March 15, 2010

Mayo and Donegal, my favorite places in Ireland

To discover Donegal, the best is to rent a car in Dublin and drive 4 hours across the country. To know all about the system of Dublin car rental, check my previous posts. I discovered Donegal in July 2004 during a 4 day trip with my friend Elizabeth from Canada and I just loved it ! Less touristy and wilder than the rest of the country, it became by favorite destination. Some places not to miss :

1. Archill Island
The largest island in Ireland, Archill Island has beautiful sandy beaches and sea cliffs. You should take the Atlantic drive, a 19 km coastal road with breathtaking scenery. The road is passing through small villages as the villages of Shraheens, Derreens and Cloughmore. Take a break at one of the five Blue Flag beaches, like Silver Strand near the village of Dugort. Don’t forget to go to take to steep road to Minaun Heights. The road ends at a hill-top viewing point, giving a breathtaking view of Achill Island. On a clear day, you can see the entire area and also Blacksod Bay and the Belmullet Peninsula.

2. Saint John’s point and Bunglass cliffs
A small road in the middle of Donegal Bay will lead you to St John's Point from where you will be able to admire the whole bay with a panorama of 360 degrees, if the weather is clear.
Close to Carrick, are the Bunglass/Slieve League sea cliffs which  are the highest cliffs in Europe, a three hundred metre drop straight down into the wild Atlantic waves below. This creates a breathtaking but extremely scary view. If you like hiking, there is an incredibly beautiful walk from Bunglass to Malinbeg near Glencolmcille.

3.  Malinbeg
At the far west of Donegal is the The Silver Strand, considered to be one of the finest beaches in Ireland. It is reached by hundreds of stone steps descending from the village of Malinbeg, lying to the south of Glencolmcille, and facing directly into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a beautiful place to stay for the night at the local hostel.

4. Horn head
This is probably the most dramatic of the beautiful Donegal peninsulas. Nature has painted the landscape with broad, bold strokes and the sculptured rocks and cliff faces are awesome in their majesty. You get a real sense of the power of the sea and the resilience of the land on this wild peninsula. There are two splendid viewpoints, one on the north side where the cliffs dominate the scenery, and the other on the south side overlooking Dunfanaghy with the backdrop of Muckish and the Derryveagh mountains.

1 comment:

Miss Trudy said...

The photos are amazing and that cliff is absolutely awesome!