Donegal’s First Annual Wild Atlantic Way Walking Week
from Sunday 8th- Thursday 12th of June 2014.
This event will commence with an informal get together on Sunday Evening 1st to give all the walkers an opportunity to get to know each other and familiarise themselves with what Donegal Town and surrounding area has to offer.
Each group will register and be introduced to their guides who will accompany them through the wonderful experiences which they are about to embark on. There will be four levels of walks each day ranging from challenging hill walks approx 6- 7 hours duration or a more leisurely walk approx 2 hours where you can savor the Flora & Fauna and local history of the area in which they will be walking.
On Monday 2nd during our first Challenging Hill Walk you will discover Sliabh Liag one of the Wild Atlantic Way’s 50 best kept secrets, its rugged terrain, its spectacular sea views, its natural beauty, a magical place not to be missed where peace and tranquillity can be found in abundance.
Donegal Walking Week June 2014
Day 1 Monday 9th June
The Bluestack Mountains are part of the last wilderness ofEurope. They are known as the “Jewel in the Crown” of theDonegalMountains. It is a rugged mountain range in excess of 600m and in parts quite remote. These mountains offer a rare glimpse of an unspoiled landscape. The oldest rocks in the south Donegal region are said to be 600 million years old and form many of the hills in theBluestackMountains. The walks cross a dramatic landscape of mountain, lake and bog land. The nature lover has great scope to enjoy the flora, fauna and the impressive geology of this special part of Donegal. Curiously, although this is a most remote area, the mountains are easy to access, being just 5klm fromDonegalTown. Donegal is an excellent area for hill-walking with its challenging peaks, wild and remote uplands, rocky mountain terrain.
Three Peaks of the Bluestacks / Challenging all day 6-7hrs hill walks. 13km
Moderate Hill Walk 4- 5hours 10klm
Carnaween 521m, “The Hill of the Birds”. On this mountain you can leave part of yourself in Donegal. Sign your name on the only book in the Donegal Mountain. Meet Fionn MacCumhaill and hear some of the stories and legends associated with this mountain. Returning to visit Disert. An ancient graveyard which dates back to pre Christian times and is also associated with one of Ireland’s Patron Saints Colmcille, who is believed to have blessed the Holy Well in the 6th Century. Disert means a place of solitude or hermitage and it is believed that early monks came to study and pray.
Moderate 3hrs 8km mostly track and bog land.
Bluestack way through what most people regard as stunning scenery, is a walk also through rich and varied natural habitats all teeming with life.
Easy 1-2hr Walk
Disert means place of solitude. It is believed that monks came to study and pray here. The megalith, said to be the burial site of a druid chieftain, evidences the long history of the site. The site is said to date back to pre Christian times and is also associated with one of Ireland’s patron saints. Colmcille, who is believed to have blessed the Holy Well in the 6th century. The graveyard was used for Mass through the penal years. Numerous local traditions have built up surrounding the site ranging from ways to improve virility to methods of curing eye disorders and backache. The clay from the site was used to put in the foundations of houses to banish rats. The flora in this area is very interesting probably due to the non – application of artificial fertilizers. In spring bluebells primroses, wood anemone, lesser celandine and dog violets thrive here. In summer foxgloves, thistles, bracken, wild strawberries and various fern and mosses. Birds associated with this area are cuckoo, raven, merlin and kestrel.
Day 2 Tuesday 10th June 2014
Benbulbun and Benwhiskin Co Sligo
Benbulbin, and theDartryRange, is composed of limestones on top of mudstones. These rocks formed in the area approximately 320 million years ago. Uppermost in the limestone layer is a thicker, harder limestone called the Dartry Limestone Formation. Below this is a thinner transitional limestone formation – the Glencar Limestone Formation. Further down, the lower slopes consist of shaly mudstone known as the Benbulben Shale Formation. Scree deposits are found near the base.Benbulban’s top is not bare like the famous poet from the area W.B.Yates wrote but covered with blanket bog.Benbulbin hosts a unique variety of plants, including some organisms found nowhere else inIreland. Many are Artic -alpine plants, due to the mountain’s height, which allows for cooler temperatures than is normal. These plants were deposited when the glaciers that created Benbulbin melted. Wild hares inhabited Benbulbin.
In 2012, research revealed that the Fringed Sandwort had survived the Ice Age and is perhaps 100,000 years old. InIrelandthe plant is unique to Benbulbin. The discovery calls into question the prior consensus thatIreland’s flora and fauna date from or after the end of the Ice Age.
Benwhiskin in the mountain ringed Gleniff Horseshoe; one could be forgiven for thinking they were in the Swiss Alps. To the left of Benwhiskin an old metal mine can be seen, remnants of the area’s industrial past. The mine was used until the middle of the 20th century. This is a natural area of beauty with an abundance of wildlife steeped in history.
