Discover the charm of Kilcar, a haven for nature enthusiasts and cultural seekers alike. Immerse yourself in the allure of Tra Bhan (Muckross Beach), where golden sands meet the rhythmic waves of the Atlantic. Explore the village’s diverse offerings, from invigorating hikes along scenic trails to the thrill of hill climbing that unveils panoramic vistas.
For those seeking a deeper connection with local traditions, a visit to a handmade tweed shop, Studio Donegal, beckons. Marvel at the meticulous craftsmanship that weaves together the rich heritage of this artistic community. The vibrant Aislann Chill Chartha, a cultural hub, provides insights into the heart and soul of Kilcar through various events and gatherings.
Indulge in the tranquility of fishing along the expansive Atlantic coastline. The village’s maritime legacy intertwines with the rhythm of daily life, creating an authentic experience for enthusiasts.
As you traverse Kilcar’s landscape, the beauty of the surroundings unfolds, inviting you to capture moments of serenity and adventure. Each step resonates with the unique character of this coastal haven, promising an array of experiences for every visitor. Whether strolling through the village’s cultural centers or embracing the rugged allure of the outdoors, Kilcar invites you to savor the diversity that defines this enchanting destination
Muckross Head Peninsula
Kilcar, County Donegal
4.9 Stars from 105+ Google reviews
Situated on the Muckross Peninsula near Kilcar, this hidden gem boasts an absence of crowds or coaches, preserving its natural allure. Despite its secluded setting, access remains straightforward.
Approaching from the west, via Kilcar and Towney on the way from Slieve League, offers a pleasant drive with a noteworthy pull-off providing captivating views of Muckross Head and Beach—an essential stop. Alternatively, coming from the east, say Donegal, through Killybegs and Shalvey unfolds a more rugged, adventurous route with spectacular scenery.
Upon reaching the head’s end, discover a car park and numerous footpaths leading to the edge, all without an admission fee. Exploring the entire area is highly recommended. If the surf is calm, and you wish to traverse the lower part under the cliffs, take the path to the right of the head, where the rocks cascade, allowing easy navigation to the lower section—an excursion well worth it. While the drive may not be for the faint-hearted, the sheer beauty of the place is an irresistible motivator.
On a clear day, the panoramic vistas extend across Donegal Bay, reaching as far as Benbulben Mountain in Co. Sligo.
Muckross, a small peninsula about 10 km west of Killybegs, Co. Donegal, is famed for its popular rock-climbing area, distinguished by its unusual horizontally layered structure. Nestled in the parish of Kilcar, Muckross Head is strategically located near Slieve League, Europe’s highest sea cliffs, offering breathtaking panoramic views.
Rock Climbing enthusiasts are drawn to Muckross Head’s unique crag, characterized by horizontally bedded sandstone interspersed with thin bands of mudstone, creating excellent overhangs.
The headland showcases a rich fauna and a small area of exposed limestone karst. Fossil deposits, primarily of seaweeds and shellfish, adorn some sections of the headland. Muckross Head features two beaches—the noise-filled trá na nglór, with a rip tide popular among surfers, and the tranquil trá bán, a white beach perfect for families, offering safety for swimming. The latter includes a public car park and summer toilets.
The Glebe Mill, Lower Main St, New Church Glebe, Kilcar, Co. Donegal
Located on Lower Main Street, New Church Glebe, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, Studio Donegal is a dedicated advocate for the preservation and contemporary evolution of the ancient craft of hand-weaving. In the picturesque setting of Kilcar, Co. Donegal, Ireland, the mill serves as the epicenter where all tweed is intricately hand-woven. Taking craftsmanship to the next level, all clothing, hats, and accessories are handcrafted in the sewing room within the same mill.
Studio Donegal extends a warm welcome to visitors, offering a self-guided tour that immerses them in the mill’s charm and production areas. This unique experience provides an opportunity to meet the skilled staff and gain a firsthand understanding of the meticulous processes involved in creating our distinct tweed and garments.
As exclusive distributors of Donegal Yarns hand-knitting yarns, locally spun by Donegal Yarns in Kilcar, Ireland, they play a crucial role in preserving traditional craftsmanship. Their unwavering commitment to the art of hand-weaving and garment creation is evident in every thread and stitch, showcasing the rich heritage of Kilcar and the wider Donegal region.
