Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is one of six national parks in Ireland. Situated in the Northwest of Co. Donegal, in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains. As a National Park it exists to conserve interesting plant and animal communities and associated landscapes in their natural state and, under conditions compatible with that purpose, to provide for appreciation of them by the visiting public.
Glenveagh National Park is open all year round. Castle, Visitor Centre and Gardens open every day apart from Good Friday and the Christmas period.
Glenveagh National Park Visitor Centre
The Glenveagh Visitor Centre is located on the northern end of Lough Veagh, near the edge of the National Park. Its award-winning design incorporates a living heather roof mimicking the surrounding landscape causing minimum disturbance. The extensive displays contained within provide an introduction to the parks natural and built history as well as providing information on walking trails, events etc. Guides on duty will also be happy to provide visitors with information about the park and surrounding area as well as tickets for the park buses.
Glenveagh National Park Admission
Admission to the National Park and Visitor Centre is free.
Cars are not allowed beyond the visitor centre however a shuttle bus service is available to take visitors to the castle and gardens.
Single Tickets are available at the Castle
Admission to Glenveagh castle is by guided tour only and takes aprox. 30mins.
Garden Tours on request
Ranger Lead Hill Walks
All family events and shorter walks run by The Nature Team are free of charge
Glenveagh National Park Opening Tmes
The National Park is open to the public all year round, apart from Good Friday and Christmas Week.
Park open 9am – 6.00pm March – October Last admission 5.00pm
9am – 5pm October – March (last admission 4pm)
Those wishing to take the guided tour of Glenveagh Castle should note that during the summer months demand can be high and therefore early arrival is advisable.
Dogs are permitted in the park but must be kept on a lead at all times. Dogs are not permitted entry to buildings, Castle Gardens & park buses. (Guide dogs are permitted in all areas
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
Fishing on Lough Veagh
Season: 15th July – 30th September
For permits and further information please contact:
IFI Glenties, Owenea Angling Centre, Glenties Hatchery, Glenties, Co.Donegal
Tel: + 00 353 (0) 74 9551141 (Office hours 7am – 1pm)
All walks free of charge but booking essential. In bad weather walk may be cancelled or an alternative lowland route chosen. Warm clothing, packed lunch, rain gear and walking boots essential. Mobile phones, walking poles, binoculars may be useful.
All routes apart from main glen walk have sections of rough upland blanket bog with following uneven and sometimes slippy terrain (depending on weather)
Family Fun Tip:- Any relevant medical conditions must be advised to Rangers before walk commences. Walkers take part in walks at their own risk and Rangers and/or Glenveagh National Park have no responsibility with regard to claims and/or accidents
For full information on all aspects of walking, contact the Head Guide Clare Bromley.
Terrain: undulating grassy track
This attractive way marked walk near the Visitor Centre is an ideal introduction to Glenveagh’s natural environment. It offers visitors of all ages and fitness levels a chance to see some of the plants and animals of Glenveagh National Park. The trail passes through a number of habitats along the route. These include both native and planted woodlands, and a section of blanket bog. The trail also provides excellent views of the Glenveagh Valley. The name Derrylahan is derived from the Irish Doire Leathan, meaning broad oakwood because this area was originally covered in Oak Forest. The terrain involved includes both grassy and gravel paths and visitors should allow approx. 45 minutes to fully explore the trail. A guide to the Derrylahan Nature Trail is available from the Visitor Centre.
The Garden Trail
Terrain: Gravel pathway
Following a well-marked route the trail offers visitors a full tour of the features of the gardens. Started around 1890 by Cornelia Adair and embellished in the 1960’s and 1970’s by Henry Mc Ilhenny the garden offers great contrast with the surrounding landscape. Features include an extensive collection of exotic trees and shrubs, an important collection of garden ornaments, a colourful walled garden and a number of locations where the visitor can relax and enjoy the natural environment. The castle and garden book gives a full account of the features encountered. The garden trail takes an hour to complete and is accessible to wheelchairs although steep in one or two places.
View Point Trail
Time: 50 mins
Terrain: Steep stony path
The View Point Trail is perhaps the best short walk option in the Park. It leads to an ideal vantage point for enjoying views of the rugged scenery, with magnificent perspectives of the castle below, Lough Veagh and the surrounding landscapes. This circular 1.5Km trail starts and ends at the castle, taking the path, taking from 50-60 min at a leisurely pace. The surface is good at all stages and steep for short distances. Follow the direction of the road behind the castle, taking the path uphill just outside the garden gates. The route is signposted from here. From the top of the path returns via the lower garden, passing through a wooded gully and into the gardens where the trail returns to the castle.
Terrain: A mostly flat gravel path
The lakeside offers the walker a fine introduction to walking in Glenveagh National Park. It brings the walker through the glen from the visitor centre to Glenveagh castle and gardens. The walk begins at the bus shelter from where there is a fine view of the Glenveagh Valley and continues along the shores of Lough Veagh. It is possible to walk one way and return by bus by obtaining a ticket at the castle reception. A guidebook for this walk is available from the visitor centre.
Terrain: A mostly flat dirt road rising gently over last 3km
This walk is a natural extension of the lakeside walk. It follows the shortest and most easily negotiated natural route through the Derryveagh Mountains. However, before the glen road was built, the route was so rocky and densely wooded as to be virtually impassable. Old settlements, now derelict, and native oak woodland can be seen along the walk which offers spectacular views of Lough Veagh and the surrounding mountains. A guidebook for this walk is available from the visitor centre.
Lough Inshagh Walk
Time: 1hr 30mins
Terrain: Stony dirt track ending on a quiet tarred road
This pathway once connected Glenveagh Castle to the village of Churchill. The carriages of the Lough Swilly Railway brought visitors to the railway station. From here they were transported to Glenveagh Castle over the Lough Inshagh Road by pony and trap. Today the Lough Inshagh Path remains silent except for the occasional red deer browsing on the roadside vegetation or walkers enjoying the solitude and scenery. It is an excellent walk to explore the eastern side of the Park and brings the walker to the Glebe Gallery and St Colmcille’s birthplace in Gartan.
Guided Family walks are held every Sunday and Wednesday at 2pm from April to October. Walks range from 1-3 hours in length and are suitable for children able to cope with the duration of the walk. The tracks are passable with a very sturdy pushchair, but parents are advised to contact the park in advance if they intend to bring smaller children along. Suitable clothing, food and water are important and correct footwear is essential. A camera and binoculars are also a good idea for those hoping to spot wildlife on route.
Most of the Park is mountainous and is suitable for properly prepared hikers only. If you intend walking on the hills, please leave details of your planned route and expected time of return at the Visitor Centre.
There are a series of 13 walks planned for the 2008 season with the Park Rangers. They commence at 11am at the visitor centre and can last up to 5 hours in length. Full walking gear and equipment is essential and adequate food and drink. Contact the park booking office for dates and full information at [email protected] or Tel. 076 100 2537