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Doon Fort In Donegal: A Fort In The Middle Of A Lake That’s Like Something From Another World

Doon Fort In Donegal: A Fort In The Middle Of A Lake That’s Like Something From Another World

If you read our guide to the best things to do in Donegal, you’ll know that there’s (literally!) no end to what you can see and do in this corner of Ireland.

From the towering cliffs at Slieve League to the slightly off-the-beaten-track wild island of Arranmore, there’s something to tickle every fancy in Donegal.

There’s also a tonne of history, folklore and often other-worldly sites and places of immense natural beauty to be found.

That’s where the delightfully unique Doon Fort – a Western Stone Fort with a heap of lush green grass at the centre of a lake – comes in.

Some quick need-to-knows about Doon Fort in Donegal

doon fort donegal

Photo by Lukassek/shutterstock

So, visiting Doon Fort in Donegal isn’t as straightforward as you might think, and it’s pretty hard to find info online about how to reach it.

However, below you’ll find everything we could find after much digging through Tripadvisor, Reddit and what feels like a million other online discussion boards.

1. Location

You’ll find Doon Fort finely plonked on an island in the centre of Loughadoon, not far from the little coastal villages of Narin and Portnoo (two of my favourite beaches in Donegal).

2. Getting to it

You’ll need to rent out a little boat from nearby to get to Doon Fort. Theres a lot of vagueness online about where to get the boats, but you’ll find more info below.

3. When it was built

Although many only publications debate the date of when Doon Fort was constructed, the exact date remains unknown. It’s widely accepted, however, that it dates back as far as the late Iron Age.

About the mighty Doon Fort

Doon Fort is a large Western Stone Fort… now, if you, like me, listened very little during history class in school, you’re probably scratching your head at this point.

A Western Stone Fort (cheers to UNESCO for the definition) is a fort with ‘exceptionally thick, and high enclosing walls’. Forts like Doon were used as royal residences and were seen as status symbols.

The fort has been linked with a number of families: the Breslin’s and the O’Boyle’s. It’s said that the Breslin’s occupied the fort from the 5th century, while the O’Boyle clan took it over until it fell into disrepair. 

How to visit Doon Fort in Donegal

Doon fort aerial

Photo by Lukassek/shutterstock

This is where things get a little vague. The fort is situated on private land and several websites say that, during the summer months, the family that owns the land rent out small boats for people to visit the fort.

I’ve read in a couple of places that the boats are rented from nearby McHugh Farm. However, a search on Google brings up nothing location wise.

If you fancy visiting Doon Fort, your best bet is to ask around locally, if you visit during the summer. Nip over to nearby Portnoo village and drop into one of the shops. The chances are that someone there will be able to point you in the right direction.

Places to visit near Fort Doon



1. Glenties (16-minutes away)

glenties in donegal

Photos via Lukassek on Shutterstock

The lively little village of Glenties in Donegal is a handy 15 minute or so drive away from Doon Fort. If you fancy a bite to eat, you’ll find plenty of places to nip into here.

2. Glengesh Pass (21-minutes away)

glengesh pass ardara

Photos by Lukassek/

The bendy road at Glengesh Pass is arguably one of the most unique roads to spin along in Donegal. The views here are fantastic and the road is a joy to mosey along.

3. Assaranca Waterfall (27-minutes away)

ardara waterfall donegal

Photo by Yevhen Nosulko/shutterstock

Another solid option is nearby Assaranca Waterfall. You’ll find it right next to the road (literally) where it looks like something whipped from a Jurassic Park movie.

The village of Ardara is just down the road, and you’ll find plenty of places to eat, sleep and drink here, if you fancy stopping the night.

4. Maghera Beach and Caves (29-minutes away)

Maghera Strand

Photo by Lukassek (Shutterstock)

Another great place to visit near Doon Fort is Maghera Caves and Beach. This is a beautiful beach that has a wild rugged feeling that’s well worth sauntering along.


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