Falcarragh (An Fál Carrach) is in County Donegal, the largest of a straggle of villages along the coast road, with a population of 764 in 2016. This is a Gaeltacht area where 70% speak Irish and 34% have it as their main language.
Dunfanaghy (Dún Fionnachaidh) only has a population of 298 but has more tourist facilities, as its beaches are better sheltered.
The TIC is An tSean Bheairic in the former police barracks in Falcarragh. It's also a cafe and community centre, with a small local history display. It's open M-F 10:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-16:00.
For intercity routes see Letterkenny. By road follow N56 north and either cut off at Termon for the scenic route through Glenveagh (R255, R251 then R256), or stay on the main road to hug the coast via Creeslough and Dunfanaghy. Consider re-fuelling before you leave Letterkenny.
Mangan Tours run 2 or 3 times M-Sa from Letterkenny via Kilmacrennan, Termon, Creeslough, Dunfanaghy, 1 Falcarragh (1 hour) and Gortahork to Meenlaragh / 2 Magheroarty, to connect with the Tory Island ferry. These buses don't use Letterkenny bus station, but start from the fish & chips shop at the roundabout outside.
Local Link Bus 966 runs once in the morning M-F from Falcarragh via Meenlaragh / Magheroarty, Derrybeg, Bunbeg (for Gola Island ferry), Crolly and Loughanure to Dungloe (1 hour), heading back at 14:00. Dungloe also has buses from Letterkenny to Burtonport for the Arranmore ferry.
You need wheels for this scattered area. A bike would do, but the on-shore breeze will always contrive to be in your face.
- 1 Cluain na dTor, Ballyconnell, Falcarragh, ☏ . M-Sa 11:00-16:00. This is primarily a commercial nursery / garden centre specialising in plants tolerant of the salt-lashed Donegal coast. But you visit for the show gardens, a tranquil colourful place. Adult £6.50, child £3.
- Cloughaneely Stone, mounted on a plinth near the golf course, is in legend the place where - och, just invent your own story, it'll surely be as good, and you need the practice for the Donegal art of story-weaving. Only thing is, don't be confusing it with the racehorse of the same name, foaled 1 Jan 2019 from Alhebayeb x Marju Lass.
- 2 Ray Church is a medieval ruin 2.5 km east of Falcarragh. Four 7th century abbotts of Iona got their career start here. The High Cross is 8th century: it was broken in a storm circa 1750 but repaired in the 1970s. Cromwell in the previous century wrecked the church then, unsated, massacred the congregation.
- 3 Dunfanaghy (Dún Fionnachaidh) is a village on the coast of Sheephaven Bay. Clondehorky Old Church, now ruined, is 17th century. The Workhouse (daily 10:00-17:00) depicts village life, or loss of it, during the Great Famine. There are several water sports shacks: Killahoey Beach is just east, Portnablagh and Marble Hill Strand further east and sheltered, and Tramore west facing the open Atlantic. New Lake west side of the village was created early 20th century when the sand dunes were destabilised and blocked the river outflow, so the salt marsh turned into a freshwater lake. It's a nature reserve for birds. Sessiagh Lough east side of Dunfanaghy has a crannog islet.
- 4 Horn Head (Corrán Binne) north of Dunfanaghy ends in 180 m high cliffs. One lookout tower is Napoleonic era, the other is from World War II. MacSwyne's Gun on the west side is a blow hole.
- 5 Ards Peninsula is east of Creeslough, and by no means to be confused with the one in Northern Ireland. There's a forest park, and Binngorm Point at the tip. Ards Friary is now in the spiritual retreat business.
- 6 Doe Castle (Caisleán na dTuath), Castledoe, Creeslough F92 Y9D2. Daily 09:00-18:00. Turret on a scenic promontory, built in the 15th century and restored in the 1990s.
- 7 Bridge of Tears (Droichead na nDeor) was the traditional place of leave-taking on the road to Derry, nowadays R256. As emigrants trudged towards the port, their kinfolk accompanied them this far, knowing they were unlikely ever to see each other again.
- 8 Inishbofin is one of several islands with that name, and not to be confused with Inishbofin Island off County Galway. It has a few holiday cottages but no ferry or visitor facilities. North of it lie Inis Dúiche and Inis Beag, uninhabited and just used for grazing. In 1933 the new owner of Glenveagh estate disappeared from Inishbofin: this was Arthur Kingsley Porter of Harvard, a dashing Indiana Jones-like archaeologist. Wild theories sprang up but, considering the bad weather he was out in, he was almost certainly drowned.
