Killybegs Historic Town in County Donegal
Killybegs is one of six Historic towns in Co. Donegal which are of great archaeological interest. The town is developed around a natural harbour, which has been shelter to boats for many centuries. Christianity arrived in the 6th century with arrival of St Columcille. The Patron saint of Killybegs is St Catherine of Alexandria of Egypt (the patron saint of seafarers and scholars), a Holy Well is dedicated to her namesake and her feast Day is the 25th of November.
The Old Franciscan church adjacent to the Well was named after her. Bishop McMonagle built his residence (known as Kit’s Castle after St. Catherine) above the Holy Well in 1355 – this became the residence of many Bishops of Raphoe. The Irish/Scottish McSwyne clan landed in the area in the 14th century. Killybegs was established as a borough town by King James VI at Plantation of Ulster because it was a seaport.
Read more about Killybegs: KILLYBEGS INFORMATION CENTER
Killybegs Walks and Guided Trips
Pull on a pair of walking boots, and start your journey in any direction you like and feel nature speak to you. The walking experience in Killybegs County Donegal is a must. Experience local attractions Killybegs. From Killybegs Harbour through beautiful Fintra Beach to historic Fort and Tombs. From Killybegs Old Church through Kit’s Castle, St. Catherine Well, Megalithic Tombs to Mc Swyney’s Bay. Maybe real walking adventure towards one of the highest Sea Cliffs. Killybegs in County Donegal is a perfect stop for walkers!
DOWNLOAD KILLYBEGS WALKING MAP IN PDF
Discover Rural South West Donegal with our Hidden Gems on the Edge Tour. Let professional trained Guides take you on an unforgettable tour of Donegal. The Hidden Gems Tour departs Killybegs Information Centre, Shore Road on a journey of discovery along our majestic coastline. Sit back and relax on this tour of the amazingly beautiful South West Donegal Coast. Your guide will tell you all about the history of Killybegs, as you travel along the rugged coastline of Muckross to the Village of Kilcar in the Donegal Gaeltacht to the magnificent sea cliffs at Sliabh League where you can enjoy the amazing views.
Book your guided tour here: HIDDEN GEMS TOUR
St. Catherine’s Holy Well Church and Graveyard in Killybegs
At the edge of Killybegs, up a little hill is St. Catherine’s Well. The well is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria (Egypt). This holy well was dedicated to St. Catherine by three monks who were washed ashore at Killybegs after a bad storm. The name Killybegs in Irish is ‘Na Cealla Beaga’, meaning ’small cells’ which refers to the small cells built by monks who once lived in the area. It is said that the monks prayed for their safety while at sea in a heavy storm and promised that they would build a well to St. Catherine wherever they landed should they be saved. And it is Killybegs they landed in, hence the well and the fact that St. Catherine is the Patron Saint of Killybegs. Above the well is the ruins of the 14th century Kit’s Castle and the ruins of the 15th century Franciscan Third Order Foundation and graveyard.
Read more about St. Catherine Holy Well, Church and Graveyard: WE LOVE DONEGAL
Killybegs Carpet Making & Fishing Centre
The centre in Killybegs offers a unique experience in the Fishing and Carpet making history for visitors who venture to the shores of this picturesque town situated on the Donegal coastline. Three reasons to visit the one of most important local attractions Killybegs International Carpet Making & Fishing Centre:
- Stand in the actual Carpet Factory
- See the largest hand-knotted loom in the world
- View the largest fishing fleet in Ireland in its natural harbour
Book your visit at: Killybegs Heritage Center
The Sliabh Liag Peninsula Loop
This area of natural beauty takes you along the Wild Atlantic Way from Killybegs to Glencolmcille, onwards to Ardara via the Glengesh Pass, through Ireland’s most dramatic scenery of mountains, lakes and coastline, with a rich and diverse cultural landscape.
From Killybegs take the coast road to Kilcar, continue along the coast road to Carrick as it gives a fine example of the Donegal coastline awaiting you. Visit Teelin and Bunglas to experience the famous panoramic view of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. A look at the coast and Sliabh Liag from the sea is highly recommended as you can view the cliffs by taking a boat trip from Teelin pier.
Glencolmcille is a haven of tranquil relaxation and natural beauty. To continue on your tour proceed to the spectarcular pass at Glengesh, Ireland’s most captivating mountain pass with it’s famous “S” bends, and then on to the beautiful town of Ardara. The Sliabh Liag peninsula is a place to take it easy and not rush about, with a friendly people and should be savoured slowly.
Don’t miss your opportunity to visit one of Ireland’s best kept secrets and a signature point on the Wild Atlantic Way. Located in south west Donegal along this magnificent costal driving route are Ireland’s highest Sea Cliffs, Sliabh Liag. A visit to the cliffs and the surrounding region is a must on your Wild Atlantic Way adventure. Experience the local culture, heritage and people of Donegal against the backdrop of our spectacular and rugged coastline.
Read more about: Sliabh Liag Cliffs
Muckross Head Peninsula
Muckross Head is a small peninsula 10 km west of Killybegs, Co. Donegal, in north-western Ireland. It contains a popular rock-climbing area, noted for its unusual horizontally layered structure and beautiful beaches. Muckross Head is a very unusual crag composed of horizontally bedded sandstone interspersed with thin bands of mudstone that have been eroded faster and have produced the characteristic overhangs that make the rock climbing here excellent. The climbing is in the main steep and strenuous and although the rock is generally excellent, the last meter for so along the top of the crag does require a wee bit of care.
Download Muckross Head CLimbers Guide: By Iain Miller
Muckross Head offer two beaches, one of which is popular with surfers. That beach (trá na nglór in Irish, or “beach of the noise”) has a rip tide, coming in at both sides and sucking out in the middle, but is not particularly dangerous. Second beach (trá bán, meaning “white beach” in Irish) few hundreds meters away is a popular family beach which is safe for swimming.
Donegal Castle and Donegal Bay Waterbus
Built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century, beside the River Eske, the Castle has extensive 17th century additions by Sir Basil Brooke. The Castle is furnished throughout and includes Persian rugs and French tapestries. Information panels chronicle the history of the Castle owners from the O’Donnell chieftains to the Brooke family.
Cruise around Donegal Bay in our state of the art 160 seater Waterbus. View the seal colony on Seal Island, The Bluestack Mountains and Donegal Bays many islands with full commentary. Relax in fully stocked bar and enjoy our cabaret show on the return leg of the trip. The Donegal Bay Waterbus itself is a purpose built vessel with all modern amenities including ladies, gents and disabled toilets, cushioned seating, fully stocked bar, seated upper deck viewing area, all modern safety equipment and even a small dance floor. Forget about seasickness, passengers are assured a comfortable trip and this combined with a crew with many years experience ensures all guests have a safe and very enjoyable trip.
Plan your visit at: Donegal Castle
Book your: Donegal Bay Boat Trip