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 21 (Donegal and Derry) – Forts, Panoramic Views and Loads More

Day 21 will see us finish up in Donegal before moving swiftly on to Derry.

It’s a little bit crazy to think that we’re on the verge of hitting week three of our Ireland road trip guide.

I won’t lie, I’m looking forward to finishing this – it’s taken a long, long, loooooong time to write. If you’ve found it helpful, please take 20 seconds to let me know in the comments below.

1 – Grianan of Aileach

// Portsalon Luxury Camping to Grianan of Aileach – 1-hour drive (arrive for 09:00) //

Grianan of Aileach donegal

Photo by Tom Archer

The Grianan of Aileach is a hillfort that sits on top of the 801 ft high Greenan Mountain on Inishowen.

The drive up to Grianan of Aileach, which is said to date back to the 1st century, is worth the trip alone.

When you reach the top you’ll be treated to a magnificent 360 view that takes in Lough Swilly, Lough Foyle and the gorgeous countryside of the Inishowen Peninsula.

2 – Mamore Gap

// Grianan of Aileach to Mamore Gap – 40-minute drive (arrive for 9:50) //

mamore gap in donegal

Photo via Failte Ireland

Those of you that have never visited Mamore Gap are in for a treat.

It’s hard not to admire the sheep and cyclists battling their way up the steep hillsides as your car (mine did anyway) struggles against the incline.

The view from the top is one of those scenes that paints itself upon your mind forever.

Wild. Remote. Unspoiled. Mamore Gap will take your breath away.

3 – Glenevin Waterfall

// Mamore Gap to Glenevin Waterfall – 15-minute drive (arrive for 11:00) //

Glenevin Waterfall donegal

Photo via Failte Ireland

I always think that Glenevin Waterfall looks a little bit like something whipped from the first Jurassic Park movie.

The waterfall looks like something that you’d find on a prehistoric island from a land that time forgot.

Once you’ve parked the car, you’re around a 15 minute walk away that’ll take you along a lovely pathway that’s surrounded by trees.

Chill and enjoy the music of the water crashing in your ears.

4 – Malin Head

// Glenevin Waterfall to Malin Head – 30-minute drive (arrive for 12:20) //

malin head drone shot

Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Our next stop takes us to the most northerly point of the island of Ireland – Malin Head.

After visiting Malin Head recently, the one thing that hit me, and that stuck with me long after my visit, was the sheer power of mother nature.

There are several walks you can do here – the road walk to Banbas crown is roughly 12km and will take you around 5 hours depending on fitness levels.

As you explore Malin head, keep an eye out for a large ‘EIRE’ on the ground nearby, written out in white stones to remind aircraft that they were flying over a neutral state during the war.

5 – Lunch in the Seaview Tavern

// Malin Head to the tavern – 5-minute drive (arrive for 13:30) //

Our stop-off point for lunch is a short drive from Malin Head.

Drop by the Seaview Tavern and fuel up for the busy day ahead.

6 – Derry City Walls

// Malin Head to the Derry City Walls – 55-minute drive (arrive for 15:30) //

derry city walls

Photo by Brian Morrison

Our next stop takes us to the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland.

The Derry City Walls were constructed between 1613-1618, and were used as a defense against the early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland.

They form a walkway around the inner city and provide a lovely unique promenade to check out the layout of the original town of Derry.

Spend some time walking the Walls of Derry for a stroll into a bit of rich Irish history.

7 – Free Derry Corner

// Derry City Walls to Free Derry Corner – 2-minute drive/6-minute walk (arrive for 16:40) //

free derry corner

Photo by Louise Price via Wikipedia Commons

The Free Derry Corner is an iconic landmark in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry,

It was at this corner and in many of the surrounding streets where the Battle of the Bogside in 1969 and Bloody Sunday in 1972 took place.

Please do take some time to read about both of the above events before you visit.

The Free Derry Corner was first painted in January 1969, and has seen many iterations since.

8 – Dinner in Derry

Peadar O’Donnell’s derry

Photo via Peadar O’Donnell’s

We’re going to head to Fitzroy’s Restaurant for dinner.

Get in, order food, and spend some time looking back over what has been a crazy three weeks!

When you’ve finished eating, take the short stroll to Peadar O’Donnell’s pub for a few pints.

I’m going to recommend that you spend the night in the Bridge B&B. It’s central and the reviews are top notch.

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.