Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

THINGS TO DO IN KILCAR

Set forth into the heart of Kilcar, a haven where the spirits of nature aficionados and cultural buffs converge. Here, at Tra Bhan (Muckross Beach), experience the magic as shimmering sands blend seamlessly with the Atlantic’s rhythmic caress. The village is a treasure trove of activities, offering thrilling hikes across scenic paths and exhilarating climbs up rolling hills, each summit presenting awe-inspiring views that steal your breath.

For those seeking a deeper immersion into the locale’s rich cultural fabric, Studio Donegal stands as a beacon of traditional craftsmanship. Here, witness the meticulous creation of handmade tweed, a testament to the community’s enduring legacy and vibrancy. The bustling Aislann Chill Chartha acts as the cultural heart of Kilcar, orchestrating an array of events and social gatherings that encapsulate the village’s essence.

Indulge in the tranquility of fishing along the vast Atlantic shore, a nod to Kilcar’s profound maritime roots, resonating with the ebb and flow of village life. This authentic pursuit offers a slice of the daily rhythm to those with a passion for the sea.

Navigating through Kilcar’s stunning landscapes, the beauty of this locale unfurls, inviting you to indulge in moments of peace and exhilaration. Every corner of this coastal gem echoes its unique charm, offering a rich tapestry of experiences to all who wander its paths. Kilcar extends an open invitation to explore its cultural richness and outdoor magnificence, weaving together a tapestry of diversity that makes this destination truly mesmerizing. 

 

Muckross Head Peninsula

Kilcar, County Donegal

4.9 Stars from 105+ Google reviews

Tucked away on the serene Muckross Peninsula near Kilcar, this jewel of nature stands untouched by the bustling crowds, retaining its pristine beauty. Though its seclusion adds to its charm, reaching this spot is surprisingly straightforward.

Venturing from the west, the route through Kilcar and Towney, from the direction of Slieve League, unfolds a scenic drive. A notable detour offers breathtaking views of Muckross Head and Beach, a must-see for every traveler. On the flip side, an eastern approach from Donegal, passing through Killybegs and Shalvey, carves through a more rugged terrain, offering an adventurous path framed by dramatic landscapes.

At the journey’s end, a welcoming car park and a network of trails beckon explorers to the peninsula’s brink, free of any charge. The invitation to explore is irresistible; especially captivating is the trek down to the cliff’s base on calm days, via the rightward path from the head. This descent rewards the bold with unparalleled access to the lower realms, enhancing the adventure. Though the route might challenge some, the breathtaking allure of the destination promises ample reward.

On days when the sky is clear, the panoramic sweep across Donegal Bay reaches out to Benbulben Mountain in County Sligo, offering a spectacle of nature’s grandeur.

About 10 km west of Killybegs in County Donegal, the modest Muckross Peninsula gains acclaim not only for its scenic beauty but also as a celebrated rock climbing haven, thanks to its unique geological makeup. This crag, a climber’s delight, lies close to Slieve League, Europe’s towering sea cliffs, providing climbers with not just challenges but also mesmerizing views.

Muckross Head’s climbing spots are renowned for their horizontally layered sandstone, interspersed with bands of mudstone, creating perfect conditions for thrilling overhangs.

This area is also a biodiversity hotspot, featuring a variety of fauna and a section of exposed limestone karst. Fossils, mainly of seaweeds and shellfish, are found across the headland, adding a touch of prehistoric intrigue to the landscape. Muckross Head is flanked by two beaches: the lively trá na nglór, a haven for surfers thanks to its challenging rip tide, and the serene trá bán, a family-friendly white sand beach known for its safe swimming conditions, complete with a public car park and seasonal facilities

Studio Donegal

The Glebe Mill, Lower Main St, New Church Glebe, Kilcar, Co. Donegal

4.9 Stars from 34+ Google reviews

Located in Lower Main Street, New Church Glebe, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, Studio Donegal stands as a dedicated proponent for the conservation and contemporary progression of the ancient craft of hand-weaving. In the idyllic setting of Kilcar, Co. Donegal, Ireland, the mill serves as the focal point where all tweed is intricately hand-woven. Elevating craftsmanship to new heights, all clothing, hats, and accessories are meticulously handcrafted in the sewing room within the same mill.

