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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

The Perfect Holiday Home on the Spectacular Northwest Coast of Ireland

Bedrooms 4
Property type house
Minimum Stay 5 nights


About the property

Renovated Farmhouse, 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

Heather Budd
Member since: 2007
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a few days
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 22, 2018

About Heather Budd

We are the descendants of William McKinley and his wife Ellen Stewart McKinley who were both born and raised near this farm. Grateful to still have the farm they purchased in 1928 to instill a love of Ireland in their relatives, we rent this ancestral home out to others in order to sustain it and keep it in the family. Welcome to our home- or in Irish: "Céad mile fáilte" (A hundred thousand welcomes)!

Heather Budd purchased this house in 1928

Why Heather Budd chose 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. The house itself is cozy and comfortable while being spacious enough to accommodate 10 guests. Enjoy fires while you are here and the charm of a 400 year old renovated farmhouse.

What makes this house unique

The views from this house and the land are magnificent. In one direction looking toward the Bluestack Mountains and Barnesmore Gap, another direction is toward the sea, and everything in between is emerald green rolling fields and little round hills called drumlins.


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 - toilet , shower , Downstairs bathroom with shower with good water pressure.
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , combination tub/shower , Upstairs bathroom with Victorian style tub/shower combo.
  • 4 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen , First upstairs bedroom with lovely views.
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , Middle upstairs bedroom with decorative fireplace and views.
    Bedroom 3 - 2 queen , Third spacious bedroom with decorative fireplace and views.
    Bedroom 4 - 4 bunk bed , Snug room with skylight sleeps up to four people in 2 bunks.
  • Queen size Beds (4), Bunk Beds (4)- 2 bunk frames, 4 total mattresses.
  • 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
  • festivals
  • forests
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • waterfalls
Leisure Activities:
  • beachcombing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shelling
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
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 -
(27 traveler reviews)

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The Perfect Holiday Home on the Spectacular Northwest Coast of Ireland
average rating of 4.962963 based on 27 reviews

Great place to stay in Donegal

  • 5 of 5

The place was very nice. Ample hot water, nice lighting and food in the refrigerator. Convenient to town and nice walks around the house. Beds were comfortable.

  • Submitted: Aug 7, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Beautiful and comfortable

  • 5 of 5

This was one of the best vacations I ever had. The accommodations were fantastic and very comfortable. We were "checked in on" a few times from the caretaker during our stay to make sure everything was suited to our liking, and we greatly appreciated it. The location of the house in the country was a perfect setting yet, we were still close to town, just a quick, easy drive. It is the perfect spot if you want to just sit back and relax, but close enough to do some great adventures as well. It felt very much like it was our home for the week. Looking forward to a return stay soon! Russell A. Clinton

  • Submitted: Jul 22, 2017
  • Stayed: May 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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San Francisco Bay Area

Big Family, Great Stay!

  • 5 of 5

We really enjoyed our stay at the Hilltown. We have a big family (7 kids and 3 adults) and we fit in the house well. The house is secluded, but such nice access to town Donegal, the Beach (which was fantastic) and nice little areas for family-friendly meals (e.g. Salmon Inn). We really enjoyed the beach (had a couple days 90 degrees+ and sunny!) and the town itself has all you need. We took the Waterbus tour in the bay, which was also fun. The kids had a great time. Enjoy watching the cows coming and going too! So much to share and we will stay here again for sure! We stayed in July.

  • Submitted: Jul 21, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 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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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: July 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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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: August 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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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
Murvagh Beach
Car: necessary

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

Other Activities: Rock climbing, boating, shopping, shelling


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

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.

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