© Walkers' Home Swap, 2014

West Ireland

The areas of Donegal, Sligo and Galway are within easy travel from where we live. County Donegal in the North West of Ireland, is 6 miles away.

Bundoran and Rosnowlagh, with their lovely beaches are well worth a visit.  The Atlantic drive, offers a feast of scenery along some of the most beautiful places in North Donegal. The road passes little bays and hillsides dotted with white cottages and spectacular views of mountains.

Glenveagh National Park, comprising of a castle and park where red deer roam the hills, is situated on the eastern side of the Derryveagh Mountains in the north-west of County Donegal. The Park contains 14,000 hectares of mountain, raised bogland, lakes and woodlands and is dissected by the valley which gives the park its name, Glenveigh (Gleann Bheatha) meaning ‘Glen of the Birches’.
The journey via Glengesh Pass located 1.5km south of Ardara on the N15 to Killybegs is a most memorable one for any visitor to south west Donegal.  The view from Glengesh Pass onto Beg Bay is spectacular.

The Slieve League cliffs, situated on the West coast of Donegal, are said to be the highest and one of the finest marine cliffs in Europe with a three hundred metre drop straight down into the wild, Atlantic waves below.  Donegal Bay can be clearly seen as you walk towards the terrifyingly high top of Slieve League and there is a small lake at eye level. A short walk will take you to the right of the amazing cliff face of Bunglas (which literally means end of the cliff) which rises over 306m above the raging ocean. One Man’s Path will take you to the summit of Slieve League but the climb must be approached with extreme caution as it is very dangerous.

Donegal Castle was built by Hugh Roe O’Donnell in 1474 and in recent times has been restored to its former glory.

Donegal Castle At the top of the Inishowen Peninsula is Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head. It is a part of Donegal which is famous for its rugged coastal scenery and lovely beaches. The area is steeped in history and folklore. Malin Head is a place for all tastes, including walking, fishing, swimming, photography, studying rock formations or rare flora, and is near Inishowen’s five magnificent golf courses.
The formidable Blue Stack Mountains stretch from the heights of Barnesmore Gap west towards the sea and is only six miles from Donegal Town. The old style surroundings at Biddy’s O’Barnes provides an ancient resting place for weary travellers.

Glencolmcille is an Irish speaking village situated in a picturesque glen named after St. Colmcille. There is a folk village and a thriving cultural centre, Foras Cultúir Uladh, where visitors can see exhibits of local crafts and a facsimile of The Book of Kells. There are Irish language courses held throughout the year.  Glencolmcille boasts fine cliff walks and safe beaches and the nearby Slieve League sea cliffs are the highest in Europe.

Sligo, with the beautiful backdrop of Benbulben mountain, and the historic surrounding area offers a feast for visitors.  The Glencar lake with the beautiful waterfall, immortalised by WB Yeats in his poem ‘The stolen child’, is well worth a visit. Yeats Society also contributes many cultural activities to the life of Sligo – visit their web site at www.yeats-sligo.com.

Galway City provides the visitor with a wide range of activities or visit the Aran Islands (www.visitaranislands.com) where the walker and painter is in paradise.  

sheep on cliff-top with blue sea beyond Cliffs at Connemara secluded Donegal beach View on a walk
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