Studio Donegal extends a heartfelt welcome to visitors, offering a self-guided tour that envelops them in the mill’s allure and production areas. This distinctive encounter presents an opportunity to meet the skilled staff and acquire a firsthand understanding of the intricate processes involved in crafting our distinctive tweed and garments.

As exclusive distributors of Donegal Yarns hand-knitting yarns, locally spun by Donegal Yarns in Kilcar, Ireland, they play a vital role in conserving traditional craftsmanship. Their steadfast dedication to the art of hand-weaving and garment creation permeates every thread and stitch, showcasing the bountiful heritage of Kilcar and the broader Donegal region.

  

Fisherman Out of Ireland Knit shop

Ballymoon, Kilcar F94 K52Y, Co. Donegal

4.9 Stars from 18+ Google reviews

Established by the esteemed Blarney Woollen Mills family business in 1991, Fisherman Out of Ireland has forged a path in design-led Irish knitwear for three decades. Each item in the extensive 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, nestled in a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) region, boasts a rich textile tradition and is embraced by the Derryveagh mountains and the wild Atlantic Ocean.

The breathtaking surroundings, along with the influence of local fishing communities, act as a perpetual source of inspiration for Fisherman Out of Ireland. This inspiration is reflected in the development of new yarns, colors, and styles with each successive collection. Despite being situated on the edge of Europe in what may be considered a remote area, the brand’s 100% natural fiber, high-quality, and contemporary jumpers are shipped worldwide to all corners of the globe.

Comprising a close-knit team of 38 individuals, many of whom have devoted over 25 years to crafting Fisherman, the brand exudes a sense of continuity and artisanship. In a snapshot captured at Showcase, Ireland in January 2020, some of the dedicated staff members are featured on the trade stand. This occurred shortly before the unprecedented events of the past year unfolded. Looking forward, the Fisherman Out of Ireland team eagerly anticipates reconnecting with both new and existing customers in the days to come.

Thursday9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Friday9:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed
Monday9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Tuesday9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Wednesday9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

John Joe's Bar

Main Street, Keenaghan, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, F94 A3NR

4.8 Stars from 92+ Google reviews

Located in the heart of Kilcar town, near the mesmerizing landscapes of Muckross Head and Slieve Liag, John Joe’s Bar (F94 A3NR) beckons you to immerse yourself in the allure of Kilcar along the Wild Atlantic Way.

John Joe’s Bar boasts an eclectic array of beverages, inviting you to explore their diverse offerings. Indulge in locally crafted delights such as An Dulaman gin and Silkie whiskey. The bar extends its selection to encompass a variety of beers, ciders, and craft brews, ensuring there’s something to tantalize every palate.

Whether engaging in spirited banter with amiable staff and locals or relishing the melodies of live traditional music every Tuesday night, courtesy of local talents and those from afar, John Joe’s Bar provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere to embrace the enchantment of Kilcar and its surrounding natural marvels. 

 

Áislann Chill Chartha

 Lower Main St, New Church Glebe, Kilcar, Co. Donegal

4.7 Stars from 24+ Google reviews

Situated within the beating heart of the Gaeltacht of Deisceart Tir Chonaill, the Cill Chartha Cultural Centre, affectionately known as Áislann, stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Irish language and rich traditions. The term Áislann, stemming from the fusion of the Irish words Áiseanna (signifying facilities) and Lann (representing building), encapsulates the vibrant cultural nucleus that Cill Chartha embodies. Enveloped in a region steeped in a robust tapestry of language, music, poetry, storytelling, and painting, the town and its environs harbor a deep-rooted connection to the wool, tweed, and craft industry.

