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Why Donegal, Ireland, Was Named the ‘Coolest’ Place on the Planet

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Sunset at Fanad Head Lighthouse, County Donegal, Ireland
With Donegal recently named the coolest place on the planet, behold the sunset at Fanad Head Lighthouse. (Getty Images)


“Cool” is a strange concept. What appears incredibly edgy and amazing to one person is just trying too hard and lame to another. Yet this destination should be sufficiently awesome for everyone. National Geographic has decided that for 2017, the coolest place on the planet is Donegal, Ireland. Nat Geo proclaims:

“With a weather-nibbled coast spotted with sea stacks, Blue Flag beaches and offshore islands, Donegal is a land that feels undiscovered. Last summer, scenes for Star Wars: Episode VIII were filmed on the Inishowen Peninsula. But this area of Ireland is also expecting 2017 to be a big year; there’s an array of reasons to visit, from surfing beaches in Magheraroarty and Ballyhiernan Bay to Horn Head—a driving, walking or cycling loop that squeezes the 1,600-mile Wild Atlantic Way into a 4.5-mile nutshell.”

Doe Castle, near Creeslough, County Donegal, Ireland.
Doe Castle, near Creeslough, County Donegal, Ireland. (Getty Images)


For those unfamiliar, Donegal is the northernmost county in Ireland. It’s relatively small geographically—only slightly larger than Rhode Island. However, it has a tremendous amount of coast. As Nat Geo notes, it also boasts terrain that seems “undiscovered,” even otherworldly. (Ireland, of course, has long been one of the most film-friendly places on earth.) Throw in some remarkably quaint attractions like the lighthouse and castle above, and it becomes a can’t-miss destination. And if a vacation isn’t a vacation for you without at least a little time on the greens, rest assured there is plenty of golf, both in Donegal and in Northern Ireland in general.

To read more about the coolest place on the planet, click here. For more information on your own potential Donegal visit, click here. To see more of its natural beauty (particularly that coast) and learn about outdoor activities, watch the video below.