- 9 Tory Island is seen out to sea beyond Inishbofin, all cliffs and sunset haze. Yes, the name does indicate the political Tories, it's from the old Irish word for "outlaw". It's inhabited, see above for ferries.
- . . . arrived at a place called Falcarrow in your Lordship’s See (about five miles distant from Dunfanaghy) where I then, pursuant to advertisement, proposed holding the Court as I twice before had, but was immediately on my arrival surrounded by upwards of 150 to 300 men who had assembled merely for the purpose of preventing me from holding any Court and threatened my life if I would. Their measures I was obliged to comply with. - this 1822 visitor was not a landlord's agent, but the Protestant bishop's steward collecting church tithes
- What's on? The ÚLL is the local online newsletter.
- Tramore is the long, long sandy beach. The name means "big beach" so it's a very common placename (such as Tramore in Waterford, the opposite end of the country). There are several access points but no road, so it will involve a tramp through the sandhills. It's exposed to the Atlantic with strong currents, so bathing is not recommended - head for sheltered beaches such as Killahoey or Marble Strand by Dunfanaghy.
- Cloughaneely Golf Club, Ballyconnell, Falcarragh F92 EC42, ☏ . This is a nine hole parkland course, once around off black tees is 2783 yards par 35.
- Marblehill Holiday Parks offer kayaking and similar activities. Their caravan site is just for long-term static lets and doesn't accept tourers or campers.
- Fishing on the Tullaghobegley and Ray Rivers is catch and release, and you need a permit. No permit is needed for sea-angling from shore or boat.
- The Wild Atlantic Way is a coastal itinerary covering over 2500 km (1550 miles) from Malin Head on the Inishowen Peninsula to Kinsale in County Cork. The local section is signposted and self-evident, follow N56 to Gortahork then R257 round the coast to rejoin the main road near Bunbeg.
- Earagail Arts Festival is held in July at various venues across the northwest of the county. The next event is 9-24 July 2022.
- Gortahork Centra is by the filling station, open M-Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 08:00-20:00.
- Falcarragh Centra is open M-Th 08:00-20:00, F Sa 08:00-21:00, Su 08:00-19:00. There's an ATM outside the Bank of Ireland.
- Dunfanaghy Centra is open daily 08:00-21:00.
- Gortahork has Taj takeaway, open daily 16:00-00:00.
- Calfarragh has Batch Coffee House and shop open F-W 08:30-18:00, Th 08:30-23:30.
- Dunfanaghy has The Rusty Oven pizzeria and Cafe Arnou.
- Cove Restaurant, Portnablagh F92 C970, ☏ . Th-Su 17:00-22:30. Lively tapas-style restaurant near beach.
- Magheroarty (in case you get stuck with the ferry) has Coll's Bar and Teach Dixon, both serving food.
- Gortahork has Teach Bhillie open daily 11:00-23:00.
- Falcarragh has Gweedore Bar, Shamrock Lodge and The Loft Bar.
- Dunfanaghy has Patsy Dan's, Molly's and The Oyster Bar.
- Arasain Bhalor is a letting agency on Falcarragh Main Street.
- 1 Óstán Loch Altan, Gortahork F92 Y242, ☏ . 39-roomed hotel, a bit dated but comfy and welcoming. B&B double €130.
- 2 Corcreggan Mill, Castlebane, Falcarragh F92 88XN, ☏ . Great spot with rooms, camping and restaurant on main road N56. B&B double €100.
- Arnold's Hotel, Main St, Dunfanaghy F92 N6TF, ☏ . Facilities a bit tired, but good service and dining. B&B double €130.
- 3 Shandon Hotel, Marble Hill Strand, Dunfanaghy F92 A897, ☏ . Family-oriented spa hotel. B&B double €200.
As of Aug 2021, Falcarragh and Dunfanaghy have a mobile signal from Three, and if you're lucky from Vodafone, but no coverage by Eir. 5G has not reached this area.
- South along the coast takes you through Gweedore to Dungloe, and eventually to Donegal Town.
- East along the coast, R245 branches off at Creeslough to the Fanad Peninsula.
- Further southeast is Letterkenny, and beyond is Derry in Northern Ireland.