A Winter Weekend in Donegal, Ireland

A Winter Weekend in Donegal, Ireland

My stepsister got married at Harvey’s Point hotel in Donegal, Ireland on New Year’s Eve this year, so we spent a few days in Dublin and then a stop in Cavan for a night on the way up to Donegal for the festivities. I so wish we had been able to spend more time in Donegal and had gotten to see more of it , and would LOVE to return during the summer season in the near future and really experience the town in all its splendor. Despite the wintry weather, I would counsel anyone to make the trek to Donegal during a trip to the Emerald Isle.

Donegal Castle

Donegal Castle

Apologies first because we barely took any photos of the hotel itself, as with the wedding, it was a whirlwind weekend full of events (and merriment!).

DRINK AND EAT IN DONEGAL: OLDE CASTLE BAR

Although we had a full rehearsal dinner to attend, hubs and I snuck off to town with a friend to check into his hotel and walk around and see the town for a few hours before our call time. As such, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to do much sightseeing, but I had done a bit of research before we headed in and decided that we should drop in to the Olde Castle Bar for a pint or two.

Olde Castle Bar, Donegal

Olde Castle Bar

The cozy bar had a bunch of patches from assorted police and fire departments from around the United States – which I never did get the story on.

Beer in Donegal

Atlantic Amber Ale by Donegal Brewing Co.

We each had a pint of local craft beer – I had the Atlantic Amber Ale by Donegal Brewing Co. (pictured), and then we shared a starter. Having the reputation as the best seafood restaurant in Donegal, we opted for the Mullaghmore Crab in Crispy Spring Roll, which had fresh crabmeat, spring onion and beansprouts with a wasabi Dipping sauce.  It was really fresh and really good, and undeniably not Irish! Haha.

Olde Castle Bar, Donegal, Ireland

I don’t know why I have that crazy look in my eye. Also, I wouldn’t have posted this if we had more photos!

Unfortunately, our DSLR took a tumble off the bar and dented the edge of our lens… so, after that minor heart attack, we headed back to the hotel.

Donegal, Ireland

The town of Donegal is only 10 minutes away from Harvey’s Point Hotel

STAY IN DONEGAL: HARVEY’S POINT HOTEL

harveyspoints

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I had heard what a gem this property was from her and some other members of my family leading up to the event, but words hardly do this place justice. This hotel is amazing.

As my collection of photos is less than desirable, there are PLENTY of amazing photos on the hotel’s official website, right here. 

One of the things that struck me the most about this amazing property is the value that you get for your money. Rooms are about $200 US for something that, in other places, would cost double or treble that.

The Rooms

First, the Executive Double rooms are the LARGEST hotel rooms my husband and I’ve ever stayed in. It was nearly bigger than our 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartment, measuring 935 square feet. The bathroom tub was large enough for at least 3 people (although that’s only an hypothesis!) and everything in the room was beautifully done – great furniture, closets, bathroom fixtures, flooring, HUGE flatscreen television- everything. There was a trouser press in the room, which was a nice feature, and tons of closet space, bath robes, wonderful toiletries, a full bathroom vanity for the ladies, and even a small entry room with a coat rack and table as you enter the room.

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The Food

Harvey's Point Hotel

The food was gourmet level for sure – a goat cheese and beets dish with berries and sauce.

The pub and restaurant at the hotel had amazing food – really high quality and delicious, with surprisingly modern presentation and a fine dining experience. The bar is well appointed and they had many different brands of alcohol to offer, with several beers on tap (Guinness and Heineken being some of them).  The bar itself was beautiful, with a central bar and little tables and deep leather chairs around the outside of the room to sit and relax in.

Upon arrival, we were offered some mulled wine and mince pies, as it was December 30 and the hotel was dressed up for the holidays still. There was even a small, working fireplace nook next to reception to warm up and enjoy the wine and pies.

However, the breakfast was a real standout. The hotel owners are Swiss, and the overly indulgent buffet breakfast features a combination of traditional Irish favorites with some Continental flavors and fare. An extravagant cheese table complements the fresh smoked salmon, variety of breads, oatmeals and, of course, the hot Irish breakfast complete with mushrooms, tomato, beans, eggs, rashers, sausage… the works. Coffee is served tableside where carafes of coffee and hot water are left on your table for your convenience. The chairs are a bit opulent and the room is beautiful – bright and airy. There are omelette stations and other fresh options available. It was phenomenal! If you have a choice to book a room with or without breakfast, definitely go for the breakfast!

The Location

While the weather was being typically Irish, our stay in Donegal was simply amazing. The property is not easy to get to – there are many narrow backroads to navigate from town – but the signage is very clear and helps point the way. It is worth the trek and was only a less-than-20 euro taxi ride to and from Donegal town to this amazing oasis on the lake.

Lough Eske from @HarveysPoint in Donegal

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We would definitely return for a weekend break if we find ourselves in these parts of Ireland again, and absolutely recommend this hotel to all of our friends!

HOW TO GET TO Harvey’s Point Hotel:

There’s no way to walk to the hotel from town unless you really want to trek down sometimes-treacherous country roads in the dark. So, take a cab from town! It’s only a 10-15 minute ride and the local drivers know the road best.

Harvey's Point Hotel - Donegal, Ireland

Donegal town is at the bottom left of the map here.

Lough Eske, Donegal Town
Co. Donegal, Ireland

Have you stayed at Harvey’s Point? Been to Donegal in general? Got a story to tell? Let me know and leave a comment!

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