Perched along the idyllic seaboard of South West Donegal, Cill Chartha has long been a magnet for a discerning cohort of visitors in search of a harmonious blend of culture, scenic splendor, and genuine hospitality. Many of these ardent aficionados make Cill Chartha a pilgrimage spot, returning annually or biennially to bask in the distinctive amalgamation of enlightenment, cultural ambiance, and communal spirit. Indeed, some artisans have elected to establish roots in Cill Chartha permanently, enriching the area’s allure as a sanctuary for creative expression.

In 1992, spurred by a communal recognition of the latent potential within the locale, the local community embarked on a visionary journey of strategic planning for tourism advancement. The objective was to sidestep haphazard and reactionary endeavors that could potentially erode rather than enrich the existing natural and social fabric. This grassroots initiative identified a pressing demand for amenities not only to cater to the needs of visitors but also to foster tighter bonds within the local community through cultural, artistic, and recreational pursuits. 

Thursday9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Friday9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday10 a.m.–3 p.m.
SundayClosed
Monday9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Tuesday9 a.m.–9 p.m.
Wednesday9 a.m.–9 p.m.

Kathleen Meehan Aran Handknits

Muckross Beach road, Muckros, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, F94 FC66

4.7 Stars from 16+ Google reviews

Located along the meandering Muckross Beach road in Muckros, Kilcar, Co. Donegal (F94 FC66), lies the Hand Knitted Sweaters Clothing shop, a cherished sanctuary for aficionados of authentic hand-knit Aran sweaters nestled amidst the breathtaking vistas of the Muckross Head Peninsula. Helmed by the esteemed Kathleen Meehan, this quaint establishment boasts a curated selection of exquisitely crafted Aran sweaters that pay homage to the venerable tradition of Irish knitting.

To uncover this hidden treasure trove, follow the whimsical signage that meanders toward Kathleen’s abode. Should you find yourself in need of guidance, don’t hesitate to seek directions from the amiable locals familiar with Kathleen’s domicile. For those seeking a bespoke shopping experience, reaching out to Kathleen to arrange a personalized appointment is highly encouraged. And if luck smiles upon you, your visit may be graced with a delectable treat – Kathleen’s legendary homemade scones, imparting an additional layer of warmth and hospitality to your shopping odyssey.

Secret Waterfall

 Largysillagh, Largy, Co. Donegal

4.6 Stars from 341+ Google reviews

Located amidst the wild beauty of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a secret treasure once whispered about in hushed tones has emerged into the limelight, drawing the gaze of the world. The Secret Waterfall at Largy, hidden between the rugged embrace of Killybegs and the majestic Sliabh Liag, now dances in the spotlight, thanks to the echoes of its beauty across social media landscapes. This natural spectacle, veiled within a cave beneath stoic cliffs, has evolved from a mere whisper of nature into a siren’s call for explorers and lens-lovers from near and far.

The allure of the Secret Waterfall is magnetic, its charm pulling in waves of visitors, each eager to etch its serene beauty into memory and digital albums. However, the path to this hidden gem is woven with challenges, demanding from its seekers both vigilance and preparation.

Amidst Donegal’s panorama of awe-inspiring vistas, the Secret Waterfall stands as a beacon of wonder, adding a layer of mystique to the region’s already captivating scenery. To tread this path is to do so with caution, armed with insights on where to park, how to navigate the trail, and the critical knowledge of tidal movements, ensuring a passage that is both safe and respectful of nature’s rhythms.

The guidance for this journey comes with a note of caution, particularly for those with young adventurers in tow, pointing out the risks tied to the waterfall’s raw beauty. The key to unlocking this hidden spectacle lies in aligning one’s visit with the ebb and flow of the tides, with low tide serving as the gatekeeper to this natural marvel.

The adventure unfolds with a modest trek along a road, leading to a farmer’s gate — a gateway into a realm of untouched beauty. Respect for the land and its stewards is paramount, with every visitor entrusted with the simple yet vital act of closing the gate behind them. What follows is a descent, a 400-meter journey down to where the earth meets the sea, signaling the commencement of an adventure that is as demanding as it is rewarding.

