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Donegal Islands Weekend

From our base at Burtonport we traverse the channels between the innumerable islands and land on deserted beaches.

Discover Donegal 1 Day Trips

Discover the treasure trove of deserted islands that lie between Burtonport, Aranmore and Owey Islands.

Donegal Islands

Into the North-West

Storm beach landing, Arainn Mhór, Co. Donegal. Experience the uniqueness of North West Donegal where the ubiquitous red granite lies in perfect contrast to the golden sands, green pastures and aquamarine sea. We will base ourselves in Burtonport in the heart of this low hummocky landscape known as The Rosses. It is an intricate and intimate area of interwoven sea inlets and peninsulas where there is a secluded beach around every corner and all under the ever present backdrop of the magestic quartzite cone of An Eargail (Mt. Errigal). This maritime county has a long and deeply indented coastline where locally built and designed boats are much in evidence as they play a vital role linking its islands and communities.

The twin arches of Umphin, Co.Donegal. In April, Donegal becomes the departure point for thousands of birds heading to Iceland, Greenland and the Arctic. The evocative calling of “Loons” glides across its waters. Geese congregate on its islands getting increasingly vocal as they anticipate their eminent hazardous migrations. Ducks, Waders, Thrushes and Buntings depart on both the day and night flights, their calls overhead attracting much attention. The area is throbbing with bird life and alive with their raucous cacophony as these birds prepare to head north west to breed and take advantage of the Arctic Summer’s abundance of daylight and food. Meanwhile, April also sees the arrival of other welcome heralds of the Donegal Summer as the Corncrake , Cuckoo, Snipe and Swallow fill the islands with their distinctive sounds.

In September, seabirds of many species mass and feed off the Donegal coast. Birds from the Ireland, Scotland, Scandinavia and Iceland mix with Sooty and Great Shearwaters from the Southern Oceans. They are all feeding on the rich early autumn abundance of fish and plankton life offshore. They are not alone as several species of Whale, Dolphins and Turtles can also be found migrating through Donegal waters at this time.

On the islands and along the coastline, the many Arctic, Greenlandic and Icelandic birds that passed northwards in April are all returning. It is quite exciting to see ducks, geese, waders and song birds arrive back on the coast of Donegal often quite exhausted after major flights over open ocean. Many call excitedly as they near land and drop onto the Donegal coast to refuel on the shoreline, beaches, islands and estuaries. Many will spend the winter months in Ireland while others like the Arctic Tern will chase the sun southwards some even reaching the Antarctic pack ice before nature’s cycle begins again and they return next April.