Wild Atlantic Way
The Wild Atlantic Way
is Ireland’s first long-distance touring route of 2,600km, spanning over seven of Ireland’s counties from the coast of Donegal
to West Cork
and of course where you will find the Beach Hotel, Downings! This makes it one of the longest defined coastal route in the world. Each county along the Wild Atlantic Way hosts 3 signature points and in County Donegal we have Malin Head
, Sliabh Liag
, and Fanad Lighthouse
, which is only 15km away from Downings.
Downings – Na Dúnaibh
The Wild Atlantic Way has opened the doors for many tourists coming to Ireland to explore the northern parts of County Donegal and especially Downings. Downings is a Gaeltacht village known as ‘Na Dúnaibh’. Many residents of Downings still speak Irish as their first language and with the local primary school serving as a Geal Scoil the Irish language is here and still going strong. Many years ago Downings used to be a significant fishing port with a substantial herring fleet. Today, however, the economy survives on tourism, and only three crab boats make a traditional living from the sea.
The Atlantic Drive Downings, although one of the shortest scenic drives at only 12km, provides the most amazing seascape views around the Rosguill Peninsula and the unspoilt landscape of Downings and its town-lands. Stopping in Dooey on a clear day you can see Horn Head and even as far as Tory Island. Continue along the drive to view the infamous Tra Na Rossan beach and further more to Melmore Head with spectacular views reaching to FanadHead
Downings pier is very well sheltered and offers good shore fishing. It is one of the safest anchorages on the northwest Irish coast and in 2003 Downings held the World Boat Championships. Downings Pier hosts the ‘Laurentic Gun’ one of guns recovered from the Laurentic ocean-liner after it sank in January 1917 along with a memorial to the 354 men who lost their lives on that night. The Laurentic, which was travelling to Canada, struck a German mine and the wreck is one of Ireland’s most popular diving sites mainly because the ship was carrying over 3,000 gold bars and legend has it that not all of them have been recovered!
McNutts of Donegal
Famous worldwide for their weaves, McNutts of Donegal
have been in business in Downings for over 60 years. The shop is located in the original building where the first McNutt weaving factory originated in 1950. Open March to October and well worth a visit!
is a family run textile printing and design studio offering an array of products from cushions, bags, tea towels and even deck chairs! Choose from their fabulous designs or make it personal and create your own.
Old Sea Dog
Gift shop selling local crafts and handmade gifts
is only 15km away from Downings village. Guided tours are available daily during the summer months and the new visitors centre is open providing information, refreshments and gift shop
situated on along the shore in Sheephaven Bay is a short drive from Downings. The Castle was stronghold of the Mac Sweeney Clan for about 200 years, and it was in this castle that the survivors from the wrecks of the Spanish Armada were sheltered. First reference to the castle is around 1544, but it is suggested that it dates back further.
The Castle grounds are open daily and guided tours of the tower-house are available during the summer months.
Glenveagh National Park
Just 25km away from Downings is Glenveagh National Park. The park is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, Located in the Derryveagh Mountains the park visit Glenveagh Castle or explore gardens, woodlands, lakes and waterfalls. There are many walking and cycling trails as well as fishing. For further information and maps see www.glenveaghnationalpark.ie
Ards Forest Park
Ards Forest covers approximately 1200 acres of a variety of landscapes from beaches to woodlands. Choose from many walking trails depending on your ability and explore the park in all its glory. The park is also home to a wide selection of animals and birds and during the winter you can watch the winter visitors feed on the salt marsh. For those interested in human history, there are a number of historical and archaeological features. There are the remains of four ring forts together with a holy well and a mass rock. For further information and maps see www.coillte.ie
Beaches & Walks
Downings host a number of beautiful beaches with our very own Blue Flag beach – Tra Beg. The beach faces into the sheltered waters of Sheephaven Bay this is a relatively safe spot for swimming and other water-sports. A life guard is on duty during the summer months. Other Beaches include Tra Mor, Tra Na Rossan, Dooey Beach, Melmore Beach
Gartan - registered outdoor pursuits, perform lessons on Downings beach during the summer months and by appointment at other times of the year. Downings hosts the annual wind surfing competitions in August each year which forms a leg of the European qualifiers. See www.gartan.com
Deep-sea wreck fishing and shark fishing are among the visitors favourites.
SummerRose Charters has an 11 meter Ocean Tramp Angling Boat that fishes out of Downings and offers some of the best fishing in Ireland including reefs, hard and sandy bottom for species from Skate and Turbot to Tope and Blue Shark in the summer months.
Bikes are available from local business to help explore the sites of Downings. See Reception in the Beach Hotel for more information
Countless wrecks off the Donegal shores have attracted divers from all over the world with many returning on an annual basis.
Downings is a haven for film crews as the visibility is so good.
Pitch n putt – Rosapenna Driving Range
Foot Golf – Rosapenna Driving Range
Horse Riding – Carrigart Horse Riding Centre - 0872276926
Beach Hotel Downings
Downings Bay Hotel
McNutts Coffee Shop
Fiskat the Harbour Bar
Grape & Grain
The Singing Pub
Hooked @ the Boardwalk
Cafe na Straide
Goose & Gander Pizzeria
Galanta Gifts – Carrigart – Gift Shop
Post Office – Downings Main Street or Centra Carrigart
Patrick Gallagher Travel offers a bus service twice daily between Downings and Letterkenny which in turn connects to the major bus routes from Bus Eireann.
Doagh Famine Village
Daniel O Donnell Museum Dungloe
The Cove of Light