Fisherman Out of Ireland Knit shop
Ballymoon, Kilcar F94 K52Y, Co. Donegal
4.9 Stars from 18+ Google reviews
Founded by the esteemed Blarney Woollen Mills family business in 1991, Fisherman Out of Ireland has been a trailblazer in design-led Irish knitwear for three decades. Every piece in the comprehensive collection for both men and women, from the initial stitch to the final press, is meticulously crafted at the knitting factory in Kilcar, County Donegal. This village, situated in a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) region, boasts a rich textile tradition and is enveloped by the Derryveagh mountains and the untamed Atlantic Ocean.
The awe-inspiring surroundings, coupled with the influence of local fishing communities, serve as a perpetual wellspring of inspiration for Fisherman Out of Ireland. This inspiration is evident in the creation of new yarns, colors, and styles with each successive collection. Despite being located on the periphery of Europe in what might be considered a remote locale, the brand’s 100% natural fiber, high-quality, and contemporary jumpers are dispatched globally to all corners of the world.
Comprising a tight-knit team of 38 individuals, many of whom have dedicated over 25 years to the creation of Fisherman, the brand exudes a sense of continuity and craftsmanship. In a snapshot taken at Showcase, Ireland in January 2020, some of the loyal staff members are featured on the trade stand. This was shortly before the unprecedented events of the past year unfolded. Looking ahead, the Fisherman Out of Ireland team eagerly anticipates reconnecting with both new and existing customers in the future.
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John Joe's Bar
Main Street, Keenaghan, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, F94 A3NR
Situated in the heart of Kilcar town, near the captivating landscapes of Muckross Head and Slieve Liag, John Joe’s Bar (F94 A3NR) invites you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Kilcar along the Wild Atlantic Way.
John Joe’s Bar boasts a diverse selection of beverages, allowing you to explore their offerings. Delight in locally produced treasures such as An Dulaman gin and Silkie whiskey. The bar extends to include a variety of beers, ciders, and craft beers, ensuring there’s something to suit every taste.
Whether engaged in lively conversation with friendly staff and locals alike, or enjoying the sounds of live traditional music, courtesy of local artists and those from distant places, John Joe’s Bar provides a warm and welcoming setting to appreciate the charm of Kilcar and its surrounding natural wonders.
Áislann Chill Chartha
4.7 Stars from 24+ Google reviews
The Cill Chartha Cultural Centre, known as Áislann, finds its home in the heart of the Gaeltacht of Deisceart Tir Chonaill, where the Irish language and rich traditions continue to thrive. The term Áislann, a fusion of the Irish words Áiseanna (facilities) and Lann (building), reflects the vibrant cultural hub that Cill Chartha has become. Nestled in a region with a robust heritage of language, music, poetry, storytelling, and painting, the town and its surroundings also boast a longstanding connection to the wool, tweed, and craft industry.
Situated along the picturesque seaboard of South West Donegal, Cill Chartha has consistently attracted a niche group of visitors seeking a blend of culture, scenic beauty, and warm hospitality. Many of these dedicated enthusiasts make Cill Chartha an annual or biannual holiday destination, drawn by the unique combination of information, cultural ambiance, and a sense of community. In fact, some artists have chosen to make Cill Chartha their permanent home, contributing to the area’s reputation as a haven for artistic expression.
In 1992, the local community, recognizing the untapped potential of the area, embarked on a strategic planning initiative for tourism development. The goal was to avoid haphazard and reactive projects that could diminish rather than enhance the existing natural and social infrastructure. This community-driven effort identified a need for amenities not only to cater to visitors but also to strengthen local community bonds through cultural, artistic, and leisure activities.
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Hand Knitted Sweaters Clothing shop in Kilcar
Muckross Beach road, Muckros, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, F94 FC66
4.7 Stars from 16+ Google reviews
Situated on Muckross Beach road in Muckros, Kilcar, Co. Donegal (F94 FC66), the Hand Knitted Sweaters Clothing shop is the go-to destination for authentic hand-knit Aran sweaters on the stunning Muckross Head Peninsula. Owned by Kathleen Meehan, the shop offers a unique collection of meticulously crafted Aran sweaters that reflect the rich tradition of Irish knitting.
To find this hidden gem, follow the signage leading to Kathleen’s home. In case you need directions, don’t hesitate to inquire with locals about Kathleen’s residence. For a personalized experience, interested patrons can contact Kathleen to schedule an appointment. A visit to the shop may also come with a delightful bonus – the opportunity to savor Kathleen’s renowned homemade scones, adding an extra layer of warmth and hospitality to the shopping experience.
