Irish surfer Richard Fitzgerald rides the waves at Bundoran. Surfing breaks in Donegal are hugely popular PICTURE: MATT BRITTON
Perhaps the greatest compliment constantly paid to Donegal by countless visitors over the years is the sheer friendliness and even curiosity of our people.
Dún na nGall in the Irish language translates into the “fort of the strangers” - we like to think it more as the home of the strangers, a place where our hearts are as big as our mountains.
No matter where you go - from Malin Head to the cliffs of Sliabh Liag you will always be met with a welcome smile and a touch of curiosity. Ask a question and you will often be answered by another one - it is just our curious good nature.l
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The further off the beaten track you travel you will find this so much more evident - a day spent in the Gaeltacht areas of the county opens a whole new world where people are just so keen to encourage you to visit so many iconic spots like Arranmore and Tory Islands. Sitting proudly in the the Atlantic Ocean these islands are jewels in Donegal's tourism crown where visitors can experience a vibrancy to a culture that is both inspiring and engaging. It is no surprise that these islands have captured the imagination of artists and musicians for hundreds of years.
In many of the pubs around the county you will discover the real Ireland, a place to meet up with the locals have a chat, unwind and even sing the odd song or two.
Each one of the over two hundred pubs has its own story - you could just stumble upon a great session in the most out of the way place. One very famous publican, Leo Brennan proved that when he built his famous tavern with the attitude “build it and they will come”. Now it did help that he had a great family of singers.
There is a pub to suit all tastes in the county and today you will find the best of locally sourced food. Gone are the days when the large red catering tin of coffee rested beside the kettle - today you will find the best of barista coffees, fresh seafood chowders and locally sourced seafood all served with that genuine Donegal welcome.
Today Donegal has a wide selection of accommodation to suit everybody: from “Hobbit”pods to 4/5 star hotels, homely bed and breakfasts to luxury spa resorts, self catering cottages and apartments to caravan and camping parks.
Without a doubt, Donegal is a unique place where the love lingers on and memories never fade.
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