Letterkenny was a former market town north of Ireland. The town is known for its numerous historic attractions such as the gothic-style St. Eunan Cathedral and Donegal County Museum, which was a workhouse from the 19th century and now home to several historic artefacts. In addition to the attractions, Letterkenny is also known for its unique culture and tasty local cuisines. For those who are visiting Letterkenny for the first time, make sure you learn all about the town and its people at Donegal County Museum. To enjoy your time here to the fullest, check out some of the things to do in Letterkenny, Ireland.
1. Enjoy time with your family at Tropical World
Described by most of the visitors who have been here before as one of the best sites in Donegal, Tropical World has seen its popularity grow all thanks to its ever-increasing collection. Every time you pay a visit to Tropical World you will be amazed by the hundreds of amazing tropical butterflies that exist in different shapes and sizes. In addition to the butterflies, Tropical World also hosts a number of unique birds including lorikeets and turacos. To make sure that visitors enjoy the whole experience, Tropical World features important amenities such as full disabled access, an indoor play area, and an on-site café. A tour to Tropical World is more enjoyable if you visit with family or friends.
Address: Hazelwood House, Loughnagin, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Tropical World
2. Visit Newmills Corn and Flax Mills
Newmills Corn and Flax Mills are located approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) west of Letterkenny and it is famous for its industrial buildings. The oldest building at Newmills Corn and Flax Mills is approximated to be 400 years old. The mills are a huge attraction to visitors thanks to the fact that the complex reminds them of the industrial development of Ireland. While visiting Newmills, guests get to experience one of the largest and oldest waterwheels in the country in action. Other facilities offered at includes toilets, car park, and disabled access areas. Please note that even though photography is allowed, you have to seek permission if you are taking photographs for commercial reasons.
Newmills Corn and Flax Mills
Address: Churchill Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Newmills Corn and Flax Mills
Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)
3. Entertain your family at Arena 7 Entertainment Complex
Arena 7 Entertainment is one of the popular one-stop venues where you can enjoy a great choice of entertainment for both the family and friends. Arena 7 features two stylish function rooms which provide the perfect setting for all your occasions. Each room is fully air-conditioned and features facilities such as 10-pin bowling lanes, 6 pool tables, an on-site restaurant, and a luxury outdoor area to keep the visitors fully entertained. Arena 7 also caters for birthday parties for children of up to 11 years and it offers several fun activities such as bowling. Hire the venue and enjoy your special event at one of the town’s best entertainment centres.
Arena 7 Entertainment Complex
Address: Ballyraine Industrial Estate, 4 Iona Rd, Ballyboe Lisnenan, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, F92 VRC8, Ireland
Website: Arena 7 Entertainment Complex
Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 10am - 11:30pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 12:30am
4. Spend a day out at Ballymacool Town Park
Opened in 2009, Ballymacool Park is strategically located on the outer parts of Letterkenny, a minute’s walk from St. Eunan’s G.A.A. grounds. Ballymacool Park is the largest park in Letterkenny occupying almost 8 hectares (20 acres). The park features several well-maintained gardens, picnic areas, a children’s playground, a hard surface basketball court, bicycle lanes, and a football pitch. The park also features man-made mounds and atop of one of them, you will love the sculpture which is made up of two standing stones. Ballymacool Park is the perfect place to spend a day out with friends and family. Additionally, an ample parking space is also available on the premises.
Ballymacool Town Park
Address: Ballymacool, Creeve (Smith), Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Opening hours: 8am - 9:30pm (daily)
5. Discover wildlife at Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is located on the Derryveagh mountains and it covers over 39,536 acres (16,000 hectares) of lakes, woods, and mountain areas. One of the most visited sites at the park is Glenveagh Castle which was built in 1870 from granite. The castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens containing different varieties of trees, flowers, and shrubs from around the globe. Glenveagh National Park also acts as a home to several wildlife species such as the Golden eagle and Ireland’s largest herd of red deer. The park also hosts several colourful events including traditional music sessions, crafts, dancing, concerts, exhibitions, and bird-viewing sessions.
Glenveagh National Park
Address: Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Glenveagh National Park
Opening hours: Sun - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat)
Price: Free entry
6. Taste the delicious treats at Yellow Pepper
For the best bites during your visit to Letterkenny, you have to stop at Yellow Pepper restaurant. The restaurant is located on Letterkenny’s Lower Main Street and it is furnished with original wooden floors, old stone walls, and iron pillars, all giving Yellow Pepper a wonderful homely feel. The restaurant pride itself in providing their guest with delicious food cooked by a professional chef, prepared with the freshest ingredients from the market, and served by an outstanding staff. Any time you are in Letterkenny make sure that you stop by anytime with your friends and family and watch as they enjoy the delicious treats on the menu.
