.

Fanad Lighthouse is another must visit and the coast road back to Rathmullan via Ballymastoker Bay is breathtaking. Pizza at Rathmullan House comes highly recommended, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time to catch the ferry back. The roads are narrow, and the scenery stunning, the drive will take longer than you planned.

Derry City is very close to the Inishowen Peninsula
Derry City Walls

Northern Ireland is also easily accessible from Inishowen. The city of Derry is just 20 minutes drive from Wild Ireland, and the Lough Foyle Ferry sails from Greencastle to Magilligan Point on the Causeway Coast.

6. Walk with alpacas

As well as being home to the Wild Atlantic Way, the Inishowen Peninsula is also home to the Wild Alpaca Way. This simple walk is a treat for kids and you will be rewarded with stunning views of Five Fingers Strand, where you should take a stroll afterwards. This is one of the top things to do in Inishowen with kids.

See more here

7. Visit Dunree Fort

Fort Dunree is one of the top things to do in Inishowen Peninsula

When we arrived at Fort Dunree we were gutted to see that it was closed. However, the walking trails around the headland are worth the visit alone. There are many signposted footpaths showing various walks and depending on the weather, the pier is a great spot if you fancy a sea swim.

If you are lucky to get inside, the museum hosts one of the best collections of coast artillery guns in the world.  A funicular at Fort Dunree is in the pipeline, I’m looking forward to trying that when it opens.

See more here

8. Visit Doagh Famine Village

This outdoor museum tells the story of an Irish family from the 18th century right up to the present day. The Doagh Famine Village helps explain about peace in Northern Ireland as well as Ireland’s Celtic Tiger years, and continues right up to the recession.

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9. Spend the day at sea with Amazing Grace Yacht Charters

This is one of the things on the Inishowen Peninsula that I didn’t get a chance to experience – but it gives me an excuse to go back! If you want to see the Wild Atlantic Way from the sea, then this is the way to do it. Travel in luxury on a yacht that sleeps up to seven. Based in Malin, this family run business organises charters along the entire North Coast of Ireland.

See more here

10. Drive the Inishowen 100

If you fancy visiting many of the experiences I have listed above, then drive the Inishowen 100. This 100 mile scenic drive is regarded as one of Ireland’s best road trips, and I can certainly vouch for that! The Inishowen 100 hugs the coastline and if you drive it, you can explore most of the above along the way.


I hope you liked my top picks of things to do in the Inishowen Peninsula, and it helps you plan a trip there soon.

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