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The Perfect Holiday Home on the Spectacular Northwest Coast of Ireland

Bedrooms 4
Property type house
Minimum Stay 5 nights


About the property

House, 4 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, (Sleeps 10)

Accommodations: The Hilltown is a historic, recently renovated, traditional farmhouse plus additions, stable and farm buildings on 50 acres of actively farmed land - four bedrooms, two baths - sleeps up to ten.

Description: William McKinley, born in 1882 in a thatched cottage a mile from the Hilltown, emigrated to the US, and then returned to purchase the Hilltown in 1928. His reason? He wanted his expanding American family to learn of their roots. His parents and some of his siblings are buried in the Drumhome Churchyard on the hill directly opposite the house. Three of his grandchildren, the current owners, have rehabilitated and modernized the house from top to bottom while striving to retain the charm and feel of the traditional Irish farmhouse which they experienced as children. The house is located on a hillside with panoramic views of long, green, drumlin hills at the head of the Donegal Bay. These hills in turn are framed by the Blue Stack Mountains some 15 miles distant.

In mid-summer, when all is in darkness around the house, the tops of the Blue Stacks are often bathed in the sun’s last orange rays. Murvagh Beach, a three-mile strand on the South side of the bay, where the tide recedes for up to one quarter of a mile, is minutes from the front door. Donegal Golf Club, locally known as Murvagh Golf Club, is a superb links course described as the Muirfield of Ireland and is located about one mile away. Several pubs are also within a mile. What else does one need?

The Hilltown has proven to be the perfect setting for Irish-style decompression. It has been the romantic location of choice for many honeymoons, and a cozy nest from which three generations of McKinley heirs and many of their friends have launched excursions throughout the northwest of Ireland.

Amenities: Working fireplaces located in kitchen, dining room and sitting room with turf and wood provided. Full kitchen with microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, and cooking utensils provided. Mudroom has large-sized washer and dryer. Dining room oak table seats eight. Two bedrooms have queen-sized beds, a third one has two queen-sized beds, and a bunk-room can accommodate four kids. Linens provided. Two bathrooms, one with shower and the other with tub. Satellite TV and CD/DVD player in Sitting Room. WiFi signal is available.

Activities: Extensive hiking and mountain climbing opportunities including Slieve League, the highest edge-of-the-Atlantic mountain on the west coast of Europe, world-class golf courses within a days drive, cycling (mountain bikes can be rented in Donegal Town), beautiful beaches, horseback riding, ocean, lake and river fishing, exploration of ancient round forts, stone cairns, abbeys, castles and remains of great houses, trips to off-shore islands, shopping in Donegal Town, Ardara and Glencolumbkille for native tweeds and sweaters, boating, swimming, sailing, picnicking, and on and on.

Keywords: House

More Details

Boyce Budd
Member since: 2007
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
July 25, 2017

Why Boyce Budd chose County Donegal

This property is the perfect home-base setting for exploring highlights of Donegal and its neighboring counties. Within driving distance of Sligo and Yeats country, many golf courses, Donegal Town, The Donegal Craft Village, Rossnowlagh surfing beach, Glenveagh National Park, Glencolmcille, Slieve League and the Bunglass sea cliffs, Lough Erne, Belleek (famous for the bone china that inspired Lenox), Ardara, the Maghera sea caves, and many other adventure spots.


Donegal House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • pets considered
  • children welcome
  • non smoking only
Location Type:
  • Mountain View
  • Near The Ocean
  • Rural
  • Water View
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Activities Guide
  • Basic Soaps
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Fireplace ...
  • Firewood
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating
  • Internet
  • Iron & Board
  • Laundry Soap
  • Linens Provided
  • Living Room
  • Local Maps
  • Local Restaurant Guide
  • Paper Towels
  • Parking
  • Parking Off Street
  • Parking for RV/Boat/Trailer
  • Security System
  • Telephone
  • Toilet Paper
  • Towels Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet
  • Wood Fireplace
  • 4 Ring Stove
  • Coffee Maker
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Dishes & Utensils
  • Dishwasher
  • Freezer
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Pantry Items
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove
  • Stove
  • Toaster
  • Dining Room
  • seating for 8 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Queen size Beds (4), Bunk Beds (4)
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Games
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Lawn / Garden
  • Patio
  • Long-term Renters Welcome
  • bay/sound
  • botanical garden
  • caves
  • churches
  • duty free shops
  • forests
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • waterfalls
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • scenic drives
  • shelling
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • Babysitter
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • laundromat
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • deepsea fishing
  • equestrian events
  • fishing
  • fly fishing
  • freshwater fishing
  • golf
  • golf privileges optional
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • mountain biking
  • mountain climbing
  • mountaineering
  • pier fishing
  • rock climbing
  • sailing
  • scuba diving or snorkeling
  • snorkeling
  • snorkeling/diving
  • sound/bay fishing
  • surf fishing
  • surfing
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • wind-surfing


