The Fanad Peninsula
Fanad is a peninsula on the northern coast of Donegal, beginning about 25 km from Letterkenny. To the east, across Lough Swilly, is the dramatic Inishowen peninsula topped by Malin Head. To the west, across Mulroy Bay, is the breathtaking Ros Guill peninsula, which has been linked to Fanad by the Harry Blaney bridge since 2009.
Fanad is a rural area where traditionally farming has been the main source of employment. For many years it had a thriving granite quarrying industry, and you will see beautiful examples of Fanad’s granite while hillwalking or on many of our beaches. To this day Fanad also has a small fishing community.
There will be many highlights to your visit to Fanad. Climb the road at Knockalla hill (by foot or in the car) for one of Fanad’s most breathtaking views - Ballymastocker Bay, a beach once voted second most beautiful in the world by the Observer.
Visit the pier at Portsalon for a spot of pier-jumping, a bite to eat or a pint in the olde-world Stores Bar. Charter an angling trip or take a guided kayaking tour to explore the hidden Seven Arches along Fanad’s east coast. Discover Murrin Hill for views as far as the eye can see. And of course, plan your visit to Fanad Lighthouse.
Part of Fanad is a designated Gaeltacht, an Irish-speaking area, and this includes the area where Fanad Lighthouse is located. A local community group, Gaeltacht Bheo Fhánada, are committed to ensuring the Irish language is a living language in the region, and Fanad Lighthouse is the designated language services centre for the area. In 2015 Gaeltacht Bheo Fhánada won a national Pride of Place award for their work in promoting the Irish language here.
Many of Ireland’s Gaeltachtaí are in rural areas where population decline is one of many challenges facing the language. The story of the Irish language’s decline is a long and complex one. It has suffered due to colonisation, emigration and rural-urban migration. Huge efforts are now being made to ensure that the language is respected and supported in Ireland. It is a unique part of our culture. ‘Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam’ – ‘A land without language is a land without soul’. We are proud to be part of the Fanad Gaeltacht and hope you enjoying hearing our language when you visit. We are happy to do business and indeed to offer tours ‘As Gaeilge’. Labhair Gaeilge linn!