Day 15 – Forts, Panoramic Views and Loads More
So, we’re on to our final lap of the Donegal stretch of our road trip as we move into day 15.
Just writing about Donegal has given me an itch to book a couple of nights there over the the next few months!
If you can, get up early and enjoy the sunrise from your bed and then get on the road for 8.
Here’s everything you need to know about day 15!
- Grianan of Aileach (you’ll enjoy the drive up to this)
- Letting the mouth drop at Mamore Gap
- Glenevin Waterfall
- Malin Head
- Kinnagoe Bay
- Derry City Walls
- Free Derry Corney
- Rain gear
Day 15 Stop #1 – Grianan of Aileach
Portsalon Luxury Camping to Grianan of Aileach – 1-hour drive (arrive for 9)
The Grianan of Aileach is a hillfort that sits on top of the 801 ft high Greenan Mountain on Inishowen.
According to these lads, the stone fort is said to date back to the 1st century on the site of an early Iron Age multivallate hillfort.
The drive up to Grianan of Aileach 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.
Day 15 Stop #2 – Dunree Head
Grianan of Aileach to Fort Dunree Military Museum – 40-minute drive (leave Grianan of Aileach at 9:50, arrive to the fort for 10:30)
Our second stop of the day takes us to Dunree Head to check out Dunree Fort and the military museum.
The Museum is positioned in a wonderful setting that overlooks Lough Swilly on the on the Inishowen Peninsula.
There are several weather-beaten barracks which you can have a gander at and if you fancy along with an audiovisual presentation.
Day 15 Stop #3 – Mamore Gap
Dunree Head to Mamore Gap – 15 minutes drive (leave the fort at 11:15, arrive to Mamore Gap for 11:30)
If you’ve never visited Mamore Gap before, then you’re in for a treat.
Found on the Inishowen Peninsula this immensely scenic drive twists and turns through the gap along a steep route.
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.
Once you reach the summit of Mamore Gap it’ll immediately become evident why this is one of the best things to do in Donegal.
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.
Ever wanted to check out the Northern Lights? Did you know you can see them light up the sky above Donegal? Click here for more info and tonnes of photos.
Day 15 Stop #4 – Glenevin Waterfall
Mamore Gap to Glenevin Waterfall – 13-minute drive (leave Mamore at 12:10, arrive to the waterfall for 12:23)
The first time I laid eyes upon Glenevin Waterfall it mustered up images in my mind of 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.
Glenevin Waterfall is well worth adding to your road trip itinerary.
Day 15 Stop #5 – Malin Head
Glenevin Waterfall to Malin Head – 31-minute drive (leave the waterfall at 13:00, arrive to Malin Head for 13:31)
Our next stop takes us to Malin Head – the most northerly point of the island of Ireland.
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.
As I stood and gazed out at the jagged rocks that jutted from the water nearby, I was half deafened from the whistle of the gales that whipped over the Atlantic coupled with the sound of water clattering against rock.
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.
Day 15 Stop #6 – Lunch in the Seaview Tavern
Malin Head to the tavern – 4-minute drive (leave Malin Head at 14:30, arrive for foooood at 14:34)
Our stop-off point for lunch is a short 4-minute drive from Malin Head.
Drop by the Seaview Tavern and fuel up for the busy afternoon and evening ahead.
Day 15 Stop #7 – Kinnagoe Bay
The tavern to Kinnagoe Bay – 38-minute drive (leave the tavern at 15:34, arrive to Kinnagoe for 16:15)
Our next stop takes us to the gorgeous Kinnagoe Bay.
We’ve visited many a great beach over the past few days, and this one is the icing on the cake.
You can view the bay from the road above or take a walk down to the sand to give the legs a ‘wee stretch’.
Day 15 Stop #8 – Derry City Walls
Kinnaoe Bay to Derry City Walls – 45-minute drive (leave the bay at 16:35, arrive to the walls for 17:20)
Our next stop takes us to the only remaining completely walled city in Ireland.
The walls were constructed between 1613-1618 as defense against the early seventeenth century settlers from England and Scotland.
They form a walkway around the inner city and provide a unique promenade to check out the layout of the original town.
Spend some time walking the Walls of Derry for a stroll into a bit of rich Irish history.
Day 15 Stop #9 – Free Derry Corner
Derry City Walls to Free Derry Corner – 2-minute drive/6-minute walk (arrive for 17:50)
The Free Derry Corner is an iconic landmark in the Bogside neighbourhood of Derry,
The corner, and the surrounding streets, were the scene of the Battle of the Bogside in 1969 and Bloody Sunday in 1972.
Please do take some time to read about both of the above events.
It was first painted in January 1969, and has seen many iterations since.
Day 15 Stop #10 – Dinner in Derry
We’re going to head to the Sooty Olive Restaurant – mainly because I love the name, but also because the reviews for the place are through the roof.
Get in, order food, and spend some time looking back over what has been a crazy two weeks!
Day 15 Stop #11 – Portstewart for the night
Derry to Portstewart – 51-minute drive (leave Derry at 19:00, arrive to Portstewart for 19:52)
That was a long day of driving, but it sets us up nicely for driving the Antrim coastline.
I’m going to recommend that you stay the Saltwater Bed and Breakfast for the night.
Check-in to your room and if you fancy a night cap, walk a short 11 minutes to Shenanigans Venue.
Where the road trip will take us on day 16 (the Causeway Coastal Route)
It’s mental to think we’re moving into day 16 – who’s still with me?
Day 16 takes us onto the magnificent Causeway Coastal Route – a road trip that I’ve done several times, and can 100% recommend.
Click into page 17 below for a full itinerary (and photos and videos)