It would be difficult to think of a more spectacular location for a church - perched high over a lake with mountains behind. I recently attended a baptism (well nearly, we were late - sorry). Saying it is a deeply impressive setting really does fail to do it justice.
You will also find another ruined church nearby, with an equally impressive perch - and this is the one that seems to get photographed all the time in those 'Views of the emerald isle' type products.Related to:
There is only one word for this bay - stunning.
Ample walking and photography opportunities with the shipwreck in the centre of the sands forming a useful centerpiece. At Low tide you can easily walk out to the fishing boat wreck, which still has a rusty collection of winding gear and the like left on board. 'On board' is probably a little strong, as over the last 20 years or so, it has been gently rotting on the sands.
My two year old adequately described the scene as "Boat....Broke...No fish".
Other diversions include boat trips, digging for razor fish (see other tip) and in the winter at least pretending that you are Jeremy Clarkson and performing handbrake turns on the sands in your hire-car.
This is a beautiful place! There is a parkingplace just below the hill. On top of the hill there is an old watchtower. You can walk up here. BUT don't stick around there!! The view is great, but you would miss all the fun! You should walk down on the other side of the hill again and you can walk along the 200 m high cliffs there! When the sun is shining, the place looks even better. You will have spectaculair views on the cliffs!
This amazing little place is so hard to find, and so hard to get to - but if you can manage it. WOW!
Take the road from Dungloe to Kincasslough. Just past the Viking House Hotel (which used to be owned by Daniel O'Donnell) turn left for a sign that says "Cruit Island Golf Course". Follow the road for what only seems like 2-3miles, but might actually take you 15-20 mins drive as most of it is not on a road but on a 1 car wide dirt track. You will come out at the end through 3 holes of the golf course into the club house which was a large car park. Park up, and wander! Or if you like golf, play. Oh my god play! It is only a nine hole course but it is unlike anything anywhere in the world.
Even if you don't like golf - GO! The scenery is just too good and you really feel like you are on the edge of the world.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Budget Travel
Life's a Beach in Donegal
Donegal has some of the nicest beaches in Ireland. Long bays with miles of sandy beaches and high sand dunes. Usually flanked by more rugged cliffs and hills. All along the coast of Donegal you will encounter spectacular beaches. Not ideal for swimming as the water temperature can be very cold except in july / august when its just cold ! Heed local warnign signs as some may not be safe for swimming with powerful currents or strong undertows created by the high waves of the atlantic. There are many however that are safe for those who want to venture into the sea and Donegal has a very high proportion of Blue Flag beaches. The other good thing is that they are practically deserted most of the year around and great for long walks, large kite flying, surfing, etc etc. or just sitting and watching the big Atlantic rollers crashing onto the shore. Just go there you will enjoy it.Related to:
- Water Sports
The highest cliffs in Europe at around 800 feet are situated at Slieve League in Co Donegal. Forget the Cliffs of Moher if you want to expereince real cliffs then come here. In fact one of the scariest drive's you can imagine is the drive from the main road to the car park at the cliffs. At points the road overlooks a sheer drop of hundreds of feet into the sea and as the road is really only built for one car when you meet on coming traffic one of you has to reverse. This is like "reverse chicken" becasue you will both be afraid to reverse with a drop of hundreds of feet waiting for you with one slip of the wheel or a gear !! You may have to reverse as much as 100 metres if you are unfortunate enough to meet and on coming car that won't or can't reverse. At one point as you near the car park the road rises steeply ahead of you over a hump in the road. At this point car is pointing skyward and you cannot see the road in front of you over the hump...this is the most scary piece. The road actually goes to your right as you come of the rise and if you keep going straight you will end up in the Atlantic a few hundred feet below....this is a first gear 5 mph manoevre. This is definitely not for the faint hearted but when you get to the car park and walk to the top of the cliffs you will be rewarded with fantastic views. The journey back to the main road is not so scary ....unless you meet an uncoming car and have to reverse ! Seriously don't let the drive put you off its worth it.
The photo show the view looking back towrad the car park (yes that dot on the head land) from the top of the cliff walk and you can see the foam of the sea to the right 800 ft below !Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
The drive up to Horn Head in north West Donegal takes you out to a really scenic point overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. There is car park at the bottom of the hill and a short walk up to Horn Head itself. On tope there is an old lookout / watch tower that was used by the lifeguard and military in the past. On a clear summer's day this is just one of the most amazing places to be.Related to:
- Road Trip
Watch the sunset over the Atalantic Ocean
In the west of Ireland you can see really fantastic sunsets. It is a very calming experience to watch the last rays of the the sun set on Europe from the shores of Donegal. Here are some photos I took from our stay at Cinn Casla.Related to:
Blue Stack mountains
Just outside Donegal town on the road heading towards Killybegs you will find a scenic drive called the Blue Stack scenic drive (brown signs - these are tourist interest sign posts in Ireland).
