Skip to Content

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 20 (Donegal) – Sunrise on Marble Hill Beach, One of the best views in Donegal and plenty more

Day 20 is packed with some of the best things to do in Donegal.

We’ll be getting up early to catch the sunrise, and then heading out to soak up more of what this corner of Donegal has to offer.

1 – Sunrise on Marble Hill Beach 

marble hill beach donegal

Marble Hill Beach

Set the alarm for just before sunrise.

When you’re up and ready to rock, take the 5-minute stroll to Marble Hill Beach.

On the day that I visited, the sun rose at around 06:25, and I had the whole place to myself.

2 – Horn Head

horn head donegal

Photo by Eimantas Juskevicius/shutterstock

// The Shandon to Horn Head – 20-minute drive (arrive for 09:00) //

Our first stop of Day 20 takes us up to Horn Head.

On this trip, we’ll be driving up to Horn Head and admiring the view (hopefully it’s a clear day), but you can also head off on a walk if you fancy.

For those that want to walk it, John O’Dwyer provides a fantastic guide in the Irish Times here.

There are two viewing points where you can get out at and admire the scenery that surrounds you;

  • The first is on the north side and here cliffs and glorious sea views dominate.
  • The second overlooks Dunfanaghy and you’ll be treated to a view of the Muckish and Derryveagh mountains

3 – Killahoey Beach

// Horn Head to Killahoey Beach – 15-minute drive (arrive for 10:00) //

You’ll hear Killahoey Beach often referred to as Dunfanaghy beach.

It’s a gorgeous Blue Flag beach that’s popular for water sports.

Stop off here, take the shoes and socks off and get a lungful of Atlantic air as you trudge along the shore.

4 – The Loop around Tra Na Rossan

// Killahoey Beach to Downings – 30-minute drive / Downings to Tra Na Rossan – 10-minute drive //

The drive we’re about to head off on is called the Atlantic Drive (thanks Frances-anne Gallagher for pointing it out in our guide to the best things to do in Donegal).

Tra Na Rossan ireland road trip

Photo by Chris Hill

This drive really is out of this world.

Pull in to the first safe spot you find at the side of the road and just soak up the view.

5 – Lunch at the Singing Pub

// Tra na Rossan view to the Singing Pub – 5-minute drive (arrive for around 13:00) //

If you land here on a sunny day, perch yourself on one of the seats outside and admire the view.

Fuel up and chill for a bit.

6 – Fanad Head Lighthouse

// The Singing Pub to Fanad Head – 30-minute drive (arrive for 15:00) //

fanad lighthouse donegal

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Fanad Head Lighthouse is likely to be one of the highlights of your Ireland Road Trip.

It’s a special place.

The drive to Fanad Lighthouse is worth the trip alone, as you pass through the seemingly endless beautifully quaint countryside that leads to it.

fanad lighthouse ireland

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The whole craggy coastal area that surrounds the lighthouse is just out of this world.

Sit up on the stone wall to the left of the lighthouse and switch off for a while. Soak up the sounds of the ocean and bask in the beauty of one Ireland’s most spectacular corners.

7 – Ballymastocker Bay

// Fanad Head to Ballymastocker Bay – 20-minute drive (arrive for 16:00) //

Ballymastocker Bay is another one of Donegal’s incredible Blue Flag beaches.

Once voted the 2nd most beautiful beach in the world by the Observer Magazine, it offers tremendous views out towards the Inishowen Peninsula.

Ballymastocker Bay

Photo by Chris Hill

Get out and head for a ramble.

This is out last stop for the day.

8 – Glamping by the Beach

// Ballymastocker Bay to Portsalon Luxury Glamping //

Before you check in, head to the Pier Restaurant (7-minute drive from where you’re staying) and then get back to enjoy your unique bed for the night.

glamping in donegal

Photo via Portsalon Luxury Camping

Tonight, you’re glamping in Portsalon Luxury Camping, which is nestled on a hillside and enjoys spectacular views of Lough Swilly, Mulroy Bay, Knockalla mountain and the Inishowen Peninsula.

Kick-back in a hammock and listen to the crackle of the fire from your wood-burning stove.

Discover more: check out our guide to the most unique places to stay in Ireland.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.