The Engaging Ireland Podcast

Providing travel tips, guides to places of interest, interviews and all things Ireland – Hosted by Travis and Kathy Nelson

Ep. 27-Part 1-Northern Ireland and Donegal Top 10

In the first half of a two part episode, we talk about some our top 10 places to see in the counties of Northern Ireland and in county Donegal. In no particular order, they are:

Cliffs at Slieve League

1. Slieve League – Take the route via Glengesh pass, it’s worth it for the view. You can park at the lower parking lot or the upper parking lot depending on your fitness level, the weather and how long you have to view the site.

  • If you drive to the upper lot, make sure to close the gate so you don’t let out the sheep.
  • No facilities until you get back down to the bottom of the hill, where there are portable toilets.
  • Make sure to stop at, Ti Linn, the coffee/tea/art shop down the road once you’re finished.  Family-owned and operated business. They have great local art.

Glenveagh Castle

2. Glenveagh National Park

Admission to the National Park and Visitor Centre is free.

  • Bus Tickets

Cars are not allowed beyond the visitor centre however a shuttle bus service is available to take visitors to the castle and gardens.

Adult      3.00 Euro (return)

Concession      2.00 Euro (return)

Single Tickets are available at the Castle for 2 Euro

  • Castle Tour – you can only go through the castle w/ guided tour (~30 min)

Adult      5.00 Euro

Group/Senior  3.00 Euro

Child/Student 2.00 Euro

Family    10.00 Euro

  • Garden Tours

Garden Tours on request: Adult 5 Euro Concession 3 Euro

  • Walks

Ranger-Led Hill Walks and All Other Guided Walks/Visits:

5.00 Euro

All family events and shorter walks run by The Nature Team are free of charge.

  • Hours of operation

The National Park is open to the public all year round, apart from Good Friday and Christmas Week.

Park open 10.00am – 6.00pm March – October

Last admission 5.00pm

9am – 5pm October – March (last admission 4pm)

Those wishing to take the guided tour of Glenveagh Castle should note that during the summer months, demand can be high and, therefore, early arrival is advisable.

Dogs are permitted in the park but must be kept on a lead at all times. Dogs are not permitted entry to buildings, Castle Gardens or park buses. (Guide dogs are permitted in all areas)

The Grianan of Aileach

3. The Grianan of Aileach

  • 5 miles northwest of Derry (in County Donegal) near the base of the Inishowen Peninsula (between Derry and the N13)
  • Views of Loch Foyle and Loch Swilly
  • Where to pick up the Heritage Guide publication before you go.
    • Wordwell Books website has several guides for sale:
    • Wall dimensions – about 16 ½ feet high and diameter is about 77 feet.
    • Constructed in late 8th or early 9th century of dry stone construction and abandoned around the turn of the 12th century.
    • Reconstructed in the 1800s as an archaeological project and modeled on Staigue Fort on the Ring of Kerry.
    • Now under the care of the Office of Public Works (OPW), who are working to further stabilize the walls.
    • No entry fee/no facilities
    • There’s a walking path that will take you to a cairn and a holy well near the stone fort.

Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

4. Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

  • It’s a National Trust site so get your card if you’re going to other National trust sites too.
    • View opening hours on website or in your National Trust Guide (which you’ll get when you get your card) before you go – they vary greatly depending upon time of year. It is open most of the year – weather permitting, with the exception of pretty much the month of December)
    • Admission to the rope bridge is £5.60 for adults, child £2.90, family £13.70/ Prices are the suggested Gift Aid entry fees.

Dunluce Castle

5. Dunluce Castle

  • Parts of the castle date from the 14th century. Most is from the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • After changing hands many times, the castle eventually was awarded to Cromwellian soldiers, who (by 1663) disassembled much of it to sell.  The castle was never returned to its former livable state
  • Hours of admission are generally 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Admission cost £4 for adults and £2 for children or seniors, maximum £10 for a family (group rates are available)

Ulster American Folk Park

6. Ulster American Folk Park

  • Located just a few miles north of Omagh
  • We were pleasantly surprised – we really didn’t know what to expect from the folk park. The employees working in the various areas of the park were one of the main reasons for our enjoyment.  They’re very knowledgeable and great to talk to!
  • Park open year-‘round
    • Between March and September (when most people from the U.S. are traveling to Ireland), hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      • The museum’s website (at National Museums Northern Ireland) says you should allow about 3 ½ hours to go through all of the exhibits in the main building and areas outside.
      • If you’re the type of person who likes to take their time and really absorb all of the information at the exhibits, you might want to add an hour or an hour and a half to that time.
    • Cost of Admission (Gift Aid Admission Prices)
      • £7.15 Adults, £4.40 Children (age 5-18) & Students & Seniors, Children under 5 free
      • There are concessions for persons with disabilities, and there are family admission packages – they’re listed on the NMNI website for the park

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 9:07 pm.


Ep. 26 – McPeake Interview

You can’t read a history of traditional music of Northern Ireland without coming across the McPeake name sooner or later. The McPeake family has been influencing traditional music in Ireland and around the world since the mid-1900s and continues its tradition of education and entertainment today.

We had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Frances McPeake III and Frances McPeake IV at Milwaukee Irish Fest, and they gave some insight as to what has gone into the making of this family legacy. You’ll also hear how the family’s path crossed with those of royalty and a member of a famous quartet from Liverpool and why, despite numerous difficulties and setbacks, they feel that it’s of utmost importance to continue to provide traditional music education to children in Ireland today.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of the McPeake family, visit If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the CD “These Days,” which is mentioned in the podcast, you may order it online at You can also connect with the current McPeake band and hear samples of their music on Facebook at

Posted 6 years, 10 months ago at 8:05 pm.