Things to Do
Recreation & Activities
Visiting Buncrana is like finding yourself in an adventure wonderland. There is so much to see and do and your every desire is catered for – from quiet walks along the miles of unspoilt sandy beaches or the tranquil green hillsides to the adrenaline rush of surfing or kayaking along the stunning coast. Whatever your pace everything’s here in Buncrana.
Nestling right on the coast Buncrana offers a wealth of water-based activities with an abundance of superb beaches, rivers and lakes. Whether your thing is a leisurely sail out on Lough Swilly, a deep-sea dive for hidden treasure, kayaking in the open sea or a white-knuckle surf you won’t be disappointed. Great facilities experienced and qualified instructors and the chance to try your hand at a new water sport, makes Buncrana the perfect choice for an all-action activity break.
Information: www.inishowensurfschool.com and www.justkayak.ie
O’Doherty’s Keep & Buncrana Castle
What is immediately impressive about O’Doherty’s Keep is its beautiful setting.
The Crana River and the arched bridge which leads to the castle are in a heavily wooded area. The walk along the banks of the river evoke a medieval atmosphere. Unlike the other O’Doherty castles, the history of the Keep is relatively placid. It was used more as a home than as a base for battle because of its relatively secluded position. Sir Cahir O’Doherty also used it as a place to congregate his followers.
In the 17th century after the plantation, Chichester leased it to Sir Henry Vaughan who lived here after alterations, until the building of Buncrana Castle (pictured above), the adjacent manor house, in 1718. The bawn was supposedly dismantled during the construction. Wolfetone was held at Buncrana Castle after his capture in Lough Swilly.
The Fort Dunree heritage museum complex was originally opened to the public in 1986, and has provided interest for tourists of all ages ever since. A visit to Fort Dunree will include a video film presentation in the audio-visual theatre, access to museum displays which fully demonstrate life at Fort Dunree, showing its vital role in coastal defence and neutrality protection; and a complete expose of coastal artillary.
Buncrana was created for golf. The excellent local Northwest Golf Club in Lisfannon has been testing and challenging golfers for 118 years and is a true links style golf course. Another secret delight and one of the lesser known golf clubs in the area, Buncrana Golf Club is a superb seaside 9 hole links course and is credited as being the oldest in. With lush greens, rugged coastal dunes and breathtaking scenic views Buncrana is a golfers paradise. Renowned for quality, excellent value for money and warm and friendly hospitality, Buncrana has everything for your next golf break.
Information: www.buncranagolf.com and www.northwestgolfclub.com
Get away from the noise and stress of everyday life and escape to the open and peaceful country roads that surround Buncrana. Whether you push your limits or just go for a relaxed spin on the wide open roads, dramatic scenery and clean fresh air, will rejuvenate your body and spirit. Mary Kelly from Pedal Right can provide you with everything you need to have a great day in the saddle.
If you’re feeling particularly energetic you can follow in the footsteps of cycling legend Sean Kelly who pays an annual pilgrimage to Buncrana to compete in the 150 Km Tour of Inishowen organised by the North Pole Cycling Club every Summer.
Walking & Climbing
The lonely rugged hills, hidden glens and miles of trails that surround Buncrana are a must for the walker. Whether it’s scenic looped walks, stunning coastal walks, or more challenging hikes and hill walking, Buncrana is the gateway to it all. All the coastal walks are pleasant and accessible with continuous and impressive sea views In Buncrana itself, Swan Park is located just North of he town and is open all year round and provides a peaceful setting for scenic walks and family picnics. No matter what level or length of walk you are looking for our dramatic landscapes and peaceful surroundings are just waiting to be discovered.
If mountain climbing or more intense hill walking is your idea of fun, you’ll be delighted to know that there are many spots where you can enjoy this sport in round Buncrana.
