If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen I had a cheeky few days break in Donegal in the north west of the Republic of Ireland. I had visited Donegal briefly before, so when the chance came to visit again I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. With travel having been so restricted, I hadn’t been anywhere for a VERY long time, but travel had become a little easier, so it was time to escape for a few days away. And Ireland as always, did not disappoint! According to Lonely Planet, ‘County Donegal is the wild child of Ireland and home to some of its most ravishingly sublime scenery‘. Well I can definitely agree with that!
Having already spent some time in southern County Donegal, this time we kept to the north of the county. The first stop was Malin Head. This place has always been a bit of an exotic and wild enigma for me. Ever since listening to the shipping forecast on the BBC as I was in the car on my way to school, its been a place of wonder that only the hardiest of sea farers would dare to venture. So naturally I had to visit. Malin head is Ireland’s most northern tip. It was (and is) stunningly wild and bleak, with waves crashing against the weathered rocks and wildflowers strewn across the cliffs.
We continued through the Inishowen Peninsula, winding through the peat moors finding our way to deserted golden beaches and we even stumbled across an alpaca farm!?! The views of Five Fingers Strand were sublime as we made our way to the not so hidden gem of Tullagh Strand (although the beach was deserted, so it felt completely secret to us!).
The sun finally came out later in the week, just in time for us to make our way round the Fanad Peninsula. The highlight was definitely Portsalon Beach. The turquoise sea and golden sand were more than inviting and so we had to take a little (very chilly) wee dip in the Atlantic. But it was worth it!
The next day after a drive through the unmissable Glenveagh National Park (we didn’t hike Mount Errigal this time as it was thick with cloud. However, if you are there and reasonably fit, give it a go. We have done it in the past and it is AMAZING… tough, but amazing…) we ventured out to the picture perfect town of Dunfanaghy. It was quite busy so we passed quickly through and drove further down the coast to take a stroll on the beach at Sheep Haven Bay. Not too many sheep on the beach, but plenty of surfers! I also had one of the BEST coffees of my life at the Sheephaven Coffee Company. Nothing more fancy than a takeaway container, but wow – I’d go back here just for the coffee! And if you know me well, you know that I’m very picky about my coffee…
For our final day, our hosts had suggested we visit the off the beaten track Kinnagoe Bay and they were definitely right to let us know. We set off through a maze of country roads finally winding to a narrow edge leading to the most stunning little cove. It was absolutely beautiful and we spent the morning paddling in the blue waters and enjoying the views. We noticed a very rugged path leading up the side of the cliff, so we followed it to see what we could find. It led to an even more beautiful and secluded cove with a freshwater stream running idyllically into the sea. As we continued our travels around the coastal road, we hopped on a ferry and made the crossing over to Portrush, on the north coast of Northern Ireland. Such a lively, energetic seaside town and East Strand beach is definitely worth a visit – absolutely gorgeous.
On our drive home we stopped off at Derry/Londonderry and what a cool town it is! We loved it. Ireland’s only walled city is steeped in history, and although it is known for a troubled and violent past, it has undergone a makeover and we enjoyed discovering the ancient walls alongside the striking, powerful, modern murals and sampling a taco or two at the delicious street food café Pyke ‘n’ Pommes. We will be back soon to visit this incredibly vibrant city.
So that is a summary of our wonderful Donegal road trip. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can visit again. Have you been here? Did you love it? Let me know your thoughts in the ‘reply’ section below!
Until next time Donegal…
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