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The 2022 Bucket List Road Trip: 4 Weeks Exploring Ireland (Full Route + Itinerary)

The 2022 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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Monday 13th of March 2023

Keith, this is an extraordinary itinerary and so detailed. Thank you


Thursday 9th of March 2023

the link to the mailing list sign up isnt working...can I have you send me the document by email? it sounds amazing through quick page hopping! thought this morning that we might go this late Sept/early October for 3ish weeks.


Monday 6th of March 2023

Hi Keith, we’re looking at visiting Ireland September 2023, for four weeks, coming from Canada. Thankfully I found your guide, it is fantastic, you put in a great deal of work organizing this. Thank you. I have a couple tours books to cipher through as well, but it is painstaking slow. I need to get an itinerary put together fast, I see accommodations are filling up quickly for September. One question I have is, is it possible or wise to do your road trip in reverse? We’re not used to driving on the left side, haha, will it be safer doing the trip in reverse?

Suzanne Sullivan

Saturday 18th of February 2023

Do you have a PDF of the whole list that we could buy/download with links? We were planning to do the reverse of this in October 2023 (34 days)---but, rethinking after seeing yours!

David Ward

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

This itinerary will be the basis of our upcoming trip this year. We prefer to base ourselves in a place for maybe a week and explore the surrounding areas. We will be picking up a car in Belfast on 26 May and have it for almost 6 weeks. We are unsure of our direction of travel, but leaning towards anti-clockwise. Excluding Dublin, can you suggest 5 or 6 "bases" for exploration. Small towns with a bit of character ideally.

Keep up the good work.

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