Ireland has some beautiful national parks and we got the opportunity to visit one. Glenveagh National Park is in County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland and it is free to visit. However, the park is out of the way a bit, in a wild and beautiful part of the country.
Ireland does not have many native animals, or at least not mammals. The park has had red deer reintroduced but we did not see any. There are however a large variety of birds. The reintroduced red deer have few natural predators. The very young might need to watch out for eagles but that’s about it. Note: sheep have the same lack of predators. In Dublin there is a museum where visitors can see skeletons of the original mega-fauna red deer that once roamed the island.
It is approximately a 4 kilometer hike from the visitor center to Glenveagh Castle. The day was getting late and we did not feel like walking that far so we took the bus. The bus runs mostly parallel to the walking trail, tickets can be purchased in the visitor center. I believe they were €3 per person. Note: the last bus from the castle to the visitor center runs at 5pm. After that, you will have to hike back. The coffee shop at the castle also closes at 5pm.
There are a variety of hiking trails at Glenveagh National Park. We, unfortunately, did not have time to hike them. Next time we visit, we want to go for at least half a day, if not more to take in all the natural wonders.
The castle is still closed to visitors sadly. However, the gardens, grounds, and the cafe are open to visitors. The grounds and gardens are 100% worth a visit. I want to be able to garden like that some day. Here are the gardens: Tuscan Garden, View Garden, Rose Garden, and Walled Garden. According to the map there are others but these were the ones that we had time to see.
Yes, I carried this dress all over Ireland to wear it once. Yes, I was freezing, the wind coming off Lough Veagh was cold. Yes, I would 100% do this again because it’s fun!
We loved Glenveagh and did not get to spend enough time exploring this wild and beautiful part of Ireland. Have you ever visited Glenveagh National Park? If yes, what did you think? Let me know in the comments! Remember to leave no trace and safe travels!
Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!
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