The west coast of Ireland is a true treasure to be enjoyed, especially if you head to Donegal where you’ll find one of its hidden gems, the charming harbour town of Killybegs. Although Killybegs may be small, it’s filled with a huge personality, friendly locals and a strong history; a place that will take you by surprise in the best of ways.
This Donegal town offers the perfect getaway for anyone wishing to escape and enjoy the Irish scenery, in its idyllic location, famous for being Ireland’s leading fishing port. You need to make sure you have Killybegs on your list of places to visit in Ireland and if you need more persuasion, keep reading to find out what makes Killybegs so special.
Killybegs Will Capture Your Heart
Just taking a walk around the town of Killybegs is unique in itself with its captivating atmosphere, where no one will ever feel like a stranger, as locals are always there to greet you with a smile and a chat, as the Irish are famously known for.
Here you’ll find wild landscapes, cosy traditional Irish pubs, blue flag award beaches, and one of the best seafood spots in Ireland; altogether making your trip to Donegal unforgettable.
Fintra Blue Flag Awarded Beach
Just a short 1.5km outside the town of Killybegs you’ll find the stunning Fintra Beach, which has been a favourite spot with locals and tourists alike in Donegal. When the sun is shining, there is no better place to be, with a gorgeous expansion of open sea and golden sand with the captivating backdrop of the sand dunes.
It’s perfect for both relaxing and adventure, as you can explore the caves and rock pools or simply enjoy its beauty, with views of Donegal Bay. In 2019, it was given the prestigious Blue Flag Award, along with nine other Donegal beaches that recognise its great environment, safety and services provided.
Killybegs Maritime & Heritage Centre
The fishing town of Killybegs has a rich history when it comes to it’s Maritime and you can explore all about this right here. Killybegs Maritime and Heritage Centre is housed in Donegal’s famous carpets building, where some of the worlds most iconic hand-knotted carpets are created. These renowned carpets have featured in places such as Donegal Castle, the Oval Room in White House, Buckingham Palace, the Vatican and many more.
This Killybegs attraction offers you the special opportunity to explore the fishing and carpet making history that’s truly unique to Killybegs and Donegal. This is a must experience as you stand in the Carpet Factory and learn all about its remarkable journey to producing world-class carpets, which have travelled all around the globe and have appeared in some famous buildings and places. It’s also home to the largest hand-knotted loom in the world, which is very impressive and you can watch live demonstrations of how this is done or test your own skills.
Then, of course, explore the exciting history of one of Ireland’s largest fishing fleets and step back in time, as the centre throws you into the past through audiovisual displays, where you’ll hear stories from local Killybegs fisherman and find out what life was like out at sea. Revolutionary technology such as the Bridge Simulator audiovisual display will also allow you to experience the life of the fisherman and all the wonder of life at sea as its brought to life, the first of its kind in Ireland.
Killybegs Angling Charters
Experience the beauty of all that Donegal has to offer you, enjoy a sea angling trip from Killybegs. Run by local man Brian, who has over 30 years of experience in charter angling, he offers visitors a unique opportunity to get some amazing sightseeing in while on your trip to Killybegs.
You can either choose between full or half-day trips which takes you around the Donegal Bay, full-day trips will take you to the captivating Sliabh League Cliffs, the highest in Europe. This is a great way to spend a morning in Killybegs and enjoy the fresh sea air and Irish scenery on offer.
Atlantic Coastal Cruises
This is a very new and exciting attraction to come to Killybegs, set up by a local family, who offers to take you on an unforgettable sea cruise, where you’ll not only get to see the famous Wild Atlantic Way but totally immerse yourself in it. Atlantic Coastal Cruises offer you two tours: The Cliff Tour and Harbour Tour and you can also hire the boat for private use, where it will be tailor to your needs.
The tours will begin at the Killybegs harbour offering informative and visual tours of the area and will take you out to nearby attractions such as Rotten Island Lighthouse, Drumanoo Head and more. You will also get to experience a variety of wildlife while out at sea, sights of dolphins and basking sharks are possible. Along the way, you’ll also be captivated by the many cliffs and waterfalls surrounding the area of Killybegs and the Donegal Bay.
A Walking Tour of the Town
The Killybegs Walk and Talk tour is must-experience for anyone who wants to uncover more about the intriguing history of this authentic Donegal town. Of course, a big focal point of this tour is the Killybegs fishing industry and history, but you’ll also get to learn about its fascinating medieval attractions and buildings located in the area. From the ancient times to the modern-day you’ll be captivated by the history of Killybegs. It’s also a great way to meet others who are exploring the area and get to know more about the locals that call Killybegs home.
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I forgot to take a photo on our walking tour earlier, however, Veronica from the Killybegs information centre has kindly let me use this fab shot she took of the marina today #Killybegs #killybegsharbour #killybegswalkandtalk #killybegstourism #waw #wildatlanticway #sliabhliagpeninsula #visitdonegal #visitireland #nofilterneeded
Once you’ve spent a day exploring Killybegs, you’ll be craving something delicious to eat, good thing Killybegs is the perfect place for food and you can enjoy world-class cuisine at the Turntable restaurant at the Tara Hotel. Enjoy an unforgettable dining experience as you eat overlooking the mesmerising Killybegs harbour, the perfect setting for a special occasion. Turntable Restaurant is known for using the finest of local produce to create mouth-watering traditional and contemporary dishes that will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Killybegs Seafood Shack
You can’t come to a fishing town without trying its seafood, and one place that certainly won’t disappoint is the Killybegs Seafood Shack. Just this year (2019) the seafood shack was awarded the best Chowder in all of Ireland. Killybegs Seafood Shack offers food that is scrumptious, inventive and fresh; you just can’t pass by this popular spot, while you are visiting Killybegs.
Have a drink, relax and enjoy the cosy atmosphere offered in Killybegs pubs, one being Hughies Bar & Gastro Bar. This pub is also a nice spot to enjoy a variety of dishes at very affordable prices from seafood, pizza, vegetarian and more. One of the best gems in Killybegs with its warm welcome and the feel of a great city bar but in a small town location.
A Dream Irish Town to Visit
Killybegs will totally have you falling in love with its small fishing town in Donegal that will have you wishing to come back over and over again. It’s the perfect place for those wanting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and just enjoy the simple things in life. So make sure you start planning your adventure to Killybegs and you’ll soon understand why it’s becoming such as a popular place with locals and tourists in Ireland.
Check out the Discover Killybegs site for more information on attractions, things to do, places to stay and lots more.
Have you ever visited Killybegs? If you have we would love to know what you loved most about the fishing town in the comments below.
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