In the heart of the Derryveagh mountain, deep in the northwest of County Donegal, you’ll find Glenveagh National Park, established in 1984. It’s the most northerly of Ireland’s six national parks and a must-visit for any holiday in Donegal. Within this large park, you’ll find lakes, waterfalls, mountains, glens, native oak woods and more.
You can explore this stunning park for free, and it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny day. It’s the perfect place to work off your extra energy and get back in touch with nature. Keep an eye out for special events, particularly on bank holidays. And don’t forget to stop by the interpretative centre before leaving to watch the audiovisual presentation and learn more about this incredible national park!
Wild camping in Glenveagh National Park
The only type of camping permitted within the boundaries of Glenveagh National Park is wilderness camping. This means that you can only bring what you can carry. You cannot wild camp with a motorhome in Glenveagh National Park.
Visitors intending to wild camp in Glenveagh National Park should consider that you’ll need to walk at least an hour before you can find an appropriate spot outside of the main Glenveagh valley. So be sure to arrive early in the day, so you’re not searching for a place to stay in the dark. Here are all the places you may not wild camp in the park. If you plan to camp in a group of ten people or more, you need to obtain a special permit. But for groups of that size, we recommend staying at a campsite instead, as you’ll likely be too loud and struggle to find a space large enough.
For wild camping in Glenveagh National Park, remember all the general rules for it. Leave no trace of you, don’t use a campfire, don’t set up an elaborate camping area and make minimal noise. If this doesn’t suit you, then choose to stay at a campsite near Glenveagh instead.
But there is one alternative for free motorhome camping near Glenveagh. You could stay at the overnight parking spot in Barnes Lower. It’s a fifteen-minute drive from the park, and situated in a calm parking lot. Always check for permission to park here, and stay a maximum of one night.
Unnamed Road, Barnes Lower, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Campsites near Glenveagh National Park
If you’d like to camp with a motorhome by Glenveagh National Park, then you can stay at one of the following campsites. These are the closest campsites to the park, but will require a short drive.
If you’re looking for a luxury campsite near Glenveagh National Park, then look no further than Wild Atlantic Camp. This spacious site is considered to be “a haven for any glamping enthusiast”. It offers many accommodation options, including motorhome pitches. The site features plenty of entertainment, including a playground, tennis court, pitch’n’putt and footgolf course.
Keep in mind that check-in times are limited here, as you can only arrive between 3pm and 5pm.
Price: €35 per night for two adults
Address: Main St, Creeslough, Co. Donegal, Ireland
Are you travelling without kids? Then consider staying at Camping Sleepy Hollows for your Glenveagh camping trip. This adult-only site is strictly 18+. It’s a small and cosy campsite, set in natural woodland surroundings. You can enjoy a nice campfire after your day of exploring Glenveagh National Park.
Price: €24 per night for two adults, additional €3 for electric hook up
Address: Sleepy Hollows Campsite, Meenalecky, Co. Donegal, F92 HK73, Ireland
If you’re looking for a good time at your campsite, then we definitely recommend visiting Teach Dixon Campervan Site during your Glenveagh camping trip. This campsite is a serene break from daily life with gorgeous views over the water. The pub offers delicious food and drinks, and gives you a chance to meet fellow motorhome travellers.
Price: €25 per night for two adults with electric hook up, but you receive a €10 voucher to spend at the pub.
Address: Meenlaragh, Gortahork, Co. Donegal, F92 AH67, Ireland
Things to do in Glenveagh National Park
Now that you know your accommodation options, it’s time to consider what you’ll do during your Glenveagh park camping trip! Glenveagh is the second-largest national park in Ireland and features plenty to do.
There are plenty of walking trails covering the 16,000 hectares of Glenveagh, including ones that cross the Derryveagh Mountains, the Poisoned Glen and part of Errigal Mountain. There is free access to roam from all points, and it’s suitable for most hiking levels. You can even take the ‘Trail Walker Bus’ to reach some of the best starting points and conveniently leave your vehicle in the car park.
Visit the castle
Glenveagh Castle was built between 1867 and 1873. It was inspired by the Victorian idyll of a romantic highland retreat, which is why it was built in such a remote mountain setting. It imitates the style of earlier Irish tower-houses and is made of granite. You can visit the castle and gardens or grab a warm drink in the tea rooms!
Glenveagh features a broad mosaic of habitat types, including woodlands, peatland, uplands and freshwater rivers and lakes. Many of the flora and fauna species seen here are those found in western Scotland.
The rocky, exposed landscape, as well as the waterlogged soils of Glenveagh, can limit the plant and animal life. However, there is wildlife that has adapted to these conditions, so you might spot some wildlife during your camping trip. There are plenty of bird species that come from Africa for the summer months, such as crossbills, goldcrests, ravens, coaltits and siskins. You’ll also see various types of bats if you stay late enough, as well as otters and red deer. You might even spot one of the rare Golden Eagles that were reintroduced to Glenveagh.
You can also explore Glenveagh National Park by bike, which will allow you to see more than you usually do. However, keep in mind that you’re sharing the path with pedestrians, so limit your speed. You can hire your bike at the Grass Routes Bike Hire or bring your own.
You might leave Glenveagh National Park a little muddy, but you’ll definitely be wearing a massive grin! This gorgeous park can keep you entertained for days, and feels like an escape from reality. So make your next Glenveagh National Park camping trip a good one, and don’t forget to hire a motorhome in Ireland to rest your weary head in! And for your next stop, check out these great campsites in Ireland.