The hub of the Rosses, Dungloe (An Clochán Liath) is a busy if unprepossessing little town with ample services for anyone passing through this spectacular locale. Immortalised in a hit pop song, 'Mary from Dungloe', in the late 1960s, the town celebrates with the 10-day Mary from Dungloe Festival every summer.
Kilcar, Carrick & Around
Kilcar (Cill Chártha) and its more attractive neighbour Carrick (An Charraig) make good bases for exploring the breathtaking coastline of southwestern Donegal, especially the stunning sea cliffs at Slieve League. This is fantastic walking country, particularly if you don't mind hoofing up and down a few hills.
Swept by sea winds and stung by salt spray, the remote crag of Tory Island (Oileán Thóraí) has taken its fair share of batterings. With nothing to shield it from savage Atlantic storms, it's a tribute to the hardiness of Tory Islanders that the island has been inhabited for more than 4500 years.
The patriarch of Irish monasticism, St Colmcille (Columba), was born in the 6th century in a lovely setting near glassy Lough Gartan, where some relics associated with the saint can be seen. The lake is 17km northwest of Letterkenny; it's beautiful driving country, but there's no public transport.
The first community you come to if you're approaching the peninsula from Derry or Letterkenny is Rathmelton (sometimes called Ramelton), a picture-perfect spot with rows of Georgian houses and rough-walled stone warehouses curving along the River Lennon. Apart from walking the colourful, picturesque streets there's not much to do here.
Moville & Around
Little more than a tight cluster of streets above an industrial-looking jetty, Moville is a neat little town with old, well-kept buildings. It can be sleepy, but on holiday weekends tourists flood in. Moville was a busy port during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when thousands of emigrants set sail for America from here.
The best way to appreciate Rosguill's rugged splendour is by driving, cycling or even walking the 15km Atlantic Drive, a waymarked loop on minor roads signposted to your left as you come into the sprawling village of Carrigart (Carraig Airt) from the south. The sea views are superb, if you can ignore the creeping blight of holiday homes and static caravans.
The refined little port of Rathmullan has a tranquillity that belies the momentous events that took place here from the 16th to 18th centuries. In 1587 Hugh O'Donnell, the 15-year-old heir to the powerful O'Donnell clan, was tricked into boarding a ship here and taken to Dublin as a prisoner.
Ringed by dramatic cliffs, cavernous sea caves and clean sandy beaches, Arranmore (Árainn Mhór) lies just 5km from the mainland. Measuring 9km by 5km, the tiny island has been inhabited since the early Iron Age (800 BC), and a prehistoric promontory fort can be seen near the southeastern corner.
Rossnowlagh's spectacular 3km-long Blue Flag beach is a broad, sandy stretch of heaven that attracts families, surfers, kitesurfers and walkers throughout the year. The gentle rollers are great for learning to surf or honing your skills, and Ireland's largest and longest-running surfing competition, the Rossnowlagh Intercounty Surf Contest, is held here in late October.