Our 9-day (with rest days in the village of Glenties and Glencolmcille) Donegal Bluestack Way independent walking tour is a 96 km route through the remotest areas of County Donegal in the North-West of Ireland. Along the route, you will experience the wild and raw nature of the countryside as you hike across the Bluestack Mountains which are a group of rolling, gentle hills. Starting in the town of Donegal, you will experience scenic Lough Eske, ancient Glencolmcille, stunning coastal cliffs with all its myriad of bird and plant life, following a riverside route to eventually reach the village of Kilcar.
Prices / Dates
Price: €702 per person sharing
Single Supplement: +€400
Tour Dates: 1 April to 15 October
Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate
Included / Excluded
Take public transport from Dublin to Donegal Town where you will spend the next two nights. Public transport takes approximately 3 hours 30 minutes from Dublin.
Your tour of the Donegal and Bluestack Way starts with a taxi transfer to the townland of Owenboy. The trail takes you back across the foothills of Banagher to cross the River Eglish and along by the beautiful shores of Lough Eske, arriving back into Donegal Town.
Distance: 19.2 Km / 11.9 miles, Ascent: 477 m / 1565 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours
The scenic trail takes you along an old bog road, through farmland and across the foothills of the Bluestacks Mountains to finish your day in the village of Glenties.
Distance: 21.6 Km / 13.4 miles, Ascent: 624 m / 2047 ft, Approximate walking time: 6 / 7 hours
The village of Glenties is situated at the North-West edge of the Blue Stack Mountains. The town has regularly been described as an oasis by many of the people who come to visit.
From the village of Glenties, you follow along quiet back roads to arrive at the banks of the Owentocker River. Following the bank of the river, this meandering walk brings you into the village of Ardara. Ardara is a designated Heritage Town and also a well-known centre for the manufacture of Donegal Homespun Tweeds.
Distance: 12.3 Km / 7.6 miles, Ascent: 132 m / 40 ft, Approximate walking time: 3 / 4 hours
Today’s walk takes you further west along by the base of Slievetooey Mountain to follow the Glen River to the townland of Port. Port is one of the remotest and least visited corners of Ireland. From here the trail takes you south to the side of Faugher Mountain where you will have some wonderful mountain and sea cliff views. Your day finishes in the village of Glencolmcille, a Gaeltacht area (Irish speaking).
Distance: 26 km / 16 miles, Ascent: 1100 m / 3608 ft, Approximate walking time: 8 / 9 hours
(You have the option to shorten this walk to 20 Km if you wish)
On your rest day, there are plenty of places on interest in the area of Glencolmcille.
There are 80 archaeological sites to explore in Glencolmcille dating back as far as 5,000 BC. Also, the wild and remote stretches of coastline in this area, with its cliffs and headlands offer unrivalled opportunities for dolphin and bird watching.
From Glencolmcille, the trail brings you between the hills of Contycro and Screggacula, passing Lough Unshagh and Lough Unna and into the small village of Carrick.
Carrick is situated in the Gaeltacht area of South West Donegal, an area renowned for river fishing, sea angling and is rich in folklore and archaeology. It has a long tradition of hand-woven tweed and knitwear and many festivals are held here throughout the year.
From Carrick, the trail takes you south-east to the village of Kilcar, a quiet village that is also part of the Gaeltacht. While you are in Kilcar, you will have a chance to visit one of Donegal’s finest hand-weaving and clothing manufacturing company, a unique skill that has been handed down in the area from generation to generation.
Distance: 17.5 km / 10.8 miles, Ascent: 680 m / 2230 ft, Approximate walking time: 5 / 6 hours
After a hearty Irish breakfast, you will depart for home.