Enjoy a horse riding break tailor-made to suit your skill level. Go for a gentle trot on the beach or break out to cross-country runs. Breathtaking scenery, exhilarating rides and trails and the great outdoors – there is no better feeling than going horse riding around Buncrana. From first time novices looking to learn the basics to the more experienced rider, Lenamore Stables Equestrian Centre and Inch Island School have there is something to suit every level.
Information: Crana Stables (tel Aisling: 086 1616351 or Hubert: 086 1063444) and Lenamore Stables ((074) 9384022) or www.lenamorestables.com
The Buncrana Angling Association controls the Crana River and Fullerton reservoir.
The fishery is run from a purpose built angling centre where licences, permits and fishing tackle can be purchased and where boats and rods can be hired, Buoyancy aids are now available free of charge. Visiting anglers are advised to read the full list of rules governing the fishery before starting to fish.
The Crana is a 12km. long spate river that takes its waters from Slieve Snaght and the Eskaheen Mountains and flows into Lough Swilly north of Buncrana. The Crana River tends to fish late with good runs of grilse and sea trout during July.
Fullerton reservoir is 400 acres in size and has a large population of both wild and stocked brown trout. The reservoir is fly-fishing only (no bait fishing), with a two trout bag limit and no shore fishing is permitted.
The salmon season runs from 1st March to 30th September inclusive and the sea trout season runs from 1st March to 12th October inclusive.
Wildlife & Birdlife
Buncrana boasts a diverse range of habitable high rocky cliffs, fine sandy beaches, upland heath and bog, rich agricultural farmlands and wetland areas, thus providing a mecca for ornithologists and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
The large and deep sea loughs of Lough Swilly and Foyle, provide rich feeding habitats for a diverse range of bird species, while the cliffs, sea stacks and islands of Inishowen offer sanctuary to nesting seabirds, including Gulls, Doves and Cormorants. Ireland’s most northerly point is an ideal vantage spot from which to view the autumn movement of seabirds such as Albatross, Gannets, and Shear water on their southward migration flights. It is also a good spot for greeting the arrival of flocks of Redwing, Fieldfare, Finches, Snow Bunting and many species of land birds which winter in Ireland.
The Buncrana Music Festival in June celebrates the artistic talent and energy the town has been renowned for, with an amazing variety of local, national and international artists performing over 2 days. The festival is crammed with events including concerts and late night gigs and also the fun and frolics that go with festival time in Buncrana, fireworks and barbeques, kids fun days, music and song in many pubs.
Information: Buncrana Music Festival Facebook Page
Spa & Wellness
Surrounded by nature’s beauty, Buncrana has great facilities and is the perfect location to restore calm and balance in your body and mind. Get away from the stresses and strains of everyday life with a pampering break in one of our excellent spa hotels.
Choose from a wonderful range of quality day- and stay- spas, offering soothing luxury treatments to revive and rejuvenate your mind, body and soul.
Buncrana is the perfect destination to keep your little ones smiling, regardless of the weather and it won’t break the bank. There’s plenty for all the family to see and do, from kiddies pottery classes, horse riding or kayaking lessons to a ferry ride over to Rathmullan or a visit to the planetarium in Greencastle. The town has the fabulous Wains World indoor play centre, the fascinating Vintage Car and Carriage museum and nearby is the impressive Fort Dunree Military Museum not forgetting the traditional seaside attractions.
We guarantee you’ll take home fond memories of a super family break. There are also a number of excellent Kids Playgrounds in the town – if the kids are happy, you’re happy!
Buncrana is the hub of and commercial centre for the whole Inishowen Peninsula. Why not take a stroll along the Main Street, into Ardaravan Square which offers specialist boutiques, general stores, jewellers, florists, beauty and hair salons, delicatessens, bistros and bars, there is something to satisfy the shopaholic in everyone.
Derry, which is only 15 miles away, offers all the biggest names in high street and designer fashions with two large shopping Malls in the centre of town called Foyleside and Richmond Centre.