Greencastle, is a commercial fishing port located in the north of the scenic Inishowen Peninsula on the north coast of County Donegal, Ireland. Nowadays, given the decline in the fishing industry, it resembles more closely a 'typical' Donegal holiday village. It is located a few miles from Moville and is about 20 miles from Derry. Greencastle's name comes from the castle in the area, which, in turn, may have derived its name from the green freestone with which it was built. The castle, originally built by the Anglo-Normans, is also known as Newburgh Castle.
The first proper pier was built in 1813 and has been added to several times since. Today, as well as being a tie up for trawlers and salmon boats and the home of the Greencastle Fishermen's Co-Op, the Foyle Fishermen's Co-Op and Fresco Seafoods, the pier also has a very different "catch". Visitors disembark from the Magilligan-Greencastle ferry which was inaugurated in 2002. The official website advertises the fact that this saves 78 km (or 49 miles) of driving, which would be through Derry. The Lough Foyle Ferry Company has also recently (2004) begun a Lough Swilly ferry service that runs between Buncrana and Rathmullan seasonally. The pier also contains a newly built pilot office to replace the decommissioned pilot office at Carrickarory Pier.
Greencastle is also one of the disembarkation ports for cruise ships visiting Derry. Due to the tidal nature of the Foyle Estuary, it is sometimes too shallow for cruise ships to make their way to Lisahally docks in Derry. Stopping at Greencastle also saves 5 hours sailing round trip. However passengers are required to disembark using tenders as, unlike Lisahally docks, the Greencastle pier was not designed to allow a cruise ship to dock.
The castle at Greencastle has been linked with the castle in the background of the Derry crest.
The castle was built in 1305 to provide a base for Anglo-Norman power in the North West. This building was named "Northburg". There is a more modern Martello Fort beside the Norman ruin. This was built by the British to stop Napoléon invading circa 1800.
The National Fisheries College (NFC) is located in Greencastle. The NFC recently completed a €1.1 million extension funded under the INTERREG 11 Initiative, thus providing better facilities including a realistic simulator bridge deck. Greencastle is also home to the world famous Diver potato empire, winner of the 2010 Best Spud and Chip award.
The late James Kealy is credited as vastly improving tourism to the village. Taking over his late father, William Kealys pub The Black Dog, he renovated and transformed it into The Kealy's Seafood Bar which has gone onto win many prestigious awards, most recently Georgina Campell's Seafood Restaurant of the Year 2010 was awarded to Tricia, James' widow and Head Chef.