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(24 traveler reviews)

The Perfect Holiday Home on the Spectacular Northwest Coast of Ireland
average rating of 4.9583335 based on 24 reviews


  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful stay at Hilltown. The accommodations are great. The serenity whether inside or on the patio was energizing and calming at the same time. Take a hike up the hill behind the house for amazing views or walk over the beach and wander endlessly. Oh, and beyond Hilltown the adventures are endless! I would return in a minute.

  • Submitted: Jun 23, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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0 0

A gem of a place

  • 5 of 5

We returned home after two weeks in Ireland exploring Kerry, Cork, Galway and Clare. While they were wonderful counties, it is our week in Donegal that leaves the longest lasting imprint. The Hilltown could not have been more beautifully situated. The views from every window, from behind the house at the top of the hill, the Drumholm Cemetary, not to mention the spectacular Murvaugh Beach and the Donegal links golf course just down the road. I really had not expected so much. Donegal Town, when you take the time to really look, is an interesting, intelligent place. We loved the tweeds and the tailoring at Magee's. We loved selecting award-winning Irish sausages and fresh eggs at McGettigan's. We devoured our bowls of mussels and pints of Guinness at the Castle Bar. And then we happily returned each evening to the handsome, comfortable, and functional Hilltown farmhouse.

We did our best to explore the beauties of Donegal - we climbed the Slieve League via the Pilgrim's Path on a spectacular, clear day. We walked in Glenveagh National Park (what a jewel !) and to the end of St John's Point. We drove up to Adara (charming town) and a little further north - more beauty! And we delighted in all the local weavers, potters, and knitters that County Donegal has to offer. My husband found a tremendously charming (and knowledgeable) guide to take him fly fishing for salmon on a local river. Horseback riding on the beaches of Sligo County (and seaweed spa baths) are about 40 minutes away. We fell in love with the place. When I come back to Ireland, it will be to return to Donegal and it's peaceful green beauty. And without question, I would stay again at The Hilltown.

  • Submitted: Jul 20, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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6 0
West Essex, NJ USA

Just lovely, as they say

  • 5 of 5

This was our first trip to Ireland and we enjoyed our stay at The Hilltown. We fell in love with County Donegal. The scenery is beautiful and the people are very friendly. We did not have a bad meal the entire trip, the food was excellent. Donegal Town is a very short drive and there is a useful, manned tourist information office in the public parking lot right as you pull into town. Many fun things to do in town. We waited until the last minute so my husband was only able to play one round and Donegal Golf Club which was a shame because he said it was the best course he had ever played. The house is very comfortable. My husband is quite tall and he fit easily. The bedrooms are nice and roomy. The bathrooms and kitchen all function as one would hope. And then there is the beautiful view from every room. A very lovely place. I would stay there again.

  • Submitted: Sep 16, 2015
  • Stayed: Aug 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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3 0
Massachusetts, USA

Discovering my Irish ancestors

  • 5 of 5

For my 1st trip to Ireland I chose to visit the better place to begin! William McKinley is my great uncle and emigrated to the US with his brother, my grandfather. I saw the remains of the house where they were born and explored the graveyard looking for family stones. The Hilltown is now owned by my cousins.

Four college friends joined me in a wonderful week of exploring County Donegal and the Wild Atlantic Way. The house is just as pictured, extremely well-equipped, very comfortable, and in a beautiful setting. The house is very well maintained and the caretaker is readily available to answer any questions.

