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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 19 (Donegal) – Beautiful beaches, one of the bendiest roads in Ireland and more

Day 19 takes us further into Donegal.

We’ll be exploring the coast, the national park and lots more.

Get up and hit the road for 10.

1 – Malin Beg and Silver Strand Beach

// Your B&B to Malin Beg – 25-minute drive (arrive for 10:25) //

Malin Beg in donegal

Photo via Failte Ireland

Silver Strand Beach, like many places in Donegal, makes me question why I’m living in Dublin.

Whether you’re chilling out on the grass above and gazing down at it from above, or strolling along the sandy shores and listening to the waves crash, this horse-shoe shaped beach is an unspoiled gem.

Take your time here and bask in the beauty that surrounds you.

2 – Glencolmcille Folk Village and/or beach

// Malin Beg to Glencolmcille – 15-minute drive (arrive for 11:10) //

Our next stop is the Folk Village in the gorgeous little town of Glencolmcille.

This is a thatched-roof replica of a rural Irish village and it offers a glimpse into what daily life was like in years past.

Each cottage is an exact replica of a dwelling used by locals in each of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

If the Silver Strand gave you a lust for sea air, you can also take a stroll along Glencolmcille beach.

3 – Spin along the bendy road at Glengesh Pass

// Glencolmcille to Glengesh – 30-minute drive (arrive for 12:45) //

Glengesh Pass is one of several crazy (and magnificent) Irish roads (see the rest here).

glengesh pass donegal

Photo by Gareth Wray

It meanders through the seemingly endless mountainous terrain that connects the towns of Glencolmcille and Ardara, with more twists and turns than my stomach cares to remember.

Take your time here. Pull in where you can. And admire the road the winds through the valley.

4 – Assaranca Waterfall

// Glengesh to Assaranca Waterfall – 15-minute drive (arrive for 13:30) //

What I love about Assaranca Waterfall is that it’s literally at the side of the road, so if it’s raining away you can kick back in your car, lower the window a tad and soak up the sights and the sounds.

Get out here and ramble up to the water.

Assaranca Waterfall donegal

Photo via Tourism Ireland

5 – A Late Lunch in Ardara

// Assaranca Waterfall to Ardara – 15-minute drive (arrive for 14:10) //

Point the car in the direction of Ardara and head to Sheila’s Coffee and Cream.

I’ve eaten here on many visits to Donegal and it’s been brilliant ever single time.

6 – Glenveagh National Park

// Ardara to Glenveagh – 1 hour drive (arrive for 16:10) //

Glenveagh National Park

Photo by Chris Hill

Glenveagh National Park spans an impressive 16,000 hectares.

It encompasses most of the Derryveagh Mountains, the Poisoned Glen and part of Errigal Mountain.

For those looking to get a lungful of fresh air, there are several walks you can choose from.

We’re going to do the View Point Trail (takes 1-hour) on this trip. Here’s how the folks at Glenveagh describe it;

‘The View Point Trail is perhaps the best short walk option in the Park. It leads to an ideal vantage point for enjoying views of the rugged scenery, with magnificent perspectives of the castle below, Lough Veagh and the surrounding landscapes.

Glenveagh National Park walk

Photo by Chris Hill

This circular 1.5Km trail starts and ends at the castle, taking from 50-60 min at a leisurely pace.

The surface is good at all stages and very steep for several short distances. Follow the direction of the road behind the castle, taking the path uphill just outside the garden gates. The route is signposted from here.’

Walk at your leisure and soak up the sights, smells and sounds.

7 – Dunfanaghy for the night

// Glenveagh to the Shandon – 25-minute drive (arrive for 19:00) //

I’m going to recommend that you stay in the Shandon Hotel and Spa to round off day 19 of our Ireland road trip.

I stayed there recently and loved it. Look at the view from the hot tub…

hot tub at the shandon spa

The Canadian hot tub

Check into your room and chill for a while, then head to the hotels bar for some food and a drink.

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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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