The Northwest: Places to Explore


  • Ard an Ratha (Ardara)

    At the head of a lovely ocean inlet, the unpretentious, old-fashioned hamlet of Ard an Ratha (Ardara) is built around the L-shaped intersection of its two main streets. (If you come from Gleann Cholm Cille... Read more

  • Ballyshannon

    The former garrison town of Ballyshannon rises gently from the banks of the River Erne and has good views of Donegal Bay and the surrounding mountains. Come early August, this quiet village springs to... Read more

  • Bundoran

    Resting on the south coast of County Donegal, Bundoran is one of Ireland's most popular seaside resorts, a favorite haunt of the Irish from both the north and the south. Somewhat ambitiously, the tourist... Read more

  • Carrick-on-Shannon

    Carrick-on-Shannon grew up around the river that still plays an important role in the town's newfound confidence. Its original Irish name, Cora Droma Rúisc, means "the stony ford of the ridge in the marsh."... Read more

  • Donegal Town

    With a population of about 3,000, Donegal is Northwest Ireland's largest small village—marking the entry into the back-of-the-beyond of the wilds of County Donegal. The town is centered on the triangular... Read more

  • Drumcliff

    W. B. Yeats lies buried with his wife, Georgie, in an unpretentious grave in the cemetery of Drumcliff's simple Protestant church, where his grandfather was rector for many years. W. B. died on the French... Read more

  • Gleann Cholm Cille (Glencolumbkille)

    "The back of beyond" at the far end of a stretch of barren moorland, the tiny hamlet of Gleann Cholm Cille clings dramatically to the rockbound harbor of Glen Bay. Known alternatively as Glencolumbkille... Read more

  • Glenveagh National Park

  • Killybegs

    Trawlers from Spain and France are moored in the harbor at Killybegs, one of Ireland's busiest fishing ports. Though it's one of the most industrialized places along this coast, it's not without some charm... Read more

  • Lake Isle of Innisfree

    In 1890 W. B. Yeats was walking through the West End of London when, seeing in a shop window a ball dancing on a jet of water, he was suddenly overcome with nostalgia for the lakes of his Sligo home. It... Read more

  • Letterkenny

    Letterkenny, like Donegal to the south, is at the gateway to the far Northwest; you're likely to come through here if you're driving west out of Northern Ireland. Letterkenny's claim to fame has been that... Read more

  • Lough Gill

    Lough Gill means simply "Lake Beauty." In fine weather the beautiful river-fed lough and its surroundings are serenity itself: sunlight on the meadows all around, lough-side cottages, the gentle sound... Read more

  • Mullaghmore

    In July and August, the sleepy fishing village of Mullaghmore becomes congested with tourists. Its main attractions: a 3-km-long (2-mile-long) sandy beach; and the turreted, fairy-tale Classie Bawn—the... Read more

  • Rosses Point

    It's obvious why W. B. and Jack B. Yeats often stayed at Rosses Point during their summer vacations: glorious pink-and-gold summer sunsets over a seemingly endless stretch of sandy beach. Coney Island... Read more

  • Sligo Town

    Sligo, the only sizable town in the whole of Northwest Ireland, is the best place to begin a tour of Yeats Country. Squeezed onto a patch of land between Sligo Bay and Lough Gill, Sligo Town is clustered... Read more