11 Great Things to do in Rathmullan
Updated: Jul 4
As the country begins to re-open, businesses in Rathmullan are getting ready for the coming season. For those of you not familiar with our seaside town, Rathmullan is located on the best part of the Wild Atlantic Way, with rugged landscapes, hiking trails, water sports, eco-adventures, history, culture, heritage, beautiful food and friendly locals.
The town is vibrant all year round and popular with locals as well as visitors. If you’re planning a seaside escape in Ireland, don’t miss the chance to visit this lovely seaside gem. Here are the best things to do while you're there:
Rathmullan Beach – for a seaside splash
Picture credit – Paul Deeney
Social distancing is easier on Donegal’s deserted beaches. Rathmullan Beach is the ideal place to spend the day when the Donegal sun comes out and is perfect for a summer splash, a seaside stroll, or some water sports. On those less sunny, wild Atlantic Days, a windswept walk along the beach is an absolute tonic and the antidote to a stressful day. Perfect all year round.
Belle’s Kitchen – for the finest catch
No visit to Rathmullan is complete without a bite in Belle’s Kitchen. Located near the pier area – which leads down to Rathmullan beach, harbour and small marina – this modern restaurant serves high quality local produce, cooked with pride and attention to detail by owner and head chef Ronnie Blake. Belle's Kitchen's delicious pizzas are available for takeaway, so choose your favourite toppings and take a walk along the beach as you savour the best of Donegal flavours and take in some of Ireland's most beautiful coastal scenery.
These two local adventure junkies will help you make memories for life in Donegal with friends and family… on land and in water.
Rathmullan House – for local luxury
Rathmullan House is open for business with social distancing and protective measures in place to ensure the safety of guests and staff. Spend your time in total relaxation and serenity, with uniquely decorated rooms, stunning scenery and the finest Donegal food, with two award winning restaurants on site: The Cook & Gardener and The Taproom. The hotel has developed special pods and treehouses for outdoor dining for an even more memorable and authentic Donegal outdoor experience. Start planning your next trip here
Rathmullan Heritage Trails – for local insights
If you’re looking for authentic local insight and highlights, take to the town by foot with a walking tour with Deirdra Friel. Who better than a native guide with local knowledge to show you places of interest and tell you the fascinating stories behind them.
An Bonnán Buí – for a fusion of food and history
An Bonnán Buí is one of Donegal’s best-loved cafés and bistros, serving fresh, healthy, locally-sourced dishes with a lunch and dinner menu to suit every palate. As well as great food and a cosy atmosphere, the café sells lovely crafts and hosts cultural and historical exhibitions on the second floor. Owner Martin is a wealth of knowledge on local history, in particular the Flight of the Earls, which happened in 1607. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the cafe set up a Soup Kitchen to feed those who were cocooning, isolated or working on the front line. The café serves a delicious takeaway menu which can be enjoyed on the beach or avail of their new outdoor seating.
The Ballyboe to Millbrook Loop – for a scenic walk
If you’re looking to stretch your legs, then Rathmullan has lots of beautifully isolated walking routes of varying distances and degrees of difficulty. Check out maps for the Ballyboe to Millbrook Loop, Keranstown Loop, Meskanmeave Loop and the Legland and Lurganboy Loops here
The Swilly Ferry – for exploring the county
Hop on board the Swilly Ferry and explore Inishowen, Donegal’s most northernly peninsula. While you’re there, take a trip to Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point and the filming location for the latest Star Wars movie. Donegal is also famous for its golf links and golfers can take the ferry across to Ballyliffen Golf Club, home of the 2018 Dubai Irish Open, or play closer to home at Otway Golf Club or nearby Portsalon Golf Club
The Abbey – for history and heritage
Ruaidhrí Mac Suibhne was Gaelic chieftain of Fanad in north Donegal, from 1472 until 1518. He and his wife, Máire Ó Máille from Mayo, had the “Abbey” or friary built in memory of their eldest son who died in 1508. It was the last pre-Reformation Carmelite friary in the country. Today the chequered history of this iconic building, as revealed in its high stone walls, is hidden beneath a cloak of ivy. Another heritage site, the Battery, is also located nearby.
An Stad – for vegetarian delights
Located in the centre of the village, An Stad serves delicious homemade vegetarian food. Grab a spot on the terrace and relax in the summer sun.
The Beachcomber, The White Harte and Big Paddy's – to (one day) laugh with the locals again…
Rathmullan is blessed with some of Donegal’s finest traditional pubs! The Beachcomber is open for business, with a delicious new menu of tasty delights including creamy peppered beef, salmon, fresh scampi cocktail and Hawaiian chicken fillet burger. Pub closures due to Covid-19 have made pub crawls feel like a distant dream, but we look forward to the day when they re-open, and when they do, a visit to The White Harte and Big Paddy's will be top of the list.