County Donegal (pronounced /ˈdʌnᵻɡɔːl/ or /ˌdʌnᵻˈɡɔːl/; Irish: Contae Dhún na nGall) is a county of Ireland. It is part of the Border Region and is in the province of Ulster. It is named after the town of Donegal (Irish: Dún na nGall, meaning “fort of the foreigners”) in the south of the county.
County Donegal is a favoured destination for many travellers. One of the attractions is Glenveagh National Park (formerly part of the Glenveagh Estate), as yet (March 2012) the only official national park anywhere in the Province of Ulster.The park is a 140 km² (about 35,000 acre) nature reserve with scenery of mountains, raised boglands, lakes and woodlands. At its heart is Glenveagh Castle, a late Victorian ‘folly’ that was originally built as a summer residence.
The Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region) also attracts young people to County Donegal each year during the school summer holidays. The three-week-long summer Gaeltacht courses give young Irish people from other parts of the country a chance to learn the Irish language and traditional Irish cultural traditions that are still prevalent in parts of Donegal. The Donegal Gaeltacht has traditionally been a very popular destination each summer for young people from Northern Ireland. Surfing is also very popular with a club being located in Donegal Town.
There are a number of golf courses such as Ballyliffin (Glashedy), Ballyliffin (Old), both of which are located in the Inishowen peninsula. Other courses of note are Murvagh (located outside Donegal Town) and Rosapenna (Sandy Hills) located in Downings. The Glashedy Links has been ranked 6th in a recent ranking taken by Golf Digest on the best courses in Ireland. The Old links was ranked 28th, Murvagh 36th and Sandy Hills 38th.
Donegal’s rugged landscape and coastline lends itself to active sports like climbing, mountain biking, hill-walking, surfing and kite-flying.