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A Guide to Glenveagh National Park

Glenveagh National Park is a place of stunning natural beauty, peace and solitude, set within the mountainous countryside of County Donegal.

It’s regularly visited by tourists and locals alike, so we thought we’d highlight some of the key questions so you’re well prepared, should you decide to see it for yourself!

What is Glenveagh National Park?

Glenveagh is an Irish National Park and is the second largest on the Emerald Isle, after Connemara.

It is a collection of walking trails, a castle with visitor centre and ornate castle gardens, and it surrounds Lough Veagh whilst sitting within the Derrveagh Mountains, Poisoned Glen and Errigal Mountain.

Over the course of 170 square kilometers, the park contains beautiful misty trails alongside the lough, steep mountain hikes and exotic plants from such far flung places as Chile, Madeira and Tasmania!

The park has an interesting history as it was first created and cleared by landowner John Adair who created quite a stir when he decided to evict his 244 tenants so that they didn’t spoil his view!

Despite this poor start, the park eventually became a place of beauty although following the death of the Adairs it became occupied during the Irish Civil War!

Only when US businessman Henry P. McIllheny bought the park in 1937 did it undergo years of peace and quiet and it was McIllheny who eventually gifted the park to the Irish State in 1981.

It was opened to public use in 1984 and has been free to enjoy ever since!

Where is Glenveagh National Park?

Glenveagh National Park is located in the north-west of the country in County Donegal.

The nearest major town is Letterkenny and for many this will be the starting point of their journey to the park.

How to get to Glenveagh National Park?

Glenveagh National Park is located 24km north-west of Letterkenny and can be reached via the villages of Kilmacrennan or Churchill.

Access from Letterkenny is by the (N56) road through Kilmacrennan, turning left on to the Gweedore road (R255), or alternatively via Church Hill, and past Gartan and Akibbon lakes (R251). This route passes close to both Newmills and the Glebe Gallery.

Glenveagh National Park Opening Times

Glenveagh National Park is open to visitors all year round but those arriving should be aware that services including the bus, visitor centre and castle, are closed during the Christmas holidays and the Feast of Good Friday every Easter.

Every other day of the year all areas of the park and services are open from approximately 9am to 5pm, although this is subject to change depending on the season.

Visitors should also be aware that whilst entry is free, services are paid for.

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