Arranmore Island fast becoming one of Donegal's most popular tourism destinations

Peadar O’Donnell weekend proves perfect backdrop for a great weekend

Matt Britton


Matt Britton


Arranmore Island is fast becoming one of the county’s more popular tourism destinations with hundreds of people visiting the island practically every weekend, even in the off season.
The island is famous for its traditional music in the pubs with many turf fires, but also the clear waters which surround this majestic island providing the opportunity to many outdoor activity lovers to engage in all sorts of water-based activities.
Last weekend we embarked on a trip offshore on the Red Ferry joining hundreds of visitors for what promised to be a very lively weekend. The very moment you put your foot on the ferry you feel that sense of adventure, like visiting another country, you have left all your troubles behind.
The occasion was the Peadar O’Donnell weekend which included many stimulating discussions, fiddle workshops with Martin McGinley, and some great sessions. Then on Sunday afternoon the highlight of the weekend with the Arranmore Pipe Band collaborating with the Donegal Youth Orchestra in a first ever joint performance.
The combination of the pipes, large base drums, violins, saxophones, trumpets, flutes all blended so well together producing a memorable occasion.
The music was not confined to either traditional or orchestral - it included everything from Coldplay to American swing with some great traditional airs thrown in.
Afterward it was time to explore some of those rarely visited places - the stairs encompassing hundreds of steps up to the lighthouse, the “Hobbit house”, the numerous rocky cliffs and deserted sandy beaches - the opportunities were endless but on this occasion time did not allow.
The island is also enjoying tremendous success in tourism terms.
Rosemary Gallagher of the Red Ferry Company said, “It is not just foreign tourists that are now discovering the island. It is becoming the place to visit by many from the mainland at the weekends. At last Donegal people are beginning to Discover Donegal.”