We found ourselves in Donegal town on a wet and blustery day in January, but when we arrived in Donegal town, the sun decided to break through the clouds. We had been many times in Donegal town before, but we had never visited Donegal Castle. So we decided to visit the castle on this occasion. The castle , which can be found in the town centre, has laid in ruins for the last 2 centuries, but has been lovingly restored to it's former glory.
After having paid the entrance fee (€5 per adult), we got a brief introduction and entered the castle grounds through the gatehouse.
The castle was originally built by the O'Donnell clan in 1474, and originally existed out of a rectangular keep. At a later stage, when the castle had exchanged hands during the plantation of Ulster, a Jacobean style wing was added and further changes were made the the actual keep.
We entered the castle and headed up towards the first floor of the keep following the old spiral stairwell. On the way up, we found the garderobe or toilet. An interesting fact is that the chute taking the waste to the river was angled in such a way that enemy archers couldn't shoot an arrow upon an unsuspecting toilet-users bum. We headed a bit higher up to find the fabulous banqueting hall.
The most impressive part of the hall is the fabulous sculptured fireplace. On the wall ,you can find a wild boar head and the antlers of a stag. Tapestries decorate the wall while the replica furniture gives a good idea what the furniture was like during the days the castle was inhabited
Going up another floor, we discovered the chambers. Here you find displays of what the castle would have looked like back in it's early glory days. We were just blown away by the fabulous ceiling which showcased craftmanship to it's best. From here, it was back to groundlevel where we viewed the ruined jacobean wing. Donegal castle is a must visit when you visit Co.Donegal, and when you are travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way in a northerly direction, it is a fabulous first introduction to the fabulous County of Donegal.