In the very heart of the county town, towering over the River Eske, stands Donegal Castle. Red Hugh O’Donnell himself built it as his personal fortress in the fifteenth century. It is said that, leaving to seek succour in Spain in the wake of the Battle of Kinsale, Hugh determined to make sure his castle would never ever fall into English hands – by setting it on fire.
But he was to be disappointed. English captain Sir Basil Brooke became the castle’s new lord in 1616. As part of a massive programme of improvements, Brooke built a handsome manor house beside the tower. He also commissioned the magnificent chimney-piece, finely decorated with carved fruit and his own imperious coat of arms.
The building complex fell into ruin in the twentieth century, but was brought back to its former glory in the 1990s. Currently, a suite of information panels illuminates the chequered history of the castle and its disparate owners.
Open all year.
Last Admission: 45 minutes before closing
Average Length of Visit: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Seasonal Opening Times
- Easter – Mid September
Daily 10:00 – 18:00
- Mid September – Easter
Thursday – Monday 09:30 – 16:30
074 972 2405
- Guided tours
- Limited Access
Nearby sites to visit
Newmills Corn and Flax Mills
Delve into Ulster’s industrial heritage
Approx. 36.1 km from Donegal Castle
Seán Mac Diarmada Cottage
One of the cradles of the Rising
Approx. 37.5 km from Donegal Castle
Glebe House and Gallery
Explore a world-class collection of art
Approx. 41.0 km from Donegal Castle