Location:    Downings

                   County Donegal

Contact:  Tony O’Sullivan

Phone:  353 (0) 74-9155374

Open:        May 26 - September 30


     one private room with 4 beds

     two dorm rooms with 10 beds each



under 18’s               11 euros

over 18’s                 14 euros


under 18’s              12.50 euros

over 18’s                 15 euros



Road/Car:   Head for Carrickart.  Turn

right at Rosapenna and follow signs to

the youth hostel.  Alternatively, follow R245 from Letterkenny via Milford to

Carrickart and follow directions above.

Bus:  Gallaghers Bus:  074 9137037

At Letterkenny, you can pick up this

private bus operator at “The Square”

which is opposite the bus station.

Gallaghers departs at 18.10 daily for the

3/4 hour journey to the youth hostel.

History Posted on Wall at Tra na Rosann:

     In the sandhills between Downings and Carrigart there are many kitchen-middens (mainly broken pottery) and sites where numerous objects of the Bronze Age have been found.  In Mevagh graveyard stands an ancient cross where St. Colmcille is said to have left the track of his fingers.

    When Godfrey McDonnell, chief of Tirchonaill (Donegal) died in 1258 his brother Donal Og crossed over from Scotland to assert his claim to the chieftanship.  He landed in Rosguill bringing with him Scottish Galloglass - mercenary soldiers of the McSweeney Clan.  The McSweeneys became established throughout this area.  Their principal stronghold was Doe Castle near Creeslough - about nine miles from the hostel and open to the public.

    At the time of the Ulster Plantation 1612, the beach and the northern part of the peninsula were confiscated and granted to Sir Ralph Bingsley.  It later passed by marriage to several different families.  In the 1890’s, the five acres of land on which the hostel stands were brought for forty pounds by the Hon Mr. and Mrs. Robert Phillimore of London.  The house was built as their summer

residence and constructed of granite from Crocknasleigh which overlooks the site.

   The house was designed by a notable architect of that time, Sir Edwin Lutyens (later in charge of New Delhi).  For many years the Phillimores spent July and August here and employed local people to run the house. After the death of Mr. Phillimore, his wife continued to visit Tra na Rosann and later let the house to friends for several summers.

     In 1936, the Hon. Mrs. Phillimore decided to dispose of the property in some way beneficial to the youth of Ireland.  This became known to Margery Cunningham Warden of Trinity Hall and one of the patrons of An Oige - the Irish Youth Hostel Association (founded in 1931).  A quick weekend dash to Donegal by the representatives of the Association secured the  building for An Oige.  The property was handed over to

Feadhmannas na hOige (Irish Youth Hostel Trust) on March 15, 1937.

    At the time of the opening, Tra na Rosann was the most westerly hostel in Europe.  It was a major development for the association whose hostels had until this time been concentrated on the Dublin/east coast area.

    The first warden was Miss Griffin.  Others in the early years included Mary McBride who served for seven years and James McCabe of Letterkenny who

installed hay-box cookers during the 1940’s when obtaining supplies was a major problem.  The hostel in modern times registered about 3000 overnights a year.  It is only recently (in the 1990’s) that

this place has become very quiet.

Folklore:  Local tradition says that there

was a giant who had a castle at Tra na

Rosann. One day Willie the Wisp stole the

giant’s gold.  The giant pursued him and Willie hid the gold.  The giant, feeling tired from the pursuit, sat down on top of where the gold was hidden and Willie with

his magic wand turned the giant into a rock.  Willie was pleased with his defeat of the giant.  But now Willie couldn’t get the

gold for the rock was on top of it!


-rustic lodge in spectacular location with

views of ocean, mountains, beaches,

and fields

-situated at the northern edge of the

Rosguill Peninsula in an Irish speaking


-overlooks Tory Island

-designed by famous English architect,

Sir Edwin Lutyens

-great area for walking

-charming common room with

spectacular views

-self-catering kitchen

-free parking

-drying room

Things To Do:

-walks on Melmore Head

-explore nearby coves and inlets

-relax and enjoy the stunning views

-minutes on foot to spectacular beaches




-visit Donegal

-visit Glenveagh National Park

-visit Newmills Corn and Flax Mills

-visit Thatch Pub - 2 miles away

-visit Wheelhouse Bar and Sands

Nightclub in Downings

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