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Glenveagh is one of Ireland’s most extensive and important contiguous areas of natural habitat.

How We Protect Glenveagh and Welcome the Public

Balancing the impact of tourism and our responsibility to protect the Glenveagh wilderness is no easy task. But sharing the National Park with visitors is one of the best ways to excite a passion for conservation in others, so that the public and Glenveagh staff can work together to ensure the park thrives for generations to come.

One of Glenveagh's Traditional Buildings

We’re part of The Green Flag Award and are working towards museum standard for the Castle. We’re also an accredited Leave No Trace training provider and Discover Science Centre as part of Science Foundation Ireland.

Students and the vital importance of conservation education

We’re passionate about helping young people discover more about our natural world and how to care for it. We welcome hundreds of students each year to explore all areas of the park and to enjoy the benefits of time in the great outdoors while learning about how they can protect nature in their own lives and communities.

About the Glenveagh team

Glenveagh is managed by Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service, with a staff which includes a Divisional Manager, Regional Manager and District Conservation Officer. They support the lead staff who manage our teams at Glenveagh in Administration, Education & Engagement, Visitor Services, Gardens, Building & Maintenance and Rangers. We’re also joined by seasonal staff throughout the year. Meet the Glenveagh staff below.

Meet the Staff

It takes a very special and wide range of people and skills to run and take care of Glenveagh. Here are some of our team you might encounter:

History of the Park

Glenveagh National Park and Castle has a fascinating and eventful history, starting all the way back, before the early 17th century when the area was permanently settled. The history of Glenveagh, which is particularly relevant to the National Park, begins in 1857 when, John George Adair created the Glenveagh Estate.

Find out more about the historical past of the park by scrolling through the timeline below.

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17th century

There are few historical records relating to Glenveagh before the early 17th century, when the area was permanently settled. This is hardly surprising given its remoteness and wildness, surrounded on all sides by expanses of trackless bog.


John George Adair created the Glenveagh Estate when he purchased the chief rent of Derryveagh and Glendowan and bought out the interests of the major tenants.


The Office of Public Works (OPW) drew up a plan for the establishment of a series of national parks in Ireland and selected the mountainous area of northwestern Donegal for its wilderness qualities, beautiful landscapes and its particularly important habitats and species.


The Glenveagh estate was purchased from Henry McIlhenny, who later donated Glenveagh Castle and Gardens to the State.


Glenveagh Castle and Gardens opened to the public in 1986.


An Taisce leased the lands around Crocknafarragh to the State for inclusion into the National Park.


Wildlife Service properties around Lough Barra were included in Glenveagh.


Further lands were purchased in 1997.


The National Parks and Wildlife Service continues to purchase additional lands to the east, north and south and manages these in conjunction with the surrounding national park.

Glenveagh nature reserves

Glenveagh National Park contains two Statutory Nature Reserves, Lough Barra Bog and Meenachullion Bog, and forms the core area of the Cloghernagore Bog and Glenveagh National Park European Special Area of Conservation (SAC) (Natura site code 002047) and the Derryveagh and Glendowan Mountains European Special Protection Area (SPA) (Natura site code 004039).

The Moon showing through the Sky at Dusk

This wide expanse of semi-natural environs is host to a multitude of notable upland habitats under the 1997 EU Habitat Regulations and EU Bird Regulations and rare floral species.

Glenveagh is one of Ireland’s most extensive and important contiguous areas of natural habitat and the park serves to protect and enhance our biodiversity for future generations. All its operations and programmes of activity have specific regard to the Conservation Objectives for the European sites and are designed to improve the status of the Qualifying Interest habitats and species, whilst supporting appropriate access and enjoyment by the public.

Learn more about Glenveagh’s Habitats.


The Castle Gardens