To reach the waterfall is to navigate a landscape that tests one’s mettle, a rugged terrain adorned with slippery stones and seaweed, with parts that beckon climbers to brave the cliffs. This 300-meter odyssey may challenge the spirit, but for those who persevere, the reward is the breathtaking embrace of the waterfall and its secluded cave. The Secret Waterfall’s allure is a testament to the beauty that lies in the hidden corners of the world, inviting the bold and the curious to uncover the wonders that await beyond the beaten path.

 
 

Saint Kieran's Well, Shalwy

Shalwy, Kilcar

4.5 Stars from 4+ Google reviews

Along the scenic stretch of the R263, connecting Kilcar to Killybegs, one finds the mystical site of St. Kieran’s Well in Shalwy, a beacon of spiritual history nestled within the lush landscapes of Kilcar. This holy well stands as a vivid emblem of the area’s deep historical roots and the profound spiritual significance it holds for the community and visitors alike.

St. Ciaran, celebrated as the inaugural Bishop of Ossory and a cornerstone in the establishment of one of Ireland’s earliest religious hubs, lends his name and legacy to this sacred spring. His story, intriguingly woven from a tapestry of pagan origins, sets a fascinating backdrop to the sanctity of the well, predating even the era of St. Patrick.

Annually, on the 5th of March, St. Kieran’s Day becomes a focal point for both pilgrims and local residents, who gather in a confluence of faith and tradition at Kilcar. This assembly, echoing the devotions of countless generations, signifies a living bridge to the saint’s revered legacy, underscoring a communal spiritual bond that has withstood the test of time.

Kilcar, historically referred to as Kilkieran in homage to the church dedicated to Kieran that once stood here, continues to cradle this holy well as a poignant vestige of its past. Beside the well, a stone slab, marked with a Latin Cross, remains a stoic guardian of the spiritual lineage and heritage that this site commemorates.

The journey to St. Kieran’s Well is not merely a passage of faith but also an invitation to experience the mystical ambiance that surrounds this sacred enclave. The pathway, leading explorers towards the ancient Shalwy Court Tombs, offers a further layer of intrigue, drawing a line through the ages and inviting a deeper exploration of the mystique embedded in Kilcar’s landscape.

St. Kieran’s Well in Kilcar weaves together the threads of history, spirituality, and enduring local customs, calling out to those in search of Ireland’s intricate cultural and religious fabric. On the 5th of March, as the faithful convene, there’s a palpable embrace of devotion, a timeless tribute to St. Kieran, echoing across the serene backdrop of County Donegal.

 
 

Donegal Yarns KILCAR

 Main Street, Kilcar, Co. Donegal, F94 V2XY.

4.4 Stars from 9+ Google reviews

Perched on the vibrant Main Street of Kilcar, a gem within Co Donegal’s picturesque embrace, Donegal Yarns emerges as a testament to enduring craftsmanship and tradition, heartily woven into the essence of the Wild Atlantic Way. Birthed in the mid-1970s under the name ‘Gaeltarra,’ this beacon of textile artistry laid the foundations of a state-of-the-art spinning mill, aimed at nurturing the local knitwear scene and casting its threads across global horizons with its signature tweed effect yarns.

The year 2008 marked a new chapter for the establishment, as it embraced the moniker Donegal Yarns, a nod to its refined focus on producing the celebrated flecked and nepp effect yarns. This rebranding was not merely a change of name but a declaration of its evolution and its ambition to weave its legacy into the hearts of an international audience. The journey of Donegal Yarns is one of relentless transformation, a testament to its commitment to innovation while steadfastly preserving the soul and standard of its distinctive Donegal yarns.

