Top 10 Pubs in Donegal

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Firebox Grill Fahan
click to enlarge

Rosato’s Pub Moville

Rosato’s pub in Moville has won a host of accolades for its first class service with everything from the exquisite interior to the bar atmosphere winning praise from the likes of the Sunday World’s pub spy review. Great food in an authentic Irish pub is a must for anyone in the Donegal area.

View Photo of Rosato’s Interior


Railway Tavern Fahan

The Railway Tavern can be found on the shores of Lough Swilly in Fahan. It is situated on premises which had previously been the Station House of the Londonderry & Lough Swilly Railway company (L&LSR). It was part of the Derry to Buncrana line which first operated in September 1864. Adjoined with arguably the finest eatery in Donegal – The Firebox Grill – the two combine to offer great service and a warm atmosphere in a location with a rich and fascinating history which only adds to the uniqueness of the bar and restaurant.


Beachcomber Rathmullan

A popular pub amongst visitors and locals alike, located in the scenic Rathmullan area of North Donegal you can choose from a wide selection of quality drinks and soak in the view which takes in Lough Swilly and the greater Inishowen Peninsula.
It has a large beer garden which nestles snuggly beside the bar and the Napoleonic era Fort in the area which now hosts the Flight of the Earls Heritage Centre. The bar showcases some of Donegal’s most popular traditional sessions and is lauded for its pub grub.


The beer garden of the Beachcomber Bar in Rathmullan (click to enlarge)
JT's Beach Bar Rathmullan

View holiday homes in Rathmullan


Nancy’s Bar Ardara

Nancy’s Bar is a genuine traditional Irish pub located in the Heritage Town of Ardara in South West Donegal. It is situated beside the bridge over the River Owentocker in the town centre. This lovely pub serves drinks and bar food in a lively, welcoming atmosphere. Nancy’s Bar has been in the McHugh family for over seven generations – the name Chas McHugh appears prominently over the doorway. The pub itself is relatively small and comprises of a series of small rooms with open fireplaces, and crammed with antiques and bric a brac. Recently a new bar area was opened and an outdoor seating area with an awning cover has also been added.

Nancys bar Ardara Donegal

Nancys bar Ardara Donegal – click to enlarge

More details about Nancy’s Bar


Leo’s Tavern Crolly

From the outside Leo’s Tavern in Crolly, Donegal may not seem more than a quaint little Irish pub but the tavern is known as the birth place of some of the finest musical talent to ever come out of Ireland. Leo and his wife Marie bought the pub in 1968 and the musicality of the extended family became a focal point of the tavern.
World famous musical acts including the likes of Enya, Clannad and Moya Brennan launched their careers from the tavern with their platinum selling albums displayed proudly in the tavern now run by Leo’s youngest son Bartley.


McGrory’s Culdaff

Acting as a hotel, bar & restaurant and live music venue it was first established in 1924 and still remains a family business three generations on. Separated into two distinct bars the Front Bar is renowned for its high quality food and traditional Irish bar setting while the Backroom acts as a function room which caters for everything from conferences to weddings.


The Glen Tavern

Located near Glenties, Co.Donegal it is regarded by some as a mecca for Irish traditional music with a particular fondness for Donegal fiddle. Expect everything from songs, poems and dancing all embodied with true Celtic spirit. It’s slightly off the beaten track and can be found located in the middle of the mountains just a few miles from the Glenties but that just adds to the magic.


Hudai Beag’s Gweedore

Found in the Gaeltacht of Gweedore in Co. Donegal Hudai Beag’s Bar and lounge also acts as a bed and breakfast for those looking to avail of this Irish speaking area of Donegal. It’s the most densely populated village in Europe with the World’s smallest harbour and is home to the grave of the world’s most renowned piper. A year round music session takes place in the bar which is regarded as one of the finest in Ireland with more than a dozen musicians known to have taken part during any one session.


John Joe’s Kilcar

A family run business since its inception in 1929 in Kilcar, Donegal. During the 1960s it was decided to incorporate live music at the weekends and its popularity has grown exponentially since this move. Although steeped in traditional Irish music it also caters for a variety of different musical palettes with folk, country, rock and even disco on offer throughout the week. A relaxed and friendly atmosphere at all times with any budding musicians invited to take part in any of the open sessions the pub puts on.


The Rusty Mackerel Teelin

Another traditional Irish pub in the Gaeltacht, this time in the Teelin area of Donegal which is a favoured spot of fishing enthusiasts throughout the country, the pub formerly known as Cuil an Duin has a rich and varied musical history. Once owned by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, a member of one of Ireland’s most famous folk acts Altan. The pub has continued in a rich musical form with its traditional Irish music sessions bringing in visitors from the length and breadth of the country.


View photo gallery of Donegal pubs on Flickr


The Singing Pub Downings

The Singing Pub can be found in the lovely little seaside resort of the Downing’s in Co. Donegal. The area is surrounded by superb beaches and scenic views and has an abundance of quality pubs. The finest being that of the singing pub which boasts some of the finest array of musical talent daily, whether you are looking for fine pub grub or a good old Irish traditional session look no further than this one.


