Home And Away Guide: Gweedore Court Hotel & Spa Co Donegal
Gweedore a famous Gaeltacht speaking town in Co Donegal is also known for its breath-taking scenery of long sandy beaches and mountains. Glenveagh National Park and Castle the largest in Ireland covers over 105 square miles. A good place to start your tour is the visitor centre located on the northern end of Lough Veagh. It provides an excellent introduction to the park as well as a detailed history and lots more information on the trails, flora and fauna.
The Scottish baronial style Glenveagh Castle built in the mid 1860's has a breathtaking location in a beautiful remote setting surrounded by mountains, lakes, woods and glens. Access is by private guided tour lasting 30 minutes. Once owned by John Adair, who evicted his tenants to clear the land and not spoil his view, the estate was purchased in 1937 by the American Henry McIlhenny, of Tabasco sauce fame, who gifted the gardens and castle to the Irish nation in 1981. Today the park is also home to the largest herd of red deer and the once thought to be extinct golden eagles, which were reintroduced to the park in 2000. Looking out to sea, visitors will spot many small islands, such as Gola and Tory island. Evidence of the area’s harsh weather is also visible on Magheraclogher beach with the famous shipwreck "Friend of the Sea".
There are many short but inspiring rambles through the nearby Poison Glen at the head of Dunlewey Loch with many theories about its strange name in English but it is most likely a mis-translation from Irish. From the ruined church in Dunlewey you can walk along the right bank of the Owenabhainn as far into the Poison Glen as you wish. Gweedore Court Hotel & Spa or "An Chúirt" sits at the foot of nearby Mount Errigal only minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. The property is built on the foundations of what was formerly Lord George Hill’s residence in Gweedore from the 1830’s. More recently the house was used as a hunting lodge and then as a hotel during the early 20th century. In recent years local developer Patrick Doherty and family have remodelled the old site demolishing the whole of the original building.
This elegant and distinguished hotel boasts 69 individually styled guest rooms and suites. Guests can also use the "Earagail Health and Lifestyle Club" offering state of the art facilities. Also be prepared to unwind with a range of Elemis spa and well-being treatments. Be sure to dine alfresco with the newly added "Taittinger Champagne Terrace" overlooking Nue Lake directly in front of the hotel or you may be even tempted to use the hotel's boat accompanied by their expert fly fisherman.
The view up the river to Errigal is spectacular and the hotel is fast becoming a secluded ‘breakaway’ destination for people from Derry and Belfast by car and being so close to Donegal Airport (Carrickfin) to people arriving by air from Dublin and Glasgow.
Their popular early summer three night getaway special offer includes daily Irish breakfast and a four course evening meal on the evening of your choice all from £134 per person sharing. Gweedore Court Hotel & Spa is truly one of Ulster's hidden gems and I can't wait to return in any season.
Robert Walshe is a travel broadcaster with Q Radio in Northern Ireland and Travel Editor for River Media newspaper titles across the island of Ireland.