Largysillagh, Largy, Co. Donegal
4.6 Stars from 341+ Google reviews
In the captivating region of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, hidden between Killybegs and Sliabh Liag, lies the increasingly popular ‘secret’ waterfall at Largy. This picturesque waterfall, nestled in a unique cave below the cliffs, has gained notoriety through its frequent appearances on social media, attracting visitors from both Donegal and across the country.
Despite its hidden allure, the Secret Waterfall is no longer a well-kept secret, drawing crowds eager to photograph its beauty and revel in the sanctuary of the mesmerizing waterfall cave. While the journey to this hidden gem may seem like an adventurous undertaking, it comes with its own set of precautions.
The allure of Donegal’s landscapes is undeniable, and the Secret Waterfall adds to the region’s mystique. To ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, potential visitors are advised to approach the waterfall with caution and respect for its natural surroundings. The guide provides essential information, including details on parking, the route, and crucial insights into tide times.
Children, however, should be kept away from the waterfall due to potential dangers. As with any exploration of nature’s wonders, preparation is key. The guide emphasizes the need to check tide times before embarking on the journey, as the waterfall is only accessible during low tides.
Upon reaching the location, visitors are guided through a short walk beside the road, passing through a farmer’s gate. Respecting the local farmer’s property, it’s essential to close the gate behind you. A 400-meter walk down the hill leads to the rocky shore, where the real adventure begins.
Navigating through challenging rocky terrain, which may be slippery due to wet rocks and seaweeds, explorers embark on a 300-meter journey. The route may involve some climbing along cliffs, but the effort is rewarded with the breathtaking sight of the waterfall and its accompanying cave. The popularity of the Secret Waterfall serves as a testament to the allure of undiscovered treasures and the spirit of adventure that drives explorers to seek out nature’s hidden gems.
Saint Kieran's Well, Shalwy
4.5 Stars from 4+ Google reviews
Nestled along the picturesque R263 road from Kilcar to Killybegs lies the sacred site of St. Kieran’s Well in Shalwy. This revered holy well stands as a testament to the rich history and spiritual significance that permeates the landscape of Kilcar.
St. Ciaran, the esteemed first Bishop of Ossory, is the revered figure associated with this hallowed well. As a pioneer of one of Ireland’s oldest religious centers, St. Kieran’s legacy predates even that of St. Patrick, hailing from a pagan background that adds an intriguing layer to his story.
Every 5th of March, a day marked by the celebration of St. Kieran, pilgrims and locals alike converge upon Kilcar to pay homage and offer prayers at the sacred well. This tradition, steeped in centuries-old reverence, reflects the enduring spiritual connection that the community shares with this revered saint.
In times gone by, Kilcar was recognized as Kilkieran, a nod to the church of Kieran that once held prominence in the area. Today, the holy well in Kilcar serves as a tangible link to this historical past, a place where faith and tradition intersect. Adjacent to the well, a stone slab adorned with a Latin Cross stands as a silent witness to the enduring spiritual heritage of this sacred site.
Visitors to St. Kieran’s Well not only embark on a journey of reverence but also immerse themselves in the mystical aura that envelopes this corner of Kilcar. The footpath leading to the Shalwy Court Tombs further enhances the pilgrimage, inviting explorers to delve into the ancient mysteries that echo through the landscape.
St. Kieran’s Well in Kilcar, with its intertwining of history, spirituality, and local traditions, beckons those seeking a connection with Ireland’s rich cultural tapestry. As the faithful gather on the 5th of March, the air is filled with a sense of devotion that transcends time, honoring the legacy of St. Kieran in this sacred corner of County Donegal.
Donegal Yarns KILCAR
Main Street, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, F94 V2XY.
4.4 Stars from 9+ Google reviews
Situated on Main Street in the picturesque village of Kilcar, Co Donegal, Donegal Yarns stands as a proud manufacturer with deep-rooted traditions in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way. Originally established in the mid-1970s as ‘Gaeltarra,’ the brand erected a cutting-edge spinning mill to cater to the local knitwear industry while setting its sights on both national and international markets with its distinctive tweed effect yarns.
In 2008, the business underwent a transformation, adopting the name Donegal Yarns to align with its focus on flecked and nepp effect yarns, as well as to better resonate with its expanding global customer base. Over the years, Donegal Yarns has embraced change, consistently evolving its products and facilities to foster ongoing growth and prosperity. Throughout this journey, the brand has remained dedicated to upholding the integrity and quality of its unique Donegal yarns.
