The Abbey Hotel is located in the charming small town of Donegal in north west Ireland on Donegal Bay. It overlooks the pedestrianised Diamond (main square) surrounded by attractive small shops, cafes and pubs. The hotel is also ideally positioned for guests arriving by public transport as Bus Eireann operate regular services to the Diamond from Dublin, Derry, Sligo and Galway.
Due to its central position the hotel does not have its own car park but guests are recommended to use the Quay Street car park five minutes walk from the hotel (30 cents an hour) and with no charge overnight we only had to pay €1 for our entire stay.
Arrival and check-in:
The hotel has an inviting, spacious entrance lobby with a reception desk to one side. We were warmly welcomed by a very pleasant member of staff who not only checked us into our room speedily but also surprised us with the news that we had been upgraded from a superior room to an executive suite.
Leaving the lift, we couldn’t wait to unlock the door and stepping inside the room, what a treat there was in store for us. The suite was everything we could have wished for and more. Space had been utilised in the entrance hall to incorporate a large wardrobe, luggage rack, wine fridge, Nespresso coffee maker, kettle and hospitality tray.
Moving into the L shaped suite we found it to be tastefully furnished in calming shades of blue with coordinated soft furnishings and a chaise longue adding to the wow factor. A dressing table/ workstation with information tablet was positioned in one corner with a circular table and chairs by one of the windows which overlooked the picturesque Diamond.
The huge bed was so comfortable that if felt as if we were sleeping on clouds and with master power switches both at the bedside and by the door there was no need to go around turning off individual lights and lamps. A huge smart TV faced the bed and although we didn’t watch it much, it was perfectly positioned for us whilst leaning back on the cushions.
The stylish bathroom boasted both a large slipper bath and a separate rainfall shower cubicle. Contemporary pebble tiling and a deluxe vanity washbasin added to its appeal along with luxurious scented toiletries and thick pile Egyptian towels.
The hotel offers a range of dining options from fine dining in its stylish restaurant to informal meals in the bar or food hall.
Market House Restaurant – with views from the windows overlooking the Diamond the stylish restaurant has a convivial atmosphere. Dishes are based on locally sourced produce with meat from local farms and fish fresh off the boats at nearby Killybegs. Irish prime fillet steak cooked on the stone is one of their signature dishes along with a daily specials board. Service is friendly and attentive with just the right balance of neither being rushed nor intrusive.
Breakfast is served buffet style in the Market House restaurant each morning with a wide selection of everything you could possibly wish to start the day with. Hot drinks and toast are then brought to the table with a friendly smile from the waiting staff.
Abbey Bar – informal bar meals are served in the split level bar which seemed popular both with hotel guests and locals alike. Live music takes place at weekends and occasionally mid-week for an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.
Food Hall – accessed from outdoors or through the Market House restaurant, it is open daily serving soups, salads, sandwiches and deli items.
Out and About:
Donegal Castle – explore the castle built by the O’Donnell chieftain in the 15th century overlooking the River Eske, with extensive additions two hundred years later. Donegal Castle
Donegal Railway Heritage Centre – Donegal had the largest narrow gauge railway in the British Isles and this museum is based in one of the few remaining original station houses. View rolling stock, interesting artefacts and model railways. Donegal Railway Heritage Centre
Shopping – having a wander around the shops is an absolute delight as they are filled with small independents from stores offering Irish tweed, knitwear and local artisan jewellery. Don’t miss Triona and Magee’s for tweed and the wonderful Four Master’s Bookshop all located close together overlooking the Diamond.
Five minutes walk from the Diamond on Tirconaill Street is the Hanna Hats factory and shop, established in 1924 and run by the third generation of the family. It’s now Ireland’s only remaining handcrafted hat producer and an ideal opportunity to take home one of their stylish tweed hats or caps to keep you warm as well as being a wonderful reminder of visiting Donegal. Hanna Hats
Donegal Bay – take a stroll along the scenic banks of the River Eske at the quayside. Pleasure boat trips operate throughout the summer taking passengers out into Donegal Bay in search of seals off Seal Island amid the backdrop of the Bluestack Mountains.
Slieve League cliffs (Sliabh Liag) – located on the south west coast of Donegal. These cliffs stand 691m above the Atlantic Ocean and are one of the highest and most dramatic sea cliffs in Europe. Either walk 1.7km or take the shuttle bus from the visitor centre to the Bunglas viewpoint for breath-taking views of the sea cliffs and across to Donegal Bay and Sligo. Slieve League
Killybegs – an attractive small town with a natural harbour and the largest fishing port in Ireland. As the town lies between Donegal Town and the Slieve League cliffs it makes a good stopping off point between the two.
A superb hotel offering first class accommodation coupled with outstanding service from the dedicated team at The Abbey. With dining options ranging from informal meals in the cosy bar-lounge to a fine dining experience in the Market House restaurant, there’s something for everyone’s tastes and budgets.
Details: The Abbey Hotel, Diamond, Glebe, Donegal F94 AP8W
We were guests of Tourism Ireland and the Abbey Hotel and as always all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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