Cradled by the undulating landscapes of southwest Donegal, the mill of Donegal Yarns claims a scenic spot on the famed Wild Atlantic Way, echoing the ancient rhythms of hand spinning that have pulsed through local hearths for generations. This bastion of textile heritage is a custodian of the revered Irish tweed yarns tradition, a craft celebrated worldwide as ‘The Genuine Donegal Tweed.’ Spanning over a century, this craft has been the hallmark of artisanal excellence, spun, woven, and knitted by adept hands into fabrics of international renown.

Donegal Yarns stands among the final guardians of this intrinsic and authentic Irish craft, overseeing the full cycle of production and distribution from its woollen mill in Kilcar. This village, steeped in a storied textile manufacturing tradition, provides a fitting canvas for a brand deeply committed to the ethos of Irish-made quality.

With a palette that spans a spectrum of stock-supported ranges to the personal touch of custom bespoke services, Donegal Yarns weaves each yarn with a commitment to excellence, tradition, and the perpetual charm of Irish craftsmanship. This narrative is not just about producing yarn; it’s a celebration of the legacy, culture, and artistry that Donegal Yarns threads into the fabric of the global textile community. 

 
Tuesday9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Wednesday9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Thursday9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Friday9:30 a.m.–4 p.m.
SaturdayClosed
SundayClosed
Monday9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m

Leitir Corn Mill, Historical landmark in Kilcar

Letter, Kilcar, Co. Donegal

5 Stars from 2+ Google reviews

Merely a stone’s throw away from the quaint village of Kilcar, nestled in the lush landscapes of County Donegal, lies the Leitir Corn Mill, a beacon of heritage tourism. This charming relic of a bygone era offers visitors an intimate look into the industrial and agricultural tapestry of 19th century Ireland, echoing the rhythms of rural life that once pulsed through the region.

In the year 2014, propelled by a deep sense of duty towards their local heritage, a committee of dedicated Kilcar residents embarked on a noble journey to breathe new life into the Leitir Corn Mill. Their vision? To transform it into a living testament to the integral role mills once played in shaping the livelihoods of the community in Kilcar and beyond, into the expansive reaches of Donegal and the North West.

The revival of the mill is poised to cast a spotlight on the country’s quaint custom mills, once the heartbeat of the 19th-century agricultural landscape. It promises to immerse visitors in the rich tapestry of history, revealing the vital part these mills played in transforming the fruits of arduous farm labor into precious oatmeal, the staple of bygone diets.

The Leitir Corn Mill site is a treasure trove of history, a place where the past’s echoes are palpable. Here, visitors are invited to wander beyond the mill’s walls to explore the miller’s house, meander along the millrace, and pause by the tranquil millpond, all while taking in the beauty of the surrounding scenery through a serene walk that bridges the gap between past and present.

The guardians of this heritage, the Leitir Corn Mill Conservation Project Committee, are champions of its future, spearheading fundraising initiatives to fuel the restoration dreams. Every donation received is a step closer to reviving the mill’s ancient stones, constructing visitor amenities like a car park, revitalizing the once dormant machinery, and refurbishing the miller’s abode to its former glory. Supporters of this historic cause are invited to lend their aid through contributions at https://www.leitircornmill.com/, playing a crucial part in the tapestry of Leitir Corn Mill’s enduring legacy.

ThursdayClosed
Friday11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Saturday11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Sunday11 a.m.–3 p.m.
MondayClosed
TuesdayClosed
WednesdayClosed

Croaghbeg Court Tomb, Croaghbeg

Croaghbeg, Shalwy, Kilcar

4 Stars from 7+ Google reviews

Poised atop a gentle rise of stone within the mystical terrain of Croaghbeg, Shalwy, in Kilcar, lies the Croaghbeg Court Tomb, an archaeological marvel that beckons the curious and the scholarly alike. Encircled by a constellation of lesser court tombs, this monument whispers tales of a distant Neolithic dawn.

The veil of time was meticulously lifted over four seasons of excavation from 1966 to 1969, revealing the tomb’s ancient secrets. A unique coffin-shaped cairn came to light, boasting a crescent facade and a linear stern, its construction a testament to the ancient artisans’ dry-stone masonry skills.

