The lovely area of Ulster is home to Ireland’s most northern county, the beautiful county of Donegal. Located between River Foyle and Donegal Bay, this county is home to long sandy beaches as well as rough mountain ridges, rich in history from early ages until modern times, which offer amazing hiking paths for adventures through this almost untouched Irish wilderness that makes up the Donegal hiking experience.
Looped Hikes in County Donegal
Looped walking tours are a great option if you are travelling by car. Just park at the starting point and return. Lengths and difficulties may vary between short and easy afternoon hikes up to multi-day walking tours of high difficulty.
Some areas of interest on the Donegal hiking experience. Inishowen Head Walk
At a distance of 5 miles this looped hike, starting at Portkill’s wartime watchtower, the Inishowen Head Walk is perfect for a single-day adventure. Passing by lovely Stroove Beach with lovely sand, leading up inland to return back to Portkill with the view of Crocknasmug mountains and finally a narrow and exciting cliff path down to the starting point.
Ards Trail is the longest of some paths in the area, which offers much more than just beautiful views and stunning scenery. Along the 11.11 kilometres, you find massive rock formations, a holy swell, standing rocks and two giant stone wheels which might have been used to ground flax in ancient times. With oak, silver fir, beech, Scotts pine, Lawson cypress and many more species along the trail it’s pure joy for every tree-lover.
Leghowney Loop Walks
Several beautiful walks on a newly developed path network start at the Leghowney Community Centre which offers space for approximately 200 cars. After a first, quite steep, climb the trails lead smoothly along the hillside with stunning views of the most popular Donegal landmarks. Enjoy the natural beauty of Donegal Bay, Bluestack Mountains, Lough Eske as well as Ben Bulben, just to name but a few. Leghowney Loop Walks are perfect for day trips and short walks. There is a suitable trail for everyone.
Teelin Circular Walk
The Teelin Circular Walk is the perfect opportunity to get great views over Donegal Bay. It leads on top of up to 300 metres high cliffs. Listen to the ocean-roaming deep down while resting your eyes on the infinity of the Atlantic Ocean. Towards the end, the trail passes several majestic waterfalls. Optionally, you can ascend Summit Sleeve on the way back to Teelin. Be aware, in bad weather, especially under foggy conditions, this trail is quite dangerous. You don’t want to lose the trail next to steep cliffs!
Glencolmcille Tower Loop
The Glencolmcille Tower Loops offers something for everyone. It’s especially suitable for a family day trip. Along the trail, you find breathtaking views over Donegal Bay with the Ocean in the back as well as over the Irish wilderness. The highlight of this loop is the ancient watchtower that rests on top of imposing cliffs. Especially, kids who are into medieval times, knights and princesses will enjoy spending time there and thinking of the knights keeping watch over the bay to protect their homeland from any invader. With an overall length of about 10 kilometres, this tour is just right for a family day trip.
Multi-day trekking tours in Donegal hiking experience
Multi-day adventures, hiking from point A to point B, are a great way for any nature lover to enjoy their holidays. The wilderness of Donegal County offers amazing scenery for such activities. Pack your bag and get started on one of Irelands loveliest trails!
The Bluestack Way
The Blue Stack Route
Starting at Donegal town, this beautiful trail leads along the foothill of the Bluestack Mountains over a distance of about 40 miles (63 km) through a mild hill-terrain. Enjoy the pure wilderness of Banagher Hill and English Valley along the trail. After crossing high moorland terrain between Binbane and Cloghmeen Hill, you will hike along the Owenroe riverbanks to reach your final destination at Ardara.
The International Appalachian Trail, from Bunglas to Glenties
This hiking trail marks the first part of the International Appalachian Trail, which starts in West Donegal and finishes in Antrim, Northern Ireland. Starting at Bunglas Point, this tricky trail leads along the soaring Sliabh Liag cliffs towards the crescent beach at Malin Beg and the impressive megaliths of Malinmore. The pretty Gaeltacht hamlet at Glencolmcille makes a great resting point. The finish of this 42-mile trail lies 7.5 miles away in Glenties set against a superb mountain backdrop.
Lough Veagh Trail to Glenveagh Castle
A short but beautiful trail connects the shores of Lough Vaegh and Glenveagh Castle with its beautiful walled gardens. It leads over a distance of about 6 kilometres and passes a beautiful lake within amazing scenery. Especially nature lovers and bird watchers admire this trail for its untouched nature.
Whether you prefer a single day walk or a multi-day trekking experience, you will definitely find what you are looking for at Donegal County. Pack your bags and get out there to new adventures! Donegal County is waiting for you.Cliff Wayenberg – Walking Holiday Ireland