8-Day Guided Walking Tour: Donegal & Antrim (Ireland North)

8 Day Guided Walking Holiday Donegal & Antrim

A Guided Walking Holiday in Ireland’s North

This is a unique guided walking tour in Ireland’s northern regions. You will need two forms of currency: Euro (€) for Donegal and Sterling (£) for Antrim. Both counties boast unique accents, intense history, strong legend, spectacular landscapes, and a great atmosphere. They are well-known for their love of good cheer with pints of your favourite tipple, traditional music, and storytellers.

Our walking tour begins in Donegal, following part of the world-famous Wild Atlantic Way, with added adventures to showcase the hidden gems of both Donegal and Antrim.

Walking in County Donegal

Donegal (Dún na nGall), which means “the fort of the foreigners”, most likely got its name from the Danish invasion of the 850s but has long been a stronghold of Irish tradition. To this day, this most northerly county retains 30,000 people who speak Irish in their everyday lives.

Donegal’s countryside is moulded for the walking enthusiast. Visitors will surely note the relaxed atmosphere and slower pace of life for which the county is known.

Walking in County Antrim

The second part of our walking holiday is through the incredible County Antrim in Northern Ireland. There are not many places on Earth that can outshine the Antrim Coastline and its glorious Nine Glens!

Along the coast is the Eighth Wonder of the World: the Giant’s Causeway. This geologic wonder of 40,000 basalt columns draws tourists from around the world. Our guided walk then moves inland to discover the famous Glens of Antrim. Most of our walking will be in Glenariff, the “Queen of The Glens”.

These areas will astonish you with their outstanding natural beauty, towering sea cliffs, remote inlets, sweeping bays, wide bogs, rusted grasses, lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and ancient ruins all along the way.

You could also browse our other guided walking tours of Ireland for different routes and options. Alternatively, our self-guided walking tours of Ireland allow you total flexibility of scheduling your trip, with our support and guidance along the way.

You can always get in touch if you have any questions at all. We love to chat about our many walking routes to help each walker find the right route.

Guided Walk in Donegal and Antrim

Prices / Dates

Price:  From €1,359 per person sharing
Saturday to Saturday 

Single Supplement: +€410

Tour Dates: 2024

Saturday, 6th July to Saturday, 13th July – This Tour Is Now Fully Booked.

Saturday, 5th October to Saturday, 12th October 

Tour Dates: 2025

Saturday, 5th July to Saturday, 12th July

Saturday, 4th October to Saturday, 11th October

Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate

Accommodation: Family Operated Guesthouses or Small Hotels

Included / Excluded

Donegal and Antrim Walking Itinerary

Day 1 - Dublin to Donegal Town

You will be collected at 1 pm from Dublin Airport, Zone 16 (Coach Park). We will then drive Northwest through spectacular countryside and will stop several times along the way to explore some of the quaint towns and villages. Our final destination and home for 2 nights will be Donegal Town, protected by the proud O’Donnell Castle. Built in the 1400s by the first Red Hugh and his wife Lady Nuala, the castle is an excellent introduction into this region's tradition, strong heritage and abundance of culture.

Overnight in Donegal Town.

Day 2 - The Wild Wilderness of Slieve League

The Wild Wilderness of Slieve League
Our first guided walk first begins with a drive further west to the sea cliffs of Slieve League, covered in heather. This sight is always colourful, always changing, and always spectacular.

Our walk then takes us Northwest along the eastern side of the mountain. You’ll enjoy views of rolling mountains, patchwork fields, and gentle streams on one side and the sea cliffs with the backdrop of the wild Atlantic Ocean on the other side.

Overnight in Donegal Town

Distance: 8 - 10 km/ 5 - 6.2 miles, Ascent: 425 m/1275 ft (The distance will depend on what we actually do on the day, but a max of 10 km/6 miles)

Day 3 - Castle & Lake Walk

We depart Donegal Town today and drive to the small village of Bunbeg, situated right on the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, we stop to visit Glenveagh National Park with its remote and mysterious Glenveagh Castle.

Directly situated in the Derryveagh Mountains, Glenveagh will immediately conjure up thoughts of Gothic literature and a sense of freedom in the midst of this true and impressionable remote wilderness.

After visiting the castle and gardens we walk deep into the glen along Loch Gleann. We will pass ruins of settlements abandoned before and during the Great Famine as well as through native oak woodlands.