This drive takes you through some of the rugged landscape of Donegal and is absolutely beautiful on a clear day....on any kind of wet day forget it becasue you won't see anything.
The road is tarmac but be warned it gets very narrow and I always have a saying that 'once you start seeing grass growing in the middle of the road you know you are in for an interesting drive ! You don't need a 4x4 to negotiate it however and an ordinary hire saloon will see you through with ease but you get of a sense of adventure as you negotiate the narrow winding roads, work out how you and the on-coming car will let each other get past and avoid bumping into any local inhabitants ie. the sheep !
The drive takes about 2 hours at a leisurely pace allowing for a few photo stops - local inhabitants (as above), scenery, old abandoned farm dwellings etc.
From the end of the drive follow the road on to Killybegs and then out to Glencolumbcille.
A useful tourist resource for the area is Donegal Town tourist information
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
I love stones........any kind of stone....anywhere, and I especially love stone walls and stone houses.....but to see a Dolmen is the ultimate experience for a rock nut. Ancient and so old one cannot even understand the vastness of it all. To comprehend and be aware of it's age is almost inconceivable. The Kilclooney Dolmens were close to each other and sit casually in a farmer's field.
As you drive along N56 past Ardara and you happen to look to your right there on the horizon is a big lazy Dolmen. Once you figure out how to park and find an entrance, which ended up behind a farmer's house, and whose black and white dog accompanied us for our walk out to the field, you can finally reach the Dolmens by foot.
Take the time to stop, it is a nice break and the experience will never leave you.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Irelands most northernly point
The most beautiful of all Irish counties has to be Donegal. No where is more spectactular than the town land of Malin Head, Irelands most Northernly hamlet. There is not much to see of major interest except the signal tower and the letters EIRE written in stone to let fighter planes in World War 2 know that there were in neutral terrority. All other attractions centre around the pubs (there is three in this area) and peoples fireplaces so when you visit here its the characters that stand out.It is an amazing place to go for walks and enjoy the peaceful beaches (if the wind doesnt blow you away).
Def a destination for anyone who wants to get away from it all but still enjoy the craic at night.
Scenic routes at the northwest coast of Donegal
Generally you don’t do anything wrong if you drive along the coast, it’s almost always scenic there! A nice route is the coast at The Rosses where is also an airport. Even better is Bloody Foreland Head - the beaches, the sea and the waves are great! I’ve read that everything looks red there at sunset and that’s why it’s called like this. Interesting was also Horn Head with its 200 m high cliffs, that you can reach from Dunfanaghy. Although it was raining we went some steps up the hill, we rather were pushed to the top by the wind! It was such a heavy wind that we feared that we were blown away if we didn’t go down soon, so we only get a glimpse of some nice cliffs.
Donegal Town and castle
The little town Donegal is found in the south of county Donegal, where river Eske flows into the Dongeal Bay. It has been the main seat of the O'Donnells who build Donegal Castle in the 15th century. The castle situated in the centre of the town and not really big. It’s mainly a tower house which has been restored so that you can visit three big rooms there. The side building is ruined and not much to see there. I’ve been to more impressive castles, but perhaps it’s worth joining a guided tour, we only saw the rest of one.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Castles and Palaces
When driving the Glengesh pass, we suddenly had pretty good weather. Only for a moment, but at least we could enjoy the beautiful view on the valley of Ardara! The pass is found between the Slieve League cliffs and Ardara.
Slieve League cliffs
The Slieve League (Grey Mountain) cliffs are about 600 metres high and are said to be the highest in Europe. In any case they are higher than the famous Cliffs of Moher! As it was windy and raining much, we unfortunately haven’t seen too much of the cliffs, but they are impressive! I cannot say which cliffs are more spectacular, I liked both. The Slieve League cliffs have the advantage that they are more out of the way, already driving there is an adventure! The way to Cliffs of Moher has been so boring compared to it!
To go there, turn left in Carrick (An Charraig) and follow the signs to Bunglas and Slieve League. You’ll come through the village Teelin and will reach a farm gate. Just open it and make sure you close it behind you! There’s a little parking (which might be occupied by sheep...), but if you aren’t already scared you should continue to the parking on the top. The street is small, steep and winding, and the sheer drops might make you nervous. But don’t be anxious, even I drove there although I’m afraid of heights! And imagine that was raining! However I was happy that nobody was driving towards me!Related to:
County Donegal Hotels
The Sandrock Hostel at Malin Head is by far the best hostel I have stayed in so far. It is located...more
Lough Eske, Donegal, Ireland
Good for: Solo
Derry Road, Ludden, Buncrana, Ireland
Good for: Couples
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