With such inviting facilities, it might be tempting to stay indoors all weekend at Lough Eske. But serene surroundings await outside, starting with the hotel’s 40 acres of grounds. The gardens here are neatly kept, with manicured lawns and herb-lined borders – take a pre-lunch stroll and admire the greenery. Nearby, there’s also Lough Eske, the lake that the manor house takes its name from, for fishing and swimming.
Glenveagh National Park and Castle, an hour’s drive from the hotel, is always worth a wander in the hopes of seeing the salmon making their journey upriver or golden eagles swooping across the sky. Ireland’s biggest herd of red deer lives here, too, so it really is a fantastic spot for nature lovers.
If you’d like to stay a bit closer to Lough Eske Castle, head to Donegal Town, a 10 minute drive or bus journey away. You can walk from the town across the bay to Bundoran – and even on to Glencolmcille if you’re feeling energetic. The cliffs of Sliabh Liag, a whopping 600 metres above sea level, are around a 45 minute journey from the hotel by car.
Staff at the castle can arrange all sorts of fun water-based activities, including surfing lessons along the coastline. More of a landlubber? There’s guided horse riding and hill walking, or you can channel the former townspeople of Donegal and their traditional workmanship by trying a bit of tweed weaving.
Golfers won’t be disappointed, either – there’s a course known as Ireland’s answer to Muirfield less than a 20 minute drive from the hotel. Donegal Golf Club (one of Northern Irish PGA legend Darren Clarke’s favourites) with its rolling dunes and impressive sea views, is here on the Murvagh peninsula. You’ll regularly find it listed in the top 20 courses across the British Isles, and it has one of Europe’s longest fairways.