Nestled amid the rolling hills of southwest Donegal, Donegal Yarns is strategically positioned along the captivating Wild Atlantic Way. The mill proudly traces its heritage to the ancient tradition of hand spinning, a practice that has been woven into the fabric of local homes for centuries. The legacy of Irish tweed yarns, spun, woven, and knitted by skilled hands, dates back over a century and has garnered global acclaim as ‘The Genuine Donegal Tweed.’
As one of the last bastions preserving this indigenous and authentic craft in Ireland, Donegal Yarns takes pride in managing the entire production process and distribution at its Donegal woollen mill in Kilcar. This village boasts a rich history of industrial textile manufacturing, making it the perfect backdrop for a brand committed to preserving and promoting Irish-made excellence.
Donegal Yarns offers a diverse array of stock-supported ranges and extends a custom bespoke service, ensuring that each yarn is a testament to the brand’s commitment to quality, tradition, and the enduring beauty of Irish
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Towney Bay Finishing Company, Kilcar
4.1 Stars from 11+ Google reviews
Situated on the vibrant Main Street of Kilcar, the Towney Bay Finishing Company emerges as a premier destination for those seeking top-quality finishing materials. Renowned as a leading supplier in Kilcar, this establishment offers a diverse range of materials, including fabrics, linen, textiles, and more, catering to a clientele with discerning tastes and a penchant for excellence.
Step into the world of Towney Bay Finishing Company, where the art of finishing extends beyond mere fabrics. Here, patrons discover a curated selection that transcends the ordinary, showcasing a commitment to providing materials of unparalleled quality. Whether in search of exquisite clothing materials, sumptuous furnishing fabrics, or the finest linens, this establishment stands as a haven for those with an appreciation for the finer things.
Embracing the rich textile heritage of Kilcar, the Towney Bay Finishing Company weaves a narrative that intertwines tradition with contemporary elegance. Each material within its collection tells a story, reflecting the dedication to sourcing and presenting textiles that not only meet but exceed expectations.
Beyond being a mere supplier, Towney Bay Finishing Company becomes a destination for inspiration, a place where interior designers, fashion enthusiasts, and those with an eye for quality converge. The establishment’s commitment to excellence is not only seen in the products on display but is also felt in the personalized service provided, ensuring that each visitor finds the perfect finishing touch for their creative endeavors.
As Kilcar’s go-to destination for finishing materials, Towney Bay Finishing Company invites patrons to explore a world where fabrics transform into expressions of style and sophistication. Whether envisioning a bespoke garment, adorning a living space with luxurious furnishings, or engaging in creative projects, this establishment offers a carefully curated selection that elevates the art of finishing to new heights.
Leitir Corn Mill, Historical landmark in Kilcar
Letter, Kilcar, Co. Donegal
5 Stars from 2+ Google reviews
Located just 1km east of Kilcar village, the Leitir Corn Mill stands as a significant heritage tourism facility in County Donegal. Embracing the charm of a small county corn mill, this historical site offers a unique glimpse into Ireland’s industrial and agricultural heritage of the 19th century.
In 2014, a dedicated local heritage committee in Kilcar undertook the admirable initiative to transform the Leitir Corn Mill into a fully functional heritage water mill. The restoration project aims to showcase the pivotal role that mills played in the region’s history, not only in Kilcar but also across Donegal and the broader North West.
Once fully restored, the mill will serve as an exemplar representation of the country’s small custom mills that flourished during the 19th century. It will provide visitors with a distinctive insight into a bygone era when these mills played a crucial role in processing the hard-earned corn harvests of local farmers, producing the finest oatmeal.
The site is a rare gem, preserving the essence of a small country mill dedicated to serving farming communities. Beyond the mill itself, visitors can explore the associated miller’s house, the millrace, and the millpond, complemented by a scenic walk to enrich the overall experience.
The Leitir Corn Mill Conservation Project Committee is actively fundraising to support the restoration efforts. Contributions will go towards restoring the building, constructing a car park, repairing machinery, and upgrading the miller’s cottage. Those interested in contributing to the preservation of this valuable piece of history can visit the project’s website at https://www.leitircornmill.com/ and make a donation. Your support will play a vital role in ensuring the legacy of Leitir Corn Mill for generations to come.
