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) //
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) //
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) //
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) //
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) //
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) //
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
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.
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?
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!
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.