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Aran Inspired

Glebe House and Gallery

Glebe House and Gallery,  along with its 25 acres of beautifully tended grounds and gardens, sits on the shore of Gartan Lough, about five miles from the Donegal town of Letterkenny. Formerly the residence of artist Derek Hill, it contains a notable art collection. The house has a colourful history -- previous guests  include Greta Garbo. The entire Glebe House property, including collections, was given to the nation by Derek Hill in 1981.

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Saint Eunan's Cathedral

With its 212-foot high spire, Saint Eunan's Cathedral towers over the town of Letterkenny, County Donegal. Especially beautiful at night when lit, the cathedral is fashioned in ornate Gothic style and was built in 1901 from white Donegal sandstone. William Hague of Dublin was the designer. The cathedral's interior features breathtaking ceiling art and mosaic floors created by Signor Amici of Rome, and the main and side altars are carved from Italian marble. Decorations on the nave arch are beautifully detailed, depicting the life and times of St. Eunan and St. Columba.

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Donegal Franciscan Abbey

The ruins of this once stately complex can be found on a scenic parcel of land at the mouth of the Eske River, where it pours into Donegal Bay. Built in 1474 by Hugh O'Donnell, the abbey withstood ransacking, burning and ravaging before it was finally abandoned in the early part of the 17th century. Known locally as "the old abbey", the only recognizable parts of the ruins today are the south transept, choir, and parts of the cloisters. The adjoining graveyard is filled, providing evidence that people were buried here well into the 18th century.

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Gartan Lough and Saint Columba's Cross

This large attractive lake, one of three in the centre of Donegal, is famous for being the birthplace of St. Columba. The area around Gartan Lough also encompasses some of the most beautiful mountain country in Ireland.

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 The scenic village of Rossnowlagh is situated around four miles north of Ballyshannon and ten miles south of Donegal town. Known as the "Heavenly Cove", Rossnowlagh also has a beautiful beach that is one of the region's best beaches, and has become strongly associated with surfing. The beach, which has an EU Blue Flag award for its clean, safe waters, provides fabulous views of Slieve League mountain range -- the highest sea cliffs in Europe -- and of Donegal Bay. This quiet strand is wide, sandy, and sheltered by hills, and the water is safe for bathing. Rossnowlagh becomes popular with visitors during the summer months.

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Lifford Old Courthouse

Built in 1746, the Courthouse and Gaol in Lifford, County Donegal is one of the oldest in Ireland, but serves today as a museum and local event venue. In a fun "live" tour, visitors mingle with actors playing 19th century prisoners and officers, who guide them around the building's original dungeons. Museum-goers thus get to experience what it was like to be a prisoner, and to be arrested by the prison guard. Tour guides assist them through the charging and fingerprinting processes. Some may get (briefly) thrown into solitary confinement, or even into the stocks! The experience is particularly fun for kids, who enjoy the scariness of it all.

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Beltany Stone Circle

This remarkable, 5,000 year old megalithic site of stone circles in County Donegal is reminiscent of Stonehenge in Britain. Constructed before the Bronze Age, the Beltany Stone Circle is around 45 metres / 150ft in diameter, and contains 64 stones, some of them 2.4 metres / 8ft tall. They encircle a large area of raised ground. Research carried out on behalf of a local group, Raphoe Community In Action and funded by the Irish Heritage Council, dated the megalith to around 3,000 BCE and concluded it is almost certainly the ruins of a passage tomb / burial mound.

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Murvagh Beach

The picturesque, shallow and sandy stretch of beach at Murvagh extends for two kilometres (1.3 miles) along Donegal Bay. Located near the village of Laghey, south of Donegal town, Murvagh is noted for its relatively warm water, making it exceptionally comfortable for dipping toes in the summer. It is one of many Irish beaches to have been awarded a blue flag by the EU, in recognition of its clean, clear, safe waters.

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Tory Island

Tory Island, the northermost outpost in Ireland, has been populated for thousands of years, and is rich in history and heritage despite its tiny size. Also known by its Gaelic name of Toraigh (same pronunciation) this small and barren land mass is situated nine miles (13km) off the shore of Ireland’s northern peninsulas. It is about three miles (5km) wide and one mile (1.2km) long. Up until the mid 20th century, the island was extremely isolated, receiving only rare visitors. Today, the daily ‘Tor Mor’ ferry carries passengers from Donegal coast on the mainland to and from Tory Island.

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Letterkenny is the largest town in County Donegal, and has the distinction of the longest main street of any town in Ireland. An energetic little town with a population of around 20,000, Letterkenny is a great place to experience everyday life from the viewpoint of the average Irish citizen.

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