A friend visiting from Australia recently commented on how often we cut our lawns in Ireland. Yes, they certainly grow fast and 40 shades of green is an understatement. It’s all thanks to our ‘four seasons in one day’ climate that we often moan about. But instead of moaning and waiting for the rain to pass, it’s more proactive to embrace the Irish weather and don’t let it put a dampener on your Irish holiday.
Donegal in particular, with its vast coastline and exposure to the wild Atlantic has more reason for wind breakers and waterproofs. I’ve been guilty of the ill-prepared outdoors outfit in the past and thankfully have learned from my mistakes. A first time visitor to Donegal however doesn’t have time for clothing faux pas so taking some time to plan your packing will pay off when you get here. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to give the fashion bloggers new competition with this post! Nor am I one to judge what people choose to wear. But if squeaking and squelching in tracksuits and converse is not how you want to spend your Donegal vacation read on…
As Billy Connolly says, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing, so get yourself a sexy raincoat and live a little.” With this in mind, here are my essentials to bring on your Donegal tour.
Layers. Once the rain stops, (and it will, I promise), the sun will come out and you’ll need a different clothing combination to an hour previous.
A base layer of thermal trousers (yes, long Johns) and vest are a non-bulky solution for a chilly tour in Donegal and also compact enough to take up little space in your suitcase if not needed.
Wool hiking socks are a great comfort for tired feet enduring a long day touring Donegal. Merino wool in particular is a great fabric for absorbing sweat and keeping feet warm in Winter and cool in Summer.
Sports active wear tends to be a good option for being lightweight, breathable, easily dried and relatively crease resistant. A short sleeve top and long sleeve top is advisable.
Water resistant trousers (rather than shower resistant) such as Regatta’s outdoor range are lightweight and durable so they are suitable for all weather. They are also easy to wash if they get dirty.
Waterproof cushioned sole walking/hiking shoes are simply a must. Trainers/runners/sneakers will get ruined if you go off the beaten track at all (and even sometimes when you stay on it). Invest in a good pair that will last for years.
There are rain jackets available for every budget so if you decide against any of the above, definitely don’t skip a rain jacket. Some are lightweight and only serve to keep under layers dry. Others are insulated and keep you warm also. My personal favourite for the Irish climate is double layered jackets.
They often have a fleece inner layer and a waterproof outer layer, making them great for adapting to changeable weather. The inner layer on its own keeps you warm on dry days, the outer layer on its own is suitable for damp days, or both layers create a warm and waterproof coat. The versatility makes them great value for money.
Finally, don’t forget your head! Headwear options are limitless but again worth a small corner of your suitcase.
If you arrive in Donegal without the appropriate clothing, fear not as there are some fantastic outdoor wear outlets and suppliers in the county:
– In Muff, Inishowen, Borderland is a one stop shop on the Main Street for affordable rucksacks and outdoor shoes and clothing.
– In Letterkenny, Mountain Warehouse (Letterkenny Retail Park) and Wet ‘n’ Wild (Ballyraine Retail Park) are both easily accessed and have a wide range of outdoor and adventure apparel.
– A Bogman Beanie is the perfect practical souvenir from your Donegal holiday. This stylish headwear that breathes and keeps your head warm and dry is made from Donegal tweed. As well as being available to buy online, you can also pick up a Bogman Beanie at Slieve League Visitor Centre, Call of the Wild in Sligo and Galway, Falcarragh Visitor Centre, Glendowen Craft Studio, Inishowen and Drumcliffe Tea House & Craft Shop.
Remember, it’s the Wild Atlantic Way after all so we certainly deliver on that promise. We have dramatic skies and breathtaking scenery thanks to our climate. Enjoy every minute by being prepared for the sun, wind and rain and occasional snow! Donegal has it all.