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Croaghbeg Court Tomb, Croaghbeg
Croaghbeg, Shalwy, Kilcar
4 Stars from 7+ Google reviews
Perched on top of a low knoll of rock in the enchanting landscape of Croaghbeg, Shalwy, Kilcar, the Croaghbeg Court Tomb stands as a captivating archaeological wonder. This ancient tomb, surrounded by smaller court tombs, unveils a rich history dating back to the Neolithic era.
Immersed in an excavation that spanned four seasons from 1966 to 1969, the tomb’s secrets were gradually unveiled. A coffin-shaped cairn, adorned with a crescent-shaped facade and a straight rear end, emerged from the earth. The cairn’s sides and back, constructed with dry-wall precision, revealed the meticulous craftsmanship of its creators.
A full court, boasting a pear-shaped outline, greeted the excavators, confirming the tomb’s two-chambered gallery. The entrance, meticulously cleared over a meter, showcased intriguing artifacts from various ages. Among the treasures unearthed were small flint fragments, worked flakes of flint, chert, and quartz. Noteworthy among the findings were two hollow scrapers, an end scraper, plano convex knives, and a leaf-shaped arrowhead, all crafted from flint.
Delving deeper into the gallery, layers of occupation from the later Iron Age were discovered in the rear chamber. This archaeological treasure trove yielded artifacts such as pottery, metalwork, a glass bead, and a bone comb. Neolithic remnants also graced the floor level of the front chamber, including flint implements and fragments of Neolithic pottery.
The cairn, stretching an impressive 37 meters in overall length, showcased its grandeur with a crescent-shaped facade, now marked by a subtle drop in ground level. A passage, 5 meters long, led to the court, highlighted by a 1.5-meter-wide gap in the facade. Along the northern side, a strategically placed stone and a loose arrangement of stones added to the mystique of this ancient structure.
In the meticulous excavation process, a gully, up to 1.8 meters wide and 0.5 meters deep, traversed the cairn, revealing the careful planning and engineering that went into its construction. Fragments of a shale bracelet, remnants of a razor clam shell, and an array of flint artifacts told tales of bygone eras and the hands that crafted this monumental tomb.
The Croaghbeg Court Tomb, with its archaeological intricacies and historical layers, invites visitors to step back in time and ponder the mysteries held within its ancient stones. As a testament to the Neolithic and Iron Age communities that once thrived in this captivating landscape, the tomb stands as a silent storyteller, echoing the voices of the distant past.
The Spanish Church (Historic Building)
Nestled along the R261 between Carrick and Kilcar, the Spanish Church Historic Building stands as a testament to a captivating tale that unfolds against the backdrop of the stunning coastal cliffs of Southwest Donegal. As travelers make their way to the renowned Slieve League cliffs and Glencolmcille, this intriguing structure captures attention, situated near the charming village of Kilcar.
Originally known as the ‘Spaniard’s Chapel,’ this roofless rectangular edifice was meticulously reconstructed in 1985, preserving the historical significance it holds. Steeped in the shadows of the oppressive Penal Laws, the chapel served as a humble sanctuary for worship during challenging times.
The chapel’s history took a turn with the British parliament’s ‘Roman Catholic Relief’ Act of 1829, which granted Catholics the freedom to establish churches once again. Consequently, the locals erected an official parish church in Kilcar, marking a significant shift in religious practices.
The unique nomenclature of the ‘Spaniard’s Chapel’ finds its origin in a compelling story from the year 1756. James Carr, a young boy from Kilcar, ventured to Salamanca in Spain for priesthood studies. Later ordained as a Catholic priest, he returned as the Parish Priest of Kilcar.
One stormy winter night, Father James Carr received an urgent plea to attend a dying parishioner miles away. Setting off on horseback along a coastal clifftop path, he faced ferocious winds and crashing waves. The journey took a dramatic turn when his horse, seemingly guided by an unseen force, halted abruptly.
Investigating the cause, Father Carr discovered an injured, half-drowned sailor on the rocks below. Communicating in Spanish, the sailor revealed that he had prayed for a peaceful death to Our Lady. Touched by this providential encounter, the dying Spaniard implored Father Carr to build a chapel in her honor, funding it with gold hidden in his belt.
Promising to fulfill the sailor’s dying wish, Father Carr not only constructed the chapel by the roadside but also built another near Glencolumbkille. Today, the Spanish Church, with its missing roof and boarded windows, stands as a poignant reminder of this extraordinary tale. The stone-paved interior, a remnant of its past, bears witness to the priest’s commitment to honor a sailor’s final request, a promise kept amidst the rugged beauty of Southwest Donegal.