Address: 36 Lower Main St, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, F92 K125, Ireland
Website: Yellow Pepper
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 12pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 1pm - 10pm
7. Learn more about the locals at Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre
Opened in 2007, Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre is a cultural centre specialising in music, exhibitions, film, and community arts. The centre features an art gallery, cinema facilities, an auditorium with 150 retractable seats, 2 digital media suites, 2 foyer galleries, 2 small music rehearsal rooms, and 3 multi-purpose workshops. The cultural centre also hosts an all-year programme of international while local art exhibitions is presented throughout the year. In addition to its facilities, the centre also offers a free parking space for all of its visitors. It is appropriate for all ages and admission to the centre is usually free.
Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre
Address: Cove Hill, Port Rd, Gortlee, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 11am - 5pm; Sat: 1pm - 5pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
Price: Free admission
8. Delve into history at Donegal County Museum
Situated at the heart of Letterkenny, in a rustic stone building that was once part of Letterkenny Workhouse, Donegal County Museum houses an incomparable collection of artefacts that tells more about the history of County Donegal. The museum’s main function is to preserve and showcase historical exhibitions. On the first floor of the museum, you will find exhibitions chronicling Donegal, from prehistory to the 20th century while the ground floor houses temporary exhibitions about various topics. The museum also hosts events and educational programs of varying themes and subjects that run throughout the year.
Donegal County Museum
Address: High Rd, Ballyboe Glencar, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Donegal County Museum
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 4:30pm; Sat: 1pm - 4:30pm (closed on Sun)
9. Pay tribute to Derek Hill at Glebe House & Gallery The Derek Hill Collection
Originally known as St. Columb’s, Glebe House and the gallery was the home to the famous artist Derek Hill for almost 30 years. The Regency-style house is strategically located on a romantic landscape less than five minutes’ drive from Glenveagh National Park. It is decorated with more than 300 art pieces by leading 20th-century artists such as Kokoshka and Picasso as well as with collections of Japanese and Islamic art and William Morris textiles. Even though the site is operated and managed by the Office of Public Works, both the house and gardens are displayed in a manner to resemble how it was when Derek Hill was still in residence.
Glebe House & Gallery The Derek Hill Collection
Address: Churchill, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Opening hours: 11am - 6:30pm (daily)
Price: 5 EUR (6 USD)
10. Make new friends and be merry at The Central Bar
Welcome to Letterkenny, Ireland! If you are searching for an inviting place where you can eat, drink, and be merry, then The Central Bar is what you are looking for. The old Irish pub is centrally located at the heart of downtown Letterkenny and offers carefully crafted cocktails and an extensive beer menu–surely there is something for everyone to enjoy. It features and ample seating area, a large open fire, and a beer garden in the courtyard. The sleek lounge upstairs has the capacity to accommodate a number of events including private parties, wedding receptions, fundraisers, photoshoots, live music, and anything else you can think of. Without a doubt, The Central Bar is the perfect place to party with your friends and family in a casual atmosphere.
The Central Bar
Address: 58 Upper Main St, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, F92 T2C5, Ireland
Website: The Central Bar
Opening hours: 12pm - 2:30am (daily)
11. Have a blast with Donegal Adventure Centre
Located in Bundoran and a well-known seaside resort along the glorious Wild Atlantic Way, Donegal Adventure Centre (DAC) is one of the few adventure camps in Ireland offering state-of-the-art team-building facilities in a safe environment. For more than 30 years, Donegal Adventure Centre (DAC) has been known for providing fun outdoor activities, exciting adventure sports, surf lessons, and fantastic service to schools, families, and adult groups. The activities offered at DAC include kayaking, surfing, climbing, orienteering, abseiling, archery, hillwalking, cliff jumping, high ropes, and canoeing just to name a few. DAC is perfect for families with kids or any group that needs team-building activities.
Donegal Adventure Centre
Address: Bayview Terrace, Magheracar, Bundoran, Co. Donegal, F94 EK7V, Ireland
Website: Donegal Adventure Centre
12. Get a unique shopping experience at Letterkenny Shopping Centre
Whenever you are in Letterkenny, you should always stop at Letterkenny Shopping Centre and enjoy a unique shopping experience. The shopping centre is ideally located at the heart of the town and it features more than 36 stores and an ample parking space for 660 cars. Visitors to the Letterkenny Shopping Centre can benefit from a range of products and services at their fingertips including boutiques, jewellery, major clothing lines, and fresh produce. If you get hungry, you can stop at one of the restaurants and enjoy the treat of local delicacies. Truly, the centre has something for everyone.
