We recently went on our summer holidays to Ardara in County Donegal.
So many people have asked for recommendations for places to eat and activities so I thought I would put it all in a blog post so you can tap into it as and when you need it.
This is such a lovely wee town with a great buzz about it. It is about 10mins from Killybegs and 10 mins from Portnoo Beach (which is fabulous).
The town has lots of little pubs and restaurants with outside seating which really adds to the atmosphere.
A great Centra (owned by the Diver family) where we got all of our supplies daily for picnics and beach trips. Selection of alcoholic drinks there as well for you to pick up a nice bottle of wine to enjoy in the evenings in your holiday home.
Things to do
My top tip is to embrace all weather conditions when holidaying anywhere in Ireland. Even when it was raining we took our wetsuits in the boot of the car and our sandwiches in our cooler bag and we hit the road. You can't stay in the house because its raining when you are on your holidays.
Anyone who was following on social media would have seen our frequent visit to this waterfall. Its just 5 mins out of Ardara on the Killybegs side and beware of the winding road to get there. It's a very special place where there are little memorials to people who have had their ashes scattered there because it was their most favourite place in the world. It's even more amazing when it has been raining.
Maghera Beach and Caves
Continue past Assancara waterfall until you come to a little area where cars pay 3Euro to park in order to walk to the beach. This beach is stunning. There are warnings not to swim in this beach however there were little isolated pools of water that were very safe and not part of the ocean. The caves are amazing to explore but again make sure the tide is well out before doing this. Definitely worth visiting here. Feels like another world.
Continue on the road past the beach and you are then on Glengesh Pass. This is not for the faint hearted. Very narrow roads up a mountain but the views are simply breathtaking. Stop the car, take the picture, take it all in.
Glencolmcille Folk Village
This little village is a replica of how people used to lived hundreds of years ago. We loved to explore the little cottage and tell the children stories of how things used to be. I recommend this if you like history and the old Irish ways. There is a lovely little tea house on site where you can grab a scone and a hot drink.
Silver Strand Beach
Continue on the road past the folk village and you will come to the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Word of warning there is 174 steps to reach the sand so if you have small kids and the kitchen sink packed (as I did) then it may be better to choose another beach but if your children are a little older then this is the beach for you. Absolutley breathtaking.
If you don't mind climbing a fence and ploughing through a field then please go to see this amazing scenery. It's such a beautiful area, unspoiled and peaceful.
Sliabh Liag Cliffs
The wild Atlantic way is so beautiful and there is no better place to relish in its beauty than the Sliabh Liag Cliffs. We walked to the top with a pram and it took about 40mins each way. It's totally manageable and lovely to do on foot however I did hear that after 6pm you can drive to the top. Theres a little coffee and ice-cream truck at the top which is a great incentive to the children to keep going.
Places to eat
Charlie's West End Cafe
Situated on the main street in Ardara , this is the type of place that serves homemade soup with a spud in it, big Irish fry up and fish and chips with a side plate of bread and butter. It is ran by the loveliest bunch of people who are so welcoming and you certainly won't leave hungry.
The Nesbitt Arms
This is the local hotel in Ardara and has a beautiful dining room which gives you have that lovely "out for dinner" feeling. The menu is great for lunch and evening meal. My boys had the mussels both times we were there. They were cooked in Guinness so they were convinced they were having a a Guinness like their Daddy.
A place full of character in Ardara which has great facilities for indoor and outdoor dining. We went for lunch here and we were shocked to see there were no chips on the menu but we were so pleasantly surprised at how nice it was to not have chips with everything. I had a beautiful spicy prawn salad, Gerard had the burger and the kids all had pasta and garlic bread. It was delicious.
The Bay View Hotel Killybeg's
We loved sitting out side the Bay View eating our fish and chips people watching and admiring the beautiful boats. I enjoyed a lovely Gin and Tonic here and the manager Cillian was so attentive and was making sure everyone was happy with their meal. Good old fashioned Irish Hospitality is hard to beat.
Mrs B's Coffee House
We stumbled upon this little gem in Killybegs on the day we were leaving. I love a place that gives other options for breakfast other than a fry. Of course my boys, Gerard and Daddy had a fry but Mum and I enjoyed the Sourdough with chutney, poached eggs and black pudding. So yummy and we will definitely go back the next time we are in Killybegs.
Kelly's Kitchen at Slieve League Lodge
We visited this fabulous little place in a town called Carrick on the way to Slieve League Cliffs. Again, we had fish and chips with side salad and there wasn't a piece left on anyones plates. The staff were so so lovely and were buzzing to be open again after 7months. We loved it here and can't wait to go back.
Taj Takeway Ardara
What can I say about this takeaway. We had it three times throughout the week as sometimes with kids it's just not always possible to eat out. The boys and Tess loved the pizzas so much and Gerard and I had the Indian all three nights. Yes three times in a week I had Indian, I was on my holidays. Highly recommend this takeaway.
Other things to note:
I got my hair blow dried at Creative Hair Dressing in Ardara and it was such a treat. Highly recommend you booking yourself in when you are there. Life is too short to start washing and drying your hair on holidays.
Obviously there is so much more to do and so many more places to eat however these are the things that we loved and places where we enjoyed eating.
I hope you find all that information useful and let me know if you visit anywhere I have mentioned. I would love to know how you get on.
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I love to hear all the craic and if you recommend other places I can add it to my list.