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The 2024 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

The 2024 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

Day 18 (Fermanagh and Donegal) – Ireland’s Stairway to Heaven, caves, cliffs and more

Day 18 sees us move into Fermanagh for a spell before making our way up towards Donegal.

There’s a solid day of exploring ahead.

Let’s get cracking!

1 – Climbing Ireland’s Stairway to Heaven 

// Your hotel to Cuilcagh – 55-minute drive (arrive for 10:00) //

getting from dublin to cuilcagh

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

You’ll often hear the boardwalk on Cuilcagh Mountain referred to ‘Ireland’s Stairway to Heaven‘ or ‘Ireland’s Great Wall‘ (not sure where they’re getting the ‘wall’ from…

The marvelous wooden boardwalk above that you’re currently devouring with your eyes sits on Cuilcagh, a Mountain that straddles the Fermanagh and Cavan border.

getting from cuilcagh to dublin

Photo © The Irish Road Trip: #CuilcaghIsDeadly

The boardwalk covers an impressive 1.6km of Cuilcagh Mountain, making it very walker friendly (especially for those with lower levels of fitness).

Pre-walk good-to-knows

Walk time: the last time I did it (2017) it took 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Difficulty: moderate levels of fitness needed.

Tip: arrive early – parking here at peak times is an absolute disaster. Parking costs £5.

More info: here’s everything you need to know about walking the Cuilcagh Boardwalk.

2 – The Marble Arch Caves (and a light bite to eat)

// Finish up the walk at 13:00 and arrive to the caves for 13:20 (they’re right next to each other) //

marble arch cave cavan

If you’re in need of a light post-walk feed, drop into the cafe on-site first.

The Marble Arch Caves are found within throwing distance of where you’ll be finishing up your walk.

They’re a series of natural limestone caves that are around 11.5 kilometers in length.

Interestingly enough, the caves form the longest known cave system in Northern Ireland.

marble arch caves fermanagh

Those that nip along to the Marble Arch Caves will experience a natural underworld of;

  • Rivers
  • Waterfalls
  • Winding passages
  • Lofty chambers

The tour takes visitors on a short stroll down through the Marble Arch National Nature Reserve, before taking a short 10-minute underground boat journey and then a 1.5km walk through the showcave that you can see above.

Read more about the Marble Arch Caves.[/su_not

3 – Slieve League

// Cuilcagh to Slieve League – 2-hour drive (arrive for 16:30) //

We've a decent spin to get us up into Donegal for our next stop, but it'll be worth it (if you're visiting in the winter months when the evenings get dark early, you'll need to leave this until the following day.

The Slieve League Cliffs

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Towering above the Atlantic at 2,000 feet (twice the height of the Cliffs of Moher), the Slieve League Cliffs are an adventurers dream.

On a clear day, the cliffs offer breath-taking views across Donegal Bay, Sligo and Mayo.

Slieve League is perfect for those that may be unable to partake in any strenuous activity, as a path from the entrance point to the viewing point allows you to drive right the way up to the top.

4 - A room for the night

// Slieve League to your B&B - 15-minute drive (arrive for 18:00) //

For convenience, and due to the reviews being sublime, I'm going to recommend that you spend the night in Slieve League House B&B.

Head to the B&B and get checked in. When you've chilled for a bit, head to the Rusty Mackrel for a bite to eat.

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Leeann Nolan

Wednesday 15th of November 2023

Hi Keith Thank you so much for all the work you have done on The Irish Road Trip. I have used much of it to plan my 7 week trip to Ireland in 2024. It has been invaluable :)

Mick Bourke

Sunday 24th of September 2023

G’day Keith-thanks for your trip. My wife and I will be over there in late April and most of May (about a month in total before heading to Scotland for a couple of weeks). I think I’ll be using your trip (which is great (as also is the additional info at the bottom)) as the basis for ours, however, I would like to do abit more of the inland (like a figure eight of the island). Do you have any suggestions?

Keith O'Hara

Wednesday 27th of September 2023

Hey Mick,

Is there anywhere in particular you have in mind with the inland section?



MIchael Katekar

Tuesday 11th of July 2023

A big thank you for all of the time and hard work you have put into this blog. Great information. I don't think we can keep up with your pace but will certainly take up many of your suggestions.

Isabella Dennison

Sunday 26th of March 2023

Good day Keith,

Wow, what an amazing work you've done! I'm forever grateful!!! Please can you email this to me. We are planning to explore Ireland for the first time this year 2023, all the way from South Africa.

Thank you

Keith O'Hara

Monday 27th of March 2023

Thanks Isabell!

Sorry it's taken me so long to reply!

I've tried to get this converted to PDF on a number of occasions, but the result is very messy due to the volume of photos in it.

If there's any specific questions that I can help with, please fire them on and I'll do my best to answer them.


Jodie Wilson

Sunday 26th of March 2023

First retirement trip. Ireland for a month! Go big or go home. So excited to start this new chapter in our lives - and to hit the roads of Ireland. This guide is perfect - but I’d love a more readable copy if you could email it to me.

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