Overnight in Bunbeg.

Distance: 13 km/8.2 miles, Ascent: 90 m/295 ft

Day 4 - McSwyne's Gun Loop Trail

Our walk starts outside the beautiful seaside village of Dunfanaghy, located on the shores of Sheephaven Bay and the entrance to the spectacular Horn Head Peninsula. The trail takes us through magnificent sand dunes that are part of a designated Special Area of Conservation due to the rare grasses, wildlife habitats, and seabird colonies in the area.

We will continue across part of Tramore Beach, a golden sandy beach that stretches over 2 km and is very rarely visited by tourists. We then loop around through lush farmland, dotted with ruined dwellings and stone walls, finishing up back in Dunfanaghy.

The afternoon leaves you free to explore Dunfanaghy Village or the old famine workhouse and hear the story of Wee Hannah.

Overnight in Bunbeg.

Distance: 10 km/6 miles, Ascent: 120 m/360 ft

Day 5 - Giant's Causeway

Today, we will depart County Donegal for Northern Ireland’s County Antrim and the world-famous Giant’s Causeway.

The Causeway was declared the Emerald Isle’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Some of the 40,000 polygonal basalt columns are over 6 ft tall, neatly standing side-by-side. The formation is over 55 million years old.

Our walk takes us along the beautiful shore to the astonishing Causeway where we will explore the landmark. The area is home to over 200 varieties of plant species and birds, such as the Chough and Peregrine Falcon, so we will have good company as we walk to our finishing point at the ruins of Dunseverick Castle.

Overnight in Ballintoy 

Distance: 10 km/6 miles, Ascent: 80 m/240 ft

Day 6 - Rathlin Island

This island is a rare place of wild and natural beauty, extraordinary environmental significance, and authentic local culture. You will take the morning ferry from Ballycastle to the island departing at 10 am. The crossing time is approximately 45 minutes.

Shaped like a boot, the island is 10 km/6 miles long and almost 1.6 km/1 miles wide. Three lighthouses stand as monuments to its wild coastline (over 40 recorded shipwrecks lie in the depths of its underwater cliffs). The island is covered with fascinating flora, which includes Puffins in the spring and summer. Guillemots and Kittiwakes nest in their thousands along its steep on-shore cliffs. 

Overnight in Ballintoy

Distance: 11 km/6.5 miles, Ascent: 120 m/360 ft

Day 7 - Glenariff Forest Park "Queen of the Glens"

Our day starts the famous Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. The 18m chasm translates to “Rock in the Road'' and has traditionally been an area favoured by salmon during migration.

This is an optional walk and should you decide to cross the bridge unfortunately, there will be a charge. 
Our final stop of this guided walking tour is in Cushendall to visit Glenariff, Queen of the Nine Glens of Antrim. This is the most spectacular trail in the glens with fantastic views of the Glen, the broadleaf woodlands, the Irish Sea, and the Scottish Mountains across the sea.

On our arrival to the park, we will take some time to visit the natural history museum before our exploratory walk around the Glen.

Overnight in Rosspark Hotel

Distance: 10 km/6 miles, Ascent: 150 m/450 ft

Day 8 - Depart

After another hearty Irish breakfast, we will depart Cushendall for Dublin, arriving at Dublin Airport at approximately 1 pm.

A few words from our customers...

We just spent a week hiking gorgeous Donegal and Antrim. We've been on several cycling tours, but this was our first walking trip and we're hooked. The days presented one beautiful vista after another and all those blue skies and sunshine were a very pleasant surprise. Christopher is relaxed but very organized, encouraging, and quick to share a laugh. His love of his country and the outdoors added to the enjoyment of each day. He's a wealth of knowledge but doesn't fill the day with lectures...lets you soak in the beauty of the landscape but when asked is always willing to share what he knows. He's a pretty good storyteller too, even for an Irishman! Accommodations and meals were great, and we hope to ramble down some trails with Christopher again in the near future. Thank you to the great team at Footfalls, you made it all so easy.
Beth & John
If you love to hike in along the wild ocean, far from the tourist traps, this one week experience is absolutely delightful. Chris, our fun guide and owner of the company, took care of every detail. You can tell he loves what he does! He took us on out of the way trails that were pristine and varied - from stunning beaches and spectacular cliffs, to quiet forests.
Joan & Angela