Letterkenny Shopping Centre
Address: Port Rd, Gortlee, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Letterkenny Shopping Centre
Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 9am - 6pm; Wed - Fri: 7am - 11pm; Sat - Sun: 9am - 11pm
13. Stop by Cathedral of St. Eunan and St. Columba
When you approach Letterkenny either from Derry, Gweedore, Fanad, or Donegal, the first thing that will meet your eye is the tall Cathedral of St. Eunan and St. Columba. The beautifully proportioned cathedral was designed by William Hague, a famous architect, and it was built using white Mountcharles stone. The main aim of the cathedral is to improve the people’s ideals, recalling pleasant memories, lifting their spirits, and enriching souls with Christian wisdom, nobility and bravery. Not only does the cathedral foster ancient history, but also sincerity and beliefs. Stop by any Sunday and enjoy a sermon from the guest priest.
Cathedral of St. Eunan and St. Columba
Address: Sentry Hill Rd, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
14. Marvel at the stunning views at Oakfield Park
Oakfield Park is a Georgian Deanery, situated in a luxuriant landscape of mature woodlands and parklands. The park, which overlooks the Croaghan Mountain, features a walled garden, thoughtfully placed pieces of sculpture, abundant wildlife, tea rooms serving freshly brewed coffee, car parking, and picnic benches. You will find the lower garden a cool place to relax, as it features a large lake that is planted with wildflowers and reeds. If that is not your cup of tea, you can head to Castle Folly which is built on the opposite shore–it will provide you with stunning views. Flower meadows, streams, lakes or wetland areas–you name it, you will find it here.
Address: Oakfield Demense Oakfield Demense, Raphoe, Co. Donegal, F93 XY1R, Ireland
Website: Oakfield Park
15. Spend time with your kids at Lurgybrack Open Farm
Lurgybrack Open Farm, a hidden gem in Lurgybrack, Letterkenny, is the perfect place for a family to spend the day together watching the animals as well as have fun. The old farm building is home to countless friendly farm animals that children enjoy playing with. The farm also features an ample playing ground for children. At Lurgybrack Open Farm, there is so much to do–you can choose to stroll along the riverside, sit back and relax with a tasty fresh snack from the tea room, or enjoy a picnic with your family at one of the picnic benches on the well-maintained garden.
Lurgybrack Open Farm
Address: Lurgybrack, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Lurgybrack Open Farm
Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)
16. Catch a show at An Grianan Theatre
Located at the heart of Letterkenny, An Grianán Theater is a major arts venue playing an important role in the county’s burgeoning cultural life. The auditorium features 345 seats making it perfect for hosting both local and entertainment events such as music, drama, dance, comedy and much more. In addition to the facility mentioned, An Grianán Theater also boasts an in-house café serving full meals, coffee, and snacks. An Grianán has full facilities for people with disabilities including designated seating in the auditorium, inductive loop hearing system, and hearing aids. An ample parking space is also available on the premises.
An Grianan Theatre
Address: Port Rd, Gortlee, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, F92 RV1F, Ireland
Website: An Grianan Theatre
17. Treat yourself with a cup of coffee at Sonder
For a unique food and coffee experience while in Ireland, you have to taste some of Chef Martin Anderson’s treats at Sonder Café. Chef Martin’s café is ideally located on the main Port Road in Letterkenny, and it serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and takeaway menus that reflect on the use of high-quality, fresh produce on a daily basis. You will love the aroma of freshly ground coffee and home baking that greets you each time you enter the café. Sonder Café also offers disabled access, free parking, free access to the internet, and a warm welcome from Chef Anderson and the staff.
Sonder (coffee shop)
Address: Rossview Business Park, 7 Port Rd, Ballyraine, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9:30am - 5:30pm; Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun)
18. Discover the secrets of brewing at Kinnegar Brewing
Our lime and basil sour is the first in our Behemoth series of “what if” beers to graduate to the big leagues. Named...Posted by Kinnegar Brewing on Thursday, 19 September 2019
There are more than 70 breweries operating in Ireland and Kinnegar Brewing is probably the only brewery in Letterkenny where you can find beers that are traditionally brewed with a sense of adventure so as to produce clean and tasty beers. The secret to their beers is that they do not pasteurise or filter their beers; they just let the yeast carbonate the beer naturally. The staff at the brewery are friendly and ready to answer any question. This is an interesting place for those who would love to know a thing or two about brewing.
Address: K2, Ballyraine Industrial Estate, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Website: Kinnegar Brewing
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 9pm, 11am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)
Letterkenny's hidden gems await
If you are in Letterkenny, Ireland and wondering what you can do with your free time, check out the items listed above. From glorious parks, to historic sites, to delicious local haunts, Letterkenny proves to be a gem of a destination in beautiful Ireland.
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