Visiting The Slieve League Cliffs In Donegal: Parking, Walks And Viewpoint

Everything you need to know

slieve league cliffs
Photo left: Pierre Leclerc. Right: MNStudio

A visit to the Sliabh Liag Cliffs (aka ‘Slieve League’) is one of the most popular things to do in Donegal.

Standing at a whopping 1,972 feet/601 meters, the Slieve League Cliffs are nearly 3 times higher than the Cliffs of Moher and almost twice the height of the Eiffel Town.

In the guide below, you’ll discover information on everything from the Slieve League walk / hike to where to park and what to see nearby (Donegal’s secret waterfall and much more!).

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting the Slieve League Cliffs / Sliab Liag

Slieve league hike
Photo taken by MNStudio (shutterstock)

Now, although a visit to the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal is reasonably straightforward, there’s a couple of need-to-knows that’ll make your visit a bit more enjoyable.

Below, you’ll find info on everything from the Slieve League car park (there are two) to how the weather can ruin a visit here.

1. Location

The Slieve League Cliffs (Sliabh Liag) are located on the stunning south west coast of Donegal, a stones throw from Donegal Town and many other attractions.

2. Parking

There are two Slieve League car parks. If you park at the first car park (the bottom car park), you’ll have a 30 – 45 minute walk up to the viewing area.

The walk up is steep. If you don’t fancy the walk, or if you’re stuck for time, open the gate (close it after you) and take the drive up to the parking area near the viewing point. 

3. Weather

The weather at the Slieve League Cliffs plays a huge part in your experience here, and I’m not talking about the rain. It can get very misty here, at times.

If you arrive when there’s mist, the chances are a good chunk of the cliffs will be covered. If you arrive on a day like this you’ll need to try and wait it out or come back another time.

4. Safety

The Slieve League Cliffs are unfenced in the majority of places, so please be careful and never go too close to the edge.

The drive from the lower to upper car park needs to be taken with extreme care, as there are plenty of bends and blind spots and a lot of people walk here.

5. The Slieve League viewpoint

If you’re visiting the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal with someone that has limited mobility, you can, quite literally, drive right up next to the viewing area.

Things to keep an eye out for at Sliabh Liag

The Slieve League Cliffs
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

A trip here shocks the senses in every way imaginable. In winter, harsh wind batters your body from every angle while the delightfully fresh aroma of the ocean fills your nostrils.

Throw in the constant crash from waves bashing against jagged cliff face and you’ve a pretty damn special experience on your hands.

When you visit the Slieve League Cliffs, there are several things to keep an eye out for that offer an insight into the areas history.

1. The Éire sign

During the second world war, Ireland had certain agreements with The Allies. One of these agreements allowed allied aircraft fly through the Donegal Corridor, a narrow strip of airspace that linked Lough Erne to the Atlantic Ocean.

The word Éire was placed in stone on headlands around Donegal (you can see another at Malin Head), to act as navigation aid for those flying above.

You can still see this Éire sign at the Sliabh Liag Cliffs – it’s situated right next to the viewing point car park.

2. An ancient pilgrimage site

Sliabh Liag was also an ancient pilgrimage site. High on the slopes of the mountain you’ll find remains of an early Christian monastic site. Keep an eye our for a chapel, beehive huts and ancient stone remains.

You’ll also find an old signal tower at Carrigan Head that dates back to the Napoleonic wars. This tower was used by the B

3. The views

From the top of the Sliabh Liag Cliffs you’ll be treated to views out across Donegal Bay all the way to Sligo and beyond.

You’ll encounter a number of lakes on your way to the summit, and at the base there’s a little beach of pure white sand that’s only approachable by boat.

To the right hand side of the beach there’s a large cave where seals sometimes retreat to (don’t get too close to the edge when looking for this!).

Slieve League walk options

sliabh liag walk
Photo by Chris Hill

There are several different Slieve League walk options, ranging from reasonably handy to pretty damn long and pretty damn hard.

The first walk mentioned below is the easiest of the two. The second is longer, and requires some planning along with the appropriate footwear.

Slieve League walk 1: From the lower car park

The first Slieve League walk is arguably the most popular (and it’s definitely the most straightforward!).

This walk kicks-off from the lower car park and talks you up steep hills for 30 – 45 minutes before eventually climaxing at the viewing point.

This walk shouldn’t be too taxing for most, however, if you have a low level of fitness you may find the steep inclines troublesome.

