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Slieve League Coastal Drive Along Donegal Bay

Spectacular views and hidden gems along your way to these sea cliffs.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 33 miles
Duration: Full day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Enjoy the best sights and sounds around the magnificent Donegal bay - one of the great scenic road journeys in Ireland. With Donegal... more »

Tips:  Ensure you familiarize yourself with the route beforehand. There are some breathtaking scenes along the way with plenty of stops... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Donegal Town

Area: Donegal. In Irish, Dún na nGall - Fort of the Foreigners.

Donegal Town is well covered in our guides - see our heritage, food and nature guides for yourself. As regards a hidden gem, we'd have to say that Donegal Chartered boat trips run by captain Paul Ricketts offers a great way of sightseeing Donegal Bay and doing a spot of... More

2. Hall desmesne

Area: Hall Desmesne. in Irish, Dúiche an Halla.

Slane Castle gets all the attention, but rock impresario Lord Henry Mountcharles's other ancestral pile is here on the shores of the bay - you can see it from the road surrounded by trees. He has been known to come up and cut the odd ribbon for fetes in Mountcharles or Monte Carlo as the... More

3. Salthill gardens

Area: Salthill Desmesne. In Irish, Cnoc an tSalainn - salt hill.

Elizabeth Temple set about transforming the gardens of her home, Salthill House, well over 20 years ago and today, we can all enjoy the results of what is without a doubt the finest garden in the area. Not content with throwing her doors open most days to the public, a recent... More

4. Inver

Area: Inver. In Irish, Inbhear Náile - the inlet of the sea of St. Naul.

Along the N56 route is the village of Inver on the fishing river of Eany. There are two churchs, two shops (Spar and Cassidy's), two primary schools and of course two pubs, the Milltown and the Rising Tide, all well worth a visit. It has a great unspoiled beach you... More

5. Dunkineely

Area: Dunkineely. In Irish, Dún Cionnaola - Kineally's fort.

Every year in the month of July or August the small town of Dunkineely hosts a 3 day weekend Summer Street Festival. Events over the years have included a parade through the town, soap box derby races, live bands, pub quizzes, sporting competitions, classic car show, wheelie bin... More

6. Castlemurray House Hotel

You're on the coast of the finest bay in Ireland, a few miles from its premier fishing port, you like good seafood, good views and good service? With Castlemurray, you've got all three. Ensure you get in a walk along St. John's Point if possible as it juts defiantly into the Atlantic - a great place to see dolphins and act like King Canute. Well... More

7. The river of beauty

Area: Bruckless. in Irish, An Bhroclais - the badger's den.

This peaceful village lies on the main N56 road to Killybegs and overlooks McSwyne's Bay. The parish church, the Church of Saints Joseph and Conal, is noted for its round tower, which can be seen from most parts of the village, and there are numerous archaeological artifacts in the area,... More

8. Killybegs Heritage Centre

Area: Killybegs. In Irish, Na Cealla Beaga - the little churches.

Besides being Ireland's premier fishing port, Killybegs is a great area beside the sea and is brilliant for water sports like surfing, canoeing, windsurfing, diving, kite-surfing and also water skiing. A new dive centre just opened last year and diving is available for over 16s but... More

9. Fintra beach

Area: Fintra. In Irish, An Fine Tra - the tribe's beach.

Fintra beach is located on the outskirts of Killybegs town and is a certified Blue Flag beach. It is a very beautiful beach and receives large numbers of day-trippers during the summer months and is also used by the local community. Fintra is a sheltered beach and is lifeguarded throughout ... More

10. Muckross head

Area: Muckross. In Irish, Mucros - the pig grove.

A beautiful small beach that is both safe to swim in and is the perfect tucked away gem, far from the madding crowd - they're all down doing the tourist trail in Kerry! The headland itself is a great rugged walk with breathtaking views of the bay and nearby Slieve League whose hulking frame... More

Area: Kilcar. In Irish, Cill Charthaigh - the church of St. Cartha.

You are now the Gaeltacht area of the county and in a cracking village with a history of superlative endeavour in Gaelic football. There are a number of great old world pubs here - John Joe's and O'Gara's are good, but Teach Prionsias is a place that is few and far between these ... More

12. Carrick

Area: Carrick. In Irish, An Charraig - the rock.

Situated in Carrick is the secretary of FISSTA, Noel Carr, a champion for all things to do with angling, especially of the salmon and sea trout variety. He and FISSTA members work to achieve the abundant return of the wild Atlantic salmon to our waters and the mission starts here, where Noel can... More

13. Nuala Star boat ride

Want to see the mighty sea cliffs from the sea and do a spot of fishing or sight seeing? Nuala Star have a passenger boat service taking people to see Slieve League or now that you're in the Gaeltacht, it is also known as 'Sliabh Liag'. Their sailing times are 10, 12, 2, 4 & 6 daily unless otherwise stated, call them for details beforehand.

... More

14. Slieve League sea cliffs

Area: Slieve League. In Irish, Sliab Liag - the grey mountain.

Often called the highest sea cliffs in Europe, but a very respectable sixth instead dropping some 600 metres to the sea, they are located some 5km northwest of the village of Carrick via Teelin. Ensure you follow the sign marked Bunglass (not the Slieve League Pilgrim's Path one!) to... More