There are few places on this earth quite as serene as the ruggedly beautiful county Donegal on the Bluestack and Slí Cholmchille Way. Any amount of time spent wandering around this undulating landscape will uncover just what it is that makes the Bluestack and Slí Cholmchille Way one of the most beautiful and undiscovered places on the planet.
The words wild and untamed spring to mind when attempting to put this landscape into words. In light of my recent trip, I can only describe the scenery in this part of the country as jaw dropping. The Bluestack and Slí Cholmchille Way traverses country roads through a land of sweeping valleys, meandering streams and cascading waterfalls. With the Bluestack Mountains towering above to the pristine beaches below, there is simply a wealth of beautiful scenery to be discovered. Its glistening lakes and seemingly perpetual rainbows lead to a sense of magic and mystique about the place. Of the most spectacular scenery on route are The Sliabh Liag cliffs, which at 600 metres are the highest sea cliffs in Europe and almost three times as high as the famed Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
Their lilting musical brogue, sense of community and curiosity are all part of what make the locals of Donegal so charming. Somewhat cut off from the rest of the Republic of Ireland, with neighbouring Leitrim as its only connector. This isolation has lead them to coin the county’s slogan “Up here it’s different”. Presenting itself as a bastion of Irish culture and language. The Donegal Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) is the second largest area in Ireland and the Bluestack and Slí Colmchille Way passes through a number of Irish speaking areas, one of the most well known being Glen Cholmchille.
The embodiment of this unique Donegal charm lies inside the door of Nancy’s of Ardara. Arriving at Nancy’s after a long days walking to a warm open fire place, the friendliest of welcomes, a warm cup of tea and a serving of home-made vegetable soup and brown bread to rival your Grannies was a real highlight for me and an absolute must for anybody walking or cycling this route.
In this era of digital sharing and constant documentation, finding a destination that’s a little bit off the beaten track is no mean feat. In search of the perfect location, travelers run the risk of arriving at a destination only to find it flooded with tourists, taking similar pictures at identical locations. While many visitors to Ireland (as many as 62%) sadly, never venture outside of Dublin, of the ones that do favour Kerry, Galway and Belfast as their destinations of choice, leaving the north-western part of the country relatively undiscovered by tourists. In other words: it’s our little secret and we suggest you go NOW before the rest catch on!
To book your trip on the Bluestack and Slí Cholmchille Way or for more information on walking and cycling in Ireland, contact our travel specialists.