Over to You

Let us know about your favourite pub in the comments section below.



About Brian Deeney

Helping you find the best Donegal Cottages for a memorable self catering experience in the northwest of Ireland. View all posts by Brian Deeney → This entry was posted in > General Info, > Restaurants and tagged , .

33 Responses to Top 10 Pubs in Donegal

  1. Pj says:

    Sean Ogs bar in Bunbeg, great wee family orientated bar

  2. dave coyle says:

    One my of favourite bars is got to be the harbour bar, Downings the view outside is gorgeous overlooking Downings bay a great pint and atmosphere inside.

  3. John says:

    The Harbor Bar/Casey’s in Downings has to rate in ANY top 10 list of bars ! ! !

  4. Hollie says:

    McCafferty’s Pub Mountain Top Letterkenny

  5. Sarah McFadden says:

    Teach Jack’s Glassagh Gweedore best pub in Donegal

  6. David says:

    The Village Tavern, Mountcharles is my favourite. Good food, good music and a great host and great locals.

  7. Stephen says:

    We’re all proud of our local. As someone who comes back from Australia ie a blow in, I have to say the Drift Ini Buncrana is always interesting. Good food, great bar and great vibe.
    Always have a great night.

  8. Mcguinness Bar Culdaff! Atmosphere is amazing with cosy turf fires every night, live bands, beer garden, and locals. Amazing for tourists and locals alike. Family run too!

  9. Claire says:

    smugglers creek in rossnowlagh, breathtaking views, great Craic & food. Should definitely be on the list!

  10. Terry Griffin says:

    I visit and play music in many different pubs in the North West – Sligo, Leitrim, Donegal. In my opinion the best pub is the Diamond Bar, Raphoe for its Thursday night session. Great craic and a very warm welcome to all – musicians and audience alike. My favourite session of all.

  11. Michelle Hogg says:

    Elliott’s Pub in Lettermacaward has that quaint and homey feeling with a fire always burning when it’s cold and trad music every Friday night. We had our wedding reception here and owners were SO welcoming abd accommodating….even let overnight guests camp in their field! But you won’t find it on the main road…..ask a local!

  12. Manus Brennan says:

    My favourite pub in all of Donegal and I have been in most of them, is O Neills of Letterbarrow. Tucked away in the Bluestacks, about 5 miles fro Donegal, this is a local in every sense of the word. You will be made feel very welcome and you will join in the conversation with the regulars and you will have the best of craic! Should be on any genuine list of great Donegal pubs!

  13. Fear Mór says:

    The best pub in Donegal WAS Molly’s in Dunfanaghy before they destroyed it and turned it into a bland generic Irish bar.

  14. cara says:

    What about biddys o barnes?? It’s views are out of this world!!

  15. grrard mc mahon says:

    The fanad lodge. Very friendly staff great food great craic at night

  16. Martin says:

    The Cottage Bar in Letterkenny…great bar

  17. You couldn’t do much better than the Lobster Pot in Burtonport where you will be warmly welcomed and the food is absolutely superb, especially the seafood. The craic is mighty and it is a haven for all of us islanders and those who are visiting – en route to or from the ferry.

  18. Saskia Lévy says:

    Good… And what about Tory Island Social Club… One of the best spot ever, not even on the list!

  19. Seanee Gallagher says:

    The Whiskey Fly Bar in Arnolds Hotel Dunfanaghy, is just full of Character with Live music almost every evening and with it being located directly in front of Horn Head it provides spectacular views of the majestic Headland overlooking Sheephavan Bay together with great locally sourced produce and with their selection of craft beer its definitely a must.

  20. Daniel Pressley says:

    The beer garden of the Beachcomber Bar in Rathmullan has just been added to the bucket list. Fantastic view which can only be enhanced by good music, good company and a Guinness. Will a Grassroutes electric bike fit in a taxi for the way home I wonder?

    Thanks for sharing this – nice resource.

  21. Gillian Martin says:

    Michael john’s in shroove, greencastle, and sean ti’s drumaweir, greencastle.

  22. Gemma Mullan says:

    Beachcomber, Rathmullan, beautiful views out over the bay, we actually dolphins come swimming into the bay from the beer garden one summer’s evening – spectacular! – food is gorgeous too!

  23. jase says:

    smugglers creek rossnowlagh. great food great view great craic.

  24. AUNT BRIDIE says:


  25. Caroline Ahearne says:

    The Travellers Inn Milford..Delicious Food..Great Staff & Atmosphere.

  26. Pingback: Craic On | Moville Pub rated Best Pub In Donegal

  27. jacqueline kelly says:

    The Ferryport Bar in Greencastle overlooking the water and the craic is always good

  28. donegalcottages says:

    I lived at Ballyness, Falcarragh for a year and The Loft was one of my favourites there

  29. michael mc clafferty says:

    The Loft Bar, Falcarragh – located in the heart of Falcarragh, not far away from the stunning “Back Strand” beach. There is live music 4/5 nights a week, the atmosphere is great and so is the Guinness .

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