Glenveagh National Park
Glenveagh National Park is one of six national parks in Ireland.
Glenveagh National Park is a remote and hauntingly beautiful wilderness of rugged mountains, pristine lakes, tumbling waterfalls and enchanted native oak woodland in the heart of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north west of County Donegal.
At the centre of the Park on the edge of Lough Veagh is Glenveagh Castle, a late 19th century castellated mansion, built as a hunting lodge.
At the same time Scots pine woodlands were planted and red deer re-introduced.Surrounding the Castle are the renowned Gardens, boasting a multitude of exotic plants whose luxuriance contrasts starkly with the surrounding barren landscape.
The Walled Garden is a horticultural masterpiece, as are the Italian Terrace and Tuscan Garden.
There are a number of Walking Trails that can be seen HERE ranging from gentle 1km looped Garden walk to 8km hike through the mountains, not looped.
Admission to the Park and Gardens is free. Open every day of the year from dawn to dusk.
Glenveagh Castle is a 19th century castellated mansion and was built between 1867 and 1873. Its construction in a remote mountain setting was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat.
It was designed by John Townsend Trench, a cousin of its builder and first owner, John George Adair, with whom he had been raised in Co. Laois. The designer appears to have imitated the style of earlier Irish Tower-houses adding an air of antiquity to the castle. The building stone chose was granite, plentiful in Donegal but difficult to work and allowing for little detail.
The forbidding architecture of the castle is quickly forgotten amidst the varied comforts within. Henry McIlhenny, the last owner of the castle, served the Philadelphia Museum of Art as Curator of Decorative Arts and his expertise in this field is evident throughout the castle.
Through time, each room acquired a different character, some roughly in keeping with the period of the house, others freely inventive.
Few of the great houses of Ireland are preserved in this condition, with their original furnishings, and in Glenveagh Castle one catches a glimpse of a lifestyle belonging to an earlier age.
Access to the castle is by guided tour which last approx 40 min
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.
The visitor centre provides the following facilities:
- Car Park
- Audio Visual
- Bus Tickets
- Baby changing facilities
- Restaurant (Open from Easter to September)
- Credit Card