Benbulban Challenging Hill Walk 6hrs 13km 525m
Benwiskin Moderate Hill Walk 4hrs
Creevy Coastal Walk Moderate 3hrs
Creevy Shore Walk, a purpose built coastal footpath 10 miles in length running from Rossnowlagh through Creevy to the mouth of the Erne Estuary in Ballyshannon. Walkers will be enchanted by breathtaking views along the Co-op’s specially constructed cliff walk. The route passes over moor and farmland and is equipped with fence stiles and direction markers. This walk is most suited to the physically fit -a must for the explorer!
On the Creevy Coastal walk are the ruins of Kilbarron Castle, home of Michael O’Cleary, and the Four Masters, a group of Franciscan lay brothers, who penned the Annals of the Four Masters, a most significant piece of history going back over the centuries.
Easy 1-2hr walks 5km
Mountcharles Historical village and Shore Road with a visit toSalthillGardens (€5 entry fee)
The hilltopvillageofMountcharlescommands a picturesque and panoramic view ofDonegalBayand the mountains of Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Leitrim,Sligoand Mayo. The old Irish name for the village, Tamhnach an tSalainn – the Field of the Salt – dates back to the 1700’s and is derived from the salt works on the Hall Demesne estate where salt was extracted from seawater and used in salting herring. The English name Mountcharles came into use after thePlantation, and is attributed to Albert Conyngham, an ancestor of the present Lord Henry Mountcharles ofSlaneCastle, who was raised to the peerage in 1666 by King Charles II and took the name Lord Mountcharles in honour of the King. The Conynghams lived in Hall Demesne estate. The Big Peir was built in 1847 as a Famine Pier. TheShore Roadis on the route of The Atlantic Way.
Day 3 Wednesday 11th June 2014
Glen Cholm Cille ThroughoutIreland people associate Gleann Cholm Cille with the other world as The Fairies.
Sliabh liagh rises 600m above the Atlantic and its cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs inEurope. The view from its summit is most dramatic. There is a road to the top of Bunglass where there is an equally spectacular view.
Some two km from the highest point, are the ruins of Diseart Aoidh Mhic Bhricne, the hermitage. A saint and contemporary of Saint ColmCille. Near the ruins there is a Holy Well. The water from the well is said to cure arthritis. People suffering from arthritis used to perform the Turas to the summit.
Story from the Irish Folklore Commission 1930’s
There was an old man in Teelin and he had great faith and did the turas twice to the top of Sliabh Liag twice. He was about 100 years old at the time and had a problem with arthritis. He went a third time to the well and when he was finished praying he shook his stick at the alter and said. “Be the livin’, Aodh Mac Bricne ! If you don’t cure me this time, after me coming to you so often, I’ll never come near you again.
Challenging – All-day – Slieve League to Malin Beg 6-7hrs. 15km
Slieve League rises some 600m above theAtlantic. Its cliffs are reputed to be the highest marine cliffs inEurope and the views from the top are most dramatic. To get to the highest point you will cross the famous “One Man’s Pass”. 200m from the highest point, are the ruins of Disert (a place of pilgrim) is the hermitage of Aoidh Mac Brince, a saint and contempary of Saint Colmcille.
Moderate Hill Walk 4-5hrs.10km
Slieve League -Bunglass This walk will take the same route to the highest point and return to Bunglass viewing point.
Moderate Track / Road 3-4hrs.
Glen Head Glencolmcille
Glencolmcille is tucked into the rugged landscape of southwest Donegal.
It has been a symbol of hope and success to other emigration drained areas since the 1950’s. Glencolmcille is joy to visit at any time of year. Both shore and hill change dramatically with the seasons. Farming people settled here between 4,000 and 3,000 BC. From Archaeology to Boglands to folklore Glencolmcille has so much to offer.
The Pilgrimage in honour of the local patron saint is performed on 9th June.
This walk takes us to the place of Pilgrimage. Donegal has some of the most expansive untouched bogs in Europe. These bogs support insect, animal and plant life which is not found on more fertile land. Many of the boglands in the vicinity of Glencolmcille are now protected by law.
Easy Track/Road 2hrs (Flora & Fauna) or (Local History) 5km
Hill Walking Checklist
All participants on Challenging and Moderate Hill Walks (Walks 1&2) must have:
- Hill Walking Boots, Wind / Rainproof Jacket and overtrousers
- Carry a rucksack with spare clothing, food and a hot drink for the walk plus some spare food.
- It is a good idea to carry spare high energy snacks, such as chocolate, glucose sweets or energy bars.
- Water bottle and thermos flask.
- Shorts, sunhat, sunscreen, sunglasses and midge cream for summer walking…
It is advisable to wear good walking footwear for Walks 3 & 4 and carry all of the above.
For more information please contact Donegal Town Community Chamber Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively telephone 00353 749723760 or click here
Castle Murray Hotel Package
4 nights B&B, 3 Evening Meals + 3 Packed lunches €365.00 pps
*Drying Room available for wet walking clothes
*Single supplement €20 per night.