Let’s Live in Donegal

‘Up here, it’s different,’ the proud people of Donegal are known to say.

Donegal is a gem in the North West corner of Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way really struts its stuff along the Donegal coastline. The county’s incredible scenery and natural beauty also serves the practicalities of modern commercial life.

One of the country’s largest counties, Donegal boasts a population of nearly 150,000, has its own third level college and is easily accessed by road, rail and air.

Where to work?

By successfully attracting some of the world’s leading global brands to set up operations there, Donegal has developed a rich business culture to complement its historical commercial strengths in textiles and fishing. Current market leading companies like Abbott Ireland, Pramerica Systems of Ireland Ltd and UnitedHealth Group have all made Donegal their home.

The availability of a local, third-level educated workforce combined with first-class infrastructure makes Donegal an excellent place to do business in and it has everything a start-up company could possibly need.

As a mecca for those escaping the city, Donegal is also home to many creative freelancers and aspiring entrepreneurs. Meet the entrepreneurs in our Donegal Case Studies here.

County Statistics

Based on data from the CSO Census of Population in 2016, the Western Development Commission has published an Info-graph showing some key statistics for Donegal.

Well Connected?

Excellent transport links, an excellent motorway network and even a local airport transports students from all over the country and beyond to attend college in the region and this excellent travel network offers the business community so much too. This is complemented by the neighbouring City of Derry airport.

Why Live Here?


  • “Donegal is hopping with creatives and business start-ups; artisan foods and craftspeople are in plentiful supply and there’s a real buzz in the air for new ideas and harnessing the talent that we have locally.
    I live on Doagh Island, on the Inishowen peninsula in north Donegal. Doagh is surrounded by some of the most treacherous waters around Ireland so in bad weather this creates huge waves and in good weather the views are spectacular ” – Pat Doherty.
  • “I live on a hilltop farm, five minutes outside the small village of St Johnston in East Donegal. My alarm call is a melody of tractors, cows and dogs. The scenery is to die for and while we’re off the beaten path, we’re still not far from Letterkenny and Derry City if you’re looking for the bright lights.” – Ruth Graham.

Great Communities?

  • “Donegal Town is a happening little town with nice scenery and lovely walks” Jetta Rais
  • “Letterkenny is a great place for shopping, going out, eating out, family activities. It has it all really.” John Geraghty
  • “Dunfanaghy is a vibrant village with great cafés, bars and shops. It has a fantastic local vibe.” Thomas Lee
  • The buzzy seaside town of Bundoran in South Donegal is home to lots of surfers and the Sea Session Music Festival
  • “Finn valley area , it’s getting better every year, with the new athletic centre , Balor Theatre and numerous new businesses opening up along with the trusted old favourites , it’s on the up every year” Aileen Holmes
  • “Glencolmcille for the Old Ireland gaeltacht experience Folk Village and Irish College study options” Maura Logue

Hang Out At:


  • “The little but mighty Ballyholey Farm Shop for fresh, raw, local produce and ‘Harry’s Restaurant’ in Bridgend if you want the same, cooked. Harry’s also has a great Saturday market.” Ruth Graham
  • The Old Courthouse in Lifford for family fun – prison tours keep the kids in shape and they have an escape room for adults
  • Alcorns in Letterkenny – cute little tearoom and tropical zoo for the kids
  • Best place for a pint and food is The Bridge Bar and Restaurant in Ramelton
  • Mrs B’s coffee shop in Killybegs
  • The trad session at the Traveller Inn in Milford every Wednesday night
  • Aroma Café at the Craft Village in Donegal Town
  • O’Flaherty’s Bar on Main St, Buncrana for trad night
  • Get your culture on at An Grianán Theatre
  • Have a coffee at the Shack in Marble Hill

Festivals & Events:

Insider Tips:


    • Get your adrenalin on with a day’s rock-climbing along the Wild Atlantic Way with Iain Miller at uniqueascent.ie or Bren Whelan at WildAtlanticWayClimbing
    • “If you plan on living in rural Donegal; get driving lessons!”
    • “Visit Glebe House with William Morris textiles in situ, a trip out to the stunning Cruit and Owey Island or a visit to the very popular micro-brewery to @KinnegarBrewing Denise Rushe @ladydotty
    • “Walk the beach in Rathmullen and then nip into Rathmullen house for craft beer and pizza it really is fab. Lovely walled garden too. Saw a really cool upcycling course in the vintage shop in Dunfaghy – which is nice surfy outdoor spot with cute coffee shops and pubs.” Deirdre Melvin
    • Cycle over the gap of Mamore
    • Fly into Donegal Airport for the most stunning of views then take a walk on Carrickfinn Beach just 2 minutes walk from the airport.
    • Drive through the Glengesh Pass for stunning views and a hair-raising journey
    • Trá Mór Beach near Dunfanaghy
    • Cannon Beach behind Inis Boffin; a total hidden gem and worth the effort to get to
    • Floating in the only double float room in Ireland in Stranolar
    • Go to Burtonport and take the ferry to Arranmore Island
    • Go to Maheroarty and take the ferry to Tory Island
    • Visit stunning and beautiful Cruit Island
    • Barnesmore Gap and the Blue Stack mountains for a glimpse of natural beauty at its finest
    • Horse-riding with the fabulous new Tullagh Bay Equestrian Centre located in Tullagh, Bay, Clonmany, Co Donegal right on the Wild Atlantic Way tullaghbayequestrian.ie
    • Take the ferry from Buncrana to Rathmullan and visit the Flight of the Earls
    • Visit Magees Tweed Store
    • Walk to the end of the board walk in Ards Forest Park, the view will take your breath away
    • Pack a picnic and your walking shoes and climb Errigal
    • Connect with your inner child and take a swing on the huge tree swing at Oakfield House and Gardens in Raphoe
    • Excellent wreck Diving around Malin Head , world class for certified divers.
    • Visit the Grianán of Aileach Fort for sunset or even better the solstice.


People in the Know:

    • Easkey Britton, big-wave surfer and activist @EaskeySurf


Useful Resources:


Social Media:

Have A Suggestion?

This article is in no way comprehensive. If you have suggestions on how to improve it, please tell us.

Thanks To Our Contributors:

Aileen Holmes, Liz Potter, Thomas Lee, Gary Ramsey, Jetta Reis, Ruth Graham, Pat Doherty, John Geraghty, Denise Rushe, Deirdre Melvin, John Flanagan, Jane Chambers, Maura Logue, Siubhán Nic Griann.

Image Credits:

Aerial photos Raymond Fogarty

Rock Climbing Along The Wild Atlantic Way with Bren Whelan – WildAtlanticWayClimbing

All others Ireland’s Content Pool

Donegal – at a glance

  • Population


  • County Capital


  • Main Towns

    Letterkenny, Buncrana, Ballybofey, Stranorlar, Donegal Town, Carndonagh.

  • Local Airport

    Donegal Airport

  • Local Third-level Education Institute or University


Donegal News

winter elves
Marble Beach, Donegal
st patricks day
wdc insights

Donegal Case Studies

Richie Fitzgerald
Wild Atlantic Way Adventures
Green Golf Travel
Fins Fit Foods
Ian Mitchinson

Donegal Events

Earagail Arts Festival 2016
Galway International Arts Festival


If you’re thinking of setting up or expanding your business in Donegal, get in touch with the local County Council who would be only to happy to show you all that Donegal has to offer.

crest-donegalcoco-95Donegal County Council
Tel: +353 (0) 74 9153900
Email: localenterprise@donegalcoco.ie
Website: www.donegalcoco.ie

Counties in the Western Region…