Donegal is awash with mountains, cliffs, beaches, waterfalls and idyllic towns and villages, waiting for you to visit. Soaking up the atmosphere provided by mother nature in all its rugged and natural glory is a day well spent. No matter where you go on Ireland’s north west coast you are guaranteed a warm welcome as these less explored parts welcome you with the raw scenery surrounding you. Bring a picnic, a camera, good walking shoes and be ready to breathe with the rhythm of nature. By no means a definitive list, here are a few must see natural attractions to add to your itinerary on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Sliabh Liag Cliffs
Considered to be one of Donegal’s best kept secrets, the Sliabh Liag mountainous cliffs are a must see when visiting the Wild Atlantic Way. Situated on the south-west coast of Donegal, the cliffs are thought to be one of the highest sea-facing cliffs in Europe. The highest point rises over an incredible 600 meters with stunning views of the Sligo Mountains, and panoramic views of Donegal Bay.
The Sliabh Liag Cliffs Centre, which opened in 2019, will indulge your fascination with everything you need to know about the local culture, the history and folklore surrounding the area. The stunning cliffs themselves are sure to leave you enthralled and fascinated by the rugged coastline which has long been a place of Christian pilgrimage. To truly appreciate the cliffs, which are a walker’s paradise, it is recommended to leave the car in the car park and walk to the cliff viewing point in order to take in all the natural glory of the surrounding scenery. Why not change the vantage point and view the breath-taking scenery from the sea as there are various boat tours available to whet your appetite?
The Glengesh Pass
When you are saying your goodbyes to Sliabh Liag, take the Glengesh Pass (sometimes known as the Donegal Pass) for some of the most truly magnificent scenery. This part of the country has an abundance of fantastic country roads with a stillness, quiet and natural beauty to make you feel as though you are in another world. The journey through the Glengesh Pass, which runs from Glencolumcille to Ardara, is well worth the trip as you drive through a route dotted with old cottages, farmsteads and stone walls. The beautiful 15 mile stretch of road tumbles along with a few sharp bends, but the windy roads will leave you wanting more.
Maghera Beach and Caves
Maghera is a stunning, unspoilt beach, off the beaten track with high dunes and twenty caves to explore. It would be a crime not to visit the Maghera Beach and Caves when you are in this part of the country. A day out here will create beautiful memories for young and old as there is so much to explore and see amongst the deserted beach made of fine white sand. A true adventure as you discover the rugged landscape before diving into a picnic or a barbeque to refuel. Don’t forget to bring a bucket and spade and you will be set up for the day.
Be vigilant of tides, currents and riptides and keep an eye on the advised timetable to ensure safety.
Just 1km south of Maghera Beach and Caves sits a stunning waterfall waiting for you to visit. Just 8km outside of Ardara, the Assaranca Waterfall offers a unique moment of calm as you watch the tumbling waters fall to your feet. It is also a perfect photo op spot for those family photos. Best seen after heavy rain as the power of the waters flow, this is an almost hidden away attraction but well worth seeking out.
Enjoy your outdoor adventures.