Staycation in Bundoran, Donegal

With foreign holidays advised against, we cancelled our two week trip to Crete back in June. Due to fly on August 10th it was destined to be a relaxing, sun-filled time once more. Our annual sun holiday is something both myself and himself look forward to. But alas, not this year.

It was late June when we decided to book our first ‘staycation’ of summer 2020, and we decided upon Bundoran, here in Donegal. We often go here for a weekend in normal times, but usually in winter or autumn. We find ourselves each time at the Grand Central Hotel, ( ) in the middle of town. Many people laugh at our choice of Bundoran as there’s ‘nothing there’ as some would say. But it’s a town we enjoy because of just that. WE enjoy the beach walks, the fairy bridges thrill, the wishing chair fun, the quirky pubs and the great food that is always to be enjoyed in the town.

But how would it be post-covid? We found out just last weekend. Alongside two good friends, we all found ourselves last Friday evening at the Grand Central Hotel. First up, after a nice rest and a read in the respective hotel rooms, it was time for a bit of a wander. Mind you Rougey Walk is a bit more than just a wander!! We crossed the Fairy bridges, the arched caves, the wishing chair and found ourselves on Tullan Strand watching the surf. After dreaming of trying the surf, we headed down towards main street and then all the way back to our hotel. The entire evening had passed and we were well ready for dinner.

Dinner on our first evening was being had at our hotel, the Grand Central. And we were so glad we chose to dine here on that night. Being given a lovely window table, where we could ‘people watch’ and served pre-dinner drinks to the table, we were really on holiday. This staycation malarkey was feeling quite fine. Dinner was a delight and feedback from all four was equally positive. But oh that strawberry and rhubarb crumble – it stole the night!! A couple of after-dinner drinks were also enjoyed and it was a well earned sleep that was then needed. Day and night one was complete and it was a very definite ‘thumbs up.’

Saturday started a little damp and dreary but we were in no rush out after breakfast. Breakfast was served in the hotel dining room with strict guidelines firmly in place. The ladies wanted some reading time after eating, and the men needed more ‘beauty sleep’.

As the skies cleared and the men surfaced, it was to ‘Carolines Cafe’ ( on the main street for a light bite and coffee, before heading into Leitrim and the delightful Glencar Lough and waterfall.

As always the beauty of Glencar was stunning. With a ‘one way’ walking system firmly in place, it again felt comfortable and enjoyable at every turn. The lough was stark in its beauty under the clear blue sky. Although many visitors in the area, it all felt comfortable.

As we drove back to Bundoran on Saturday evening, the heavens opened. It was a plump from hell. But it was a typical Irish summers day. Again, it was a little more ‘beauty sleep’ for the men, and reading time for the ladies before dinner that night in The Blue Leaf restaurant on Bundoran main street.

Dinner and wine were enjoyed in the simple, but very fine surroundings of The Blue Leaf ( . A rather fine Saturday dining experience was had. This staycation was coming along nicely.

As Sunday arrived we set off on our separate ways after breakfast. Both couples content with a relaxing staycation in the beautiful seaside town of Bundoran. As we drove home, I thought about the no-go sun holiday this year and yet I was happy having had the past two days near home. This was a simple staycation but it was a promising prospect for the summer that still remains. This allowed for all the attributes of a relaxing trip away, bar the warm sunshine. So, I’m not complaining. There’s another staycation to come in August. I’m already looking forward to that one.

But for now, it’s a win win, and a thumbs up for a lovely staycation spent right here in Donegal. And it certainly didn’t cost the earth.


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