At its heart, a fully outlined court emerged, its pear-shaped form cradling a dual-chambered gallery. The entrance, painstakingly excavated to over a meter, yielded an assemblage of artifacts spanning diverse epochs. The soil relinquished flint remnants, finely worked flakes of flint, chert, and quartz. The discovery of two hollow scrapers, an end scraper, plano convex knives, and a leaf-shaped arrowhead underscored the rich material culture of its builders.

Venturing further into the gallery, the excavation unveiled layers indicative of later Iron Age occupancy within the rear chamber. This historical cache contained pottery, metal objects, a glass bead, and a bone comb, alongside Neolithic floor deposits in the front chamber that included flint tools and fragments of Neolithic pottery.

Spanning a majestic 37 meters, the cairn’s crescent facade and the discernible dip in the ground level at its front captivated onlookers. A passage stretching 5 meters toward the court, with a significant 1.5-meter-wide interruption in the facade, and a strategically positioned stone on the northern flank, contributed to the structure’s enigmatic allure.

The excavation’s diligence uncovered a gully, as wide as 1.8 meters and half a meter deep, slicing through the cairn, evidencing the deliberate engineering behind its creation. Among the findings were shards of a shale bracelet, fragments of a razor clam shell, and an array of flint pieces, each narrating a chapter of prehistoric life and labor.

The Croaghbeg Court Tomb, through its complex layers and archaeological nuances, beckons to those drawn to the echoes of antiquity. It stands as a silent guardian of the stories of Neolithic and Iron Age societies, an emblem of the profound connection between past landscapes and present curiosity.

 
 

The Spanish Church (Historic Building)

Tucked away on the R261, bridging the gap between Carrick and Kilcar, the Spanish Church Historic Building emerges as a poignant narrative emblem set against the majestic coastal cliffs of Southwest Donegal. As adventurers chart their course towards the awe-inspiring Slieve League cliffs and the enchanting Glencolmcille, they encounter this fascinating ruin near the picturesque village of Kilcar.

Once referred to as the ‘Spaniard’s Chapel,’ this bare, roofless structure was lovingly restored in 1985, a gesture aimed at preserving its rich tapestry of history. Cast in the long shadows of the restrictive Penal Laws, the chapel once offered a clandestine haven for the faithful to gather in prayer during tumultuous times.

The narrative arc of the chapel bends notably with the enactment of the ‘Roman Catholic Relief’ Act of 1829 by the British parliament, heralding a new era where Catholics regained the liberty to erect churches openly. This legislative change inspired the Kilcar community to establish an official parish church, signifying a transformative chapter in local religious history.

The chapel’s evocative name, ‘Spaniard’s Chapel,’ traces back to a riveting episode in 1756 involving James Carr, a Kilcar native who pursued his priesthood studies in Salamanca, Spain. Ordained as a Catholic priest, he returned to serve as Parish Priest of Kilcar, unknowingly setting the stage for a remarkable legend.

On a tempestuous winter’s eve, amidst howling winds and tumultuous waves, Father James Carr set out on horseback to minister to a dying parishioner, traversing a perilous coastal path. In an unexpected twist, his horse stopped dead in its tracks, prompted by an unseen hand.

Below, on the jagged rocks, lay an injured sailor, barely clinging to life. In a mix of desperation and faith, the sailor, speaking Spanish, confided that he had beseeched Our Lady for a merciful end. Moved by this divine interception, the sailor, with his last breaths, beseeched Father Carr to erect a chapel in her honor, offering the gold concealed within his belt as funding.

Bound by a promise to a dying man, Father Carr not only realized the chapel beside the road but also commissioned another near Glencolumbkille. The now roofless Spanish Church, with its boarded windows, silently narrates this miraculous encounter. Its stone-laden floor, echoing the footsteps of the past, serves as a testament to a vow fulfilled by a priest, forever intertwining the fate of a Spanish sailor with the rugged splendor of Southwest Donegal.

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