Gleanveagh Castle in County Donegal – Ireland

Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal is one of the most famous castles in Ireland. Situated in Glenveagh National Park, it has attracted many visitors including movie stars like Marilyn Monroe.

Location and How to Get to This Specific Site

The castle and the park are close to Gweedore and Churchill in County Donegal. The park is 24 km northwest from Letterkenny. This is at the Kilmacrennan/Termon to Dunlewey road.

Tour buses and taxis can bring you to the site. But cars cannot go beyond the Visitor Center. But you can use the shuttle bus that runs between the castle and Visitor Center.

What to See There

The castle is designed in the Scottish Baronial manner. The four storey keep is rectangular. The backdrop is 165.4 km2 of woods, glens and mountains.

There is an audio visual program that explains the castle’s features and history. The gardens feature different plants and flowers. The gardens encompass 11 hectares. The gardens at Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal each have different themes.


Construction of the castle began in 1870. It took three years to build. The builder was Captain John George Adair (1823-1885). Together with his wife Cornelia Wadsworth Ritchie, they constructed the castle gardens.

However, Adair had to evict over 200 tenants to make way for the castle. This would make him very unpopular. Majority of the evictions took place at the estate’s edge, Adair died in 1885. His wife lived until 1921 and is more fondly remembered by the people.

During the War of Independence in 1922, the place was used by the IRA. The castle fell to disrepair Mrs. Adair died. It was eventually bought by Henry McIlhenny of the US in 1937.


The shuttle service costs 2 Euros per adult. The castle admission fee is 3 Euros per adult. For senior citizens, it is 2 Euros. Children’s and student’s fees are 1.50 Euros. The fee for families is 7 Euros. The park itself is free.

Other Info

The best time to view the gardens is May, June or August. The flowers are at their most colorful here. The castle is open from February to November 30 from 10 in the morning until 6:00 in the evening. 5:00 pm is the final admission time.

The tearooms at Glenveagh Castle in County Donegal are open everyday from March to November. If you are traveling with ten or more people, prior booking is required.