Walking Hiking

Donegal Bluestack Way – 9 Days

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Donegal Bluestack Way – 9 Day Self-Guided Walking Holiday

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.

Tour Pricing & Dates

9 Day Tour €702 per person sharing
Single Supplement +€320
Tour Dates March to October
Tour Grade Easy to Moderate
Accommodation Guesthouse 
BOOKING BOOK THIS TOUR

Video

Map

Itinerary

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, Ascent: 477 m, Approximate walking time: 5 to 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, Ascent: 624 m, Approximate walking time: 6 to 7 hours

Day 4 / Rest Day in the 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: 12.31 km, Ascent: 132 m, Approximate walking time: 3 to 4 hours

Day 6 / Ardara to Glencolmcille

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, Ascent: 1100 m, Approximate walking time: 8-9 hours

(You have the option to shorten this walk to 20 Km if you wish)

Day 7 / Rest Day

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.

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, Ascent: 680 m, Approximate walking time: 5 to 6 hours

Day 9 / Depart

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

Included

  • 8 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation
  • All accommodation is pre-booked in approved family-run guesthouses with all rooms en-suite
  • Breakfast is supplied each day
  • Maps and waterproof route notes. Trails have been walked and checked by Christopher from Footfalls
  • Luggage Transfers daily while you walk with a small day pack
  • All information on trains or buses needed to get to your first accommodation and back at the end of the tour
  • Full back up service, should you require it, while on our tour.

Not Included

  • Transfers from point of arrival to start of tour in Donegal Town and from end of tour in Kilcar
  • Packed lunches
  • Evening meals

Testimonials

  • Dear Christopher, thank you for another wonderful vacation! I really enjoyed seeing another area of your beautiful country. Thank you for leading us on some amazing hikes, and for taking care of everything while we were here. It was a very relaxing week, and we’re going home renewed and rejuvenated. Until we meet again!

    Nicole
  • Christopher, as the official Irish Tourism Board’s representative, it gladdens me to award you the Golden Shamrock, our top tourism award. That last part was bullshit. I had an amazing experience and I am so glad that I got to see Ireland’s most intimate spots. Thank you for a wonderful trip and all of your knowledge and humour. Looking forward to doing another trip together!

    Adam
  • Christopher, thank you for a second tour through your beautiful Ireland. It was another amazing experience of hiking and food and laughter. What a wonderful week and I can’t wait to return soon for another Footfalls tour. Thank you for everything!

    Erin
  • Dear Christopher, thank you so much for another beautiful journey in your Ireland. We loved our first walking holidays with you, so much that we couldn’t wait to do it again! And this second time in Connemara and the Burren Way didn’t disappoint. You make each trip so special with your warmth, quick wit and what I like to think of your Irish spirit. Thank you for another week of memories that I will always treasure, for your friendship and coring.

    Radha
  • Christopher, that was the best! We enjoyed every minute of our adventure in Ireland. You are an awesome tour guide. Thanks so much for a great trip. We really enjoyed ourselves and hope to return soon. We will return!

    Barbara and Michael

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