One of the most scenic towns in Ireland, Donegal is a popular place to go for a peaceful getaway. There’s often nothing better to help relaxation than a pint or two in a great atmosphere, and you’re sure to find what you’re looking for amongst these 10 gems – the best pubs in Donegal Town.
The Reel Inn
The Reel Inn is a busy, noisy and exciting Irish pub with an open mic event every Thursday night and Irish music and dance every night of the week. Get there early to get a good seat for the music to start. Recognised internationally as the best pub for traditional Irish music in Donegal, The Reel Inn is perfectly situated in the centre of Donegal Town.
A traditional Irish bar, frequented by many locals, the Olde Castle Bar has won multiple awards. It is situated in the sublime beauty of the countryside surrounding Donegal, beside a 19th century church building and in the shadow of Red Hugh O’Donnel’s Castle. The old building has a unique and rich character, leaving visitors with a sense of a true old-time Irish experience.
The staff at The Bank Bar are very friendly and fun. The bar is a casual and relaxed place, with a huge glass window looking out onto the street providing gentle, natural light. There is mahogany panelling above the bar and around the room and mahogany furniture dotted about. There is outdoor seating for warm, dry days and regular live music including DJ sets and acoustic music, as well as karaoke nights and singing competitions.
Dom’s Pier is a modern and chic establishment with views looking out onto the River Eske. It is a quiet pub, and the décor is very beautiful, bright and simple, with various boating paraphernalia and a bare stone wall to contrast against the cream, red and brown theme of the rest of the bar. There is a restaurant as well as a pub at Dom’s Pier, and there is a great atmosphere in both with no pretence.
Located on the outskirts of Donegal, this peaceful and refined hotel is within walking distance of Donegal Castle and Donegal Bay Waterbus. The bar is decorated in a plush country style in browns and white, with floral patterns and exposed beam ceilings. The surroundings create a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere where you can enjoy your drinks in peace. The café bar is great value for money too.
Proudly offering live music every weekend, Eas Dun Bar is a vibrant and modern place with a great social scene. Located in The Abbey Hotel, you can meet people from all around the world who are staying at the hotel, as well as people from Donegal itself who are looking for a lesser-known place to drink. The bar is quite big and operates on a split level, the red walls and light brown wood decor creates an enlivening atmosphere.
A traditional Irish pub hosting live music on Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday, The Forge is a much loved pub which has been described by many as a hidden gem in Donegal. The staff are friendly and fun, and the bar is sweet and comfortable. There is always a fire in the hearth, especially welcome in the colder months of the year. There is lots to look at decorating the bar, and the owner makes visitors feel right at home.
With a bright blue entrance which stands out from the brick wall surrounding it, the Village Tavern promises a new and refreshing experience, and it doesn’t disappoint. There is an amazing art work depicting a sea floor all along the bar where you can see various shells, crabs and seaweed. The building housing the Village Tavern dates back to the 1798 Rebellion and was the home of The Royal Irish Constabulary at the time.
Classy and chic, The Stepping Stoneis a popular and modern bar. They take table bookings but walk-ins are welcome as well. They host regular themed nights, such as ‘Country Night’, ‘Mexican Theme Night’ and ‘Trad for Triocare’ (a charity night), to name just a few. It hasn’t been open long, and so is little-known even in the local area. It is, however, very clean and up-to date, and the staff are incredibly helpful and friendly.
A short and scenic drive away from Donegal Town, Harvey’s Point is a beautiful and elegant lakeside hotel. This is quite a formal restaurant, so it isn’t the place to go to get especially merry. However, if you are looking for a peaceful day with your friends where you can socialise in a beautiful setting, this is the place to go. Slightly more expensive than the average bar due to the setting, there are many great walks around Harvey’s Point which make the trek out (and money spent) totally worth it.