Slieve League hike 2: The Pilgrims’ Path

The Pilgrams Path is another popular Slieve League walk, but it should only be attempted by those with some hiking experience and should never be attempted when foggy.

If you pop ‘Pilgrim’s Path’ into Google Maps you’ll find the start point (it’s near Teelin and not far from the Rusty Mackerel pub). This walk starts out pretty easy, as you ramble along a sandy/stony trail that soon becomes rocky.

It then gets steepish, but will be manageable for those with moderate fitness levels. You can walk up to the viewing area and then go back the way you came (90 minutes each way).

Or, you can do the loop, and continue down to the main Slieve League viewpoint and then walk back to Teelin. This can take up to 7 hours and is a challenging hike.

Slieve League walk detour: One Man’s Pass

There’s an extremely narro pathway called ‘One Man’s Pass’ at Slieve League that should be avoided by all but experienced climbers.

And it should be avoided by everyone during bad weather or if you’re in any way bad with heights/are unsteady on your feet. This is dangerous. 

This is, as you can see from the video below, knife-edge like path that’s hundred of metres above the Atlantic below. 

The Slieve League Cliffs visitor centre

If you’re in doubt about any of the walks above, or if you’d like to learn more about the Slieve League Cliffs, the Slieve League Cliffs Centre in Teelin is a good place to nip into.

The centre will immerse you in local culture, food and crafts. You’ll also find info on Slieve League boat tours, kayaking adventures and much more.

There’s a cafe on site and there’s also car and coach parking available on-site along with a bus service to the Slieve League viewing point.

Places to visit near the cliffs

One of the beauties of visiting the Slieve League Cliffs is that they’re a handy spin of some of the best places to visit in Donegal.

From waterfalls and breath-taking beaches to places to grab a bite to eat and more, below you’ll find some of our favourite places to visit near Sliabh Liag.

1. Donegal’s ‘Hidden Waterfall’ (22-minutes away)

hidden waterfall donegal
Photo by John Cahalin (Shutterstock)

Located near Largy, Donegal’s Secret Waterfall is a site of immense natural beauty. However, as you’ll discover in this guide, it’s not easily reached.

2. Malin Beg (29-minutes away)

Silver Strand Beach near ardara
Photo by Milosz Maslanka (Shutterstock)

Malin Beg aka Silver Strand Beach is a bit of a hidden gem. It’s known and loved by those in the know, but many that visit Donegal tend to overlook it.

This is an unspoiled horseshoe-shaped beach that you can admire from the grassy hill above. A handy 29-minute spin from the Slieve League Cliffs.

3. Glencolmcille Folk Village (22-minutes away)

Glencolmcille Folk Village Donegal
Photo left: Christy Nicholas. Right: Glencolmcille Folk Village

Perched overlooking Glen Bay Beach, Glencolmcille Folk Village is a replica of how villages in Ireland looked many years ago.

Offering a close-up look at daily life in Donegal in times past, this unique attraction showcases the heritage, culture and ingenuity of the local population.

4. Assaranca Waterfall (38-minutes away)

ardara waterfall donegal
Photo by Yevhen Nosulko/shutterstock

Much easier to reach than the previously mentioned ‘Secret Waterfall’, the mighty Assaranca Waterfall is a spectacular sight that’s right next to the road.

This is just down the road from Ardara – a little village that’s home to plenty of places to eat, sleep and drink.

5. Maghera Caves and Beach (36-minutes away)

Maghera Strand near assaranca
Photo by Lukassek (Shutterstock)

Another great place to visit near the Slieve League Cliffs is Maghera Caves and Beach. This is a beautiful beach that has a wild rugged feeling that’s well worth sauntering along.

FAQs about visiting the Slieve League Cliffs in Donegal

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from Slieve League car park to the various walks on offer.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is there parking at the cliffs?

Yes, there’s an upper car park and a lower car park. You’ll need to walk 30 minutes from the lower car park to the viewing point. The upper car park is right next to the viewing area.

What is there to see at Sliabh Liag?

  • The viewpoint
  • The cave (keep an eye out for seals!)
  • The Eire sign
  • The ancient sites

Where to stay near the cliffs

For those of you wondering where to stay near Slieve League, here’s a handful of options (note: if you book via the links below we’ll make a tiny commission):

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

2 COMMENTS

  1. Is it possible to just drive then to the viewing point next to the second car park? That sounds like a fair trek from the 1st car park.

    • Hi Allan – you can drive up to the viewing point (there’s a little gate you’ll need to open and close after the first car park).

      I’ve heard people say that the road up to the viewing point is now in bits, so just be careful.

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