The Wild Atlantic Way Donegal
”WHEREVER YOU GO ALONG THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY, YOU WILL ENCOUNTER MOMENTS OF MAGIC, MOMENTS TO TREASURE AND EXPERIENCES THAT YOU WILL WANT TO RETURN TO AGAIN AND AGAIN” – Failte Ireland
We at Castle Murray House are located 2km from the village of Dunkineely on the coast road to St. Johns Point, Donegal
Stunning location overlooking the waters of McSwyne’s Bay and the foothills of Sliabh Liag make us a must stopover when travelling The Wild Atlantic, Way, Ireland boasting totally unspoilt views. Open fires welcome you in the cosy bar which is the heart of the hotel, with a wide selection of fine whiskeys, house cocktail and artisan beers.
Signature Discovery Point 1 – Malin Head
CIRCLE IRELAND’S FAR NORTH AT MALIN HEAD
Malin Head Donegal
There’s drama out at Malin Head – Cionn Mhálanna. The tip of the Inishowen Peninsula is mainland Ireland’s farthest northerly point. The wild Atlantic has carved deep crevices into the rugged headland, like Hell’s Hole – a dramatic long, deep and narrow chasm where the swells roar and churn. Birds flock here, blown in on the Atlantic winds: regular visitors from Iceland, Greenland and North America; and rarer exotic creatures from further afield. Mythical Queen Banba has given her name to the peninsula’s tip – Banba’s Crown. It’s here that guides from Cycle Inishowen will meet you with an Irish-made bike, for a 45-minute ride to stretch your legs in the fresh sea air, and learn about the area’s wildlife, geology and history.
AN GRIANAN AILIGH WONDER TO BEHOLD
An Grianán Ailigh, is a stone ringfort mapped by Ptolomey in his second-century AD map of the world. The ancient site – said to date back nearly 4,000 years – was the base of northern Irish chieftains and known as the Palace of the Northern Princes. It stands 245 metres (800 ft) with spectacular views across heather-covered hills to the vast estuaries that define Ireland’s most northerly peninsula – the ruggedly beautiful Inishowen – and across to the walled city of Derry. The fort is used once a year for the The Féile Grianán Áiligh Chieftains Feast which is an ancient-style banquette within the walls of An Grianán Áiligh – well worth a visit. Or you may prefer to visit at a quieter time, to walk inside the tranquil and deserted hillfort’s walls, with only the wind for company
Signature Discovery Point 2 – Fanad Head
TAKE IN ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THE WORLD
Lighthouse Fanad Head Donegal
A route you will remember on the Wild Atlantic Way is the Knockalla Coast Road with its panoramic views across the estuary looking towards the Inishowen Peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean.
As the road ascends you are greeted at the top by one of the most splendid views in Ireland. Looking down on Portsalon and Ballymastocker Bay it is no surprise that this beach was voted 2nd most beautiful beach in the world a few years ago. A haven for water sport enthusiasts, golfers and walkers alike, it offers it all. From Portsalon continue along the coastal road up as far as Fanad Head and Fanad lighthouse. The Lighthouse is the secondly most Northerly lighthouse in the Republic of Ireland and locals say that Fanad Head lighthouse is slightly higher than the Eiffel Tower. However, I think it depends on the wind!! Head for Rathmullan and fresh Fish and Chips in ‘Salt and Batter’ Takeaway while you sit in the pier and the Ferry for Inishowen. The Ferry crossing will take you 20 minutes, cuts down the road journey and gives the driver the chance to sit back, relax and soak in the views. And for some relaxation …
MEET AN ARTIST KING
On the Donegal Gaeltacht outpost of Tory Island – a remote & rugged crag 12km (7.5 miles) offshore in the wild Atlantic – traditional Irish culture is the way of life and these independent people have elected their own King since the 6th century. Today’s King of Tory is painter Patsaí Dan Mac Ruaidhrí, whose royal duties include meeting the ferries on the quayside to welcome visitors to the island. Tory Island is known for its strong folklore and musical traditions, and for its own school of native art – established in the 1950s. It’s still home to many painters today, and their work is shown at the island’s Gallery, where you’ll probably meet some of them too. Who knows, you may even be inspired to paint!
Discovery Point 3 – Sliabh Liag, amongst the highest sea cliffs in Europe
Sliabh Liag Donegal
Relatively undeveloped they maintain the wildness, ruggedness and isolation that other Irish high cliffs sites have somewhat lost. Rising majestically from the Atlantic they reach a height of 1,972ft (601m) (that’s over 500ft higher than The Empire State Building in New York). From this Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point you must simply marvel at nature and its ability to create structures which dwarf the works of man. Should you wish to walk the ‘One Man’s Path’, at the cliffs summit, do so with care and a good head for heights. Following the Wild Atlantic Way signs will lead you to Sliabh Liag but should you lose your way just ask anyone for directions to ‘The Cliffs’. They’ll know where you mean and soon you will too.
WATCH THEM WEAVE MAGIC INTO DONEGAL TWEED
Studio Donegal, Kilcar Donegal
They’ve been making handwoven tweed in Donegal for centuries. Nature provides the raw materials: wool from the sheep that thrive in the hills and bogs, and dyes from the hedgerows and fields … blackberries, fuchsia, gorse and moss.
Visit Studio Donegal at Kilcar – a business committed to preserving and promoting the original skills passed down from generation to generation – watch the handweavers and spinners at work … and take a piece of Ireland away with you, inspired by the rugged landscape of Donegal.