Although the castle interior is currently closed whilst undergoing renovations, it's still worth paying a visit for views of the castle exterior in its picturesque setting. Located just a half hour's drive from the Radisson Blu Hotel Letterkenny, it's easy to include while exploring the area.
About Doe CastleDoe Castle was built in the early 16th century by a branch of the Clan Suibhne (MacSweeney), and was occupied by their chieftains for the next 200 years. It occupies an excellent defensive location, being surrounded on three sides by the waters of the bay and guarded on the fourth by a deep trench.
The castle is made up of the central fortified tower, which is 50 feet tall and has 8-foot thick stone walls, surrounded by a bawn (or high-walled defensive enclosure) that is remarkably well preserved.
Throughout the struggles between the English and the Irish in the 17th century, the castle changed hands multiples times before finally being purchased by Sir George Vaughan at the end of the 18th century. His family resided in the property until 1843, during which time they carried out a number of restorations, as well as alterations to modernize the dwelling. You can still see the coat of arms and initials (GVH) of General George Vaughan Hart (the grandson of Sir George) carved above the castle's east entrance.
Doe Castle was mostly abandoned throughout the 20th century, but it has since been acquired by the state and is now undergoing extensive restoration to preserve the building and make it safe for public visits.