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Donegal Looped Walks

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With everything from remote mountain hikes to dramatic coastal walks, Donegal is the perfect place to get off the beaten track, take in some outstanding natural scenery and reconnect with nature.

After several months confined to your back garden, this is your chance to make your escape and plan a real life adventure in Donegal. If you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of one of the golden eagles that were reintroduced to the county almost two decades ago.
Whether you prefer short strolls or energetic hikes, the following loop walks should be on everyone's Donegal bucket list.

Hiking boots

1. The Inishowen Head Loop

This route takes you to the most northerly tip of Ireland, where you can see Scotland on a clear day. The 8km Inishowen Head Loop starts at the old World War II lookout tower on Banba's Crown and takes in rough tracks through quiet bogland, winding back roads and a newly-developed coastal cliff path.
You'll pass the place from which St Columba set sail for Scotland in 563 to set up his abbey in Iona. Other notable landmarks include Stroove Lighthouse but the real attraction here is the amazing views you'll see along the way.


2. Tory Island Loop

Tory Island is a mystical place, a 45-minute ferry trip off the Donegal coast in the Atlantic. But one of the most enchanting things about the island is the islanders themselves, who know how to extend the warmest of welcomes.

The 4km Tory Island Loop starts in West Town and takes you around the edges of the island, taking in some magnificent cliff scenery and ancient relics from its storied past. It is also an important international bio-diversity area and a breeding site of the rare corncrake so you might even hear its distinctive call.

 Hiking in the Errigal Mountains in Donegal

3. Errigal Mountain and Mackoght Loop Walk

If you're looking for something a little bit more challenging, this 6km loop walk takes in a trek to the peak of Donegal's iconic Errigal Mountain. The top of the mountain includes a narrow ridge between its two peaks that is not for the faint-hearted but you'll get incredible views of Dunlewey Lough (or Lough Dunlewy), the Poisoned Glen and the surrounding mountains.


4. Kinballycrowie Loop

This enjoyable 7km walk in West Donegal starts out in Burtonport Harbour and takes in a reclaimed railway corridor that was once the main Burtonport to Derry line. Many of the original railway line features remain intact so you'll see stone pillars, gateposts and gatehouses dotted along the way. It's a peaceful walk down country lanes that anyone can enjoy.

5. Glencolmcille Loop

This area's pilgrimage past will certainly be in evidence as you leave St. Columba's Church and cover the coastline between Sliabh Liag (Slieve League) to Sliabh Tuaidh. From cross-inscribed pillars to Megalithic tombs, the Glencolmcille Loop is dotted with historical and religious landmarks. Of course, the biggest attraction is the heavenly views of the soaring sea cliffs and mountainous backdrop that make this such a special place to visit.

   The mountains at Glencolmcille, County Donegal

6. Rougey Walk

Bundoran might be best known for surfing but the seaside town also has some great walking routes that show off its coastal charms. The Rougey Walk takes in gorgeous views of the dunes at Tullan Strand, Mullaghmore and even Sliabh Liag on the other side of the bay. Make sure to get a photo at the distinctive rock bridges known locally as the Fairy Bridges and to make a wish on the famous stone Wishing Chair.


More Loop Walks in Donegal

Once you’ve ticked these six walks off your list there’s plenty more dramatic coastline and mystical mountain to discover. If you really want to go off the beaten track you can even create your own route to hidden spots with local expert Seamus Doohan who was raised in the shadow of the Derryveagh Mountains in the Gaeltacht area of Falcarragh.

Because our changed world means a new focus on public protection, look out for the COVID-19 Safety Charter while you travel. This symbol, adopted by businesses across Ireland to show their commitment to safety measures, will hopefully bring you peace of mind as you explore Donegal. Also, don't forget to check with individual attractions and businesses in advance to confirm they're ready to welcome visitors again.

After you go under the surface of Donegal, it's time to start thinking about what you'll discover next on the Wild Atlantic Way. Want to go further afield? Find out more about how to make a break for other regions of our amazing island...

  • Slieve League
  • Tullagh Beach, Inishowen
  • Tory Island


It's finally time to pack your bags and make your escape

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