We spent out days driving around the countryside enjoying vistas and the herds of sheep, cows, and horses. Lots of information was provided for these side trips as well as shops, restaurants, pubs, and local attractions which we visited.

We had a ball! A resident pheasant was our alarm clock and we delighted in the parade of cows morning and night (we even went down to watch the milking). One evening we climbed over the fence and up to the top of the hill to view the Blue Stack Mountains and beach in the 10 pm twilight. Beautiful sight. Weather was typical but did not dampen our spirits a bit! We are already planning a return visit.

  • Submitted: Jul 7, 2015
  • Stayed: May 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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1 0
Viera, FL USA

A Spectacular Week

  • 5 of 5

We had a spectacular week with two other couples at the Hilltown. This was our second trip to Ireland and we fell in love with the Donegal region. This Hilltown is located a few miles from the beautiful village of Donegal, which was hosting a food festival the weekend we arrived. There are numerous day trip opportunities to include trips into Northern Ireland. The house has lots of room, and was recently updated which makes it a very comfortable home with lots of gorgeous views of the countryside. We took daily walks through the country and over to the beach and played the Donegal Country Club one day, which is the second longest links course in Europe. We would highly recommend this part of Ireland and the Hilltown to anyone looking for a special time in Ireland.

  • Submitted: Sep 27, 2014
  • Stayed: Aug 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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2 0

Two weeks of heaven and golf

  • 5 of 5

We spent two wonderful weeks stay at Hilltown in August 2013. We visit Ireland yearly in the summer to play golf, tour, and just relax. Hilltown was perfect for us. The location is quiet with splendid views of the Blue Stack Mountains from the terrace in front of the house. We spent many evenings with a glass of wine before dinner enjoying the view, and also the parade of cows as they went past on the way to the evening milking.

There is privacy if you just want to sit in front of the house and read, or to settle in the sitting room with a peat fire and relax into the evening. But, if you want more activity Donegal Town is a short drive away and has good restaurants, pubs with Irish music, and step dancers on some nights.

The owner gave an excellent list of activities, restaurants, and places to get provisions. The Salmon Inn where we had a number of dinners became a favorite as did the local butcher in town for sausages and free range eggs. The farmhouse kitchen is remodeled with all the conveniences necessary if you want to dine in. There are working fireplaces in the kitchen, the dining room and also in the sitting room.

We did several hikes, but were primarily in Ireland to GOLF. Murvagh (Donegal) Golf Club is a 5 minute drive from the farmhouse and is a challenging links course where we played 7 rounds. The people there could not have been nicer, and the food in the clubhouse is well worth staying for dinner. We also drove and were able to play Rosses Point, Enniscrone, Narin & Portnoo, and Cruit Island (a wild 9 hole track on an island up north in the Gallic area, get good directions). All are relatively convenient from the house.

The owner’s listing is accurate and the house is wonderful, we would highly recommend it especially for golfers who know Ireland and love the northwest as we do. Two couples would find it a perfect base, it does have 3 master bedrooms which share 2 baths – one up and one down – so larger groups would need to co-ordinate a bit. There is also a bunkroom. It is well set up for families as well and there are places to tour, Donegal Castle is very interesting.

  • Submitted: Nov 29, 2013
  • Stayed: Aug 2013
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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5 0


Nearest Airport
90 Miles
Belfast International
Nearest Barpub
2 Miles
The Salmon Inn
Nearest Ferry
50 Miles
Nearest Golf
2 Miles
The Donegal Golf Club
Nearest Train
35 Miles
Sligo, Co. Sligo
Nearest Motorway
1 Miles
N 15
Nearest Restaurant
2 Miles
Smuggler's Creek or The Salmon Inn
Nearest Beach
1 Miles
Car: necessary

Near the village of Ballintra, 7 miles south of Donegal Town

Other Activities: Rock climbing, boating, shopping, shelling


Rates & Availability

Donegal House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
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Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly * Event
My Standard Rate
5 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Rental rate includes all utilities plus post-departure cleaning of house.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

100% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
Contact Owner

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