So it was bound to happen! Torrential rain on a day we had planned to go Galavanting. We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits though. Myself and Mam and my sister Kate loaded up the car on a dreary Monday hoping and praying that the forecast was a pack of lies and the sun would eventually come out. Our Destination- County Donegal and the Slieve League Cliffs. The Slieve League Cliffs are some of the highest in Europe and are (in parts) three times higher than the much visited Cliffs of Moher in Clare.
From Cavan we took the A509 to bring us into Enniskillen in Fermanagh and then the A46 to bring us into Ballyshannon in Donegal (N3). The N15 brought us into Donegal town and then we headed west along the Wild Atlantic Way towards Killybegs and finally Carrick. You take a left turn in Carrick to make your way out to the cliffs. Its well signposted but this road is incredibly narrow. You take a right then of this narrow road onto an even narrower road to reach the car park. At this stage the sat nav was telling us to park and walk to our destination. I always obey Mary (my sat nav :)) but on this occasion I wish I hadn’t. After a quick visit to the port a loo we walked through the gate at the top of the car park. It was at this stage that we realised that cars were driving up and down this road. I decided that we were going to walk the few kilometres up to the viewing point and stare all the drivers out of it as they drove past us to make them feel guilty! The walk is a bit steep for the first 300 metres but it leveled off after that and oh the scenery! Even in the rain it was stunning. If you do decide to drive up to the viewing point be warned that this road is very narrow and there is a sheer drop in places to the side of the road- not for the faint hearted!
When we reached the viewing point the car park area was jammed pack with coaches and I was so happy we had decided to walk (even though we were soaked!). I thought all the coaches ruined the scenery around the area. So even with the low lying cloud we still got stunning views of the cliffs and the sheer height of them. To the right of the viewing point there are paths that lead you up to one mans pass at the top of the cliffs. This walk is recommended for experience hikers only as its incredibly narrow in spots. Amazingly we could see people walking up here even though the visibility was zero!
Apparently on the high slopes of Slieve League there are remains of an ancient monastic settlement. Near to the viewing area there are stones that spell out EIRE. This was to signal to passing aircraft in World War two that they had reached the coast of Ireland. After taking lots of pictures and selfies we headed back down to the car park and spotted the old signal tower at Carrigan Head on the way. This was built in the early 19th century to watch for a possible French invasion.
As Murphys law dictates, the minute we got back down to the car the sun came out. Typical. We were delighted that we had experienced the views that we did all the same. I can imagine how outstanding this trip would be on a clear day. For anyone who is into walking or trekking I would definitely recommend this trip for the scenery alone. Oh and its completely free! There is a lovely little cafe on the road outside of Carrick called Tí Linn where you can stop on the way back. I will definitely be returning!
I have attached a few links below to help you plan your visit and as always- Happy Galavanting xxx