Sunday 22 July 2018 Donegal – Carrick
- Slieve League sea cliffs
We began the day off with grocery shopping and washing and then headed towards Killybegs and then Kilcar where we stopped to watch a local game of Gaelic football between Killybegs and Ballintra with Ballintra winning by 4 points. It reminded us of a local game of ruby league where a few hundred passionate supporters cheered on their side. There was a real sporting atmosphere with comments made and others replying. There was an awesome view behind the field over the North Atlantic.
We then continued to Carrick to the Slieve League sea cliffs which are amongst the highest in Europe. We walked 3 km to see the stunning cliffs which plunge 600m into the churning waves of the Atlantic Ocean below. It is an easy walk along a bitumen path to the top. Near the top of the cliffs is a tower which is one of many built along the coastline to detect a possible invasion from Napoleon’s fleet. As we were there the mist and rain began to roll in covering the top of the cliffs which made them look mystical.
Tonight, we camped in the carpark just down the hill with 3 other motorhomes.
Monday 23 July 2018 Carrick – Horn Head
- Malinbeg Head
- Glencolmcille Folk Village
- Horn Head
Our first visit was to the beautiful cliffs of Malinbeg. A small walk along the grassy hillside brings you to a sheltered bay with a sea stack, a little sandy beach and a cave which has been carved out by the sea and runs under the grass track. One of the cliffs has a white streak running through it which is quite spectacular. It was a very quiet place until three motorbikes turned up and one of them decided to ride across the wet track and ended stacking it and landing with motorbike on top of himself. He was not injured, only his pride.
Next, we went to Glencolmcille Folk Village which consists of six traditional white thatched cottages reflecting life from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries with genuine period fittings. There is a small school with a large slate board, a pub/grocer which in the days sold local wines made from seaweed and fuchsias and a fisherman’s home which was very basic. This village demonstrates how primitive things were back then to now, yet it was all they needed.
From Glencolumbcille to Ardara we drove through the magnificent Glengesh Pass with a series of switchbacks that wind their way through the mountain.
We then continued through Dunfanaghy on a narrow road for 4km to the quartzite cliffs of Horn Head. At the end of the narrow road we stopped at the parking area and walked up a small hill to a WWII lookout point. Then in the other direction we walked along a makeshift path through bog peat wet ground and rocks to Horn Head, which was about 1.5 km. At times it was quite slippery but pleasant as the day had cleared to a lovely afternoon. The jagged cliffs, ruins and sea cave are a glorious sight and the Atlantic Ocean is crystal clear blue.
We decided to stay in the carpark for the night with a beautiful view over the valley and ocean, very peaceful. Just before dark another van arrived and parked a little further along. It rained throughout night.
Tuesday 24 July 2018 Horn Head – Letterkenny – Buncrana
- Ards Forest Park
- Grianan of Alilleach
After waking to a glorious day, we headed off to Ards Forest Park at Creeslough. This coastal park is an expanse of more than 1200 acres. We decided to walk along the red trail and some of the blue to see the heritage sites, a standing stone and a grotto. The park is so diverse with a sandy beach, a rocky shoreline and diverse habitats of ferns and trees. We followed the map but the trails at times were not very well signposted and after 2 hours we still had not found the standing stone or the grotto. Nevertheless, it was a very pleasant walk and a great way to start off the day.
Second stop of the day was the restored ring fort, Grianan of Alilleach near Burt. It is a prehistoric enclosure built of dry stones on a hill called Grianan, which rises to a height of 808 feet above sea level. A Neolithic burial chamber was uncovered during the restoration work in 1870’s and dates from 200BC. We went inside and walked up rock steps to the top of the ring. The views of Lough Foyle and Lough Swilly and the surrounding country side is breathtaking.
We then continued along the Wild Atlantic Way to Buncrana for our stop for the night behind the Tourist Information Centre. It is a fantastic area with water and electricity for a nominal amount. We went into the Tourist Office to ask if it was alright to stay and the lady was not only extremely helpful with information on the surrounding area but where to eat and to free camp as well. In the parking area for the night were about 8 motorhomes and campervans. We met a lovely couple, Dan and Bobby from Donaghadee, south of Bangor. He gave us some great information about general motorhome life.