Donegal Bluestack – 9-Day Way Self-Guided Walking Tour


Our 9-day Donegal Bluestack Way independent walking tour is a 96 km exploration of some of the wildest areas of County Donegal in Ireland’s northwest. With rest days in the villages of Glenties and Glencolmcille, this journey combines Irish hospitality and relaxation with walks into the heart of the Irish countryside.

On our tour, you will encounter Donegal’s Bluestack Mountains, a picturesque range of unspoilt green hills set in some of the most breathtaking natural landscapes in Ireland.

We set off on our adventure from the town of Donegal and pay visits to magical sites such as Lough Eske and the historic village of Glencolmcille, home to farming communities for around 6,000 years. Wildlife lovers will be able to spot stunning birdlife as we traverse the coastline before we follow a riverside route into the charming village of Kilcar, our finishing point.

Hikers interested in exploring other beautiful locations in Ireland, or seeking to book a tour of an alternative length, should consult our full listings of Self-Guided Walking Tours of Ireland.

Prices / Dates

Price:  €849 per person sharing

Single Supplement: +€425

Solo Traveller Supplement: +€90

Tour Dates: 1 April to 15 October

Tour Grade: Easy to Moderate

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Included / Excluded

Day 1 - Donegal Town

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. 

Day 2 - Owenboy to Donegal Town

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

Day 3 - Owenboy to the village of Glenties

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

Day 4 - Rest Day in Glenties

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.

Day 5 - Glenties to Ardara

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

Day 6 - Ardara to Glencolmcille

Complimentary taxi transfer today to the start of your walk.

The trail 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: 24 km / 15 miles, Ascent: 659 m / 1977 ft, Approximate walking time: 7 / 9 hours

Day 7 - Rest Day

On your rest day, there are plenty of places of 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.

Day 8 - Glencolmcille to Kilcar

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

Day 9 - Depart

After a hearty Irish breakfast, you will depart for home.

A few words from our customers...

If you love to hike in along the wild ocean, far from the tourist traps, this one week experience is absolutely delightful. Thank you Chris & Teresa - I am putting another hike with you on my "bucket list".
If you have any doubts about booking a walking tour with Footfalls, Christopher and Theresa, don’t! Our accommodations were all comfortable, clean and provided us with delicious food. We loved the hiked and the quietness of the trails, on most days we only uncounted sheep and a few likeminded travellers and the odd farmer. You can see that Footfalls has fostered great relationships with businesses along the way and I wouldn’t have any qualms booking with them again.
Janssen & Mike